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A board game of cooperative card-driven tactical combat in a persistent, ever-changing campaign world. 1-4 players, 30 min. per player.
A board game of cooperative card-driven tactical combat in a persistent, ever-changing campaign world. 1-4 players, 30 min. per player.
4,904 backers pledged $386,104 to help bring this project to life.

Another day in Gloomhaven

Posted by Isaac Childres (Creator)

Hey all!

Another day goes by, another $7000 is pledged, and I have to say that this rate is phenomenal as we approach the halfway point of the campaign. I couldn't be happier with the level of support you are all showing for the campaign.

You guys thumbed the crap out of those images I put up yesterday. I'll also be posting some more artwork from Alexandr on the BGG page, as well, since I haven't done any of that in a while. The downside is that art images aren't available for the image hotness list, but the upside is that the are gorgeous.

But anyway, I just wanted to thank you all sincerely. Keep up the good work!

More stretch goals

Even though we haven't quite hit the mark for the next stretch goal, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about what's coming after $200,000, because I'm pretty excited about it.

First of all, we've got a new side scenario designed by Adam and Brady Sadler, most notably known for designing the upcoming Fantasy Flight campaign game, Warhammer Quest. Before that, they worked on many other Fantasy Flight titles like Descent 2E, X-Wing and various expansions.

These guys are super into pure co-op dungeon crawlers, so when I got a chance to sit down and show them the game last weekend, they were very excited about contributing a scenario, and I am absolutely looking forward to what they come up with.

After that, the stretch goal at $220,000 is going to add a 7th card to every monster ability deck (except the boss deck, which is special). I think this will be a great addition to the game for a couple reasons.

The first reason is that it will simply add more variance to the monster AI behavior. After fighting a particular type of monster for the 3rd or 4th time, you start to memorize their ability deck and it lifts the tension a little bit. Each card added to the monsters' decks will help this problem considerably and also make them more interesting to fight.

The second reason has to do with how the monsters' ability decks are shuffled. In the current version of the rules, a monster's ability deck is only shuffled once it runs out of cards. This was a little problematic because once you became familiar with the monster's deck, you could easily predict what the last card of their deck would be before it got flipped, giving you an unintended advantage in the game and, again, reducing the tension.

There needed to be some way to shuffle the decks more often or make that last card unknown. I thought about burning the top card of the deck face-down after a shuffle, or shuffling the deck after 5 cards are drawn instead of all six, but both those rules seemed like they would be easily forgettable by the players. More rules = more chances for players to get the rules wrong.

I decided (with the help of playtester Marcel Cwertetschka) to implement a system where the player is simply told when to shuffle the deck. You may have noticed hints of this system in the last bullet point of the "end of round" section of the new player boards:

2 cards in each deck have a prominent shuffle symbol such that if that card is in the top of the discard, players will shuffle the discard back into the deck. With two cards having this symbol, there's no way to only have one card left in the draw deck.

Okay, with that explained, now we get back to the 7th card. I basically wasn't entirely happy with the system because when 1/3 of the cards tell you to shuffle the deck, it creates a good amount of shuffling. With the 7th card added, that percentage of shuffle cards goes down a bit and I become a little happier with the system.

So there you have it - a mini designer's diary with your update.

Again, thanks for all of your support and keep up the good work on Board Game Geek!


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    1. Jeremy Kaemmer on

      2 reshuffle cards out of 7 means you will be reshuffling after an average of 2.66 draws. It also means the 2 reshuffle cards will be drawn about 37.5% of the time, effectively. Adding just 1 more non-reshuffle card would reduce that percentage to 33.3% and increase the average number of cards drawn to an even 3.

      Just fyi.

      I think it might be easier to have a deck of cards with 1 less than the monster decks that is a global reshuffle card for all monster decks so you aren't too bombarded with the reshuffle cards' abilities.

      Interestingly, the larger you make the monster decks the greater the increase of frequency compared to other cards- but it still reduces overall frequency.

