Frosthaven vs. Gloomhaven

While we eagerly await the arrival of Frosthaven, it seems like a good time to go over all the things that are new in Frosthaven compared to Gloomhaven.

This post is for those of you who don’t want to sort through more than 85 updates on Kickstarter as well as the Kickstarter page itself. I did it so you don’t have to.

Concepts in Frosthaven


Buildings (KS): Frosthaven is a new city (really more of an outpost) which means that you will have the opportunity to help it grow. This can be done by building buildings in the form of stickers that you add to the board. These buildings will give you certain bonuses and opportunities.

But how do you build these buildings? Well, this is where loot comes in.

Loot (KS): Money tokens have been replaced with loot tokens. This is due to the fact that money isn’t really all that valuable in Frosthaven. Rather, resources are key. Therefore, whenever you loot a loot token, you draw a card from the top of the loot deck, granting you certain resources, such as herbs, lumber or hides. At the beginning of each scenario, specific cards are added to this loot deck to reflect the fact that thematically more hides may come your way when fighting a wolf than when trying to escape a deadly machine.

Puzzles (#56): Not a lot is known about the contents of this puzzle book (for obvious reasons) except for the fact that it’ll reveal more of the history surrounding the area.

Morale (#12, 65): Morale works sort of like reputation, except for the fact that there’s no innate benefit to having it go down. You want this up as much as possible.

And why do you want it up? It gives you bonus to your defense value.

Attacks on Frosthaven (#12, 65): During your campaign, Frosthaven might be attacked. When this happens, you flip over a card from your Town Guard Modifier Deck (think attack modifier deck, but the class is the city). You then add that number to the defense value of Frosthaven. This value can be increased through various means such as by building buildings or through certain events. Failing this attack will damage your buildings, leaving them either Damaged or Wrecked:

  • Damaged: Spend resources to repair it instantly, or ignore to lose morale by having the townspeople fix it.
  • Wrecked: Costs more resources, can’t be done immediately. Will spend a week in wrecked state.

Masteries (#63, 81): Masteries work sort of like class specific battle goals. Each character has two masteries that provide interesting objectives for players to achieve. They may, however, not be achievable until the character reaches a higher power level. The goal with these is to try to communicate to the players what a specific class is capable of (such as having six summon abilities in your active area). The reward for completing a mastery is simply a one-time reward of 15 experience.

Traits (#12, 55): Each class will have a combination of three traits as well as a fourth race specific trait that may come up occasionally (such as in events). These traits are: Strong, Nimble, Armored, Educated, Resourceful, Wild, Outcast, Arcane, Persuasive, Intimidating.

Conditions (#51, 73, 82): Five new conditions are introduced with Frosthaven:

  • Regenerate: At the start of each of your turns, perform a “Heal 1, self” action. Removed when you take damage.
  • Bane: At the end of your next turn, suffer 10 damage and remove the condition. It is also removed if you are healed.
  • Injure: You cannot use items. Removed at the end of your next turn.
  • Brittle: The next time you suffer damage, suffer twice the damage and remove the conditions. It is also removed if you are healed.
  • Ward: The next time you suffer damage, suffer half the damage (rounded down) and remove the condition.

Most of the conditions from Gloomhaven appear to still be the same, except for some new icons as well as Invisible now allowing figures to move through (but not stop on) invisible enemies such that they no longer act as obstacles.

Seasons (KS): Contrasting with Gloomhaven, Frosthaven has two seasons (Summer and Winter). This has an effect on the events you’ll draw (more about events later!).

Alchemy board (KS): You will be able to dabble in a bit of alchemy by combining the resources you collect. Whenever you do this, you permanently reveal what happens when those two items are combined. Not a lot is known about what can be alchemized and what they can be alchemized into, but it’s probably safe to presume that you can brew potions with them.

Campaign tracker (#18): Included with Frosthaven is a new way to track your campaign. Rather than just crossing off boxes when you’ve completed certain scenarios and unlocked others, you now have a sort of advent calendar. If you’ve ever played Pandemic Legacy, it’ll work a bit similar to that where you open a flap at certain points, giving you your next mission. Stickers will also be hidden this way so as to minimize the amounts of spoilers up front.


Updated design (#73, 74, 82): In particular the ability cards and character mats have had a design overhaul. First off, the ability cards are now more icon based to reduce clutter. And I mean, a lot more icon based. There are barely any words left on the cards (except for the name). The character mats have also been updated. There is no longer a round summary on each board and instead, you get Class Notes explaining how your character works as well as a Rules Reference for specific effects that are important for that class. On the back side of the mats, they have also added certain metrics and a bar showing you how good that class is at that aspect of the game (sort of like in Spirit Island). This is metrics such as Melee, Ranged and Mobility.

Enhancement dot (#79): The enhancements for abilities have also been updated in that the dot that you would place a sticker on has now been turned into five distinct icons, depending on what enhancements can go on what cards. For example, the square mark can only hold a +1 whereas a circle mark can hold both a +1 and an element.

