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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.

A Hopeful Scenario: Post-Kickstarter week 20

Posted by Isaac Childres (Creator)

Greetings, residents of Gloomhaven!

Here we are, 20 weeks after the end of the Kickstarter and still chugging along. Everything appears to be going well, and we're making a lot of progress on getting everything in the bag.

There were a lot of entertaining reactions last week about just how much stuff is in this box. It's a little hard to parse sometimes without a visual example and I think the white box did the trick on that.

It also helped me realize that we are going to have to increase the size of the box - the length and width as well as the height. We haven't decided on a new size yet. Josh and I will be talking to the manufacturer early next week to make a decision on that. I will also talk to him then about a definitive timeline for production, so I'll report back on that next week as well.

It's a lot bits of paper and cardboard that need to be filled up with graphics and information, but I've been working on this project pretty much non-stop for over a year now, so I can assure you that we are drawing ever closer to that glorious day of completion.

The big thing that still needs to be done at this point is the scenario book, which is where I am devoting most of my time. All the scenarios have been conceptualized, but it takes a bit of time to turn that concept into a well laid out page spread.

I'll also need to spend a significant amount of time finishing work to balance the various classes and scenarios through play testing.

Josh is getting close to finishing a complete draft of the rule book. We should be able to share that with you by next week for feedback. After that, his biggest job is creating the rest of the location stickers for the map and making the punch-boards.

Alexandr is now completely done with the artwork, so that's great. Álvaro is still working on the overlay tiles, but he's making good progress.

After that, it's a bunch of little things, plus the editing process, which will also take a significant amount of time due to the sheer number of different pieces of content to proof. Editing is already well underway, though. Jim has wrestled the rule book into submission and is now doing a second pass on all the character ability cards.

And while the rule book won't be ready until next week, I wanted to give you all another look at the scenario book. What I showed a few weeks ago was the template and some graphics, but I have now laid out a bunch of scenarios and wanted to get feedback on the style and design choices.

You can grab the file here.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome, though keep in mind that some of the graphics - mainly the overlay tiles - still need to be replaced, and the text hasn't been edited yet. We're not looking for you to edit it either. We're just trying to get an impression of whether all the information is presented in a clear and coherent way. Feel free to read the text, but be warned that, like reading random pages of a choose-your-own-adventure story, you might get spoiled on some things.

So let Josh and me know what you think of the scenario book pages, and I will see you next week with more cool stuff. Later!

P.S. Surveys are coming soon - probably the week after the next update.


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    1. Marty McFly on

      @Matthew - nothing taken as rude, so no worries.

      From my standpoint, it's not ease of learning that's the issue. It's ease of remembering. Many games use a number on cards, tokens, board spaces, etc. to denote that item is available for that number of players. It's simple and intuitive, because numbers are easily recognized and have a known meaning already (i.e. a count of something).

      There's nothing that players have to remember with numbers like there is with the current system. I can see myself going to the rulebook every session to answer the question, "what color means don't include that monster?"

      You, me, and your mother are in for some unnecessary confusion. When it should be as simple as "Hey, Mom, put a monster on every tile that has a 3," it's instead, "put a monster on every tile where the upper right edge has a thick line that isn't white." I suspect you'd have to point at a few hexes, explain the differences, and then still may have to answer a question or two.

    2. Mathew G Somers on

      @Marty - Well, I have to admit that I am not an avid dungeon crawler, so I'm not familiar with the setup method you're mentioning, but I did try to search for some images, only my internet is awful slow and making quite a chore of the task, so strictly going off of how I envision the method to be in relation to this game, I have to stand by my previous feelings, and assume that were the numbered system to be the more preferred, that there must be some reason why it was not selected here.

      Regarding the setup as is in Gloomhaven, not to be rude, but I really cannot see how it is such a challenge to learn. I mean, I understand if the colors are all blending together and whatnot, valid point, but I feel there is a learning curve in all games, especially ones of this magnitude, and this one doesn't even seem like much of a curve... Well, perhaps that's because I do not have a preconceived notion of how it ought to work? I don't know.

      Anyway, let's say you, me, and my Mother are going to play a scenario. First, we only ever set up the room we are currently in, setting up later rooms doesn't occur until we've actually entered them, I believe. Then, since we are three players, we would look at the top right of every enemy hex in that first room -- Seven hexes. In its current state, white means that we do not place the enemy, yellow/gold means the enemy is normal, and black means it's elite, so we've got 4 normal monsters and 2 elite. That's it. Put down the traps and the door and we're ready to go. Well, I mean, then we decide which hex we each want to start on...

