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Gloomhaven sequel Frosthaven hits Kickstarter, quickly earns $3M in funding

The Kickstarter campaign could be the biggest of 2020

The box for the Gloomhaven tabletop game. It’s one of the heaviest games ever sold art retail, coming in at close to 20 pounds shipping weight. The cover art is warm and colorful, depicting a party of four heroes striding down a crowded street in a small Cephalofair Games
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The crowdfunding campaign for Frosthaven, the sequel to the hit indie board game Gloomhaven, has earned more than $3 million in its opening three hours. The Kickstarter campaign could soon be the largest of its kind in the platform’s nearly decade-long history.

Gloomhaven is a tabletop role-playing game in a box, and widely regarded as one of the very best modern board games. The original game features card-driven combat mechanics, a nearly 100-mission branching narrative campaign, Legacy-style permanence, and a shipping weight of nearly 20 pounds. Despite the depth and breadth of gameplay on offer, fans of the game have been clamoring for a sequel since the original shipped in 2017. Frosthaven promises to deliver just that, with a unique, stand-alone campaign set to in a frozen region to the north of the original setting.

Designer Isaac Childres launched the campaign around 11 a.m. EST on Tuesday, and the game met its $500,000 goal in around 10 minutes. By 2:30 p.m. EST the ticker rolled over $3 million. That makes Frosthaven one of the most quickly funded Kickstarter campaigns of all time, and puts it on track to be among the highest earning ever.

The most highly-funded game Kickstarter of all time is Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5, a revised reprint of another campaign-in-a-box style board game with hardcore elements such as permadeath. It earned more than $12.3 million in 2017. That makes it the fourth highest-funded campaign of all time, behind the Pebble Time smartwatch at over $20 million.

This isn’t Childres’ first crowdfunding effort. Gloomhaven itself has had two successful campaigns adding up to nearly $4.4 million. Some 40,000 copies were created for backers, and the designer tells Polygon that an additional 210,000 copies have been sold worldwide. This is also Childres’ second successful Kickstarter of the year. He’s also credited as the co-designer of Return to Dark Tower with Rob Daviau (Pandemic Legacy), which earned more than $4 million in February.

In addition to the win for Childres, the campaign for Frosthaven is a vote of confidence in the Kickstarter platform, which has had its share of challenges amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Games accounted for more than 34% of its total revenue in 2019.

The campaign for Frosthaven runs through May 1 at 5 p.m. EST. The final product is expected to ship in March 2021.

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