Gloomhaven, Flaming Fowl Studios’ digital adaptation of Isaac Childres’s best-selling board game, released on Early Access July 17. It is a hardcore tactical RPG dungeon crawler with roguelike mechanics. Because you have to have those roguelike mechanics.

The game’s Early Access version has only one playable mode at the moment – Adventure Mode. This exclusive game mode isn’t available in the board game version and features roguelike elements, with procedurally-generated dungeons every time you start a new adventure.

There are also only four characters available, showcasing the typical Melee DPS, Ranged DPS, Healer, and Tank classes. These are not the same characters you start with in the original game, but the roster of characters, enemies and bosses will be expanded regularly during Early Access. New environments, quests, and items will be added, as well.

Speaking of enemies, you’ll face plenty of those in Gloomhaven’s challenging battle system. Combat is based on tactics and deck-building elements, with each character using its own deck of Ability Cards. You select two cards per character every turn, and you either use or discard them. The fight ends when one side runs out of HP, or you run out of cards; trust me – you do not want to run out of cards.

The combat adds a layer of resource management, so every choice you make during a fight can affect how to get through the rest of the dungeon. Choose carefully.

Gloomhaven gameplay

Why Early Access? Developer Flaming Fowl Studios had this to say on the game’s Steam page: “Gloomhaven is based on the hugely popular physical board game of the same name and features 17 playable characters, 47 enemy classes and a campaign with 95 scenarios. To put it bluntly, it’s an absolute behemoth! To release everything all at once would be a challenge, to say the least.

“Without a doubt, the best thing about this approach is that we get to make the game alongside the community,” Flaming Fowl Studios continued. “We know that you all share our passion for Gloomhaven, and we are excited to be able to develop this game together to make the best possible digital adaptation of Gloomhaven!”

The full campaign from the original board game, along with the multiplayer co-op mode, will be available when Gloomhaven is released in full. You can see some of the upcoming game modes in the title screen: Tutorial, Campaign, Multiplayer, and Modding, which implies you can add more characters yourself in the future.

Gloomhaven title screen

As a board game, Gloomhaven raised $4.4 million on Kickstarter thanks to more than 45,000 backers. Designed by Isaac Childres, Gloomhaven was acclaimed by both players and critics alike, and even won “Board Game of the Year” in 2017.

Childres was closely involved in the development process of Gloomhaven’s digital adaptation. He approved every artistic and design choice himself.

Gloomhaven is currently available on PC through Steam Early Access

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