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On March 2015, Isaac Childres, the game’s designer, uploaded the box cover design for Gloomhaven on Board Game Geek. The game was still in late stage of it’s design phase, but the game designer knew he was going to bring this project to life. In early September 2015, the Kickstarter launched, and the game project was funded in just over 24 hours. At the end of September this project would be fully funded several times over by 4,904 backers pledging $386,104.
Little did most people know how popular this game could be or how big it could get! The completed game that was promised to the backers started landing in January and February 2017. The box is massive and weighed just over 20 lbs. (over 9 kg!) I do not think anyone receiving the game truly anticipated how much of a game they would receive. The game contained 95 scenarios, easily 200+ hours of gameplay. With an unquantifiable additional hours of replay that promised to share secrets missed on the first playthrough. It is no surprise that this would quickly take the number 1 rank on BGG.
This behemoth of a game is filled with nicely designed components and is well organized. As mentioned before, it has 95 scenarios made up of core quests and optional side quests. It also has some characters that have to be unlocked through completing certain objectives. In addition to unlocking characters, you unlock special quests, items, and ability cards. The game has the feel of a choose your own adventure book at times.
Additionally, it has some legacy components that can alter the game. However, Childres made the call to include a card reset guide on BGG, so people don’t have to permanently change their game if they don’t want to.
There is a total of 17 playable mercenary units, which consist of 6 starting, and 11 unlockable mercenaries. The 6 you can choose from are Inox Brute, Human Scoundrel, Quatryl Tinkerer, Orchid Spellweaver, Savvas, Cragheart, and Vermling Mindthief (my personal favorite.)
There is so many ways to play each merc, and a nearly infinite way to use their abilities in conjunction with each other. It forces the players to think about working as cooperatively with each other to yield better results.
Does this game deserve the hype that it has gained over the better half of a decade?
Yes, because the designers were clearly enthusiastic about this project. That sort of enthusiasm is contagious. The components are of quality, the scenario book is printed on adequate stock, and the cardstock of the cards is of above-average quality. The narrative elements of the game and the story are well-written. The cooperative element of this game is where it really shines as the scenarios and the choices you make require you to work together with your friends on a deeper level. Each scenario can be played in an hour or two. You get a lot of game with incredible replay value.
And isn’t having fun with our friends what we all want when we play a board game? This game deserves it’s #1 rank on BGG (Board Game Geek).
This has a MSRP of roughly $170 USD. It is worth every penny. You can find this on several websites for less.