Gloomhaven Guide – 10 Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Table of Contents

If you are facing issues in Gloomhaven then do not worry. Our Gloomhaven guide will give you some of the best tips and tricks.

In Gloomhaven, players will try to win in combat-based scenarios that are different in difficulty depending on their number of teammates. These fights are in a fantasy-themed, campaign-based tactical skirmish game. A branching story consisting of 95 scenarios drives one to four players through a cooperative and campaign-driven game. During the campaign, stickers and sealed envelopes are placed on the board and cards, and when certain criteria are met, they are opened.

In the game, characters and monsters move around in dungeons and cellars using hex tiles. During each turn, players choose two cards that have a top half and a bottom half. They choose the top half of one card and the bottom of the other to allow their characters to move, heal, and attack monsters simultaneously. In this game, randomization is handled by a deck of cards, not dice, as is usually the case.

Now that you know the basics of the game, let’s learn more about it in detail with the help of our Gloomhaven guide. 

Gloomhaven Guide: Burn Cards

There are some cards in your mercenary’s deck that are more powerful than others. These are usually “burn” cards, which are indicated in the bottom-right corner. As a result of these powerful 1-time effects, your mercenary’s chances of remaining alive are greatly reduced, as they don’t get discarded but burnt.

Mercenaries who can’t play two cards at the beginning of a round are of no use. For instance, the Mindthief has a hand size of 10. If players never burns a card, they can last 25 rounds if they only rest when they run out of cards and recovers the cards from the discard pile. If they burn a card before the first rest, they will exhaust on turn 21.

Gloomhaven Guide: Monster Focus

The monsters in Gloomhaven follow a strict set of rules. You need to understand how monsters move and which members of your party will be targeted during each round by understanding how they focus and move. Learn about monster focus and movement so that your mercenaries can deal with and avoid damage more effectively.

There is no attack on the monster’s ability card, so it will find a focus as if it was using a melee attack. Monsters want to move as little as possible. The enemy who is earlier on the initiative order will have greater priority if multiple enemies are tied for being closest to the monster.

Gloomhaven gameplay
Gloomhaven gameplay

Gloomhaven Guide: Blessings

You can power up your characters in Gloomhaven in several ways during the campaign. Donating to the Sanctuary of the Great Oak will give your character two Bless cards in their attack modifier deck, so you can make your next scenario a little easier.

When dealing with high-health enemies, these effectively double your attack and can literally change the game. You can also advance your party’s prosperity by contributing to the Sanctuary. You will gain prosperity at certain donation thresholds, enabling you to acquire new enemies and giving discounts to merchants. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to purchase a Blessing in Gloomhaven if you have the extra money available.

Have a backup plan

Missions have a hidden timer based on how many turns your character can survive given the size of his or her starting hand. Mercenaries need to play aggressively, even when enemies can turtle up and defend indefinitely. If enemies go with a very fast initiative or use a defensive ability to disrupt your primary plan, always have a backup plan.

The defaulting of cards that are no longer relevant is perfectly acceptable, but it could leave you struggling and lagging behind your fellow mercenaries. One way to move forward in the dungeon is to deal damage to enemies while constantly moving toward the next room.


Mercenaries in Gloomhaven become exhausted if they run out of cards, which is a way of expressing their stamina bar. Players may feel tempted to rest and reapply powerful attacks or abilities when they discard at least two to three of their cards. However, this could exhaust a mercenary much faster than they would like. In fact, it’s preferable to browse through the majority of the card selection before opting to take a rest.


If you are surprised by how often your mercenary gets hurt or poisoned, you should take action. The status effects can have dire consequences for your heroes. You can remove these annoying debuffs by using a small heal card like “Heal 1.” 

In the case of wounds, the status will disappear, and heals will still be given. In this scenario, mercenaries that are poisoned do not receive the healing benefit from the healing action. Consider bringing along a card that provides small amounts of healing if you get nerfed in this scenario.

Gloomhaven gameplay
Gloomhaven gameplay

Opening Doors is important

While the aggressive play is encouraged in the game and players are advised to open dungeon doors quickly, mercenaries who do that are essential. A tank or rogue will be able to take oncoming damage or turn invisible, so it is recommended that players use a tank or rogue. Enemies are often drawn to the nearest mercenary, including ranged foes.

It is also possible to use items in this situation. Ending a turn at an open door may lead to a barrage of enemy attacks. If a mercenary is weak or unable to withstand multiple attacks, they’re gone. It is therefore recommended that players wait until the beginning of the next turn to use this type of mercenary to open a door.

Make use of the Obstacles

The terrain in Gloomhaven can be used to your advantage to hurt or funnel enemies into certain areas, so you can use it to your advantage. There are several things that get in your way or damage you when you enter a tile in Gloomhaven. It is best to use traps when attacking shielded enemies. A trap ignores shields and deals direct damage to the target’s health.

By using traps, you can attack enemies and eviscerate their health. Furthermore, line of sight can help you get closer to ranged monsters. 

It is easy to predict where monsters will move on their turn since ranged enemies will move in a position to deal the most damage. By using choke points, you can funnel enemies into narrow hallways and doorways. This will protect you from melee enemies as well as help you set up nice AOE damage for your mercenaries.

Priority enemies

It is possible for some enemies to spawn, summon or split themselves into new enemies. Whenever possible, you should take action to kill these enemies because they can rapidly flood the board. One of the reasons for choosing Gloomhaven is its finely tuned difficulty. It is very common and very rewarding to scrape out your last attack before exhausting it. This balance can be interrupted by even a single summoned monster, converting an otherwise manageable dungeon into a nightmare.

Gloomhaven enemies
Gloomhaven enemies

Purchase stamina potion

The best items and equipment for mercenaries are those that complement their playstyle, but few are universally useful, like stamina potions. The moment you have 10 gold, you should buy these and equip your mercenaries. You can recover one card from your discard pile at any time with this item, which is available at the very beginning of the game.

This might not sound like a huge deal, but suffice it to say that the impact is so strong that it had to be reduced from retrieving 2 cards and is still regarded as borderline OP.

While the game seems easy when you start, but after getting into it for a few minutes, you will get confused and face other problems. Therefore, you will need the Gloomhaven Guide so that you can have a better understanding of what you should do.

For more related content check out our dedicated website Gamition.

More E-Sports news:

Follow our dedicated E-Sports page for instant E-Sports news and update

Edited by: Parth J