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Gloomhaven Board Game
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- For 1-4 Players
- 60-120 minute playing time
- Co-operative play Euro-inspired tactical combat
- Every turn a player will play two cards out of their hand. Each card has a number in the center, and the number on the first card played will determine their initiative order. Each card also has a top and bottom power, and when it is a player’s turn in the initiative order, they determine whether to use the top power of one card and the bottom power of the other, or vice-versa
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Gloomhaven is a game of Euro-inspired tactical combat in a persistent world of shifting motives. Players will take on the role of a wandering adventurer with their own special set of skills and their own reasons for travelling to this dark corner of the world. Players must work together out of necessity to clear out menacing dungeons and forgotten ruins. In the process they will enhance their abilities with experience and loot, discover new locations to explore and plunder, and expand an ever-branching story fueled by the decisions they make. This is a legacy game with a persistent and changing world that is ideally played over many game sessions. After a scenario, players will make decisions on what to do, which will determine how the story continues, kind of like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. Playing through a scenario is a cooperative affair where players will fight against automated monsters using an innovative card system to determine the order of play and what a player does on their turn.
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|Sold By||NYC Collectibles||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||AMA INC||Amazon.com|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||7.5 x 16.2 x 11.8 in||4 x 11.81 x 14.57 in||3.7 x 11.7 x 11.7 in||2.36 x 11.81 x 11.81 in||11.5 x 18.75 x 4 in||11.8 x 3.5 x 11.8 in|
|Item Weight||20 lbs||7 lbs||4 lbs||—||8.5 lbs||5.75 lbs|
Top customer reviews
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(Note relating to pictures: The game does NOT come with painted miniatures. As I enjoy paining them, I did so, but my wife and I played several games before they were painted without any issues/confusion. They just look cooler/it's more immersive in my opinion when they are painted.)
Legacy Mechanics: (A legacy game is a game that does not reset from one playthrough to another. But rather, like reading a story, each game played builds on the next, in an overall 100+ hour 'campaign'. Note unlike other campaign/legacy games, this does not require a single playgroup, but rather you can start a new party with just about anyone, anytime, and you just 'drop' into your already existing world to plunder dungeons and kill baddies) The game comes with 17 playable characters, but you only start with 6. As you play through the game you 'unlock' new characters/races/classes to play as. Additionally as you play through, you will be able to "level up" the prosperity of the town of Gloomhaven, which is where your party will travel between adventures to level up, buy/sell gear, get your grog (or mead) on, and perform random town events. As Gloomhaven levels up, new items become available to purchase, and any new characters can start their quests at higher levels. As you play through, and eventually retire characters, you will gain additional permanent 'stat' boosts that apply to all your characters going forward. Like many other Legacy game this game includes a bunch of sealed envelopes, unlockables, and high quality stickers, that go on the area map, as well as on character cards. UNLIKE many legacy games, I feel like this can easily be played through again, without having to buy another copy of the game. You don’t need to rip up cards or anything in this game, and other than the character card upgrades, the experience wouldn’t necessarily be ruined by having all the locations already on the map. I imagine it would be like playing Skyrim a second time through; less surprises, but allows you to fully explore character/class types you didn’t previously and allows you to take separate paths than you took the first time.
Story: Don't worry, I won’t spoil anything. The game has tons of missions (90+). You start with just one, but similar to all those RPG video games we love, you begin unlocking more and more. Then pretty soon you find yourself with branching and interweaving stories. Some have consequences that have an impacts on others. For example, will you go and work for this shady contact you meet who is obviously up to no good? Or will you take up a mission to hunt down and kill the shady contact, preventing them from unleashing havoc. Whatever choice you make, it 'locks off' other missions; you can't work for someone if you brought their head to the city guard ;) Of course you can always enter "casual mode" and play through these missions, its your game afterall, but I personally won’t be doing this until I complete the full game a month or so down the line.
Map: The game comes with a wonderful looking board map of Gloomhaven's surrounding area. Overall the map is fairly blank to start with, and you begin the game by applying a sticker in a specific location, representing the available missions you can travel to. While I am not even close to completing it yet, it already looks great and will undoubtedly look amazing after your adventures are complete.
