Table Top

Frosthaven – What We Know Thus Far

So, this past weekend at Pax Unplugged, there was a big announcement, Frosthaven. This is a stand alone sequel to Gloomhaven, my favorite game of all time.

In addition to having the well-known combat mechanisms of GloomhavenFrosthaven will feature much more to do outside of combat, such as numerous mysteries to solve, a seasonal event system to live through, and player control over how this ramshackle village expands, with each new building offering new ways to progress.

Board Game Geek

There is some information on BoardGameGeek, but more information in a panel that Tom Vassel led at Pax Unplugged with the creator of Gloomhaven and Frosthaven, Isaac Childress. So I’m listening to that now, and I”m going to be taking notes of what we know thus far. So this might be a bit of a scattered post, but it’s important stuff for the fans of Gloomhaven, and now you don’t need to watch the whole video that is up on Pax Unplugged’s Twitch Channel.

First, Tom asks about if you need to play Gloomhaven first, and can you use Gloomahven characters.

  • No, you don’t need to play Gloomhaven first, this is completely stand alone
  • Yes, there are ways to use characters or items between games, but Frosthaven is a different much smaller location, so you don’t have access to all of the Gloomhaven items, and you even have to craft your own items.

The Six Base Characters:

  • Banner Spear – Tank character. Noble character, mostly melee, and something called a formation attack, which is like an area of effect, but allies need to be in a certain locations.
  • Necromancer – Has summons that aren’t lost, because of course they do. An Aesther character, summons undead, obviously. You lose health when you summon them though.
  • A lot of characters have extra resources that you have to keep track of, like the Necromancer with her health.
  • Stepping up the mini game with them having more dynamic poses.
  • Deathwalker – She creates shadows on the board. Shamanistic type classs, who ushers people into death. Can manipulate shadows to deal more damage and usher monsters into the after life.
  • Drifter – Inox character. Survivalist character who loves living off the land. About keeping himself alive as long as possible. Persistent abilities with chargers that can then recharge
  • Geminate – Harrower Character – Split conciousness sort of character. Two different forms, melee and ranged, and two separate decks of cards 7 in each, and you change forms and the cards can force you to change form. Can choose to switch on long rest.
  • Blink Blade – Quatryl character, can manipulate time. Can slow down or speed up time, and runs around and stabs and then runs away. Time token resource, faster is better, but needs to recharge. Bonuses or detriments on cards if you are going fast or slow.

Different races in this area, 3 new races. They actually start out as threats in the game, and you can become their friends or subdue them, and you unlock them. Augox, cousins of the Inox. More primitive and bigger, ice yeti. Have two separate sects around religion, ice or snow, so I’m assuming we’ll get two playable characters one from each? Lurkers are another character. They are ocean creatures, Northern Sea, they invade from the sea. Whole Lurker civilization, a wave thrower. They are psychic. Robots. Eventually you can play as robots, they are wandering around the north.

Basic story

  • Frosthaven is outpost in north, north west of Gloomhaven.
  • Have to pass through between Copper Neck Mountains and Imperial Mountains. Gets cut off in the winter.
  • Initial story is that you are trying to protect the town, find ways to keep the town safe.
  • Frosthaven is a very small outpost.
  • Big thing in the game is building up the city, and using resources to do so. And unlock new things in time.
  • Craftsman is big thing, and Alchemist. Craftsman can make items and combine items to make them better. Alchemist can create potions, trial and error. You can make bad potions.
  • And you’ll have to build up the defenses of the town. Town has a defense rating.
  • Calendar system, as you come in the summer and then in winter things start freezing over.
  • Every time you go to a scenario the calendar progresses.
  • Winter event deck is all bad things.
  • Depending on defense rating bad things happen or you fend them off.
  • You can still find items.

Loot system has changed.

  • Still collect tokens, but they aren’t money.
  • At the end of the scenario you can exchange them for a card from the loot deck.
  • Build a loot deck for each scenario.
  • If in a forest, loot deck might be money or resource or herb or something else, like items or special items.

New map with world map, top half is traditional map of the world, bottom is town. There are bigger stickers that help explore what the world actually looks like. Lots of space to build up buildings in the town, but you decide how it’s all built.

More monsters to talk about.

  • There will be some repeat monsters.
  • Undead monsters, frozen undead.
  • Frozen Corpse – like a living corpse, but frozen.
  • New status effect, brittle, next time you suffer damage, you suffer double damage.
  • Living Doom – Most powerful undead
  • Living Doom can summon living spirits based on his health
  • New status effect called Bane. Solution to instant kill mechanic. If you don’t remove it by healing, at the end of next turn, you take 10 damage. Way to deal with instant kill cards.
  • Instant kill was considered overly powerful.
  • Polar bears, because bears.
  • The Abale, fishmen characters. Spelling is probably wrong. Fish king from his original game.

