Even if you have never heard of the legendary board game Gloomhaven, you should not miss its digital adaptation. If you enjoy ingenious turn-based strategies and dark fantasy, Gloomhaven is the game for you. In addition, thanks to multiplayer, you don't have to go on dangerous expeditions alone, and thanks to the support of creating new scenarios, the game offers an endless number of adventures and rotten dungeons.
A high-quality adaptation of the board game with plenty of content and rich replayability. What it does seek to offer, the gaming experience of a classic tabletop board game for one or more players, it achieves in an almost flawless way.
Gloomhaven’s jump from board game to PC keeps the game as strategic and satisfying as it ever was, all while streamlining the experience and opening it up to new avenues of play. The genuine effort of the creators shows through to a game that is worthy for fans and newcomers alike to struggle against the hordes of doom that threaten your very cards.
At its core, Gloomhaven is a deep tactical experience that’s immensely satisfying once you get to grips with its layers upon layers of systems. It also includes multiple options to vary the difficulty, so newer players don’t feel overly punished by making mistakes, whilst strategy aficionados can dial up the challenge to match their ability.
That aside, Asmodee continues to demonstrate why it is the best digital board game developer going around. Gloomhaven itself is a little insular compared to the likes of Game of Thrones, Arkham Horror, Ticket to Ride, Pathfinder and Lord of the Rings, so I suspect it will appeal to a narrower band of players than some of Asmodee's other adaptations, but the faithful quality of that adaptation and the stellar production values make it an easy sell to existing Gloomhaven fans, and the ideal way to those that were intimidated by the size (and cost) of the box when they've seen it in their local game store to give it a go in the first place.
Gloomhaven tries to bring the experience of the board game on our screens, but fails to recreate the feel of being around a table. The game, although very loyal to the source, lacks pacing and the missions (very repetitive after a while), even at the lowest levels, are incredibly hard and for the most part frustrating. It is definitely overwhelming for a new player, and way too much relying on RNG for a good result. A good opportunity that sadly doesn’t really deliver.
Gloomhaven digital is an outstanding implementation of the highest rated board game of all time as per ****, which won also the board game digital adaptation of the year 2021 award. I played the boardgame for hundreds of hours before getting the digital version, so my biggest concern was if this could lure me into replaying the boardgame campaign another time. it did by adding a whole new game mode and smaller optimizations such as reworked balancing.
I've not encountered the omnipresent bugs mentioned in other reviews here, so I assume they have been patched in the meantime.
For context I'm a huge strategy, tactics and rpg nerd having sunk thousands of hours into these formats since 1990. Gloomhaven takes the tactical rpg template and adds layer upon layer of annoying, contrived mechanics in order to create difficulty but which just reduce the fun factor instead. The core culprit is the card burn system which means you run out of actions over time. The abilities are already weak (like attack at range for 2 damage.. which has a significant chance to be a 1 or 0 due to combat rolls), do on top of being weak are also scarce.
I get the need to create tension and pressure but the system chosen here reduces fun an increased tedium. Exhaustion (which is when you run out of cards) could have instead been a resource that you spend on moves, like energy.
The end result is that it can take two hours to complete a tiny fight in 2 rooms.
Even if you are victorious, it feels like a job. Like work. Without any of the satisfaction that other tactical fighters deliver.
If you love strategy and tactics and are thinking about buying, go watch one of the 3 hour YouTube walkthroughs of a single tiny scenario, where one turn sometimes takes 15 minutes just to decide which cards to burn, and imagine if that's how you want to spend 3 hours. If so go for it
SummaryWhether you are drawn to Gloomhaven by the call of adventure or by an avid desire for gold glimmering in the dark, your fate will surely be the same. Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the acclaimed board game, mixes Tactical-RPG and dungeon-crawling.