• James Hewlett

Retirement in Gloomhaven

Ed and I managed to smash Rhino as Thor and Doctor Strange first thing and then got into the meat of the day; Gloomhaven.

We realised that started playing this game around xmas 2017 and it still feels like that we’re only just scratching the surface of everything that comes in the giant box.

We’ve had a couple of players in our party leave and a couple join us along the way but most games have been Ed and I.

It’s great because we both know how it plays inside and out now and have a short hand when it comes to what we’re doing and how we’re approaching each scenario.

That said, sometimes they can feel like a slog and the first one we did today was exactly that.

I think in design it is meant to be quite a quick one as the only goal was to escape but for whatever reason it took us a while. It could have been a mixture of it being our first game back in a long while, both trying to do too much ancillary stuff and Ed being determined to get kills in order to progress his personal quest.

We got through it though and were both into doing one more. After looking at the map of unlocked scenarios and checking out what some of them were, we decided to do one major plot driven one and defended the city of Gloomhaven itself from the wrath of a prime demon we’d unwittingly run a couple of errands for earlier.

It was a potentially very tough mission, defending the gate against seemingly insurmountable odds and waves of various demons that respawned each round.

Thankfully Ed and my characters have levelled up enough to the point we have some pretty strong cards at our disposal and chose our hands of cards according to the mission instead of just going with what we thought seemed fun.

It wasn’t easy, but we managed to get through everything very smoothly and in a very cinematic fashion.

Ed and I always bring an extra element of storytelling to our games, it’s just who we are, but Gloomhaven lends itself to that so much and it didn’t take much to visualise the action taking place.

At the end of that one it was definitely early evening and we’d been playing for hours.

We had defeated a massive boss and progressed the story nicely... great time to pack it up and end right?

Normally yes, but Ed was one unique monster kill away from reaching his personal goal and retiring the character he’s been playing since we started nearly three years ago.

We had unlocked a side scenario that was basically a treasure ship ready for looting and we made it thematically fit that both our characters would be interested in one last run after the defence of the city.

We got through that one without much hassle and we treated it very much as a farewell ride for Ed’s Brute character Mogar.

We finished up, went back to town and retired him, unlocking a new character which happened to fit very nicely with the scenario we had just done too.

Finishing up took about as long as a regular board game would to play but after hours of playing it we are both buzzing about Gloomhaven and when we can get it to the table again.


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