Board Game Review

Gloomhaven cover


Released: 2017

Created by: Isaac Childres

I'm thrilled to share my thoughts on a monumental game that has taken the tabletop world by storm: Gloomhaven. Designed by Isaac Childres and published by Cephalofair Games, this expansive dungeon-crawling adventure offers a deep and immersive experience, combining tactical combat, character progression, and an engrossing narrative that will keep players coming back for more.


Gloomhaven arrives in a massive box, packed with an abundance of high-quality components. Inside, you'll find a wealth of cardboard terrain tiles, over 1,000 cards, 17 plastic character miniatures, 30 plastic monster standees, 6 monster stat sheets, 47 different types of monster ability cards, 24 battle goal cards, 150 event cards, 4 HP/XP dials, various tokens, and a detailed rulebook and scenario book.

The sheer number of components can be overwhelming at first, but they contribute to the richness of the game world. The artwork on the cards and tiles is atmospheric and evocative, and the miniatures and tokens are well-crafted and highly functional.


Gloomhaven is a cooperative, campaign-driven game for 1-4 players, with a strong emphasis on tactical combat and character progression. Players assume the roles of unique mercenaries, each with their own abilities and personal quests, working together to complete various scenarios and unlock new content.

The core of the game revolves around a unique card-driven combat system, where players must carefully manage their hand of ability cards to move, attack, and perform special actions. The decisions made during combat are strategic and impactful, as players must weigh the benefits of short-term gains against the risk of exhausting their characters.

As players progress through the campaign, they'll level up their characters, enhance their abilities, and make narrative choices that shape the world of Gloomhaven and its inhabitants.

Playing Time and Replayability

Gloomhaven offers a lengthy and engaging experience, with individual scenarios taking anywhere from 1-3 hours, and the entire campaign lasting well over 100 hours. Although the game focuses on a continuous narrative, the branching storylines and character choices ensure that each playthrough feels unique and rewarding.


Gloomhaven is an epic and engrossing game that offers a rewarding blend of tactical combat, character progression, and storytelling. Its depth, complexity, and high-quality components make it a standout addition to any board game collection, particularly for fans of dungeon-crawlers and cooperative adventures. If you're prepared to invest the time and effort to dive into Gloomhaven's richly detailed world, you'll be rewarded with an unforgettable gaming experience that will keep you and your fellow adventurers coming back for more.

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