Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Gloomhaven digital release date announced

Gloomhaven is an absolutely brilliant tactical game. Apart from the core board game, there is also a “lite” version called Jaws of the Lion, and a digital version on Steam, currently in early access, but with a full release coming October 20. And, weirdly enough, you’d probably want one of these other versions, and keep away from the core game.

I am looking forward to the digital Gloomhaven full release, because that will allow me to play the full campaign digitally. In early access, the “guildmaster” mode also provides some sort of campaign experience, but with less story and different rules for the character management part between battles. With the release version having both of these modes, that is a huge amount of content. You get more content than the core board game version, but for a fraction of the price, so that is a really good deal. For me the main attraction of the digital version will be solo play. For playing the game again with my wife, I’d go back to the board game version. A board game on a table to me has far more charm than two people having to share a mouse, keyboard, and screen.

One reason we don’t play this all that often is that the core Gloomhaven box is such a huge thing with 2,600 components. It is the only one of my board games where I went and bought an insert system for orderly component storage. With my other games I either didn’t need anything like that, or could just 3D-print a simple token tray. Given that we don’t have the table space to keep Gloomhaven built up for a longer period, this means that every session requires extensive set up and take down periods.

So for anybody who wants to try out the board game version, I would very much recommend starting with Jaws of the Lion. It is exactly the same tactical combat system, but easier to learn, and easier to set up. For solo play, I’d recommend the Steam version. I can only hope that at some point in the future Asmodee Digital will make a digital version of Frosthaven. Because that will be another game using the same great tactical combat system, but in an even bigger box, that I don’t currently plan to buy. With board games, “too much game” is actually a thing.

If is a bit frustrating how much time it takes to set up and take down some of the board games I like. I bought two expansions for one of my favorite games that have not come out of the box yet because I don't want to set up even more stuff. If I were setting up for a whole group I would go ahead and do it, but that one I mainly play solo.
I love playing Talisman with my boys, we've got the base set and a few expansions. We like it a lot but setting up everything requires a lot of space. And time, unless we "cheat" a bit to make the session faster. Sometimes we leave everything on the table for a full week but it's not an optimal solution.
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