Gameplay: This is a semi-cooperative game. Overall each character has a personal goal (the reason why they choose to risk their lives fighting monsters) that they are trying to achieve. After you achieve this your character retires from the game (though you can start a new character with the same class) and you unlock various things, including new characters. Of course using team work to assist each other and actually beat dungeons is essential, overall you are trying to complete your own goals while others are simultaneously doing theirs. When you aren't visiting town/traveling you will be spending a vast majority of the game delving into dungeons, crypts, forest encampments, ancient temples, etc. (You know, all the classics!) Setup/tile placement is VERY similar to games like Decent or Shadows of Brimstone. However there are NO dice in this game, not 1! Instead, movement/combat is performed via playing from a hand of cards. You begin every dungeon with a set amount of maximum cards (~10). And each round you play 2 cards, performing 2 actions (typically a move type action and one that centers around attacks of some sort). After this the cards go to your discard pile, and can be recovered via a rest action. However, when you rest (as well as take damage) you begin to 'lose' cards for the rest of the scenario. After you have completely run out of cards, your character becomes exhausted and can no longer participate in the rest of the scenario. So the trick is performing your actions in the most efficient way possible so that you can complete the dungeon before running out of cards. For every attack, you will also draw a card from your 'attack modifier deck', which is the element of randomness in this game. You begin with a preset amount of cards that add/subtract (+2 damage, -1 damage, etc) the amount of damage you deal, but this deck can be altered via leveling up.
Setting: The game does a bit of a unique twist on the dungeon crawler genre. While still taking place location-wise in the sorta medieval magic laced location setting, It does away with elves, dwarves, goblins and the other classic tropes, to give you a unique world that FEELS very Tolkien-esk but at the same time gives you a VERY fresh look. Starting characters/races include the Vermling (a humanoid mouse/cat type creature), Humans (of course), an Orchid (mage creatures that are somewhat reminiscent of Asari from Mass Effect), Quatryls (small creatures that are great with mechanical machinations), Saavas (sorta rock men/monsters), and Inox (horned bigfoot with a sword). Not sure what is in store for characters I have yet to unlock, but overall just feels far more fresh and unique than the standards we are all used to in these sorts of games.
Leveling up: What would an RPG be without leveling up your character?! As you gain experience you will be able to level up your character. Which allows you to add new, more powerful cards to your hand. You are also allowed to modify your 'attack modifier deck' so that it can become more powerful or add new abilities that can synergize with your team/other cards. And of course, there are tons of items/gear that can be purchased/found to further augment/beef up your character. (I just found a sweet necromancer ring that summons a skeleton!)
Components: Components in this game are wonderful. AND you get so freakin much! The huge box (see picture next to gallon water jug) weighs over 20 pounds (NOT an exaggeration) and comes with tons of stuff, not to mention a wonderful in-box insert that keeps most of the cards/components fairly organized (GREAT design). All playable characters comes with miniatures that are extremely detailed. I am having a blast painting them if you are into that. All monsters have cardboard standees. But don't let that turn you off, the artwork on them is top notch and it really doesn't detract from gameplay/immersion. Each character comes with their own unique hand of cards to use/upgrades to be added. Hundreds of cards (both the small type and magic sized ones). Really can't make a single complaint about anything component-wise.
Difficulty: As the game is cooperative, playthroughs are not a cakewalk and do take some thinking. That being said, the game sets monster difficulty based on an equation determined by your average character level. This can further be adjusted to play the scenario on "easy" or "hard" which affects gold & xp collected. The game doesn't mention this, but I personally say you should start your first few scenarios playing under easy mode, both to get the hang of the game mechanics and so you can get gold to buy gear and such. Otherwise you may find yourself getting stomped around for a bit.
I would put this game in a moderate level when it comes to ‘heaviness’ of rules. Definitely NOT something your 6 year old would be able to play. But if you can ‘get’ how to play other dungeon crawling games, you won’t have any issues with this.
