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Gloomhaven. Rules, Review, and Opinion

Once youā€™ve become a fan of board games, youā€™ll always be on the lookout for the next game that will stir up passions and derail schedules. Because when the game is goodā€¦ you will not want to stop!

As we know that this is your weakness, as a good board game player, here is a review about Gloomhaven, the role-playing game that has conquered the hearts of many, in a short time.

And not in vain, we assure you. There is a reason why Gloomhaven is the best game according to BGG.

And remember to play this background music to enhance your games and get much more into the characters, it will be worth it!

So What Kind of Game is Gloomhaven?

What kind of game is it is one of the first things you want to know when you are about to dive into a new one, right?
Take a look at the following points and youā€™ll get a general idea of what Gloomhaven is all about:

  • The main objective of playing Gloomhaven is to go through the various rooms that make up the game-world. These rooms contain tremendous obstacles, so donā€™t think you can just walk through them whistling or daydreaming. Each room surpasses the previous one in complexity.
  • Gloomhaven is a difficult game that requires you to concentrate. Itā€™s for people who like big challengesā€¦ So are you one of those?
  • Itā€™s a tactical role-play, that promotes reasoning and sharpens the ability to plot.
  • It takes place in scenarios set in a fantasy world. You will find yourself immersed in a universe of dungeons, monsters, and magical characters. Totally captivating.
  • Gloomhaven is NOT a game of chance. Forget about walking around randomly, and forget about mechanical moves. You donā€™t even need to use a dice! However, the chance is not totally banished from the world of Gloomhavenā€¦ but youā€™ll find out about this a little later.
  • In the game of Gloomhaven, decision making, both individual and group, IS of special importance. The ups and downs of the game, and the variants that the storyline can take, are subject to the intelligent (or foolish) decisions of the players.

Number of Players and Actions Taken in Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven is designed for 4 players, from 12-14 years and older. So go find yourself 3 buddies to take on this new adventure.

To let you know what youā€™re getting into, weā€™d like to inform you that: Thereā€™s fighting, thereā€™s cheating, thereā€™s treasure collecting, thereā€™s scared, and thereā€™s crying for loss. Now donā€™t tell me you want more!

Is Gloomhaven cooperative or individual?

Both! In Gloomhaven, single-player mode and cooperative mode are combined, making it all much richer and exciting.
All four players must cooperate with each other, planning their actions wisely so that everyone gets through the rooms.

In addition, each player will have their own game objectives, which they must meet along the way to win prizes (experience points, gold, health points, livesā€¦), which will also strengthen the team in the long run.

As you can see, there is a delicate balance between individual and team goals, which must be taken care of.

Playing as one? Wellā€¦ you can, but we assure you that playing Gloomhaven as a team is infinitely greater. It is much more fun, more stimulating, and it also develops the ability to make coordinated efforts.

What Will We Find on the Unboxing of Gloomhaven? Gloomhaven components.

piezas gloomhaven

As soon as you open the Gloomhaven box, you stumble upon the first surprise: Gloomhaven is a giant game! And not only in the sense of joy, but itā€™s also a very complete and well-constructed game.
Just imagine that the game has 95 scenarios (each with several rooms) and more than 1000 cardsā€¦ I think that with that you can already calculate the quality of this game.

ā€“ A little tip: Get yourself a big table, so you can play comfortably, and avoid getting a hell of a mess.

Gloomhavenā€™s components:

Here we left you a list of all the components and pieces you will need to play the game. We leave them in this format for you in order to get used to them. Theyā€™re all in the box, so donā€™t be scared, theyā€™re used to play and you wonā€™t need to buy them apart:

  • 18 Characters. (with their respective miniatures and character cards).
  • Character cards: They describe the character, their own specific abilities, and skills, their amount of lives, etc.
  • Enemy chips (200)
  • Battle-Objetive Cards (24)
  • Money chips (50)
  • Damage chips (46)
  • Character Skills Cards (504)
  • Ground tiles (doors, corridors, traps)
  • Attack Modifier Cards (457)
  • Monsters (236)
  • Monster Characteristic Cards (47)
  • Monster Habilities Cards (232)
  • Objetive Cards (253)
  • Random Dungeon Cards (40)
  • Character Boards (17)
  • Scenario Help Cards (10)
  • Random Scenario Cards (9)
  • Event Cards (150)
  • Character Profile Cards (85)

Oh, and it also has The rule book, Stage Boards, a Map Board, a Stage Book, a Character pad, and Group Sheets. Phewā€¦thatā€™s it!

How to Play Gloomhaven. Rules and instructions

Now, letā€™s get to the heart of the matter:

Gloomhaven starts with room No.1 of the first stage. To complete a room, several rounds of the game will be played. In each round, the players will have 2 turns each.

But since Gloomhaven is a complex game, we will explain how to play it separately:

How to Play a Round of Gloomhaven.

