Gloomhaven is a great campaign-driven dungeon crawler and easily lives up to its reputation of being one of the best big box board games of recent years. It’s just a lot of game. It’s just a big commitment, and depending on the kind of board game player that you are, it might be a bit much.
And, look, you should play Gloomhaven. But if you’re on the fence about picking it up because you aren’t sure whether you’ll enjoy it – not to mention that it retails for around $250 – then Jaws Of The Lion is a fantastic alternative.
Usually retailing for a pretty decently priced $89, you can currently pick up Gloomhaven: Jaws Of The Lion on sale for $65.
What’s good about Jaws Of The Lion?
Set in the same universe, Jaws Of The Lion is a prequel to the main Gloomhaven campaign. It’s designed to help you get a pretty solid grasp of the game’s rules and mechanics, without committing to the full thing.
On a practical level, it’s a more manageable and streamlined version of Gloomhaven. You won’t have to deal with 1,500 cards and a set that roughly weighs around 10kg.
In Jaws of the Lion, you play as one of the four members of the eponymous Jaws of the Lion mercenary crew – a Hatchet, Red Guard, Void Warden and Demolitionist – and play through two booklets with 25 scenarios. Each of these scenarios takes around one to two hours to complete, so you’re really getting your money’s worth.
Even if you aren’t interested in jumping into the full Gloomhaven board game after playing this, Jaws Of The Lion is a really fun and engaging dungeon crawler.
If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons fan, the best comparison we can make for Jaws of the Lion is that it’s the Gloomhaven equivalent of the D&D Starter Sets. You get an adventure with a few branching options and enough time that you can develop your character into something that’s tailored to how you want to play.
But if you do enjoy your time with Jaws Of The Lion, you can continue your character’s journey by sliding straight into the main game. Good luck, because you’ll need it.