Gloomhaven: Digital Board Game Version Review

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In a previous post I mentioned Gloomhaven the massive tabletop board game hit. A few years ago, Twin Sails, started working on an official digital version of Gloomhaven. This allows for more people to enjoy the franchise that were limited by actual physical availability. Furthermore, conveniently permits for language packs to translate the game into almost any language one can read. And then Covid-19 happened, and people were restricted with whom they could game with, in person, for health reasons. It took several years but the hit game is finished and on Steam.

Is it the same game?

Mostly. The overall content is the same, there is a couple of tweaks to a few of the scenarios, the legacy feature of card enhancements is gone, and there is a new way to play besides campaign. There is no longer the complicated setup and tear down that was time consuming. There is no more misunderstanding the rules, the computer strictly makes sure every rule is followed. There is also no take back when you make a mistake. These all effect the gameplay.

Is the gameplay different?

The graphics for a boardgame digital port is exceptional. Each ability has a animation, the enemies have their own graphics. Which can result in systems having issues with all the stunning visuals when there is a lot of enemies on the screen. This is not an issue on newer PCs and gaming PCs which are built for this type of applications. Additionally, it is hard to see which tile flying enemies are on. It is difficult to use abilities that target using a shape as the computer requires you to turn the hit area/shape and the hit zone is yellow/orange in color and the hit area/shape is red. This becomes especially frustrating when in a scenario that is in a yellow/orange/red area like inside a mountain/lava terrain.

Other than graphics, the gameplay is good. Plays with very few glitches, this was play tested thoroughly. However, the computer which moves the enemy and NPC pieces can act a bit wonky. It tries to do everything as efficiently as possible, which may not be the best use of the abilities. For example, playing with summoned allies is a bit of a nightmare. Beast Tyrant’s bear wades into enemies and just tries to die as fast as it can.

In addition to the campaign mode, which is virtually the same as the tabletop game, there is the guild master mode. Guild master is a good place to start playing the digital version of Gloomhaven as it is more like a video game and less like a tabletop game. It teaches the basics of the game and lets you get a feel of how it works before you jump in the campaign mode which is a bit harder. Plus, it adds a lot more replay ability.

Also, this game is made better by modding. Before starting the campaign mode, I would suggest checking out the mods to see what house rules you want to use as well as any other mods that might improve gameplay. I suggest playing with the “more cards” mod to add an additional 3 cards to every mercenary max hand size. In my humble opinion, it compensates for the lack of legacy card enhancements. However, you must have mods turned on before starting a campaign. As of this blog post there is no way to mod an existing game save.

Overall it gets a A- for the gameplay and the additional material it provides compared to the tabletop, they should consider updating it a bit more with further improvements.

Hows the price?

Compared to the massive tabletop version which has a suggested retail cost of $165 USD and is sold on Amazon for $105 USD the digital version costs significantly less at $35 USD on steam or humblebundle. The only caveat being that each player you play with needs to have purchased a copy. The Jaws Of The Lion game is a DLC to this game and is not stand alone. It only costs $18 USD. The game incorporates seemlessly into the main game. The Solo Scenarios is another DLC worth picking up and it only costs $5 USD. So comparatively, this is a good deal. (Prices listed at time of post, are subject to change.)

While it is not perfect, it is a great deal for the price. Worth picking up.

As an Amazon Associate and Humble Bundle Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.