There’s no question the right board game can bring so many hours of entertainment that it’s worth a heft price tag. Stone Age, Lords of Waterdeep with expansions, and Red Dragon Inn are just three examples of games we adore that aren’t cheap. But the many, many hours of gameplay these games provide make the larger price tag worth it.
Gloomhaven is a game that creates a huge array of reactions. From those who are DnD or tabletop RPG fans there has been overwhelming support. The percentage of ratings that are perfect versus less than perfect are outright insane when you look at any site selling or reviewing Gloomhaven. Players love the in-depth world, multiple campaigns, and the really in-depth commitment of a long form campaign in board game form.
But many who would try the game are asking a fair question: Why is Gloomhaven so expensive? And is it really worth that price?
Gloomhaven costs so much because there are over 21 lbs of materials published, printed, and manufactured in each copy. These include detailed minis, glossy illustrated guide books, a map, supplemental supplies, game pieces, and more. By comparison the average board game only weighs 2.5 to 4 lbs.
Based on these reasons there’s little reason to believe there will be a major price drop in the future, not to mention the the quite valid argument that the cost for Gloomhaven is justified due to high quality, incredible reviews, as well as over 200 hours of campaign gameplay.
Why Gloomhaven Costs So Much
That wasn’t a misprint. This game even without any add-ons or expansions has over 20 lbs of materials. Aside from that causing huge shipping costs and just major manufacturing costs, this is a very well put together game. They paid professional writers, artists, game designers, and put a pretty major marketing campaign behind it, as well.
All of that costs money and the average game takes an entire team of full-time workers years to develop a game. Gloomhaven certainly wasn’t your average game, and those years of salary add up.
When you see the sheer size of the box and how much you get for it…you’re actually not surprised by the price tag. If anything, you might be impressed they were able to keep it was close to the $100 mark as they did.
The average price of Gloomhaven is $130-140 although sometimes you can find it on sale for around $100. Prices are going to vary immensely based on provider, sales, shipping, taxes, etc.
But it’s safe to say even with a great deal, you’re going to be looking at a decent price tag with Gloomhaven.
For some people this might be a killer up front. But if you’re a value shopper and you love the tabletop RPG types of games like Pathfinder or DnD, Gloomhaven is the king of the board games out there that hits this itch and provides plenty for the price. Considering there’s 200 hours of gameplay, that comes out to about 50 cents or 70 cents an hour of fun.
That’s actually a pretty dang good deal when you look at things that way.
While the game is designed for all the campaigns to be gone through once, there are ways to replay Gloomhaven and you can always tackle it with another group. The mini-campaigns or “scenarios” found in the book affect the world so it can be a touch tricky, but a little research ahead of time makes it easy to learn how to play in a way that allows the game to be played again and again.
There’s no argument
Will Gloomhaven Expansions Be Expensive?
So far Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion is the only thing that might be considered an expansion even though this works completely as a stand alone game happening in the Gloomhaven universe. It is far cheaper than the original, sitting at less than half the price on most listings online as well as at actual retail locations.
With nearly 200 hours of gameplay in the original, plus whatever Jaws of the Lion brings to the table, most even dedicated gaming groups aren’t going to have any problems finding plenty more playing time for each game that exists already.
Is Gloomhaven Worth the Price?
Frankly this is a question that is going to depend on the player, but there are a few factors that are worth looking at.
One: This game definitely is NOT a rip-off.
Whether you’re willing to spend triple digits on a board game or not, Gloomhaven offers enough pieces and components to justify the price. First of all, just on pure weight Gloomhaven is the size of 5-11 normal board games. From that perspective the price suddenly doesn’t seem so unreasonable.
Add in the fact there are so many pieces, so many minis, quality play mats, enemy pieces, and an awesomely written, illustrated, and put-together scenario book, and you can see that there are many great components there. 20 lbs worth, in fact.
Two: Is the game your style of game?
If you buy a game for $20 and it delivers a “Meh” experience you’re not out much. With a much more expensive game you want to make sure that this is a game you will enjoy.
For Gloomhaven if you love Pathfinder, DnD, or other similar high fantasy tabletop RPG systems then Gloomhaven is likely to be right up your alley. This is designed to be a multi-player game (although there are ways to play solo) and it’s worth noting that this game works best when you have a solid gaming group that meets consistently.
Setup can be a bit of a grind, so be aware that’s a thing.
But if you love high fantasy role playing games you’re likely to absolutely love Gloomhaven and is likely worth the investment. If you’re not a fan of this genre then you should probably look at other games instead.
If you’re sold, feel free to click on this link to check up to date pricing on Gloomhaven!
Gloomhaven on Steam
This is a brief section to say that while Gloomhaven on Steam is a pretty cool game with serious upside, it’s not a digitized version of the board game. There are many similarities, the mechanics are based on the board game, and some of the missions definitely are based on some of the scenarios in the actual board game.
Great addition to the library, but not the same thing.
I’m not necessarily against a high price tag with a game. My one scenario run with Gloomhaven was a blast and I really look forward to joining the group for future runs. If the entertainment value is high enough, and if you get enough hours for the money, then a high price tag is fully justified. The question is: Does Gloomhaven deliver enough value to be worth the over $100 price tag that it’s sure to be almost everywhere you look.
Gloomhaven’s popularity is undeniable. The high ratings are incredible and the playing experience, in my experience, was as wonderful as a really good DnD one shot. That said it won’t be for everyone.
I understand those who balk at the level of investment for one board game but for what you get, in my opinion it’s definitely worth it if this is a game you believe you’ll enjoy.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.