Gloomhaven #002 – Into the Volcano!

This post contains spoilers for scenario #63 of Gloomhaven, a road event (#08), a city event (#21) and one loot chest (#12).

Back to Gloomhaven

After the first two scenarios we traveled back to the city of Gloomhaven to get our equipment updated and to recruit a new member for our adventuring party: The Cragheart! At a first glance he seems like a mix of a barbarian and a druid. A great addition to our group!

The Cragheart! His first purchase was a brand new War Hammer. Yes, he is sending a clear message here.

For my Tinkerer I decided to buy a Hide Armor. With this I can ignore the first damage from two sources of damage before I need a rest to activate its effect again. This comes at a price: 10 gold pieces and two “-1 damage modifier” cards, which I have to add to my deck. I was thinking about this for a while, but in the end I was pretty happy with my decision. In dire situations I can now go into melee for one round, while my colleagues can take a break and rest.

The Road to the Watcher Mountains

Before heading into the main quest with our new party member we decided to head to the Magma Pit in the Watcher Mountains first. This was the random side scenario we found in a chest in the first mission (see here). But we can’t leave the city, without dealing with a City Event first.

City Event: Mercenaries usually work for money, but we didn’t want to commit to another side mission at this time so we went for option B. Road Event: Professionals like us won’t be mugged by common bandits. So this was easy: we went with option B.

At this point a new concept was introduced to us: Putting additional events into the Road Event stack after dealing with the City Event. I really like the idea, that we could actually find the missing brother by traveling around the world of Gloomhaven.  So the City Event was really great!

The Road Event on the other hand was not so good for us and we had to start the scenario with three damage each. I still think that this was the better option. So far it’s pretty hard to get a decent amount of money in the scenarios, while healing three damage should be possible somehow in the first few rounds. 

While the City Event was ok for us, the Road Event was giving us a noticeable disadvantage for the next mission. This was a no-win-scenario for us.

So after dealing with the bandits and searching the Watcher Mountains for the entrance to a cave, we head into the first room of our dungeon!

Finally we arrive at the Magma Pit. Let’s see how this side mission will play out for us!

Room #1

In the first mission we were playing, we found an information, that somewhere in the active volcano should be a hidden cache of treasure. After entering the first room, we found out, that this dungeon is not abandoned. A group of Inox accompanied by some Vermling Scouts and Flame Demons built a home here.

We used the first room to introduce our new party member to the rules and the general gameplay. As this room was packed with enemies (some of them elite versions), it was already a challenge to get through them. After wiping out the bandits and Vermlings, we decided to take a long rest to get some of our abilities and equipment back.

We didn’t need too much time to take out the Vermlings, but the Inox bandits really put up a fight .

Room #2

Here we got into trouble. We didn’t really find a way through the Flame Demons 4 (!!!) shield. In the first few rounds, they didn’t deal a lot of damage to us, since we were very lucky with their monster deck. But we needed a few more rounds and the spending of some strong abilities of our own to get through them.

This is what part of the table looked like after opening the door to the second room in this scenario. As you can see, you should probably not play this game on the regular kitchen table.

Room #3

We were nearly out of strong abilities at this point. Even the Brute using his jump attack didn’t get enough points of damage through the Flame Demons shield to take them out. After getting exhausted one after another within a few rounds, our Spellweaver decided to grab the loot chest behind the monsters and get the hell out of there. The chest contained the Magma Waders. With this pair of boots he now gets healed while standing on hazardous terrain. They come in handy.

Why didn’t we reach the goal here? I think there are some things to consider carefully while you play a scenario in Gloomhaven. The most important is probably the management of your ability cards. After three scenarios we are still trying out different ways. Going into the first room with guns blazing will get you trough the first waves of monsters pretty fast, but will you have enough cards left to take out the big boys in the finale?

Another important part is resting. We experimented a bit with short rests to keep the pressure high, but in the end we were losing one important option after another due to the random discard every few rounds. It seems like taking a long rest now and then is the right way to do this even if it feels like you’re losing. We will see.

The last room! Not even the Craghearts retaliate was enough to take all the monsters out.. At least we got to the chest behind the Flame Demons.

On more thing: So far I’m rally happy with the new Hide Armor I bought for my tinkerer. It actually gives me the option to “play tank” for one round to give the Brute or the Cragheart enough time to rest. The two -1 attack modifier cards I had to put into my deck are a disadvantage of course, but so far I think I will stick with my new armor.

The mistakes we made

Well, this seems to be a regular thing in the first few scenarios. We didn’t even think about walking on the magma tiles. After the scenario we read, that it’s actually just doing a small amount of damage to enter one of these tiles.

Would this have changed the outcome of the mission? Maybe in the last room. We were clustering around the door and couldn’t really find a strategy to get the room cleared. So yeah, there would at least have been a small chance of winning this. We should go over the rules one more time before playing the next scenario.

The fact that neither we, nor the enemies walked across the lava probably manipulated the outcome of the game.

What’s next!?

One day after finishing this mission a nice little box arrived on my doorstep. It contained the miniatures as well as a new version of the rule book and the campaign book. There is also an extra book with solo missions for each character class. As we are not yet meeting the requirements for these solo scenarios, we will have to wait until we can check them out.

We now plan to get back to the city of Gloomhaven and then follow the leads we found with the Gloom-worshipping bandits after the first two missions. Stay tuned!

Did you play any of the side missions, yet? Is there any equipment unlocked at the beginning of the game that you perceive as especially helpful? Share your experiences in the comments!

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