We’ve been playing a good amount of Gloomhaven this last week, partly because Star Wars the Old Republic had issues that kept us from playing two nights in a row. In Gloomhaven we’re busy chasing the achievements to unlock new classes, plus also doing quests to earn enough money to start buying some ‘enhancements’ to our favourite characters’ cards.
Playing some of the more advanced classes has me feeling serious Lord of the Rings Online vibes. The quartermaster, to me, really reminds me of the warden: a tanky character with a mixture of close combat melee and short-range spear attacks who has some buffs and self-heals.
Also there’s the Soothsinger, that again makes me immediately think of the minstrel class in LOTRO as I watch it in play. Like in the MMO, this class is a support class who makes everyone else in the party shine, oh they do some nasty stuff to enemies by screaming at them. Admittedly the Soothsinger lacks the heavy damage that the minstrel can bring if specced for it.
That’s not to suggest Gloomhaven is “LOTRO the tactical RPG”. It has some very unique world-building of its own, and most of the other classes fit high fantasy closer than they do Tolkien’s world; more Dungeons & Dragons than Middle Earth. It also seems to draw inspiration from tabletop RPGs somewhat as well. The advantage / disadvantage rules for the modifier deck, for example, is terminology that D&D 5E popularised (if not invented).
Whatever the inspirations for the game’s elements, they gel well together and represent a very enjoyable whole. We’ve talked among us about the board game that the PC game was developed to emulate, but personally I prefer the graphics and rules-automation of the PC version. It certainly has helped us to learn the game by having the programmed rule interpretations to lean on rather than only our collective interpretation of what should happen. This mirrors our experience many years ago with the Sharandar Magic the Gathering computer game. In that case we’d played the collectable card game for a few years beforehand, and it was only in seeing the computer game interpreting certain specific card interactions, that led us to realise we had misread or misinterpreted such rulings in the past!