Gloomhaven is a real heavyweight among board game fans. The game weighs almost ten kilograms, offers 95 scenarios and accordingly has quite a few fans. If you don't want to lug around so much, Gloomhaven is also available as a digital board game.

“Whether you are drawn to Gloomhaven for the adventures or lured by the gleam of gold in the dark, your destiny will surely be the same,” it is written about the dungeon crawler on Valve's Steam platform. It's laid on thick, but the digital board game is also a real chunk in terms of play. Did author Isaac Childres and Cephalofair Games expect this success in 2017? Probably not. Because: also the hype about the later connected for the realization of the successor Frosthaven campaign surprised the makers

It is obvious - and unsurprising given the quality of the board game - that the implementation follows the original closely. So whether you have to have the table game and the adaptation at all? Depends on. Quite a few Gloomhaven fans will have already finished the board game anyway, they could simply create an incentive with the video game variant to plunge into (familiar) adventures again - the perspective is different anyway due to the graphic processing. 

Other dungeon crawler fans can benefit from both formats: the fast game on the PC with low entry barriers and good explanations contrasts with the classic board game experience with a group experience at the table. Both are relevant in a game as epic in scope as Gloomhaven is. 

What is Gloomhaven all about?

Gloomhaven is a turn-based dungeon crawler and tactical RPG. This means that you and your opponent take turns in carrying out actions and you explore dungeons, dungeons or forests, among other things. There are monsters lurking everywhere that you must defeat to get your reward. You can play the game alone or cooperatively with up to three other people in online mode. 

The town of Gloomhaven. Screenshot: Spielpunkt

The setting of Gloomhaven can be classified in a medieval fantasy universe. Gloomhaven is not only the namesake for the game, but also the metropolis in and around which the missions revolve. You have a total of 17 characters to choose from. You choose two to four of these for each adventure and can fall back on their numerous abilities.

Central to Gloomhaven are the ability cards that make up your deck. You can play two cards per turn per person. The cards have an upper and lower half and you always combine an upper half with a lower half. Each card has an initiative value that determines whose turn it is and when. So you have to plan a little bit about which cards you want to use and how. The tactics are in the foreground here you don't just run through the various missions but work your way forward bit by bit.

During the game you can improve your characters and strengthen them with new equipment. 

Gloomhaven digital: How does the game work?

Gloomhaven offers you six different levels of difficulty to choose from. At the beginning of the game you have to choose at least two characters (mercenaries) to play with. You have six classes to choose from at the beginning, more can be unlocked gradually. Each class comes with its own set of cards and, accordingly, its own abilities. You also select a personal quest for each character. But be careful: If he has fulfilled these, the character withdraws and can no longer be used. This motivates you to play with the other classes as well. 

Each round proceeds as follows: Choose two cards from your hand to play. Each card has an initiative value, so the sum of your cards determines when it's your turn. So it's not always wise to choose the strongest cards if it's your turn at the end - i.e. after the opponents - to do so. Also, you have to keep in mind that you can only play one of the two halves of the cards, and each only once; In other words, you use the upper half of one card and the lower half of the other. Alternatively, you can also choose to move or attack.

Played cards go to the discard pile (unless they are burned, in which case they are completely out of the game). If you have played all cards, you must take a short or long rest to restore cards (unless they have been burned). During a short rest, one of the cards will be burned at random, but it's still your turn afterwards. If you take a long rest, your turn expires, but you may choose a card to burn.

In general, you have to use your cards and characters tactically, taking into account their respective strengths and weaknesses, as well as close and long-range combat skills. In addition to pure combat actions, there are also traps and treasures to consider. 

If you are not familiar with the world and the game principle, you can also play a tutorial in advance, in which the individual steps and options are explained in detail.

If you are not familiar with the world and the game principle, you can also play a tutorial in advance, in which the individual steps and options are explained in detail. Screenshot: Spielpunkt

paws of the lion

Compared to the board game, the digital version of Lion's Paws is not a standalone game, but can only be played with the base game as a DLC. With Paws of the Lion you get, among other things, four new playable characters, 25 new missions with over 30 hours of play and 10 new monsters. In addition, new events, items and combat objectives also come into play. In order to be able to play the Lion's Paw missions, you must have played the first two scenarios in the base game. You can also use the new characters and items directly in the base game.

Gloomhaven: Digitally a real bargain

An advantage of the digital version is the price. Instead of almost 200 euros, the game costs you 35 euros or 53 euros, the latter including the DLC lion's paws. If you want to play the game cooperatively, however, each person needs the game, so the costs can still increase depending on the number of people. Incidentally, the release of the successor Frosthaven does not make the situation any better. As Feuerland Spiele recently announced, the costs are even higher compared to Gloomhaven - here, too, a digital implementation would be a real alternative, not just in terms of play. 

If you already have the board game and are hoping for a new mission, you will be disappointed here. Partly, because the official missions match those of the board game. Nevertheless, there are a variety of community missions that you can face. In addition, Twin Sails Interactive, so he new name of Asmodee Digital, already announced another DLC with “Gloomhaven – Solo Scenarios: Mercenary Challenge”.

If you want to play Gloomhaven, you should find out something about the game beforehand, because it's not a run-of-the-mill dungeon crawler and the focus is heavily on tactics and strategy. If you like the game mechanics, you will definitely find an exciting digital board game here.

Summary

In the end, my impression of the digital version of Gloomhaven - despite all the advance praise - is a bit mixed. On the one hand, the game is graphically very well implemented and also offers a variety of missions. The digital version is also significantly cheaper than the physical original. If you want to play co-op, each person needs a copy. As a result, in the end it is significantly more expensive than other digital board game conversions, but here the original game is also significantly more expensive. 
Through a detailed tutorial you will get to know the rules of the game in a playful way and then, well-equipped, you can set off straight into the adventure. 

After a few missions, however, the spark didn't really jump over to me. It doesn't have to be the game though - I think I just don't like the game mechanics that much. But I also have to say that I've only played the game solo so far, maybe it's a lot more fun co-op. 

However, since the general implementation has been successful in my opinion, my advice is: look at the game mechanics. If it appeals to you and you like playing games like this, then you can probably have a lot of fun with Gloomhaven.

Last updated on 3.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API