Gloomhaven: The Basics

The box weighs 9.8kg. I make the others lift it.

I’m one of the lucky people who have managed to get their hands on a copy of one of the hottest boardgames of the moment: Gloomhaven.

As I’m around dozen games in I thought it was probably time I started talking about it here.

But before I get into my thoughts: What even is Gloomhaven?

Gloomhaven is essentially a miniatures wargame with legacy elements that comes in a literally massive box.

Every game you set up a scenario using a set of hex boards, then move around miniatures representing your characters as you explore and eliminate enemies.

From the end of our last session

Every round you play two cards, doing to top action of one (usually an attack) and the bottom action of the other (usually a movement).

Overtime, these cards become Lost which controls how long the game goes on for as well as forcing you to make a lot of complex strategic decisions.

You chose which cards you are going to play each round in secret, though you can talk about what sort of thing you are going to do.

(Some wise soul has made it a rule that you are not allowed to discuss specifics at this stage, which stops the game from completely seizing up with analysis paralysis.)

What cards you have depends on what character you are.

The unused cards and miniatures are currently still sealed away…

You start the game with six characters to choose from, but there are 17 in total and the rulebook assures me that over the course of the game the other 11 will become available.

Most missions you go on are part of an overarching story.

As you complete them new locations are revealed and you have to make choices about where you want to go and who you want to support.

Your characters gain XP over over time, which lets them level up to gain access to new cards (though how many you take on missions is always fixed), and you all have a private quest that you need to complete in order to let your character retire.

Each of these characters has a class and a race.

With the exception of humans all of the races and classes are unique to Gloomhaven, which is a nice touch, though some of them might look quite familiar to the veteran role player.

The initial six you have are the Brute, the Cragheart (both tanks), the Spellweaver (elemental magic), the Mindthief (status magic), the Scoundrel (rogue) and the Tinkerer (who I haven’t played a game with, so I’m not really sure what they’re like).

So, that’s the game in a nutshell.

I’ve had a lot of fun over the last 13 games, and I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of it so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!