Oh boy, oh boy! This is one piece of news that I am personally very excited about. As the not-so-secret nerd that I am, I dabble in all things geek culture. Earlier this year, a good friend of mine invited me over on a rainy Saturday afternoon to play the content packed cooperative dungeon crawler, Gloomhaven.
When I arrived, he pulled out a cardboard box nearly the size of my desk. It was a gorgeously designed twenty pound fix filled with mystery. We began unpacking the box filled with map titles, tokens, character minis and mysteriously sealed envelopes. As he set the game up he explained to me how it works.
Gloomhaven is essentially a gateway to Dungeons and Dragons. Played by a party of two to four characters controlled by one to four players, Gloomhaven contains a single campaign story broken up into fifty one different scenarios, with an additional forty-eight side missions that can be unlocked. At the beginning, players have six different classes of characters to choose from, each one with a very distinct style of play. Players will progress their way through each scenario as they work together to explore caverns, mountains, and seedy city underbellies, defeating all who stand in their way. Each player has two levels of secret objectives that, if completed, will progress their existing character or unlock one of the other nine character classes. This means that players are not obligated to act in the interest of the party and are likely to act selfishly to get to a treasure chest before their teammates, even if it means failing the mission.
I had so much fun playing it that one time that I absolutely had to get my own copy and keep playing through the story. The first two scenarios are played in a linear fashion. But at the end of the second mission your party decides which plot line they would rather follow, potentially blocking access to scenarios, just like many of the fantasy RPG video games out there. And that is why Way Too Many Games is talking about a board game today. I could go on and on about how much there is to discover in this box, how many secrets there are, how much each new character changes the game, and how Boardgamegeek currently lists Gloomhaven as the best board game of all time. But instead, I’m going to talk about what the creator of Gloomhaven, Isaac Childres, is up to next.
At GenCon 2018, Isaac Childres announced that the Gloomhaven experience will be hitting Steam Early Access in early 2019. This wonderful fantasy realm is getting adapted into a roguelike dungeon crawler for PC.
The announcement trailer below features the Cragheart, one of the starting classes, traveling through an dungeon that looks very much like the game’s first scenario, The Black Barrow.
We’ve seen little more than an announcement at this stage. Compromised largely of former Lionhead employees, Flaming Fowl Studios will be developing the game to be published by Asmodee Digital. Childres stated that when it launches on Steam, Gloomhaven will be a single player game with the multiplayer component to be determined during the Early Access period.
At this stage, we’ll just have to wait and see how successful this take on Gloomhaven will be. All I can say for sure is that I will be closely following the game’s development and we will be writing a preview article as soon as we can get our hands on a copy. But in the meantime, I’ll be playing my tabletop copy late into the night.