Welcome to the dark and dirty city of Gloomhaven. It takes all types to keep this city prospering and safe. Most are out for themselves. Will you help the city or help yourself to the riches that surround you and the city of Gloomhaven? From the ocean to the mountains you will travel. Safely? Who knows? It might depend on the company you keep.
Gloomhaven is a game for 1-4 players and takes around 2-3 hours to play. There is no mistaking the size of this box. It is huge and is packed top to bottom with cards, room tiles, miniatures, standees, the scenario book, a board map and cardboard tokens of every kind. If you're after value for money, this is it.
The game can be played as a single scenario with a group of friends or solo by playing multiple characters. However, it really shines when played as a full campaign with the same group of players.
You start in the city of Gloomhaven and equip your character with available items for sale. While in the city take a city event card, what decision you make affects what you may get or lose in the encounter. After finishing in the city, the group travels along the road to the next scenario. Whilst travelling, a road event occurs. Draw the card. Who do you meet? What will you do? Every decision you make has an outcome. Once completed, move into the scenario. Read the story, get your scenario goal and look at your personal quest for the scenario and start playing.
Each character has a player board that gives you a back story, the number of cards you can hold, how many hit points you start with and your turn options. Everyone has different abilities and their own role to play in defeating the monsters. The scenario continues round by round until the goal is completed or the adventurers all die. Experience is collected during the game and tallied on your characters playing sheet. At this point you can return to Gloomhaven, spend your money and move to another scenario in the same way. The game continues like this through the book of 100 scenarios.
If you seek a strategic adventure game, it is hard to go past Gloomhaven.
Written by Robert and Patrick Doolan of Board Game Basics Podcast. To hear more of our thoughts on Gloomhaven listen to Episode #19