|Illustrator(s)||Alexandr Elichev, Josh T. McDowell, Alvaro Nebot|
|Publisher(s)||Cephalofair Games (2017)|
|Playing time||90–115 minutes (per scenario)|
|Skill(s) required||Strategy, tactics, logic|
Gloomhaven is a cooperative board game for 1 to 4 players designed by Isaac Childres and published by Cephalofair Games in 2017. As a fantasy dungeon crawl game with a branching narrative campaign, Gloomhaven features an enormous amount of content, including 95 unique playable scenarios, 17 playable classes, and more than 1,500 cards in a box which weighs more than 20 pounds (9 kg).
Gloomhaven is a card and tile based game, where your hero's actions are represented by cards and where heroes and monsters move about on hex tiles representing dungeons and cellars. Each player simultaneously chooses two cards to play each turn, each of which has a top and a bottom half, and chooses the top half of one card and the bottom of the other to allow his or her character to make actions such as moving, healing and attacking monsters. Randomization, usually provided by dice, are also handled by a deck of cards. While it has drawn comparisons to role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and other dungeon-crawl board games, Gloomhaven uses game mechanics similar to modern eurogames.
The game was released via Kickstarter in two separate campaigns, raising about $4.4 million in total, and delivering to backers in 2017.
Gloomhaven has received extremely positive reviews, culminating in it reaching the No. 1 spot as the top rated board game on leading website BoardGameGeek in 2017 and keeping that spot for much of 2018. It also won six Golden Geek awards from the site, including for the best overall game of 2017.
Gloomhaven is a fantasy-themed, campaign based tactical skirmish game, in which players try to triumph in combat based scenarios which scale in difficulty depending on the number of players. The game is cooperative and campaign driven, with 1 to 4 players working their way through a branching story consisting of almost 100 scenarios. The campaign develops in a legacy format, with stickers that are placed on the board and cards and sealed envelopes that are opened when certain criteria are met.
Release and reception
The game was originally sold via a 2015 Kickstarter campaign which raised $386,104 from 4,904 backers. and after strong early reviews, a second Kickstarter campaign was launched on April 4th and delivered in November which raised about $4 million from over 40,000 backers.
The game has received extremely positive reviews. Gaming website Geek & Sundry described Gloomhaven as "a masterful design" and suggested "it belongs in a museum". Matt Thrower called it one of the best fantasy board games available, while noting that "Gloomhaven was the critical hit of the year." Board Games Land has described the game as "truly a masterpiece"
The game has been rated the No. 1 board game of all time by BoardGameGeek, which also gave it six Golden Geek awards in 2017 for best game of the year, best strategy game, best cooperative game, most innovative game, best solo game, and best thematic game. The game has received over 20 awards and nominations, including:
- 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Tabletop Game of the Year
- 2018 Scelto dai Goblin (goblin's choice) award for best game of the year
- 2018 Origins Awards Game of the Year
- 2017 International Gamers Award - General Strategy: Multi-player Nominee
- 2017 Cardboard Republic Striker Laurel Nominee
As of early August 2018, the game had sold about 120,000 copies.
Expansions and digital edition
Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles has been announced as an expansion to the game, introducing a new character class, the Diviner, and more than 20 new scenarios.
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