Rules: The game has a wonderfully set up/thought out rule book. Reading through it was fairly easy, though it is long (50+ pages), the book contains many picture aides that guide you along your playthrough. After our first couple of sessions (as is typical with these moderately heavy games) we got down the mechanics and no longer/rarely needed to actually consult the rulebook. It is refreshing to find a game with very little holes within the rules which require house-ruling specific circumstances due to ambiguity.
Final Thoughts: Wow! What a great game! My wife and I can't get enough of it and we have only started to scratch the surface of it. After several play sessions (at least 15 hours of gameplay) we are still just as entranced as when we first started, and it is only getting better as we level up. We still haven't retired any characters (expect probably at least 10 dungeons before you retire, though this is just a wild guess, and depending on your personal mission, may take longer/shorter), though I am getting close. The game feels a lot like a first play through of those ‘classic’ video game RPGs (Elder Scrolls, Dragonage, Witcher, etc) There is just this massive world, all for the exploring. And you quickly find yourself with tons of choices of what to do, what story arcs to explore, etc. There are side quests, loot, leveling up, more side quests, and not to mention an interesting story with branching/intertwining story arcs. My wife and I are always eager to get off on the next mission and the 'choose your own adventure' style of play is very unique, especially when it comes to board games. The game has many unique concepts that I hope future games incorporate.
Shadows of Brimstone, I absolutely LOVE YOU, but sorry, won’t be playing you for a few months while I obsess over my new found love; Gloomhaven.
Once you get the rules down pat and have everything sorted and ready to go it is sooooo much fun. You can play the game solo or with a group of up to 4. You start out in the town of Gloomhaven and must take on quests to proceed in the massive story the game book provides. Along the way there are optional side quests you can partake in to get more loot and experience. After each quest whether you succeed or fail, you travel back to town where you can visit the shop to spend your hard earned gold on new equipment and gear, level up your character that you are playing from the experience you gained from the quests, donate to the local church (which gives a benefit) , start a new character AND/OR take part in city events.
The town itself has a prosperity level that is raised as you do specific quests. It starts at level 1 and every time it gains a new level more different items get added to the town shop to pick through for purchase. The city events are randomized and they supply an interesting story of something happening in the city that allows you and your group to make a choice on how you want to proceed with the event. The choice you make determines whether something good, bad or neutral happens to your group.
This game is LONG. It takes on average 2 hours to complete one quest and there are 98 different quests in the quest book. Mind you that 2 hours is generous, for my group it typically takes about 3 hours per quest as we have much more discussion as we are delving into dungeons. As such the game is made for new people to easily join and drop from playing throughout the game if someone decides they don't want to play anymore. Also there are 6 characters to choose from starting out so if someone doesn't like the character they picked right off the bat, then they can easily switch to a different character once they get back to town.
Once you finally get done partaking in the city life you draw a random road event quest card to complete. These basically act just like the city event cards I detailed earlier but with story elements more directed to life on the road. Once that is finished, you start the quest you were traveling to. You open up the quest book and find the current quest and start the setup process. Each quest has a completely different setup and they are all played on modular pieces that make up the game board. Each piece will snap together to form the current dungeon or area and there are doors throughout usually that separate the individual rooms. One of the cool things is, your group doesn't know what lies in wait on the other side of each door until one of you opens it. Then whoever is running the quest book sets up the next room for the party. Also the quest book has very thematic story elements you read as you start the quest and when you open each new door to really set the mood.
There is always a specific quest goal that you must complete to beat each quest run, at which point you and your group will gain any number of items. It could be gold, experience, new locations to explore, new gear to be added to the market. All kinds of cool stuff not to mention your progression in the very awesome story. If you lose the quest, you are transported back to town to recover. The good news? You get to keep all the gold and experience you gained from the quest so you don't leave empty handed and feel like you wasted your time. However if you want to proceed in the story and open new locations/quests you must buck up and beat the quest at hand. If the game feels too hard you can easily lower the difficulty of the enemies but be warned that this also lowers the bonus experience and amount of gold you collect from enemies. I would suggest for first time players to play the first couple of quests at the lowest difficulty until you have a good grasp of the play mechanics and rules. Then after that have at it!
