Chances are if you’re familiar with extremely complex dark fantasy board games, you are aware of the popular and beloved Gloomhaven. But what if you wish to experience such an experience but don’t have the storage space or access to a computer to play the PC adaptation? Well another developer has you covered with a card game adaptation titled Gloomholdin.
Simply put, Gloomholdin takes the look, feel, and general mechanics of Cephalofair Game’s successful board game and compresses it all into 18 cards. You don’t even need a large table to play it, although there are rules if you wish to set it up as such. The game is completely free in print and play format.
For those worrying that this cheapens or even spoils parts of Gloomhaven’s narrative-driven scenarios and far-reaching consequences, know that Gloomholdin’s developer has thought ahead. First and foremost, Cephalofair Games gave their express permission for the various artistic assets of Gloomhaven to be repurposed, this is not a rip-off. To quote designer Joe Klipfel, “I want to say a huge thank you to Cephalofair Games for giving their blessing to post Gloomholdin for free download, and for granting permission to use original Gloomhaven art, characters, lore, etc. Please be respectful of Cephalofair Games’ generosity and only use Gloomholdin as a free print and play game for personal use.”
Second, while certain monsters and items will be mentioned by name, the narrative scenario in Gloomholdin is completely original. There are no spoilers for the larger board game’s more involved campaign storylines here.
In a way, this is a great compromise by the creators. A portable, more economical way to enjoy the mechanics of Gloomhaven becomes available, which will help raise interest in the full game, which leads to more sales. Alternatively the new scenario in the portable version adds enough novelty for those curious enough to check it out.