It's a grim but lucrative business being a mercenary out on the edge of civilization. You must explore the harsh wilderness and engage in deep tactical combat, where the decisions you make have an impact not only on your own character, but also the world around you.
Gloomhaven is cooperative game of card-driven combat set in a persistent fantasy campaign which will change and grow as you play the game.
There is always more to unlock and explore in the world of Gloomhaven.
Gloomhaven is a series of tactical combat scenarios that are strung together in a persistent, thematic campaign.
Each scenario is played out through rounds of combat against fully automated enemies. In each round, players will play 2 cards from their hand of ability cards which determine the order in which they act and what abilities they perform. Each card has 2 special actions, and on their turn, players can play the top action of one card and the bottom action of the other.
Card actions are varied and powerful, cutting through the monotony of a basic "move and attack" system. Default actions are available, though, if a player's plans get ruined by an enemy's ability card or even by the actions of their own teammates. Gloomhaven eliminates the alpha player through simultaneous hidden action selection to illustrate the chaos of battle.
There are also no dice in Gloomhaven. Instead, attacks are modified by a player's attack deck. Over time this attack deck will change as a player begins to add and remove cards by completing battle goals and leveling up.
Players gain the experience needed to level up by performing certain actions in their ability card deck. Through leveling up, players will also get access to more powerful, higher level ability cards which they can use to customize their deck.
In midst of battle, players will also need to focus on looting money tokens. These can be used to purchase powerful items in town, where new stock is always being unlocked by player actions.
One way to unlock items is to increase the prosperity of the town, which players can do by completing scenarios and making decisions during events between scenarios. Players will also have to manage their reputation during these events, as reputation will influence the outcome of some events and also affect shop prices.
As players interact with the town and move along the branching story paths of the world, they will always be working towards completing career goals. By meeting certain objectives, a player's character will retire, unlocking a new character class to play with, new events for parties to encounter and additional perks for the achieving player. After retirement, a player will create a new character, possibly from the class that was just unlocked, and continue the adventure!
If you'd like more information about any aspect of the game, you can find a wealth of information on the Gloomhaven website and also the BoardGameGeek page which features a number of illustrated lessons on how to play the game.
In addition, here is a PDF of a preliminary draft of the rules.
If you learn through action or just want to get a better feel for the game, there are a couple easy ways to sit down and play the game on your computer.
The introductory scenario of Gloomhaven is available through Tabletop Zen (free) and Tabletop Simulator (this requires the purchase of software).
You can get the Tabletop Simulator Steam Workshop mod here. From there you can play around with it on your own, or sign up to be taught the game through this Google Doc. When you become familiar with the game, you can also sign up for pick-up games, or even be a teacher yourself.
Tabletop Zen now has an open lobby where you can go play around with the game on your own, or you can sign up for pick-up games or teaching games through the Google Doc. All that's required is a valid email address to sign up.
Keep in mind that the game is not automated. Players will have to move the pieces around according to the rules, and communication between players is highly advised. Tabletop Simulator has accompanying voice software, but Google Hangouts is needed to play on Tabletop Zen.
The scenario available online is just the beginning, though. A scratch on the surface of the world.
Gloomhaven is deep and expansive. It is a game of exploration and discovery; of branching story paths and decisions with real consequences. You always have a choice of which scenario to undertake next and which plot thread to unravel.
More than that, though, there is plenty of content to support multiple game groups. If you want to play the game with someone new, you shouldn't reset the game, but instead just pursue a different story line. Each party of adventurers will develop their own campaign, but everyone will interact with and expand upon the same world.
Gloomhaven provides a persistent world of permanent choices without the restriction of only being able to play with the same people time and again. It does this by focusing on the stories of individual characters instead of an over-arching linear plot.
And a few comments from play testers:
New classes will become available to play when players meet certain conditions in the game. If you want spoil yourself on the surprise, or you just really want to check out more amazing artwork, click here to see what else you'll be getting, or if you want to get a detailed look at the miniatures, you can check out all the original sculpts by clicking here (also full of spoilers).
(Note that all depictions of miniatures are digitally modified pictures of the original physical sculpts.)
I love Kickstarter. This platform brings together creators and their audiences in such a wonderful way. I absolutely would not be able to get this game made without your financial support, but what really makes Kickstarter exciting to me is the opportunity to involve the community in the creation of the project.
This project doesn't just give you a great game that will show up on your doorstep in May. It gives you a chance to watch and interact with the game as it develops. There is also a scenario design competition to allow the backer community to make a significant mark on the creation of the game.
My amazing play testers have helped me get this far, but now with your help, we can not only get the game made, but also continue working to make it as great as possible.
Also remember that if you purchase the game through Kickstarter, you'll get the game before it comes out in retail and it's a significant discount off the MSRP (estimated at $100-120), especially after considering the added cost for shipping.
New to Kickstarter? No problem! The number people pledging to Kickstarter board game projects seems to be getting larger all the time, and we are happy to have you on board.
