Gloomhaven. Game Review


I don’t know what kind of wanderers like you have forgotten in Dark Haven, but I’m sure of one thing – to survive, you have to work. Therefore, go quickly in search of work and hard cash! The first order was not long in coming: you were asked to find a thief of some documents, offering a dozen coins as a reward. There could have been more, of course! Especially considering the subsequent events …

About the game

Gloom haven. Dark Haven is an incredible, hardcore tactical board game that takes you on a cooperative adventure through the dungeons and ruins of a cruel and harsh world where the strong is always the truth.

There are seventeen unique mercenaries to choose from, each of which has its own history and motive to go to such dangerous lands. In addition to the main goal, the character also receives a goal for each scenario. Thus, the interests of individual players collide with the interests of the team – will you play the role of a lone wolf or will you play in a team?

Together with your friends, you will go to explore the world of the game, which responds to your every action – the game periodically prompts you to make a choice, making the campaign non-linear. Players will have to fight monsters, upgrade their character and complete various tasks. The scenario book contains more than ninety stories that can be played out separately, but it is much more interesting to go through the whole campaign – and the further you go, the more opportunities the game will offer you – this legacy mechanic will allow you, for example, to unlock new characters, locations and items.

Already at the start, an interesting mechanic awaits you – when fulfilling his main goal, the character loses interest in traveling and leaves the game, and you can continue it using a new mercenary.

The game literally surprises at every step: the quality of the components, the number of different mechanics and game possibilities, its variability, etc. You will not believe, but this game has so many components and content that the weight of the box has reached as much as ten kilograms!

It should be clarified that this is the localization of the second edition, the game involves many lengthy game sessions, and the rules, although not difficult to learn, take about fifty pages of text.

How to play?

The basis of the game is the character’s deck, and the gameplay is based on playing cards from it. Each round, players spend two ability cards (they are unique for each class), after which they can perform the upper ability of one card and the lower one of the other. For example, it can be movement and blow, or the use of a spell. Each card has an initiative number, and the higher the number, the later you will move, which must also be taken into account. The two-sided card system allows you to adapt to unexpected actions of the enemy – for example, you can swap cards by choosing other actions. Neutral actions are also always available: movement by two units and a simple hit.

You can also spend cards for protection: when receiving damage from enemies, you have the opportunity to avoid it by discarding cards. Thus, your deck is an important resource, effectively distributing which becomes the number one task.

Over time, the deck decreases, and with it your choice of actions, which in battle is fraught with banal death.  Players have the right to declare a rest – a respite or a long rest (spends the entire turn), the main task of which is to return the deck to you. However, in this case, you will be forced to get rid of one of the cards forever! Resting too often gives you more options, but the deck will empty too quickly and your character will leave the game. If you rest too rarely, you can find yourself in an awkward situation when you either have few resources or health points. Long dungeon crawls are a real test of endurance!

It is implemented in the form of buying various items of equipment, improving ability cards and modifier cards.

The entire tactical part of the game is based on cards, that is, the dice are not used at all – instead, there are random card modifiers. The combat part pleases with a variety due to the large number of characters’ capabilities, as well as the rather skillful “intelligence” of the enemies. The behavior of opponents is simple, but effective: for example, archers always retreat and shoot from afar, and zombies stupidly pile up in a crowd. That’s why they are zombies … In addition, enemies can also be pumped during the campaign, which adds even more variety to this endless game …

Who has won?

To progress through the campaign, the scenario must be completed successfully, otherwise you will not progress through the plot. The tasks in each scenario are different, but the main thing to remember is that all players win and lose together.