    3. Ehren Woods

      Text should read, "A dark energy ENGULFS his hands as he speaks," and they maybe a few other minor mistakes that a through proof reading could fix. The look and feel of the scenario book are awesome. I love the style and clearness so far. I do agree though too, any way to streamline set up for varying numbers of players would be very welcome as set up is always the most cumbersome task with a game like this.

    4. Marty McFly on

      "Part of the reason for your, or anyone's confusion, is probably not fully understanding how they function"

      Exactly my point. The cleverness of design should come from game play and mechanics, not from "not fully understanding" setup. Setup should be simple and intuitive so players can get to the game with very little frustration.

      As far as eye strain goes, personally, I find the colors much more straining, especially when there's a large cluster of monster icons. The colored edge of one hex starts to bleed into the next hex, and I have to stop and examine each hex to make sure I have things correct. For me, this is because I don't find the design intuitive at all because it's not how most other games work. (Don't reinvent the wheel just for the sake of it unless it truly add something.) But numbers are very intuitive and common, and I can do a quick scan of each tile and look for a number.

      The other thing that a number system does is open up the possibility for "official" 5-player or solo scenario layouts, without having to design a new system specific to a future expansion that includes those counts.

    5. Mathew G Somers on

      @Kristian - The rule book will be separate from the scenario book.

      @Marty @Neva - I think I'll have to disagree, I feel like numbers being placed at the bottom of each enemy icon would be a considerable strain on the eyes, and were the numbers then enlarged to compensate for this fact, they would block bits of the enemy image, potentially leading to confusion as to what monster is placed where in some cases. The current system seems solid to me, as I would just have to look at the particular side of each enemy icon to know whether or not they appear at my player count and if they are normal or elite. Part of the reason for your, or anyone's confusion, is probably not fully understanding how they function, coupled with the colors being a work in progress -- I mean, with the final product in hand, and a reading of the finished rules regarding the system, I would imagine any confusion could not last more than a few games, although, probably after the first you would have a good enough handle on it and only need to make one or two references in the future at most.

      In other news, I wonder if the colored borders surrounding each icon is necessary?

    6. Missing avatar

      Neva Kee on

      I would agree with Marty McFly. While I didn't really read how the system for monster placement works and how the iconography is meant, I always feel intimidated by it, since it is in no way intuitive.
      Using intuitive numbers may seem a little more cluttered, but will probably be more clear without having to consult any rules.

    7. Marty McFly on

      Even though I know how player count vs monster placement works (at least, I think I do), I find it confusing every time I see it. This isn't something that players should have to think about (or worse yet, reference the rules) every time they play. And then think about again as they do a quick verification that the scenario is set up properly.

      At risk of sounding harsh, I think that particular design is overly "clever" for no good reason. Simple numbers would accomplish the same thing. For example, if a monster is only in a 3 or 4 player game, it has "3 4" at the bottom of the icon. And if the monster is elite for 4 players, make the 4 a different color or circled or 4E or something else easily identified as different.

      If there's no number for your player count, you don't place the monster. Easy and intuitive, and since many other game use a similar solution, I don't have to learn a special rule for Gloomhaven that that doesn't actually add anything to game play.

    8. Kristian Törnkvist

      I did not read through the scenario so can't comment on that but I would like to give my 2 cents on something that I'm not sure been adressed.
      It would be very welcome if you (beside the index which I've been answered befeore on) is that the rulebook and campaign book are split between 2 dif books.
      In a larger game, like this is, it's a huge plus since if you only need to look up something small you can still keep the scenario in front of you.

    9. Missing avatar

      John K on

      Give a reason for the Goal.

      Not just "Clear the room", but "Clear the room TO advance/to get the chest/to block them"

    10. Mathew G Somers on

      Well, I guess I've got a few thoughts I could share...

      First, when determining whether or not an enemy is absent, normal, or elite at any given player count, I wonder how it might look to use a white notch to represent normal, the gold one for elite, and simply have no notch when there is no enemy, which is to say, the red border would continue on. My reasoning behind this is that the black doesn't nearly pop in the same manner as the white and gold to my eye, and having no notch just seems like it might be a little more intuitive -- No notch, no enemy.

      Second, I am thinking the columns of certain texts might look better were the red and green colors fading on all sides, as opposed to just the bottom, or at least on all sides within the borders of the page itself? I find the hard edge of color to be harsh.

      Third, I dislike the enemy key being broken in two, but I suppose there's just not enough room to keep it all together, huh?

