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Gloomhaven board game is getting a new, upgraded edition

As Cephalofair announces a new edition of Gloomhaven, Wargamer chats to creator Isaac Childres about what to expect from the revised board game.

Cephalofair art of a Vermling Mindthief from Gloomhaven second edition

It’s official; Gloomhaven second edition is on the way. Publisher Cephalofair announced it was revising one of the best board games ever made in a livestream on June 1. And in an interview with Wargamer, Gloomhaven and Frosthaven creator Isaac Childres says we can expect to see tweaks to pretty much everything. Scenarios and Gloomhaven classes have been rebalanced, story content has been rewritten, and Frosthaven mechanics are migrating to Gloomhaven.

Gloomhaven is a monstrously-huge board game that combines elements from tabletop RPGs with eurogame mechanics to create the ultimate dungeon crawler. First published in 2017, it was the highest-rated title on BoardGameGeek for around five years (though it recently shifted to third place). The game already has a miniature version in the form of Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion and a bigger sibling in the more recent Frosthaven.

“We’re improving everything the way we did in Frosthaven”, Childres tells Wargmer. “That includes improved graphic design, artwork, and card iconography – plus we’re redoing the campaign sheets to help you more easily track where you are in the campaign.” “We also went back and rewrote the story”, Childres adds. “It’s the same story, but more well-written, and it flows in a more logical way.”

Gloomhaven second edition logo and box art

As well as these “quality-of-life” improvements, Childres says Gloomhaven has seen some major rebalancing. “The biggest change is we went back and rebalanced all the scenarios”, he tells Wargamer. “We added a few more scenarios and cut a couple scenarios, so I think the number has gone from 95 scenarios to 100.”

“We also went and rebalanced all the Gloomhaven classes”, says Childres. “I think in the original game, some classes felt pretty overpowered compared to others, so we rebalanced everything.” “Some of them got complete reworks because they just didn’t work on a fundamental level”, he adds.

Childres says the town-building mechanics from Frosthaven won’t be showing up in Gloomhaven 2e. However, he says “We did want to add a new mechanic to Gloomhaven to further differentiate it from Frosthaven”. This turns out to be a revised version of the game’s reputation system.

Map of Gloomhaven from Gloomhaven second edition

“The reputation system initially in Gloomhaven was a single sliding scale, where you got rewards for going high or low”, he explains. “We expanded that in this new version, so you have three separate reputation tracks.” “This ties in much better to Gloomhaven’s story”, Childres tells Wargamer. “It gives it more justification, more impact.”

When asked if the new edition is designed to entice new or veteran players, Childres says “I think it can accomplish both”. “There’s enough new content and different scenarios, and I think the main draw for returning players will be trying the rebalanced character classes, as some now play completely differently.” “They’re more fun to play, so hardcore Gloomhaven fans will have a reason to play through it again.”

“At the same time, we want to put out a new version for people only just discovering it”, he tells Wargamer, “one they can approach more easily and have a better time with”. “I still think Jaws of the Lion is the best entry point, but this could be a good place to start – whether you haven’t played Jaws of the Lion or you have and are looking for something next-level.”

Gloomhaven 2e will be available on June 20 as part of a huge Cephalofair Backerkit campaign. The crowdfunder also offers a new chance to back Frosthaven, as well as the first chance to pledge towards the publisher’s upcoming Gloomhaven RPG and miniatures line. At this stage, it’s not clear how much the new version of Gloomhaven will cost.

You can now read our full Gloomhaven 2e interview with Isaac here on Wargamer.

Want to know what we thought of Gloomhaven the first time around? Here’s our Gloomhaven review. And, for more from Isaac, here’s how lessons from Gloomhaven made Frosthaven a better game.