Saturday Morning Gaming: Gloomhaven (on the computer?)
Back in February, we discussed Gloomhaven, the EPIC boardgame (like, seriously, it’s a boardgame for 2-4 people and will take you about 100 hours to play completely).
Well, if you’re thinking “man, I would LOVE to play a 100 hour boardgame but I don’t have a gaming group” (because, seriously, it’s hard enough to find 100 hours to play a game, let alone another 1-3 people who can manage to get together for 100 hours of gametime), there might be good news. Maybe. They’re working on a computer version.
On one level, how hard can it be to translate the game? When you play the board game with your group, you’re following a script and a bunch of “if/then” statements. When you start the game, you have only but so many options. Which ones do you take? When you go into a dungeon and the monsters have their turns, their behavior is determined by a random card draw. Do they move and attack? Do they get a melee attack and do damage only to stuff adjacent to them? Do they get a ranged attack and hit something 4 hexes away? 3 hexes away? 2 hexes away?
Everything that is not a decision of the player becomes a decision of the if/then statements in the book.
So that should be easy to turn into a set of rules for a computer game… right? (If “easy” isn’t a good word, how about “theoretically possible”?) Given that the board game already has a bunch of mercenaries and monsters, you don’t even need to design stuff. You just need to get someone capable of translating it from 2D to 3D and animate these guys… right?
They say that their current roadmap has them not releasing the game prior to early 2020… and given that, currently, the computer game only allows for 4 mercenaries and they’ve only announced plans for releasing 2 more, I think that early 2021 is the earliest that we can reasonably expect the game to come out.
Which is to say that the game is in Alpha and if you buy it at this point in the process, you’re, essentially, paying to become an alpha tester.
I’m actually really, really excited about this because I LOVE the boardgame and I want to play it more often than I do and it’d be great to play it whenever I want. However! One of the things me and my friends have noticed is that tabletalk pretty much breaks the game. If tabletalk is limited to stuff you can imagine an mercenary yelling in a dungeon (e.g., “I need healing!” or “Stay clear!”), the game works perfectly. Hey, stepping on each others’ toes is part of the fun. If you allow stuff like “okay, I’m going to hit with my area-effect attack which will soften them up and then you guys can go in and clean up”, the game becomes a lot less challenging.
Which means that if you play this as a single-player game, forget tabletalk. You’re having tablethought.
But I’m keeping my eye on this game anyway because I really, really, really want to play it more often than cobbling a gaming group together currently allows.
So… what are you playing?
(Featured image is “This Looks Complicated” by Henry Burrows. Used under a creative commons license.)