      If you see those 2 cards so much compared to others, it might actually make sense to make it the basic attack and defend cards and not special abilities.

      I love probability, and ran the numbers for fun, thought I'd toss in my 2 cents

    2. ionas on

      In a 2nd review I really don't like the advertisements for FFG products either. They will do without our support (they got a real marketing MASCHINE going for them). But then I don't have to like /every/ update of yours, do I have to ;)

    3. Missing avatar

      Andy Goldman

      *deck :P

    4. Missing avatar

      Andy Goldman

      Reshuffling: Nothing a bunch of desk protectors can't remedy! :) Keep up the good work, Isaac!

    5. chang on

      awesome update! thx
      if i might add my 2 cents..

      @isaac i wouldnt mind if u spend a couple of SG adding more cards into the monster deck. even though, now improve, 7 cards can get repetitive and that still sound like quite a bit of shuffling.
      or if it helps, lets us "addon" some cards.. :) a mini pack of monsters cards of 30 or so cards might get some of us intersted and throwing more cash at you lol

      keep going! going great!

    6. Andrew J Swegler on

      I can't wait to try this combat system out! Love the way you've made it systematically unpredictable without a die roll; I think this shuffle mechanic will keep tensions high in the fights. Great idea!

    7. Brady Sadler

      Super excited to be contributing to this with Adam. Isaac knocked this one out of the park. We were lucky enough to preview Gloomhaven with him and I'm honestly floored by his design. Time to knock down some stretch goals...

    8. ionas on

      Well to me D2E had no immersion and felt really shallow and uninspired. In contrast to D1E quests which were really great - also its D1E quest book. So I am not so excited for that one scenario, to be honest, but I am very excited about the rest and happy that the project goes so well :thumbs_up:

    9. Missing avatar

      Marcel Cwertetschka on

      Wheee! Thanks for the credit Isaac! I am happy to help.
      Fun little tibid for all Descent Fans, I worked alot under Adam and Brady Sadler as a playtester of Descent 2Ed and you can find my name in many Descent Rulebooks. Especially the collaboration with them and their team on the cooperative Gamenight Expansion was a blast. =)

    10. Isaac Childres 4-time creator on

      Yes, though I didn't go into that those shuffle will also be more likely to be drawn. I think this adds an interesting dynamic as well, in that you can emphasize some of the more cooler abilities over others. This monster always has the potential to do that particular ability.

      Mike, 8 cards would make me even happier, but with 30 monster decks, even adding 1 card is a significant cost. We'll see with future stretch goals.

      Also, all guest designed scenarios will be side scenarios, which means they won't be part of the main story line, but will have a separate story line of their own.

    11. mike on

      Although another card was added, it really only means that the LEAST often the deck would have to be shuffled is about 30% of the time. After shuffling, you might put another shuffle card towards the top again.

      I agree that the shuffling will get monotonous and is a mechanic that could pull the players out of the game. Also, with so few cards, they could be memorized fairly quickly. I would like to shuffle the deck no more than 25% of the time (which calls for at least 8 cards).

      I hope there will be more stretch goals to to increase the amount of monster cards.

      I'm looking forward to Brady's scenario. Will it be a critical part of the campaign storyline? Will it be played depending on the party's campaign decisions? Or will it be a random encounter scenario that might not ever get played?

      (May can't get here fast enough!)

    12. Lagoon on

      Interesting bits about the designing process. I'd just like to point out that this kind of shuffle systems automatically makes those two cards with the shuffle symbol more likely to be drawn than the other cards. Of a percentage which depends on too many factors so I have no intention to calculate it :D.
      I suppose you're aware of this, but I think it's worth mentioning it.
      I suppose the statistic bias is noticeable only if a lot of cards are drawn, if the average numbers isn't much higher than 7 drawn cards then it should be a minor issue.

    13. Nakano

      A nice collaboration - their card game is currently on my wishlist too.