We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Gloomhaven board game shrinks down for new solo version

A new, solo version of the Gloomhaven board game is in the works, a simplified box with scenarios that take less than 20 minutes to play.

Gloomhaven board game Buttons and Bugs artwork showing a fairy king on a button palanquin.

Alongside its second edition and upcoming RPG, the Gloomhaven board game is getting a spin off that’s a solo board game. Announced by Cephalofair on July 5, Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs is pitched as a version of Gloomhaven you can play on a plane or during a 30 minute lunch break.

As you can see from the image below, it’s a fraction of the size of the mahoosive original box. It’s also a fraction of the price – at just $19.99 RRP.

Buttons & Bugs features a new campaign by Isaac Childres. Set after Gloomhaven and its expansion Forgotten Circles, in the plot the characters have been shrunk down to the size of a mouse. While we don’t know how many scenarios there are, we do know that each one takes only 20 minutes.

Gloomhaven Buttons and Bugs placed next to the original Gloomhaven box.

This mini version of Gloomhaven was designed by Nikki Valens and Joe Klipfel, and exists as a modified version of the latter’s Gloomholdin’ card game. Each scenario is a single card, pitting one shrunken mercenary against a handful of monsters utilising a simplified AI. According to a press release, “the story is light, the rules are minimal, and setup and teardown is a breeze.”

Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs will be available as a pledge level and add-on on Backerkit as part of the Gloomhaven Grand Festival. Backerkit’s biggest crowdfunder to date, this campaign raised $1.5m in a single day, and is now at $2.8 million. After the campaign is over, the game will also get a retail release.

We love Gloomhaven – check out our Gloomhaven review to see why it’s the best dungeon crawler game – but it must be said it is quite a beast of a board game, and can be intimidating to even seasoned hobbyists.
Of course, a more approachable version of Gloomhaven, Jaws of the Lion, already exists, but Buttons & Bugs looks to be an even easier jumping on point – plus, of course, you can play it alone.

Gloomhaven Buttons and Bugs artwork showing a butterfly and a teddy bear.

According to Cephalofair COO Price Johnson, Klipel’s Gloomholdin’ generated a ton of buzz when it was released in 2021. “It was clear immediately to the Cephalofair team that Joe has opened up a new window of accessibility that should be explored!”

For some hot tabletop takes, check out our list of the best board games and strategy board games. And if Buttons & Bugs looks like your cup of tea, you might be in the market for these easy card games.