The PC version of the hit board game Gloomhaven suffered a rocky start when it landed on Steam Early Access in 2019. It left out some core elements of the tabletop game and that left some fans disappointed. Sitting atop the list of shortcomings was the lack of multiplayer which, for a tabletop game adaptation, is a vital part of the experience.
Gloomhaven has dominated the board game lists since it’s release in 2017. It features a deeply immersive world and an expansive campaign with achievements and unlockable characters. The RPG aspects of this game made it an obvious choice for a digital adaptation. Flaming Fowl began working on a digital adaptation of Gloomhaven which was released by Asmodee Digital on Steam Early Access in July 2019.
It looks like the tides have turned for the digital game though. A series of updates have brought a new feel to the game that may just make it worth picking up. Gloomhaven Digital confirmed the new features included an online co-op mode:
These additions to the game bring it closer to being a more streamlined and easier to manage version of the tabletop game that many were hoping for when it was initially released. Being able to pick up a quick game with 4 teammates over the internet certainly makes this game more accessible than the tabletop version. Additionally, A tutorial is included in the update that makes it even easier to bring people unfamiliar with the game into the fold.
Along with this, a Guildmaster Mode has been implemented which replaces Adventure Mode. The new Guildmaster mode is based around recruiting mercenaries to open trade routes throughout the Gloomhaven world. There are unlockable characters, areas, story missions, and relics missions.
“Newcomers and Gloomhaven experts alike will be able to discover and rediscover the core gameplay mechanics of Gloomhaven, as well as some of the advanced mechanics brought by each mercenary,”Flaming Fowl
However, the team working on this game, Flaming Fowl, still has quite a bit of work cut out for them. A full campaign mode is still missing from the digital game. The original board game features one of the most expansive and engaging campaign modes of any tabletop game available. So it’s a shame the PC version doesn’t offer the lore and world building that can be had from the physical version.
Which version should you buy?
At the moment, it seems the tabletop version still offers enough to out weight the digital version. The campaign is a bit plus to the tabletop version and the whole experience is crafted extremely well. However, if you want to play with your buddies online, the digital version of Gloomhaven offers enough to be fun and promises more to come when the full release is available.
This game is in early access and is set for a full release in 2021. So while there may be a fair amount missing now, hopefully, the game will feel fully fleshed out on release day.