If you have already organized all the elements on the corresponding board, being guided by The Rule Book and The Scenario Book, then follow these steps:

  1. Each player draws 2 Ability Cards from their respective desk. (The ability cards have: an initiative number and 2 actions.)
  2. Each player chooses a random card (from those 2 he picked this round) and turns one over, showing it (all players) in unison.
  3. The initiative numbers, from lowest to highest, will give the order to play.
  4. Monsters and enemies (which you must place on the board at the beginning of the game according to the instructions), also have, on their cards, initiative numbers. These are included when ordering the game turns. This way you will know when it is a playerā€™s turn, when an enemy is playing, when it is the next playerā€™s turn, and so on.
  5. From then on, everyone has 2 turns to play, and after the round is over, the used cards are discarded creating a new discard desk.
  6. In the first turn of one player, he will decide how to use his two skill cards: as we told you, each card has actions, divided into 2 parts, one in the upper side of the card, and one on the lower side.
  7. If you execute the action on the top of a card, you must execute the next action on the bottom of the other card. In the second turn, the player will use the remaining actions, always alternating (top and bottom.)
  8. To start another round, each player draws two more ability cards, again establishing the order of playing through the initiative numbers, and everything starts again as explained before. The necessary rounds will be played to complete the whole room.

Character Development

The characters get better and better during the game. Every successful action gives prizes, increases health, number of lives, improves skillsā€¦

Once youā€™ve been shaping a character for a long time, and have added strong improvements, you should not abandon it carelessly.

Tho itā€™s true that in every round you can change the characters you use as well as when you change scenery. BUT be careful with that, keep in mind to achieve a balance in your characterā€™s development.

Recovering Ability Cards

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I told you before that used capacity cards are discarded. Youā€™re not going to like getting rid of good capacity cards with very effective actions. The good news is, they are recoverable. Hereā€™s how you do it:

Long Rest

A long rest is when you give up actions from your first turn in the round, i.e. you skip the turn voluntarily. You exchange your turn for:

  1. The possibility of retrieving your discarded cards. But you must choose one, which is lost forever. (the weakest one, needless to say)
  2. Your character wins 2 life points because he rested.

Not a bad deal, right?

Short Rest

Short Rest is a ā€œquittingā€ in the middle of your turn. In this case, the card that will be lost forever will be random, and you do not earn health points. Fair enoughā€¦ it was only a short rest after all!

Special Prizes

Usually, the cards that go to the discard deck are not recovered anymore. Butā€¦ certain very specific effects throughout the game can allow them to be drawn from the desk. These are special prizes for great achievements.

Causes to Get Out of the Game.

In Gloomhaven slang, a player can get exhausted and has to leave the game. He can get exhausted in two ways:

  • Running out of cards: Cards are lost as the game is played. In addition to using the cards for action, you can use the cards as payment to cancel any damage received. So yep, you can run out of cards. Breaks allow you to get them back, but they will also slow you down. You have to use them with moderation.
  • Losing health: Damage received from attacks will decrease your characterā€™s health. Another way to lose health is to pay with health points to, in a short rest, change the card that came out randomly for loss.

You already have the game but you are looking for a box to organize your material?

What part does Luck play in the Board Game of Gloomhaven?

When you make an attack, the effect of the attack, i.e. how effective it will be, is defined by the attack modification cards, which are drawn at random.
Among these, there are crushing, devastating cards; other damage mitigating cards; and obnoxious cards that completely eliminate the damage.

In other words, the strength of your attack is determined by luck. But this does not make luck the main protagonist of this game.

The role played by Attack Modification Cards can be changed. It turns out that during the game, depending on your accumulated achievements, points, and treasures, you can upgrade your Attack Modifier Card Deck until you have a superior collection of devastating cards.

Duration of the Game Gloomhaven

Rounds last about 20 minutes.

Completing a room can take an hour or two.

A full scenario usually takes half a day to complete, even a full day.

Soā€¦ The Gloomhaven game can be played for up to 180 days! Not bad, right?

Opinion about Gloomhaven

Gloomhaven has received high praise from players and critics alike. Here is a summary of why it has been so well received:

Gloomhaven is a complex game: The Rule Book is over 50 pages long, so you can guessā€¦

In a world where video games are taking advantage, and they are at the forefront of improvements and developments, a board game has to stand out from the crowd because of its level of complexity.

The Gloomhaven box is well constructed: Itā€™s not all paper and cardboard. It has plastic elements, wood elements, miniaturesā€¦ And even the cardboard pieces are well made. It is full of accessories for taking notes, planning, strategizing.

Concentration is needed to play Gloomhaven: Many players have expressed that Gloomhaven has an ā€œimmersionā€ effect. Itā€™s not a game for making routine moves or counting steps automatically while following a lively conversation. Gloomhaven encompasses, invades, and takes up all the space (of the mind and the table!)

Now you have enough reasons to decide to buy the Gloomhaven game. Getting together with friends, or family, to enjoy a good game of Gloomhaven is a great weekend plan.

But be prepared to get caught up in the game, like a real-life Jumanji, and get in trouble when itā€™s time to get off the board. Thatā€™s how much fun youā€™ll have playing this extraordinary board game.

Did you know that there are many more games like Gloomhaven? Here are some of them:

We think youā€™ll like to read some of these:

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Gabriel RodrĆ­guez
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