Helming the project is the independent team at Flaming Fowl Studios, composed of former members of the Fable series’ Lionhead Studios. The game looks gorgeous in the trailer, which emphasizes the cinematic nature of its combat encounters.
For the uninitiated, Gloomhaven is one of the most popular hobby board games on the market right now. The creation of tabletop designer Isaac Childres, it started out as a Kickstarter project in 2015. Once it arrived in backer’s hands, though, Gloomhaven became a sensation, rocketing up the charts among hardcore board gaming communities and earning attention from the wider gaming press. The crowdfunding campaign for a second printing earned earned close to $4 million.
What makes Gloomhaven different from most RPGs is that it doesn’t really require a game master. Inside the massive, nearly 20-pound box is a system that basically runs itself, complete with a world map and branching storylines. Add to that an entirely diceless combat system that runs on cards alone and you’ve got something truly unique.
On the table, Gloomhaven is a tense, tactical game fought on modular tiles. Environments are really cramped, and it looks like Flaming Fowl made some very clever design decisions in how it modeled its characters. I especially like how the camera comes in nice and close to the action. It would have been easy to turn the game into another XCOM clone, but they’ve clearly gone in a very different direction.
Expect Gloomhaven to enter the Steam Early Access program starting July 17.