Becoming a backer is very simple. Just follow these steps:
- Step 1: Look through the banner at the top right of this page and click on the reward level you'd like to receive.
- Step 2: Choose the correct shipping location and the pledge amount should automatically adjust to the correct value. This step is important!
- Step 3: Click the green "Continue" button and then finish filling out your information on the subsequent page.
- Step 4: Click "Pledge" and you're done! Welcome to the adventure!
Pledging at the MINIATURES level will get you all of the minis for the included 13 character classes (12 base plus 1 stretch goal). Any additional stretch goals that unlock extra classes beyond that will also unlock extra minis for you. If you'd like a better idea of all the minis you're getting, head on over to the spoilers page.
Pledging at the GLOOMHAVEN WITH STANDEES level will get you everything that you would get at the $79 level, except that you will get cardboard standees of the character classes instead of the plastic minis. You will also receive all unlocked stretch goals, with the exception of additional minis (receiving standees of additional unlocked character classes instead).
Or you can get the whole package - all the content, all the stretch goals all the minis. Pledging at the GLOOMHAVEN WITH MINIS level gets you this.
Note that this level does not come with standees for the character classes. If you really want both standees and minis (this is redundant and in no way adds content to the game), you can pledge at the $64 level and do a $20 add-on. That will get you absolutely everything.
$15 for shipping is included in the base game price. All additional shipping fees are added automatically when you pledge.
The game will be fulfilled from distribution centers in the US, Canada, the EU, Australia and China, so there will be no customs fees for backers in these regions.
All three main rewards levels are also available as add-ons. You can add $20 to your pledge to get an additional box of minis. You can add $64 to get a copy of Gloomhaven without the minis. And you can add $79 to get a copy of Gloomhaven with minis.
Up to 4 $64 and $79 add-ons can be added to your order this way, PLUS you can add up to 5 $20 add-ons as well. You will not have to pay any additional shipping fees on your order.
In the proud tradition of slaying helpless rats, I have decided that to reward backers of the Gloomhaven project, I will graduate to a slightly more formidable - but equally prolific - foe: the animated skeleton.
For anyone who pledges a single dollar or more to the campaign, I will foray into a host of fantasy-themed games and slay a necromantic abomination in your name. This will be caught on camera, of course, for you to marvel at and cherish for years to come.
Isaac is the driving force behind Cephalofair Games, which published its first game, Forge War, last April. Isaac also designed and developed the game. He writes a weekly blog about board game publishing, design and whatever else he is thinking about at www.cephalofair.com.
Isaac graduated last December with a physics PhD, but, with the success of Forge War, he is now designing and publishing games full time. It's turned out pretty well for him so far.
Josh McDowell started playing board games after his wife encouraged him to find an inexpensive hobby. The joke is on her, as that encouragement turned into an expansive collection and regular schedule of playing games with his friends. He turned to his graphic design prowess to offset the costs and is now completely engrossed in all things board games. He lives in Indiana with his wife and three young children, gamers in the making. You can find his portfolio at www.behance.net/mcscowl.
Alexandr lives in Ukraine, Odessa and works as a freelancer and specializes in several styles: sci-fi, cyberpunk and fantasy. He's looking for hard-core projects in the styles that he likes. Most of all he is proud of his artwork for cards in board games. He dreams to release his comics and develop the indie game with a small group of people In the future. You can see his portfolio at http://kotnonekot.deviantart.com/.
James Van Schaik has over 20 years experience as a professional miniature sculptor. He has worked as a freelance sculptor, in-house staff sculptor and on several exclusivity contracts for a range of companies including Megacon Games, Ninja Division, Soda Pop Miniatures, Ral Partha, WizKids, Wyrd, Games Workshop, Pulp City, Battlefront, Gale Force 9, Dust Tactics, Mantic, Reaper, and RAFM.
He has also sculpted for toy companies outside of the gaming industry and produced figures for licensed properties such as Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who, Marvel, DC, and Harry Potter to name a few. You can find him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.schaik?fref=ts or see his portfolio at https://www.flickr.com/photos/24546626@N04.
Risks and challenges
I will be the first to admit this is a huge and ambitious project, but it is one I am passionate about and fully determined to make a reality in its best possible form.
This also isn't my first dance. My previous project, Forge War, was rather massive as well, and I managed to deliver the game to backers just 1 month past the projection.
I have learned so much about Kickstarter fulfillment from that project, though, and I fully expect this project will deliver on time without problem.
There is still artwork and graphic design to be done, but we should be able to finish that up by December. I know problems with miniatures plague a lot of projects, but James is very nearly done with the sculpting and he is a seasoned veteran in the field, so I don't expect there will be any significant manufacturer issues with the miniatures. We've already made masters of 4 of the sculpts without problem.
I would say the biggest challenge at this point is going to be finishing the content for the game - both creating it and making sure everything is balanced appropriately. A lot of it has been done, but there is still more to do. I firmly believe I and my play testers are up to the task.
We're projecting to have all the content done by December as well so that we can allow 2 months for the printing process and another 2 months to get the game shipped out to everyone.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)