Gloomhaven: Lion’s Maw is a special package. It’s the first DLC for a PC version of a hit tabletop dungeon crawler, and is based on the cardboard standalone sequel of the same name. It’s also unconventional in that it’s less concerned with making this dungeon-crawling universe accessible – as was the purpose of last year’s fantastic digital adaptation – and more concerned with fitting a compelling side story into this adaptation . And in most cases it succeeded.
As a table product Lion’s jaws has proven to be just as successful as the game that started it all. It has removed all major hurdles that plague the monstrosity that is Gloomhaven Core experience that eliminates the need for dozens of modular map tiles and tedious setup. Instead, players must work through a spiral-bound scenario book with dungeons printed on the pages. Its history is also much shorter than Gloomhaven‘s and offers participants the opportunity to actually complete the campaign. The narrative even includes tutorial chapters to help players get started in the game and overcome the complexities of the native design. After all, it’s a much cheaper and more appealing package that’s easy to find in mass markets.
All this makes for a fantastic board game experience. But it’s not these strengths that translate seamlessly into the digital adaptation. Instead of this, Lion’s jaws
Gloomhaven on PC has already smoothed out all the wrinkles of its tabletop cousin. The reduction in setup time is one of the main advantages of the video game compared to the physical version, and the longer duration of the campaign is also a boon, given that you can easily save your progress and pull the whole thing out again with a simple double-click. On top of that, Flaming Fowl Studios have provided a very effective tutorial in the base game that gets new players on board quickly. And of course the PC edition of Gloomhaven costs less than half of the board game.
With all fixes Gloomhaven‘s digital adaptation to the original formula, the door was open Lion’s jaws Don’t improve a shaky foundation, but supplement it more. More of everything. There are new characters, new events, new items and a whole new storyline. As an injection of new content, it’s actually quite powerful.
The most important assets are the new characters. There are four in total, but two of them – the Hatchet and the Red Guard – are the very best Gloomhaven has offered so far. The former is a distinctive attacker capable of dealing great damage from both a distance and up close. Its pace is interesting as the main attack loop consists of throwing his deadly “favorite” ax and then recovering it from the felled corpses of his enemies. It’s a fairly straightforward class in terms of strategy, but it’s packed with high-impact attacks and miscellaneous attacks.
The Red Guard is an exceptional option as it is able to adequately fill so many different niches without becoming an ineffective jack of all trades. In general, they’re a type of tank, capable of consistently shielding and bolstering their own defenses. But the Red Guard is also capable of dishing out intense pain and even offering some crowd control. Of each of these four new classes, they are best able to honk the lone wolf’s horn and step into danger with little caution.
The other two classes are interesting in their own right, even if they’re not quite as unique as their party counterparts. The Demolitionist is capable of blasting apart obstacles and dealing high melee damage to enemies. However, the caveat is that he only has nine cards in his deck and can run out pretty quickly. The Voidwarden, on the other hand, is a very flexible support class, capable of inflicting a ton of debuffs and curses on the opposing party. It’s more esoteric than the others, but still stylish.
It’s fascinating how robust these new characters are. Her abilities are broader and more resilient than the original’s options Gloomhaven. This allows them to work well in almost any party composition and fit seamlessly into the base game’s options. They’re also a tidbit in the campaign’s core story, as they’re adept at completing a variety of challenges.
The plot of the DLC itself is strong as well, functioning as a succinct side-campaign alongside the main narrative. It’s particularly enticing because it offers an additional vector of linked scenarios to delve into at your leisure. These quests take place in downtown Gloomhaven and focus on a sinister conspiracy that you uncover piece by piece. The result is a more investigative feel than the main story as you delve into the conspiracy and try to thwart a grand scheme.
One of the strongest features is the ability to switch back and forth between the new narrative and that of the original. You can switch between the two at any time, testing the value of a class in one scenario or a specific group composition in another. There’s a great opportunity to experiment with the exciting new characters, or those that you didn’t spend enough time with during your first trek Gloomhavens digital customization.
As packaged content, this adaptation of Lion’s jaws is a surprisingly effective transformation of the paperboard product. Although the material’s original purpose of providing a more streamlined introduction has been abandoned Gloomhavens systems, the design team has created a fun and effective side campaign that will extend the lifespan of Gloomhaven and bring new perspectives to this story-driven game.
Gloomhaven: Lion’s Maw was released on Windows PC on May 17th. The game has been verified on PC using a pre-release download code provided by Asmodee Digital. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. you can find For more information on Polygon’s Ethics Policy, click here.
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