In the fall of last year, I shared my thoughts on the PC version of Gloomhaven. As a quick overview, it is a turn-based RPG adapted for the board game. It is challenging and highly strategic but also a lot of fun. So, when I got an email about the Gloomhaven Grand Festival, I was ecstatic. Over a few weeks, Cephalofair Games crowdsourced quite a bit of coin and unveiled their newest creations. These include Buttons & Bugs, an RPG, and Gloomhaven: Second Edition. Therefore, I thought it would be fun to do a deep dive into these new titles.

Gloomhaven Grand Festival Reveals

Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs

The first title we will discuss is Buttons & Bugs. This is a solo-play game with a similar playstyle to the original; however, it is a cute compact setup. I weighed my copy of Jaws of the Lion, and while I do have some 3D printed organizers, it came in at over six pounds. Bugs & Buttons is less than a pound, and a scenario can be completed in about 20 minutes.

The gameplay seems simple enough; a scenario is condensed down to one card, and a mercenary will fight a handful of enemies. Players will have four double-sided cards with their actions that can be used twice before discarding. An attack is completed using a die and a modifier table. The table and ability cards improve as the player completes scenarios.

This ruleset seems easy to follow, and I appreciate that not many pieces are needed. There are days I want to play Jaws of the Lion, but setting it up feels daunting. While I prefer to play board games with others, I think I would give this a shot once it is available for retail.

Gloomhaven: The Role-Playing Game

Second, the RPG is played alongside the Gloomhaven RPG Core Book. This is 250 pages of material for players and Gloom Masters (GM). It is set in the same world we have come to know and love, with the GM narrating. Players will encounter dungeons, puzzles, and of course, combat. Which works similarly to the board game, and character classes are available from across the original games.

I sold Drakkenheim to my players, and I would love to play this RPG. Seeing the exciting combinations of class and ancestry my players could develop would be fun. I recommend watching the YouTube games to see how this works in action. Plus, Deborah Ann Woll is in one of the playthroughs, and I adore watching her have fun in these spaces.

Gloomhaven: Second Edition

Finally, it is time to look at Gloomhaven: Second Edition. While the story and gameplay are the same as the original, players will find new content to devour. Mercenary classes have been rebalanced, as well as items and scenarios. Players can look forward to new artwork, events, minis, and a new faction-based reputation system.

While I have not had the pleasure of playing the original game, I look forward to this release. Especially hearing about people’s experiences playing both editions. The art and minis shared as part of the Grand Festival are gorgeous and hopefully do the game justice. Overall, this seems like a beautiful way to honor the original title.

Odds & Ends

If you are reading this and have no idea what I am talking about, check out my original article. I found the Gloomhaven Grand Festival to be a smashing success, and I am excited to see if my local game store will have these products in stock. If you need more news to tie you over, check out Cephalofair Games’ blog.