Gloomhaven unboxing blog post
My blog is so old, it predates sites like YouTube or Twitch. When I started, I didn't really have the choice whether I wanted to write or make videos. But of course, later I could have switched media, but didn't. I am a fan of the written word, rather than the spoken word. Editing is a lot easier. So I stuck with blogging, way beyond the point where blogging became irrelevant compared to videos. Having said that, today I am going to talk about unboxing Gloomhaven on this blog, and even I can see that an unboxing video makes a lot more sense than an unboxing blog post. Well, I'm still writing it, and if you need images you can search YouTube for "Gloomhaven unboxing" or "Gloomhaven e-Raptor insert".
Gloomhaven is not only the top ranking game on BoardGameGeek, it is also one of the biggest games I have ever seen. It comes in a huge box of over 10 kg. The first page of the manual describes over 2,600 pieces, cards, and tokens that make up the game. Many of them have to be punched out of 18 large cardboard sheets, which takes quite some time. And once you've done that, if you haven't been warned by a video or blog post like this, you'll notice that there is a problem: There are no inserts in that huge box which would allow you to keep all those punched out tokens separate. At the bottom of the box there is just one layer of an insert, and that one doesn't have all that many separate spaces, and can't hold half of the items you have. Either you come up with an independent storage solution, or you just dump all the tokens into the box and spend hours every setup to sort them out.
As I was warned before I bought Gloomhaven, I ordered an insert together with the game. I took the e-Raptor insert, which is made out of high density fiberboard, a sort of artificial wood. While my own personal "fab lab" at home only has 3D printers, I am aware of laser cutting as alternative fabrication technology. The e-Raptor insert comes in laser cut HDF sheets, and you need to punch those out and assemble them. Due to this manufacturing method, the whole thing smells a bit like burned wood, which isn't unpleasant. The bottom insert has a section in which you need to align 30 spacers in parallel, which is designed badly and very fiddly to assemble. But the rest fits together easily. The e-Raptor insert for Gloomhaven costs around 40 Euro, which, surprising as it may sound, is at the low end of cost for Gloomhaven inserts. It holds together without glue, but I am currently in the process of gluing together the bottom tray for increased stability.
The insert came with 3 pages of assembly instructions, which I found easy enough to follow. It didn't come with instructions what tokens go where, but you can get photos of the final product with tokens in from the website, and that can serve as a guide. While the assembly took some time, and there is a risk of long parts breaking when you punch them out of the sheets, overall I am quite pleased with the result. There are slightly nicer inserts made out of plywood instead of fiberboard, some with labels on which token goes where, but those cost as much as the game itself, up to $100.
I also bought, much cheaper, a set of removable stickers for Gloomhaven. The game comes with sheets of stickers which stick more or less permanently on the game board, showing for example locations you discovered on the map. I prefer a version that I can "reset". However, the Gloomhaven campaign has 95 scenarios to play through, and would take well over 100 hours to completely play through. So maybe those removable stickers aren't strictly necessary. On the positive side, you always only play one scenario at a time. So the desk I am currently using to play (my gaming table having been converted into a home office these days) might actually be big enough to play Gloomhaven. And the insert trays to keep the tokens and cards sorted will certainly help.