Puzzles as well:

  • Kind of complicated to explain.
  • At some point in the game you get something similar to the town record.
  • Extra side story, get more lore into the game.
  • There will be cool things it unlocks.
  • How you go through the book is by solving puzzles that you do through the course of the campaign.
  • Give you clues that’ll lead you to various aspects of the game.
  • Limited details, because spoilers.
  • Series of puzzles, that are informed by everything else in the game.
  • Not sure what to do, play more.
  • There is a big puzzle in Gloomhaven, there is no feedback in the puzzle, so he wanted to give a puzzle with more feedback in the game.

What’s the learning curve from Gloomhaven?

  • Similar to Gloomhaven, it’s going to throw you in there.
  • The combat mechanics are all the same.
  • The town mechanics are introduced over time, so not much overhead.

How have things progressed from the first to the second one?

  • Puzzles changing.
  • Forgotten Circles, breaking up scenarios into various sections, successes and problems with it. So you don’t always see everything up front, and they can hide things better.
  • Taking that and giving more information up front, but still doing section system.
  • Forgotten Circles, set-up in the middle, here they are not doing that.
  • Surprises, but no surprise set-up.
  • Same length of campaign.

How do you get it?

  • Coming to Kickstarter in March 2020.
  • Ideally, if it goes according to plan, delivered in less than a year.

Questions from the Audience:

  • Is Frosthaven too cold for Ooze? Don’t make that assumption.
  • Can you be bad and get rewarded? There’s always moral ambiguity.
  • Reputation system, evil and good, don’t feel tempted? Working on events to make them more dynamic and give them better options.
  • Where is Frosthaven compared to Gloomhaven? Extending the world, North and West of Gloomhaven.
  • Will there be a pie eating video if Kickstarter game is a success? It’s not out of the question.
  • Coming from Gloomhaven, what are you taking away from that, that is biggest learning point? Main thing, more town building, town management aspect.
  • How come bears haven’t destroyed Gloomhaven? Bears can’t climb walls.
  • Trading Items going to be a thing? Still can’t trade items. When you create a potion, you decide who gets it.
  • Necromancer in this one not the small box one like they were planning? They realized it was too complex, summoning was too complex for an introductory sort of game for more casual gamers.
  • Bane Mechanic going to be put back onto Gloomhaven? Maybe
  • Loot tokens represent resources, more of them on the ground, money on the ground doesn’t make sense, wood does? Might be a little more
  • Is charging elements still going to be a big part of the game? Elements are still going to be a big part of it. Still going to keep the elements balanced.
  • Why did you transition from being a physicist to board game designer? Got tired of physics. Decided to make it more of a career. Kickstarted first game in grad school.
  • Any tweaks to combat rules that are interesting? Besides new status effects, combat mechanics are generally the same.
  • Will there be a 3 damage token? Yes
  • Do you get more cards or health, since this game seems like difficulty has been ramped up? No. Necromancer starts with 6 health.
  • Any changes to achievement quests? Didn’t feel like some of retirement goals were tied together? Any more customization for the decks? Personal quests are going to be changed, not going to be random. Going to start with a much smaller deck of things you can accomplish, as you unlock things, you unlock more. Because you’ve unlocked it, you can get it done in a reasonable amount of time. Perk system remains. Not much more customization for characters. Not much more unique backstory. Events will be a similar system, and outcomes might be tied to character with some sort of trait versus just character types. Battle goals will be more balanced.
  • Summons don’t scale well, any change with that? Some of summons that can resummon which is a change.
  • Is Enhancement system going to remain the same? Enhancement system will remain the same, will be unlocked over the course of the game.
  • Where does Frosthaven take place timewise? Set afterwards. Doesn’t matter for the most part, not much interaction. Finally going to get cypher to solve thing without the cypher at the end of Gloomhaven, probably?
  • Equally as difficult to get in as Gloomhaven? About the same difficulty. Might introduce tutorial system. That’s what Jaws of the Lion is for.
  • Gloomhaven was more semi-cooperative, can’t trade or sell between, is this going to be more collaborative? Town building is more collaborative. But still more semi-cooperative. Still dark brooding jerks.
  • Any plans for recharge pack? It is something they are talking about.
  • PVP? Toyed with idea with original one, but going first was so much better. Didn’t work out balance wise. Hasn’t be revisited and don’t plan to.
  • Mind thief plushy? Longer project, but working on it.
  • How does Calendar work? Just one year, just those two seasons? There are multiple years. Go through cycle of summer/winter, summer nicer things, winter worse things.
  • How far does it progress each scenario? Every time you finish a set of scenarios will progress one time unit, and 15 time units per season.

Wooo, that’s all the information, I can catch my breath again. But that’s Frosthaven. Sorry for the wall of text, but not much for images thus far, and I’ve spent some time with this, so I’m not going to track them all down.

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