Gloomhaven is still the Number 1 boardgame on Boardgamegeek.com and with more interest in things to do at home, the question “Should I buy Gloomhaven?” needs to be addressed. You can see my thoughts on Gloomhaven here.
Should I buy Gloomhaven – Yes
You have a consistent group to play with – This is the big one for me. If you have a group that loves to play the recent hotness or loves to vary their play then Gloomhaven is going to be a major drag. With around 90 scenarios this will take some play groups a year of consistent play to get through it. If you want to immerse yourself in the narrative and development of characters, then go for it..As long as your group is on the same page as you.
You love immersive narratives – If you love big stories with unique fantasy characters then Gloomhaven wiill definitely suit you. Classes of characters you have never seen before, exciting adventures and an intuitive play system all form a big part of the game.
Should I buy Gloomhaven – No
Set up time and space is low – Even with a good storage solution, Gloomhaven can be a real bear to set up. You need the right map tiles, the right enemies and then your own personal cards and figures. For me, it has often taken around 20-30 minutes to set up a game. The game is a table hog too, so you will often want to set up a game and leave it there for another scenario, if space is light then it may not be the game for you. In which case maybe check out Jaws of the Lion.
You don’t like bookkeeping – Gloomhaven makes you keep track of what is happening game to game, if you don’t like this then it may not be the game for you or you will need to rely on other measures such as a campaign tracking app.
You like many and varied games – This is the one that has kept my Gloomhaven campaign stalled at about the 20 sessions played. The people that I play with like different types of games, they like to test new things out and the ability to just commit to one game for an extended period is just not possible. Your mileage may vary, as we are all different, but I tend to feel this way about a lot of campaign type games which require my longer term attention.
Ultimately, my thoughts are that if you like the look of Gloomhaven, then the more introductory Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is probably the best choice to get into the game, then step up (potentially) to Frosthaven when it releases at retail in the next few years. Jaws Of the Lion has a simpler setup (with maps in a book, rather than tiles) and is essentially the same game in a smaller package.