In my last Gloomhaven game I made a critical error. I tried to get too tricky and it cost my team dearly. (Minor spoilers for a single Gloomhaven card ahead!) On our way to the dungeon we drew an encounter card and it talked about how we were walking through the woods when we noticed all kinds of forest animals running towards us rather than away from us. Then we noticed the smell of burning. Should we keep going, or run away like all the animals are doing?
I thought it was a trick. Obviously this is *supposed* to be a forest fire. But that is too easy a solution. Surely it is something else instead, like a dragon. We could go kill the dragon and get loot!
Thinking this I voted to just keep on going. My group was extremely hesitant and some argued against me, but eventually the majority prevailed and we forged on into danger.
There was no trick. It was a forest fire and we all burned. If we had run we would have had a small disadvantage because of being tired, but going straight into the fire cost us a perk, 3 damage, and the wounded condition.
This is *horrible*. Our group has a hit point total of 37, and the damage and wounded conditions all together cost us about 28 health. Ouch! Not only that, but the lost perk means that we are all slightly worse forever. What a punch in the groin that was.
The dungeon was not particularly difficult and had we just walked in without any penalty, or if we had just run away from the fire, it would have been a straightforward smashing. Instead we struggled throughout the dungeon trying to cope with our starting damage and desperately needing more healing than we had access to. It was a rough finish, with two of our characters exhausting out and a third on the brink of falling over. I had a fair number of cards left though so even if it had come down to me vs. the last monster I would have beaten it up handily.
Still, we haven't come that close to losing since our first outing where we really had no idea what we were doing and cheated in the monsters' favour a lot.
I guess I should really start respecting the encounter cards and take them at face value. So far every one of them has rewarded reasonable decisions. You usually get screwed both ways, but generally the cards have punished us in ways that made sense and were predictable. Everything that happens is bad, but it can be less bad if you decide appropriately.
I keep thinking they are trying to be tricky and I keep being wrong, so I suppose it is time to start making obvious, sensible decisions.