Gloomhaven Review (Eng)

The massive game box

Released in 2017, Gloomhaven is an awesome legacy board, story driven, game for 1 to 4 players with 95 playable scenarios and 17 characters to be unlocked and used during the campaign.

The legacy system modify, often permanently, the game mechanics that evolves with the progress of the campaign. For example players will have to apply stickers on the game board, open sealed documents and unlock new classes of characters. The game’s plot is enjoyable and encourage players to complete the many secondary missions available. The missions are quite different, from the classic but perhaps a little too abused “kill all the enemies in the scenario”, passing through exploration missions and boss fight.

The game has a medium-high complexity but once the rules have been assimilated, everything flows quite quickly. The manual also explains the rules quite well and in any case can be easily consulted in case of doubts during the game. There is also a free app to be downloaded that helps to mange the combat

An example of a card that must be played every turn

Each character has a certain number of cards available that can be replaced with more powerful versions by increasing the character level. During his turn, each player must play two cards (which also determine the fight initiative), then choosing an action from the upper part of one card, and a lower action from the other card. Once your pool of cards is exhausted you have to rest, retake all the cards but discard one, when all are gone the character is exhausted and it can no longer be used during the mission

A gameplay example

Interesting is the mechanics of the character’s objective, each character has a personal goal that once achieved, in addition to unlocking new game elements, will lead the chosen character to retire from the life of a mercenary, “forcing” the player to choose a new class (or restart with the same class from beginning)

In addition to the high price (we are talking about about 150 euro, but considering the amount of content the price in my opinion is honest) it is extremely recommended to have an organizer (average cost 30-50 euro) to avoid going crazy to fit everything into the game package that is almost impossible once you start playing. For those who have already completed Gloomhaven there is also an expansion (Forgotten Circles) and a stand-alone game (Jaws of the Lions) set before the events of the base game that introduce new missions and characters that can be used in the base game

Gloomhaven is not a game for everyone and requires, once the scenario is prepared, at least a couple of hours to finish a mission (perhaps a little more for complex one when playing with 4 people) but I recommend to try it if you love fantasy dungeon crawler games with legacy mechanics. Considering the high price it might be a good idea to try the digital version available for PC or try to read the game rules available for free on the Asmodee website.

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