Game Review: Gloomhaven
Beware, casual game player; Gloomhaven is not for the faint of heart.
As a player, you enter the fantasy world of Gloomhaven, where the hallways are dim, the monsters terrifying, and the stakes higher than your life.
Gloomhaven is a roleplaying game for 1-4 players and takes between 1 and 2 hours to play.
Gloomhaven plays very much like a campaign of Dungeons and Dragons. That’s the point, of course.
First, players choose a pre-made character. Choose wisely, because you will be growing with this persona through many encounters to come. As you defeat enemies, your characters gain experience, opening them up to new abilities.
The game’s rules act as the Dungeon Master, guiding your group through an encounter to defeat the enemy and collect the treasure. Attacks do damage, both to you and opponents. Your team will need to survive this in order to get the treasure that is your ultimate reward.
If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, the play style will feel familiar. All players have hit points that track their health. The characters and antagonists take turns moving and making attacks. Each player has a number of attacks and movements that they can use, represented on cards. Players must rest in order to reuse cards.
Gloomhaven is complicated. I can’t really do it justice in just this article. You’ll have to consult the rule book for that. Those who have played RPGs before will find the process familiar, but it still requires some adjustments. If you’re playing with newbies, just know that the time required to explain rules is nontrivial.
Whether you enjoy this game really depends on what sort of gameplay you enjoy. If you like the combat portion of role playing, then Gloomhaven will be hours of fun for you. If that sort of thing isn’t really your cup of tea, then you’ll likely find the game tedious.
Gloomhaven is complicated. Gloomhaven is intellectually involved. Gloomhaven is… a ton of fun. If you enjoy immersive role-playing games—specifically the combat experience—then Gloomhaven is really the game for you.