Frosthaven Board Game Review – IGN

Frosthaven: The Arctic Adventure You’ve Been Waiting For

Gloomhaven was a game-changer of massive proportions. After raising nearly $13 million on Kickstarter and becoming a household name, players devoured its two-hundred-odd hours of dungeon-crawling glory. Understanding the insatiable appetite of the fan base, a more compact prequel, Jaws of the Lion was created, followed by the highly anticipated $13 million-funded Frosthaven, the Arctic-themed full sequel.

What to Expect in the Box

If you thought Gloomhaven was big, wait until you get your hands on Frosthaven. Opening the game’s 10-inch-deep lid is no easy feat, as it exerts a considerable drag on the box sides. Once you get past that, be prepared to encounter countless sheets of chits and standees, carefully organized in supplied storage trays and bags. The game also features decks and decks of cards, stored in slots, divided by dividers, and placed at the bottom of the box. A game board, character sheets, dials, and mysterious sealed envelopes of secrets are some of the other goodies included. Most interesting are the symbol-marked sub-boxes; each character box contains a matching symbol and a miniature with decks of character details and chits. You start with access to six of these boxes of varying complexity and earn the right to open more as you progress.

Rules and Gameplay

While the game’s thick rulebook may look intimidating for first-time players, veterans of Gloomhaven will find the core systems intact. Combat is based on a card-based approach, where each character has individual decks of cards with spells, combat moves, and special powers that are divided into two halves. Each half carries a unique effect, and the number in the middle serves as your initiative value for the turn. Planning a turn takes strategy, as it can be challenging to chain your most powerful abilities or attack twice, even with bonuses. Movement in the game is on a tight grid-based corridor filled with monsters that are dangerous and challenging to fight. Choosing the right cards for the right circumstances creates a fun and tactical challenge. The game lets you lose cards for every cycle through your deck, ensuring that every turn is filled with interesting decisions to make.

Frosthaven boasts dozens of different types of monsters with unique AI decks to dictate their actions and attributes, including initiative values. Adding to the unpredictability are the combat modifier decks, replacing dice with a mix of possibilities without any wild swings.

What’s New

Frosthaven introduces the town of Frosthaven, offering players more strategic options during gameplay. The town has its own board and character sheet, serving as your base between adventures with buildings to give players various advantages. Crafting items and potions, upgrading buildings, and defending the town against frequent attacks are some of the exciting features. Over time, players retire characters to be replaced by new ones, making the town an excellent surrogate for attachment and investment.

Overall, the game’s overflowing inventory of chits, cards, and characters means that playing the game entirely analogue is a colossal amount of overhead. Nonetheless, the experience is unmatched and undoubtedly worth it. While there are digital assistants to alleviate the work, nothing beats the joy of physically piecing together the map and placing the monster standees. In conclusion, playing Frosthaven offers a memorable and unparalleled gaming experience.