Gloomhaven - what's the point?

Ghost Whistler

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I've never played it but it's proved immensely succesful and popular. I've heard reliably that it's very good.

I just wonder why people go for this and not, say, DnD? Or any other fantasy rpg?

I say that specifically given how enormous Gloomhaven is. Just getting out the shop requires industrial machinery! It's certainly not cheap (neither is DnD), but the sheer amount of content just makes me think that one single tabletop rpg book would be a better deal given that, ultimately, is what Gloomhaven is trying to be
 

Ladybird

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You can just play Gloomhaven and have a good time with your entire group; it doesn't require one player to spend so much prep time learning the rules and preparing an adventure and hoping they've got the balance right and learning how to GM and all that stuff.
 

Séadna

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Well it's just that some people don't like RPGs, but enjoy something that to us seems close to them. I've a friend who loves playing Mansions of Madness 2E, but isn't interested in playing Call of Cthulhu. A structured board game with some elements of story is to many still quite different to a full blown RPG and they don't have an interest in the latter.

Also what @Ladybird said.
 

The Butcher

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I've never played it but it's proved immensely succesful and popular. I've heard reliably that it's very good.

I just wonder why people go for this and not, say, DnD? Or any other fantasy rpg?

I say that specifically given how enormous Gloomhaven is. Just getting out the shop requires industrial machinery! It's certainly not cheap (neither is DnD), but the sheer amount of content just makes me think that one single tabletop rpg book would be a better deal given that, ultimately, is what Gloomhaven is trying to be
This is exactly what I think about every board game that takes hours to set up and play and has a ton of fiddle pieces. Doubly so if it’s a “RPG emulator” like the D&D or Cthulhu boardgames.

@Séadna and @Ladybird have the gist of it, though. I see it like this because I am a RPG aficionado and I rue time spent around a table setting up silly boardgames when I could be rocking my favorite elfgame.
 

Stan

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This is exactly what I think about every board game that takes hours to set up and play and has a ton of fiddle pieces. Doubly so if it’s a “RPG emulator” like the D&D or Cthulhu boardgames.
Some of these games are better as computer games for the zero setup. If I see one for <$5, I pick them up for casual solo play, though most are intended for online group play. The Pathfinder Adventure card game was fun to go through.
 

Ghost Whistler

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It's just that Gloomhaven requires so much set up and so many components.

And that stupid legacy bullshit that hinders replayability (unless you pay extra of course...)
 

Ladybird

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As ever with legacy games, that it's a one-time campaign and your choices matter forever is part of the appeal. If you're not into that, there are plenty of non-legacy dungeon crawls to get into. Have you looked into Kingdom Death?

That said, as fascinating as Gloomhaven looks, I know I'd never be able to commit enough time to do the full campaign.
 

Skywalker

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And that stupid legacy bullshit that hinders replayability (unless you pay extra of course...)
With at least 150 hours of gameplay in the box, the replayability critique seems a little trite. The fact that it has so much gameplay seems a bigger issue to me, given very few will see it all. It should have been broken into a smaller format capable of expansion IMO
 

Smith

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My office gaming group got it because we don't have time to play actual role-playing games together (and aren't friends enough to actually meet up outside of work :tongue: ). We work in game development, so we typically enjoy playing games to dissect them. A few of my colleagues have played RPGs but not as seriously as I, and this allows for us to do a dungeon-crawl without a GM and with minimal roleplaying investment (we're at work, can't really put on silly voices without some strange looks).

We went 4-ways in on buying this beefy title and actually paid extra for the removable stickers so it could be played again, figuring we might replay the campaign being evil. We have a table setup in our cubes so we didn't need to constantly setup and teardown.

Honestly the TL;DR of our experience (over the course of a few months, an hour each lunch) of finishing the campaign is that we boxed the game up, and it's still sitting in my cube.

It was fun, sure, but not worth the price and it's incredibly over hyped. Definitely a lot of interesting mechanics but it gets quite repetitive, and the narrative structure and support behind the title is weak and shaky. There is some large design imbalances between certain characters that were really highlighted through play.
 

Justin Alexander

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I just wonder why people go for this and not, say, DnD? Or any other fantasy rpg?
(1) No GM required.

(2) It's not actually trying to be an RPG. It's taking some structural conceits from sandbox RPG campaigns and applying them to a board game structure. Game play is unique (and fun!) in a way that is mechanically non-suitable for an actual RPG.

The core game play is:

(a) You have a set of cards based on the class you're playing.
(b) Before beginning a scenario, you select a subset of those cards to be your hand.
(c) At the beginning of each round, you select two cards that you will play on your turn.
(d) Each card has two actions. On your turn, you choose which of the actions to use one each card and also the order in which the cards will be resolved.

This progressive drill down from broad strategic choices to very specific tactical choices is really satisfying, but the mechanism it uses would be dissociated nonsense in an actual RPG.

I get the superficial resemblance to D&D due to the tropes and personal characters that advance through XP, but it's really like asking, "Why play RoboRally when you could just play an RPG with robot PCs?"

With at least 150 hours of gameplay in the box, the replayability critique seems a little trite. The fact that it has so much gameplay seems a bigger issue to me, given very few will see it all. It should have been broken into a smaller format capable of expansion IMO
The legacy components are also non-destructive: You can go back and play scenarios as many times as you'd like.
 
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