I retired my first Gloomhaven character last night, and I wanted, for those interested, so write up what some of the different characters are like. Thus far we’ve seen five different characters and I feel like I have a solid grasp on a few of them. It’s something that will continue over a long time as we’ve only played a small percentile of the characters, but as we unlock more of them I’ll continue to write-up reviews on them.
This was my first character in the game. When you start the game, you have six core classes that you can choose from, but you don’t know much detail about them other than their class name. To me the Tinkerer sounded interesting because a mechanically inclined character was different than your the normal fantasy tropes that you see. It wasn’t the paladin/cleric, it wasn’t a basic fighter or a rogue, it was something different.
I figured there was a chance that the Tinkerer would be more of a support character, giving aid to allies, but it turned out to be a character that you could play a lot of different ways. The tinkerer did have a lot of gadgets that they could play around with and had a ton of fun things, especially as you leveled up higher and unlocked more cards. Early on the character was based a lot around healing and being able to protect your allies with your cards, however, that meant that you were in the thick of things. One of the coolest things that you could do was create a contraption that had it’s own turn and you could send it around to soak up damage. It made the character fairly tactical and you generally went pretty slowly.
As you got to higher levels, you unlocked more cards and faster cards. These cards also allowed for a lot more damage. They were generally one hit damage cards and then the card was gone, but when you hit, you hit hard. You also could get contraptions that would deal damage for you instead of just soaking up damage, so that made it fun to do damage just with my contraption. However, it was still mainly to soak up damage.
I mentioned it briefly in the previous paragraph, but the Tinkerer uses up a lot of cards. In Gloomhaven when you use a card it either goes to the discard pile where you most likely will get it back, or the card gets trashed. The Tinkerer has a large hand limit, 12 cards, because so many of their cards get trashed when played. When I say a lot of them, I mean most of them. I think in my end deck of 12 cards, I ended at level six, I had maybe one card that didn’t have a way to trash the card on it. That might seem less than ideal, but generally I was able to hang on until the end of the mission. Along with these cards getting trashed, they also gave you experience points, so as compared to the other characters, I was always able to level up faster which meant I got to some of the less healing focused cards faster.
For me, the Tinkerer was about the epic moments as I played him later on. It helped that my mission for retirement was about being an epic mercenary that people would remember. At higher levels, because I was using cards and putting them in the trash so often, I had to make sure that every shot counted. To give you and idea, there was one mission where we had a big boss that we needed to defeat. The boss had 36 HP, 12 per every adventurer, and I was down to my last four cards. I could have drawn out my part of the scenario by just doing basic movement and basic attacks because I didn’t have many cards left. It would be better to be alive at the end, right? Nope, not really, so instead of maybe helping a little bit against the final boss, I went for it. I trashed to cards, but one of them dealt a base damage of six, and the other dealt a base damage of five. Then I gave myself advantage, flipping two cards instead of one and taking the higher, and I ended up doing 17 points of damage in a single turn. Turns out that was smart, since I became exhausted after the next turn using up my final two cards, but that damage was enough to help the other players be able to defeat the boss.
Those are the type of epic moments that you can have with the Tinkerer. Now, I built him specifically that way. It’s also possible, if it’s your playing style to hang back and not do much of anything to engage in combat. I liked the character as a powerful character that could have it’s moments in combat and that it was still the healer even later in the game when I wasn’t focused on it. I would say that for the starting three characters that we’ve seen in our game thus far, the Tinkerer and another one that I’ll be writing about soon were the most diverse in how you could play them and had some of the cooler mechanics or if not cooler mechanics, the more diversity in playing and different interactions than just straight combat.
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