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Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone game that takes place before the events of Gloomhaven.
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a standalone game that takes place before the events of Gloomhaven. The game includes four new characters — Valrath Red Guard (tank, crowd control), Inox Hatchet (ranged damage), Human Voidwarden (support, mind-control), and Quatryl Demolitionist (melee damage, obstacle manipulation) — that can also be used in the original Gloomhaven game.
The game also includes 16 monster types (including seven new standard monsters and three new bosses) and a new campaign with 25 scenarios that invites the heroes to investigate a case of mysterious disappearances within the city. Is it the work of Vermlings, or is something far more sinister going on?
Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is aimed at a more casual audience to get people into the gameplay more quickly. All of the hard-to-organize cardboard map tiles have been removed, and instead players will play on the scenario book itself, which features new artwork unique to each scenario. The last barrier to entry — i.e., learning the game — has also been lowered through a simplified rule set and a five-scenario tutorial that will ease new players into the experience.
Gloomhaven is arguably the pinnacle of 'Procedural Strategy Games', that is to say, Chess but updated for the 21st century. Dressed as a fantasy dungeon crawl where players get mission and mission of battling monsters with personalized maneuver cards while growing stronger and better equipped over time, it is very addictive and a moderate to experienced game of strategic combat with some overall story thrown in for good measure.
So, it was a brilliant move for the makers of Gloomhaven to release an introductory game 'Jaws of the Lion' that guides new players into Gloomhaven and, indeed, strategy games of this sort in general. Holding the players' hands by easing them into every rule over the course of 5 scenarios (out of roughly 25), it does so without oversimplifying things or expecting too much either. The special Guidebook is a joy to read through and is among the clearest in the game industry, leaving the finer details or clarifications to a separate Reference book for later reading.
Even if you don't like strategy games or fantasy dungeon crawling, the magic of Gloomhaven and Jaws of the Lion is that it continuously feeds you enough variety and excitement of 'What comes next?' to wet your appetite for adventure and curiosity in how your story will unfold for hundreds of hours to come.