I recently started going to a local game store every Tuesday to play a game with some pretty cool people I met. For those of you who are not familiar with Legacy-style games, they’re games usually meant to play through once. As you play the game, it changes the rules and the map so that the final version is drastically different than the original. As of now there is Risk Legacy, Pandemic Legacy, and one or two more than I know of (I’m so excited for Betrayal at House on the Hill Legacy). Gloomhaven is like a basic RPG version of a legacy game. It’s not made by the same company, but feels very similar to play.
Gloomhaven, as I said, is a tabletop RPG. It’s not like playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) where you have an open world based on your Game Master (GM) but instead it plays like Temple of Elemental Evil the board game. You select a preset race/class and get a hand of spells/abilities put together for your character. They have their basic level 1 stats, and you go from dungeon to dungeon trying to complete specific tasks to level up. Each character has their own secret objective that they’re supposed to keep secret from the rest of the group. If we complete these tasks, we can then retire our character, and make a new one (usually the secret quest unlocks a new character to play). As the character levels up, they obviously get stronger as well. They all go up with their base health, unlock more cards to put in their hand, and earn “checks” which go on a character card. These checks have a ton of helpful uses, and are different for each character. Some of them allow the player to change their characters deck (the deck is what is used instead of dice to see results from attacks). I won’t go into specifics for the decks and hands because, as already stated, they vary from player to player. The other interesting rule that really stands out is that the players are not allowed to directly communicate with one another. For example, you can’t give out specific numbers or spell names. This means I can’t say “I’m going to have an initiative of 68 and use ‘Massive Boulder’ at these guys.” Instead I’d have to something like “I’m going to be moving kinda slow and throwing rocks at that group.” It may seem like a minor change, but it really does make strategizing harder, which overall makes the whole game more interesting. This is much more of a challenge early on when you don’t really know what all the characters are capable of. I personally find it interesting, but I’ve read that some people throw this rule out the window because it’s too limiting.
My group has three static players (including myself) and our fourth player has been rotating between two other players. Last week when we played, the general store manager (our fourth player) said we could keep playing in the back of the store even after they closed. We played until about 2:30a and only stopped because one of the players had early classes. That’s how addictive and fun Gloomhaven is. We all love playing it, and it’s possibly one of the greatest games I’ve played yet. This partly is because we have such great group dynamic and we all get along easily, but that’s how most tabletop groups should be anyway.