Digital or Board, There is Gameplay For Every Style
Review by Mark Tabler
Before we talk about Gloomhaven the video game, we need to talk about Gloomhaven the board game. The board game is, frankly, not designed for casual play. This is good news to the hardcore game fanatic, who will delight in the complicated map pieces, the rule-laden cards, and a seemingly endless sea of little cardboard tokens. The game has an unapologetically harsh difficulty curve, and if you want to see everything the game has to offer you’re going to need to get pretty good at the tactics of the game.
The story told by the game is fairly solid. I don’t know that I’d sit down and read the novelization if one is ever written, but there’s certainly enough going on to keep players interested and motivated to continue. There are light-hearted moments and plenty of comedy beats, but the overall feeling of the story is… well, gloomy. A good rule of thumb is that a happy character in Gloomhaven is very likely either getting ready to incite some violence, or is unwittingly on the precipice of disaster. Not always, of course, but very, very frequently.
Value: 3 / 15
Story: 12 / 15
Gameplay / Mechanics: 10 / 15
Presentation: 4./ 15
Fun: 32 / 40
Add 15 points if you’re a fan of the board game
Add 10 points if you’ve got a deep tactical itch that needs scratching
Overall score out of 100:: 61 – 86
Value: how well does the game reward your investment of both dollars and time?
Story: Would you watch a video of someone else playing this game just for the sake of the story?
Gameplay / Mechanics: If this game were only abstract tokens and numbers, how much fun would it be?
Presentation: How pleasant is this game to interact with?
Fun: Sometimes, a game is more (or less) than the sum of its parts; the most important thing is whether it was an enjoyable experience.