Friday, June 21, 2024

Finding Frosthaven Part One: A (Spoiler Free) Look Inside

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Hello and welcome to a little bit of an experiment here with our board game coverage. See, some games we get sent here are so big and so complicated I need to unbox them first before I even dig into them. They always have so many nice components that I try to show them off in front of the camera. But one of the more recent games I got made even that formula difficult. That game was, of course, Frosthaven, a HOTLY anticipated title that I’m still stoked about getting the chance to play (Thanks Cephalofair!). But hoo boy is it a monster. It’s so big I think I need to apologize to my mailman.

But with that size comes a small conundrum: how do I fit that into a video? Well, I couldn’t. Not without equipment that I just don’t have access to yet. So I thought well, what if we used those photography skills I’ve been developing the past few years and do it as an article. And thus you have this! My first ever text unboxing that will be a part of an at least THREE part series covering this immense game. It’s good timing too, since the second printing of Frosthaven has just launched on Backerkit as part of the Gloomhaven Grand Festival. Let’s strap in and get our cardboard punching fingers ready as we take our first steps into Frosthaven.

A World of Cardboard

There is so much cardboard in this game. Maybe a few trees worth by my estimates (I know nothing about cardboard). So if you end up getting this game I’d recommend setting aside a couple days just to devote to setting the game up…most of which will be spent punching out cardboard standees. Because yes, every single monster and boss (and even a few NPC’s) is represented here by multiple cardboard standees. In the picture below each bag contains at least four or five little critters plus their name plate.

Frosthaven enemy standees in bags
I hope you recycle

The hard thing about this is that the sheer volume of them makes sorting hard, and it’s not really very intuitive figuring out what goes where. Some of the monster categories are spread out thanks to their size, and matching name plates and cards to creatures is easier said than done.

Once those are done you’ve got all of those complete (and you’ve finished your season of The Sopranos) you can move on to the various tiles included in the game. These aren’t as hard to do, luckily, since they’re big.

Frosthaven map tiles

The little tokens you use to represent damage and map locations etc.? Those are also cardboard and SUPER TINY (see below). I’m pretty sure I’ve found a few that found their way into other games just because they flew off in the process of unboxing. They do come in a lovely plastic tray (as do most of the components) and don’t move around so it’s not the worst setup.

Frosthaven tokens in tray

The Changing Lands

I want to give the folks at Cephalofair credit. The board for Frosthaven, which is a map of the area you explore, is maybe one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in both board game AND TTRPG. It’s got a beautiful authenticity to it like it was actually drawn and it’s quite evocative. But in that style the relevant info is clear and easy to see so you don’t get lost squinting between landmarks.

Frosthaven map board

Of course like most similar games there’s plenty of little stickers to put on the map to reveal how your adventurers change their world. I’ve not gotten a chance to see these in action yet, but I am excited. I appreciate that they kept the visual style of the map consistent so the stickers wouldn’t mess up the continuity.

Frosthaven stickers

Can’t Forget The Player

The player’s items are where things get really nice thanks to a combination of a few things. For one, the different things for each character are already pre-boxed and ready to go when you unearth them. Each one has a fantastic piece of art, some corresponding stands, and a great little board to tell you everything you need. AND each one has a fantastic mini to go with it too (more on that later).

All of the things you need are separated out quite nicely (as seen below) and the box is organized into lovely layers. As you go down down down in the box you’ll reveal more new things including the player boxes (the big things on the top right), the health trackers (bottom left) and the miniature boxes (left). On top of this goes the next layer with the tokens and map, and then you top all of that with the massive pile of cardboard. It’s not as clean as I’d LIKE, but it is still damn well organized for something of this size.

Frosthaven box bottom

And then there’s the minis. The real star of the show despite making up at most a tenth of the things happening in Frosthaven. Each character has a mini (of course some characters aren’t unlocked until the story progresses further) and they’re extraordinarily high quality. Below you can see some of my favorites, including the mini that goes with the Bone Shaper character above.

So that’s the “greatest hits” of the inside of Frosthaven, and trust me there’s a lot to be seen in here I can’t even show you because it’ll reveal too much. But I am playing through it and will have a fuller review coming down the line as it goes. Trust me, it’s gonna be a doozy.

To learn more, check out the Gloomhaven Grand Festival on BackerKit, which features not only the Second Printing of Frosthaven but also a new printing of Gloomhaven, some Gloomhaven minis, and the Gloomhaven TTRPG!

Images and Review Copy via Cephalofair

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