      Fourth, the symbol indicating where players may start the scenario, seems to be the same as the Move symbol... Really, this is not too big an issue, more a curiosity.

      Fifth, I understand this is not the final product, but I just wanted to point out that the blue bars that separate the different texts are missing in some areas, the colors behind those texts are sometimes of uneven lengths or begin too soon/late, and occasionally the spacing between certain column headings and their text is greater than other times.

      And I think that's about it... Yeah, nothing too major, just some thoughts and minor opinions. On the whole, I think the entire design of the layout is phenomenal!

    11. Missing avatar

      Marcel Cwertetschka on

      3 small things:
      - dont use gold for the chests if you already use gold for the elite monsters, maybe look for an unique color
      - Maptiles could be simply numbered with 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, ...
      - The entrance hexes depiction is a bit missfitting, Maybe a bar and an arrow showing away from the bar would serve better

    12. rashktah

      This all looks really good, but with all the things that still need to be layouted, produced and whatnot... I just hope this will all come together soon.

    13. Josh N. on

      Just looking at the layout and not the content of the example, I think it looks fantastic. It would be very easy to follow, the green vs red looks great, and the map layout + meanings are very clear. I wish my medical school texts were this well laid out...

    14. Elyklord - Creator of Vekyl

      Scenarios look great, very cool.

      One suggestion after reading through them, though you may have this covered elsewhere:

      A few of the scenarios show you have choices, for example after defeating the cultists the flavor text basically says "You can hunt more down or help them," and you unlock two new locations. However, there's no indication of which locations and motives match up. If I want to hunt the cultists, do I go to the Ruinous or Decaying Crypt? And vice versa

      Of course you can determine which is which be reading the intro text on each location, but that breaks immersion and feels like an unnecessary step for the player. Something like 5 Ruinous Crypt (disrupt the cultists) 6 Decaying Crypt (help the cultists) would fix this.

    15. Nakano

      Are the doors double sided (locked/unlocked side)? If door is a spot that requires using a movement point could be mentioned in the rules, well it probably is mentioned there.
      The scenario layout is nice. Even though you didn't want text editing, but since I noticed a certain pattern, I want to mention this. I would remove unnecessary words of vagueness and the text would flow even more pleasantly. Market with [could be removed].
      * you head out in (a) search of the bend in the Still River - something there holds [some] interest for these maniacs.
      * As you approach the site, you are [somewhat] surprised...
      * becomes clear that you have disrupted [some soft of] ritual -> a ritual.

    16. Missing avatar

      David Di Muro

      One look at the page and I feel immersed and want to play. This thing you have created is sheer genius. I feel so excited and privileged to be involved and watch this unfold. I really think you've created more than a stand alone game. You're onto something big here. Good luck and keep going.

    17. Isaac Childres 4-time creator on

      Chang, obstacles are explained in the rule book. Trap effects can vary from scenario to scenario, so the effects need to be designated each time.

      We're discussing packaging the punch-boards separately, but because they mainly consist of large map tiles that need to fit in the box anyway, I don't think it would save much space.

    18. chang on

      ps in a different no-fancy box, like a brown plain box. or in wrap plastic together with the main package

    19. chang on

      and i imaging that the ?rock looking tile (the overlay tile on the second row, 2nd column on the upper right map tile/room) would be explain on the page (or if that tile always mean the same on the rulebook)
      which bring me to: Are all traps tile always traps, might be better to put this on the rulebook; and keeping the scenario clean, only for things that are no general, no?

      Also dunno if i missed ur answer in preview update about this, but: you dont like sending the cardboard punchs in a different box? after all, once tht is punch out it would free a lot of space in the box.

    20. Isaac Childres 4-time creator on

      Caleb, yes, like I said, the overlay graphics aren't finished yet. The chest icon on the map will have a number on it referring to a table at the back of the book.

    21. Caleb Kester on

      The pages have a nice classic rpg paper feel to it. It really grew on me with time and I like it.

      I did a quick scan but couldn't see anything about what the chests mean. Wasn't there a number on them that you refer to a loot table?

    22. Missing avatar

      Matthew Kameron on

      Hello - looking forward to the game.
      One suggestion... in the 'requirements' section of your demo page, you have written:

      Whisperings of the Gloom (Party) COMPLETE

      That is quite a coded way of writing it, and I had to double-take to interpret it. Give you have the whole page width, could you just use ordinary English:

      eg1) Any member of the party has completed Whisperings of the Gloom
      eg2) Whisperings of the Gloom has been completed in this campaign

    23. Brie

      I'm guessing the answer is no, in order to simply things. But, will the standees version have a different box size than the minis version?