Why You Should Buy Gloomhaven, But Not From Amazon

Why You Should Buy Gloomhaven, But Not From Amazon

There’s a boardgame you should buy. It’s called Gloomhaven. It is second most highly-rated game on BoardGameGeek behind Pandemic Legacy. The second edition has just been released and all reports are that this is an astonishingly awesome game.

However you should not, under any circumstances, buy it from Amazon US.

Gloomhaven is another legacy game. Most legacy games straddle the line between Dungeons and Dragons campaigns and the self-contained nature of board games. This box struggles to contain all those components.

Gloomhaven clings hard to its D&D roots, featuring a unique cast of character that adventure through dungeons fighting monsters, levelling up and getting more unique. Although the mechanics are quite different and unique, for one thing there aren’t any dice.

Other legacy games, Seafall and Risk Legacy have roughly 15 games in the campaign. Pandemic Legacy is about 12-24 shorter games. Gloomhaven has 75+ 1-hour games in it. This campaign will probably take more than a year to play.

My Kickstarted second edition arrived today and my wife thought I must have bought several board games.

That’s a big box and 9.8kgs of game.

The details on the side are entirely accurate. This is the biggest board game I’ve ever owned. This also is by far the heaviest board game I’ve ever owned, clocking in at 9.8 kg.

This is not a board game you should order from America.

Sometimes Amazon’s prices on board games makes costs comparable to Australian retailers after shipping, but the cost of shipping on this game will kill you. Amazon US quotes me US$249.99 + US$25 shipping ($361 total). By comparison, the most unfriendly online board game store in Australia will sell it to you for $194.95.

I’d recommend ordering this one and picking it up in-store from your friendly local dealer game store.

Gloomhaven. More than twice as big as any other board game I own.

I can’t wait to play. The hardest part will be deciding which of my friends to invite.


  • I really really really want this game. But my boardgames… have taken up my whole wardrobe and I am finding it really hard to store them since I live in an apartment. My wardrobe is just full of Arkham and Descent 1st ed boxes. gah~

        • Or just buy the game, play it, then throw it out, and just buy it again next time you want to play it. That way you don’t have to worry about storing it.

    • That’s why I like Arkham Horror’s LCG. I have a box of cards and tokens and it fits pretty easily compared to my other stuff.

    • I’m having the same issue. My Dominion collection alone is weighs more than a small child.

      I really want to play Gloomhaven, Dark Souls, and Arkham Horror, but finding people with the space and patience to play is saddening.

      • I condensed each of my Dominion boxes to a 500 card Ultrapro box, so I just need to take several of those bricks with me to Dominion nights.

        But because I am who I am, the original, empty boxes are still in my garage because I can’t bear to throw them out.

    • Heh. I feel you.

      My reality check is wifely scorn.

      I’ve been meaning to write about the miracles of Maths Trades… it’s a thing set up by the online gaming community, where you can trade away old board games for NEW board games! It’s like magic!

  • sooo, ive never played a D&D game, but this game intrigues me. can you give a run down on how its played once you’ve given it a good crack? cheers.

    • Absolutely.

      There’s a bunch of really cool mechanics, like how the monsters are programmed, how combat happens and how the characters defy standard tropes (fighter/cleric/wizard).

      There will be a review… once I play half a dozen games… but my key learning from Seafall last year is that this is the worst time of year to start a legacy game. Christmas kills any momentum you have, and then everyone wants to play the shiny new games you got at Christmas. I don’t forsee me writing a review before March. There are a bunch of reviews of the first edition out there though, if you’re keen.

      • 2+ months have passed since I received my Kickstarted copy. My mother inconsiderately decided to announce that she had cancer just before it arrived, and my father’s dementia means that I’ve been taking care of him while she’s been hospitalised. I’ve only had time to unpack the game so far – it’s still sitting in pieces on the coffee table where I left it the last time I was home for more than an hour.

        Would love to see that review, Haoran! Playing it vicariously is about all I’m going to get for the time being.

        • Oh @roundtable, that’s horrible!

          I mean, that’s life, and it’s worse fro them, and looking after your parents is and important thing to do, but no doubt it’s rough on you too.

          Would you believe that I haven’t actually started our campaign yet? First port of call is finishing off our Pandemic Legacy campaign, and then Gloomhaven will hit the table in earnest. Unfortunately you might have to wait a while for this review.

          • Thanks @haoran, Indeed it is life – they’ve got to go eventually… otherwise I’ll never get a place of my own! 😛 (kidding, I moved out almost 30 years ago). Really though, we’ve got to be philosophical about it – there’s nothing we can do but make the best of a crappy situation and enjoy the time we still have together. Dad’s basically already gone – there’s not much left of the man that raised me, but mum’s still here and we’re closer than we’ve ever been.

            As for the game, I totally understand, it’s an overwhelming cube of cardboard. Plus, you’re clearly playing in the right order – finish the number one game before you start on number two. Oh, wait – just checked the BGG chart, Gloomhaven has taken the number one place! Grats, GH!

  • Gloomhaven. More than twice as big as any other board game I own.

    This tells me you need to buy Kingdom Death and Mansions of Madness.

  • Could we get an article about board games with amazing boxes? Because I love that shit.

    After seeing all of these randomly sized boxes with just a bunch of shit thrown inside, I bought Valeria: Card Kingdoms and fell in love with the excellent, thoughtful, space-efficient box insert design. I still marvel at it every time I play.

    Also, Valeria is great. It’s like Dominion and Catan had a weird baby. Everyone should get it.

  • My copy just arrived today too. Now to convince the people Im playing Pandemic Legacy with to get Gloomhaven on the table next….

  • I’m totally on board to buy this but feel like I missed my chance with the 2nd reprint. My local gaming store isn’t getting additional copies so where would you recommend buying this reliably outside of Amazon?

    • That very much depends on where you live. I live in Sydney, and sometimes game at Chatswood at North Side Gamers. My supplier is Dean from Advent Games, who is a regular at NSG, and has a system in place to bring games on Tuesday nights, so we all save on P&H. Removing shipping from the equation makes his online prices almost unbeatable. I understand he has Gloomhaven in stock.

      (This is not a paid promo–he pays me nothing and gives me no discounts; just great service.)

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