I loved the decreasing hand of cards mechanics! It incentivises you to optimise, plan for future turns (up to the end of the scenario), carefuly count and re-count your approach to solve the current situation, make interesting and impactful choices all the time, both tactical and strategic (some cards have a simple and a powerful effect, but if you play the second one, the card goes into permanent discard, decreasing your future options and decreasing the turns you have until you're exhausted)
Absolutely delicious and satysfying when you get it right! A mind candy
Dice are also replaced with a much better and less random solution - a modifier deck, which you can improve and adjust when you level up.
Having secret goals and earning XP and gold individually eliminates the problem with alpha player telling everyone what to do. It is an excellent solution, not something I have seeen in other co-op
games. It leads to cool moments of surprise and internal conflict in the team ("Why would you do that!?!?!").
Set up is indeed a chore, but the app helps a lot, especially with tracking monster wounds)
All in all a top game. We took it and a dozen other games to a week long holiday and played GH
exclusively, a few scenarios every day. Then continued it during the rest of the year to finish it the next holiday. Haven't seen a dungeon crawler that is anywhere close to how smart and satysifying the systems in this game are. Games like Descent feel like mindless dice rolling in comparison.