Events (#12, 61, 75): Gloomhaven had 150 event cards, while Frosthaven currently has a total of 275 event cards (that’s an 83% increase!). This is due to the fact that rather than the two decks from Gloomhaven, Frosthaven has a total of four different event decks, depending not only on where you are, but also when you are:

SummerThese events are generally good. Good stuff is happening in town and players will earn benefits.These events are generally neutral, leaning toward bad. But not too bad. Something befalls the players on the road, they are mildly inconvenienced or allowed to trade on thing to get a different thing.
WinterWinter has come, and things are not great. Resources must be spent to stay alive. Threats are attacking, testing the town’s defenses. Stuff like that. If player’s can’t ward off the calamity, they will usually suffer a loss of morale or damage to their buildings.Things are bad! Traveling in the winter is harsh, and any number of terrible things can happen, especially if you are not prepared.

But it’s not just the fact that new decks have been added. The events have also been revamped slightly to make it more fun. This is done mainly by making sure that every choice is relevant and fun. No more events where one choice is the obvious choice. Also, they are removing almost all recycled events, making sure that every event card is new and exciting.

Attack modifiers (#84): These cards have had their design changed slightly to make their effects more clear. This means adding a +0 to complex attack modifier cards, so there’s no doubt about the amount of damage you do.

Prosperity (#12): Prosperity now mainly goes up depending on what buildings have been built and upgraded.

Perks (#81): The perks have been updated in quite an interesting way that I would highly recommend you go read about in update #81. But the gist of it is that they are attempting to add more difficult and meaningful decisions when selecting perks such as by making better additive perks. Another new element of the perk system is the introduction of multi-mark perks which are perks that require you to mark multiple boxes before getting the perk.

Frosthaven is also introducing non-AMD (attack modifier deck) perks for the classes that don’t rely on their AMD.

Advantage w/ Rolling Modifier (#81): The rules for how these two interact have changed: “If your first draw with Advantage or Disadvantage is a rolling modifier, continue drawing until a non-rolling modifier is drawn. Then, draw one more card, ignoring any rolling icon on this card. The last two cards drawn (the first non-rolling modifier and the one after it) are then compared. If the attack has Advantage, apply the effects of all initial rolling modifiers and the better of the last two cards. If the attack has Disadvantage, ignore all initial rolling modifiers and apply whichever of the last two cards is worse. If your first draw with Advantage or Disadvantage is not a rolling modifier but your second draw is, still ignore the rolling icon on that card.

Components of Frosthaven

Update #85 gave us a nice overview of the amount of components but in the following table, I’ve included the percentage increase to show just how much more content is included in Frosthaven.

ComponentGloomhavenFrosthaven% increase
Card decks121742%
Item cards253*40460%
Monster groups475823%
Total cards1700240041%
Unique monster ability cards23234448%
Unlockable envelopes317467%
*In the update, this number is 133 which is incorrect. 133 is the number of unique item cards in Gloomhaven, whereas 404 is the total number of item cards in Frosthaven (including duplicates).

Now, of course all of the numbers for Frosthaven aren’t final, so this is still just an estimate, but it’s still a lot more.

Token trays (#26): Isaac has promised us at least two token trays with lids. One for all the counters used in a game session, such as damage tokens, loot tokens, condition tokens, numbered and lettered tracking tokens, element tokens, plus the treasure and trap tiles. And the other one is for all the overlay tiles. Also, there may be a tray for monster standees, but probably not as it would increase the size of the box even more.

New classes (#9, 34): The classes in Frosthaven are generally more complex than the ones in Gloomhaven and thanks to a very successful Kickstarter, there are 17 playable classes rather than 16. It’s also possible for these classes to be from the enemy races in the game by you being able to befriend them, thus unlocking character classes from that race.

A small update to the components is the fact that every character now includes standees and stands (we don’t know the color yet, but it may be green) for both characters and their summons (which will now also have unique artwork).

Scenario book and section book (#16, 69, 71, 75, 84): Currently, the scenario book is at 184 pages, while the section book is at 197 pages. These have had their lay-out updated with more easy-to-reference boxes.

There are 138 scenarios with 0-64 being the main campaign and 65-137 being the side missions. Scenario 0 will be a tutorial mission (similar to the one in Jaws of the Lion). It won’t have any impact on the campaign and can thus be skipped if you already know the game.

Worth noting is that the section book includes 191 entries that are not directly tied to scenarios. Rather, these will be read whenever certain things happen, such as certain events or constructing buildings.

Weight (#74, 85): In update #74, we were told that the weight of Frosthaven is going to be 12.6 kgs (~27 lbs). However, update #85 said that Frosthaven is bringing an additional 4.5 kgs (~10 lbs) compared to Gloomhaven. Gloomhaven weighs 9.16 kgs (20.2 lbs), so the final weight for Frosthaven is probably going to be around 13.66 kgs (30.2 lbs).

And that’s it!

That’s all the current changes we know about. I will try to keep this updated as more information is revealed, but please do let me know if I’ve missed anything.

What are you most excited for in Frosthaven? Please do let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Frosthaven vs. Gloomhaven”

  1. Thank you – this has me even more excited about Frosthaven, however, I do worry a little about having to track all of the new stuff.

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