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I finally started playing this and sunk abut 12 hours in over the last week. It's tough to get started on account of there being so much stuff all over the table. After a single session I chucked half of it back in the box and switched to using Gloomhaven Helper and Gloomhaven Campaign Tracker apps (the first is free if run in a browser, the second is free). They massively speed up the game in a good way and give you a great visual indicator of the stuff you're trying to hold in your head while you argue/look up rules for 15 mins between turns. It's a huge improvement and I really recommend it.


The game itself is great. It really, really reminds me of Divinity Original Sin I and II, to the point where I'm using those rules to make assumptions about Gloomhaven and finding it right most of the time. The hardest rules to absorb are probably enemy movement and line of sight, but after muddling through for a few hours you'll figure out your own brain-shorthand for it. There's a really good app for calculating line of sight, focus and movement here: https://gloom.aluminumangel.org/


I left the box on the shelf for a year as I found the contents so overwhelming. I really recommend simply getting stuck in, bumble through it slowly with some music on. Watch the Gaming Rules videos for how to play and get started.


The game recommends that if you're playing solo, to bump the difficulty up one notch in order to account for your open-hand playing. E.g. you know exactly who will have initiative and who will be performing which spells when because you're controlling every character! However while I was learning the rules I actually bumped it down a level and found that a much better fit for getting my feet wet.


The main tips I can give you are:


  • Enemies don't move or attack unless their card explicitly says so. 
  • Enemies move the minimum of spaces required to hit their target. 
  • Enemies target the person the fewest number of hexes away, in a tie they target the person nearest as the crow flies. If it's still tied they target the person with the lowest initiative. If it's still tied, they target the person who went (or will go) first (initiative ties are decided by the group).
  • The only thing that breaks line of sight is walls. If you can draw a straight line from any corner of a hex to any corner of another hex without hitting a wall, you have line of sight.
  • Don't don't don't don't burn through all your cards which go into your lost pile (versus your discard pile) until you absolutely have to. You should mostly ignore the abilities which require you to lose the card, and use the alternative ability on the card or use the generic move 2/attack 2 instead. In my first game I equated these powerful abilities to source spells in Divinity or general ultimate abilities and expected to pick them all back up at some point. Nope! Save these for the real do or die moments as you won't get them back until the next scenario. As every card can also be used for move or attack, the more cards you lose the fewer options you have each turn and the more often you have to rest (which also requires you to lose a card!) There are ways to recover lost cards later on, but not at the start.
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