As far as progression of the game goes, as you defeat locations and quests you will unlock new locations and more quests to take part in. There is another game board that acts as a map of gloomhaven (the town) and its surrounding land. On this gameboard you will keep track of all the locations you have unlocked and beaten via stickers that are included with the game. When you beat a location you check a little box on the sticker with a marker or pen to show you have completed it. And when you unlock a new location you find that location sticker and place it on the gameboard in its specific spot. This is also where you keep track of the towns prosperity level and any global achievements that you have completed. Global achievements are specific things that you and your team have completed during the life of the game and have an effect on the overall story and determine other quests that can be done. There are also party achievements that act in a similar fashion but to a lesser extent.
As I said earlier there are 6 characters/classes that you can choose from at the start. When you start the game you randomly choose a character quest card as well. This card has some specific thing you need to complete in the game to unlock it's benefits, such as discovering a new character/class. Because of this there are numerous other characters/classes included with the game that unlock for players as the game progresses. Each character comes with its own mini as well AND each one is in its own little tuckbox so you cannot see what it is. This adds so much excitement to the game. You CRAVE the play just so you can get to the point of opening up the new box and see what's inside. On that point there are numerous other envelopes that are sealed from the onset of the game and are not opened until you completed specific objectives.
As far as value goes, the time played to cost ratio is outstanding. At 2-3 hours per quest for 98 quests (plus more online) it will take MONTHS before your group finally beats the game (story). Even longer if you do every single side quest depending on how often you play. Heck, even once you beat the game there is nothing stopping a group from just picking any quest in the quest book and going back and replaying it just for the fun of it. Granted there wont be much point for the gold or story elements as you already traveled that road but for the gameplay it would be worth it. Speaking of gameplay, battling beasts and other critters in the game is very unique. Each character has a specific amount of ability cards in hand each dungeon run. It's different for each character but as an example let's say there are 13.....for each of your turns you play 2 of the cards. Each card has a top and bottom ability that you can use. On the 2 cards you play you pick 1 top and 1 bottom ability to be used, whether it's movement, setting traps, healing, casting spells or just attacking plus more. After you use the cards they either get discarded or "lost". Cards generally get lost if they have a decently powerful ability so you can only use it once during a quest and they go in a specific pile next to your character board. The discarded cards go in a diff pile and you can choose a "rest" action to collect those back but lose one to the lost pile.
Basically as you traverse the dungeon, you will get more and more tired and if you ever "lose" all your ability cards and cant rest to get some back, you then become exhausted and have to head back to town, leaving the rest of the party to contend on their own. This creates a very strategic playstyle in where you only use your powerful "lost" cards sparingly when you absolutely need them. I love it. Another cool mechanic that I think alot of people miss when they play is that when an enemy attacks you for enough damage to kill you, you can choose to "lose" any one of your ability cards in your hand to prevent all that damage.
TLDR: This is a game that will keep you occupied for months, possibly years. The sheer amount of content and interesting story creates enough value to keep a group intrigued and wanting to come back for more. Whether played solo or with a group, you will not be disappointed.
It was worth the wait.
An escape from the digital world, in that fantasy realm, with more detail and lore than even triple A games seem to provide these days.... This game is a true master piece.
There was so much planning and consideration put into this game, ensuring that you had content for weeks/months/years to come (varying on how much you play obviously).
Balance feels great and provides a sense of challenge.
Let me be clear, this isn't your family board game. This game requires dedication, commitment, and enthusiasm. You will spend time on setup and clean up.
But, the experience is worth it for any RPG/dungeon crawl fan.
If you find the likes of DnD/Pathfinder etc too "open ended", you will appreciate this giving you that same friends at a table top experience, but a well defined rule set, where everyone players.
And it's your game, so if you want to house rule it to add some openness still... go for it!
The only problem I have with this game is that the people I play with don't live with me... :)
Most recent customer reviews
The scaling is perfect. The gameplay mechanics are addicting. Every little thing was thought out.Read more