TableTopTakes: Frosthaven – The New Stuff
I’m not going to do a full review of Frosthaven, it is a great game. If you want to see what I think of Frosthaven, you can find what I think of Gloomhaven. Or, I can just say, I beat Gloomhaven and I went on and got Frosthaven, so yes, I clearly like this system. But Frosthaven offers some new stuff so let’s see if that is good or just added baggage to an already great game.
New Elements of Frosthaven
Now, I haven’t experienced everything yet. We’ve started to see a bunch of it at this point. And a lot of it is around the town phase, so I’m going to spend most of my time talking about those areas. But it is really the area where most of the changes occurred. Gloomhaven had a little map where events occurred for the city. Here, there is no city, but a settlement that you can build up.
To start the foundation of of the new things you need to know about the changes to loot drops. In Gloomhaven everything that dropped was money, a wolf, it has money. It’s a classic video game type of thing, that wolf just dropped a legendary set of armor. But Frosthaven works to fix that. You still get money, but it’s not the only thing that you get.
You get wood, metal, pelts, and various plants as well. And all of these have additional purposes. It isn’t just to be more thematic, which it is, but it’s also important for the other new things, which I’ll talk about below. I like that you don’t know what you’re going to get, you find a loot drop, you’re drawing from a deck of loot cards built specifically for that case.
And let’s start with that town building. Town building is a blast, for me, because it gives another element to the game to plan around. Now your gold is basically just for you to buy items or upgrade cards with stickers. Instead you need to determine what you’re doing with all of your loot. It might, and generally does, take wood, metal, and furs to build up the town.
Without going into too many details on the buildings, we’ve started to get our city built up. Adding some places that help up produce resources as well as upgrading other places. One of the big elements is the walls, at times Frosthaven might be attacked, so you need to build up walls. But there are limiting factors to what you can build. You need to be able to push up the prosperity level as well, because otherwise you can’t build some walls, or buildings, or upgrade the buildings.
There is more to Frosthaven than just adding more buildings, but a lot of it is what the buildings give to you. Like I said, sometimes resources, and other times, it helps with other areas.
One of those areas is crafting. With crafting it’s another spot to spend those resources that you collected. Again mainly the wood, metal, or hide that you’ve collected. And this is another way to get items. I like that it, again, gives you uses for more than just the money. You can buy items, but a lot of the items are crafted which means that it’s an area you need to think about.
As you can probably start to see, you need to consider what you are spending your resources on. And we just recently upgraded this building. It opens up more options and it opens up options that need other options. Not going into specifics, again, you might need a previously crafted item that you add onto to get the next “level” of the item.
Then there is brewing potions. This is new as well. Potions in Gloomhaven were another one of those things that you could just buy. Gloomhaven is a well established city, Frosthaven is not. So you need to brew your own potions. That’s combining items together that you’d gotten from looting.
The most fun element, in my opinion, is that you don’t know what you’re brewing. My character isn’t an alchemist, so how should I know what I’m doing. I’m basically mixing ingredients together and hoping that it turns into something good. I think as we unlock more we might start to speculate on a rhyme or reason, but we’ll have to see. Thus far what we’ve made has been good, but not always what we expected.
I like how well these new systems work. There is one downside, though, it’s added work. That isn’t a negative, unless, you want to get in two scenarios a night. We play from 7:30, probably starting at 7:45 really, until after 9 to get a scenario done. That isn’t too bad, just over an hour, but with the town phase it takes a bit longer so we don’t feel like we can complete two scenarios.
This isn’t all the town phase, though, part of it that isn’t new, but might be if you’ve only played base Gloomhaven, is the secondary map book. It’s to help with fog of war, that is fine. But it means during the scenario you need to setup a bit more. And that also adds to the scenario time. So small maps that we could probably get through in under an hour are going to take longer.
That’s the smallest of negatives for the game. If you want to play Frosthaven, you should already be onboard for a massive campaign game, possibly stretching over years. If you play more often, it might just be a year. This is a great game, it does what Gloomhaven does. It adds on to Gloomhaven’s lore, and creates its own lore as well. And there are still other new elements that I haven’t fully explored which I’m very excited for.
My Grade: A+
Gamer Grade: A+
Casual Grade: D+
(it’s just a lot for casual gamers)