Jaws of the Lion is the introductory stand alone box set for Gloomhaven, containing 4 new hero characters and 16 monster types along with a new shorter campaign story. The original game is well documented for being such a huge box of components that it can feel overwhelming to find what you need and set it all up. The aim of this set is to walk you through the rules in a step by step process and just make everything more accessible.
Gloomhaven is already established as one of the great tactical dungeon crawler games, with a huge interlinked campaign, unlockable heroes and branching paths to the story, and it has seen more gameplay with my group than anything else. It is not perfect though, the storyline just seems to get lost over time and it is not game of surprise exploration but a formula of tight tactical scenarios you need to puzzle out with the heroes you have. It excelled within a group setting, but i found it much less engaging to play solo even though i wanted to, with set up and slow character progression an issue.
Jaws of the Lion is amazing at what it does, it has a smaller tighter story to follow so you do not feel lost, and the way it slowly adds rules makes it easy to learn and follow. It has restored my interest in the game as i solo or two play through the book, and for me splitting the stories of the main box into smaller manageable section or booklets would have made a better product. Nothing significant has changed to the gameplay, and i really like the heroes in this set too, and of course these are compatible across both game editions. The whole experience of this game is scaled down in complexity, but there is still plenty to see and its contents are comparable with other core dungeon crawl game sets of this price, though of course a lot of this one is standee based rather than models.
This is the game i would recommend getting, it is manageable and complete in itself, and you can expand into the huge Gloomhaven box afterwards if you feel the need to get more content. It hits the right spot for me to solo or experience the game with two players, and i feel like i can complete it before i lose interest. Overall I am really impressed by it’s design and for now it has cemented its brand position again in my lists when my interest was waning. Of course i had to paint up the models for this dungeon crawl game, and for once with just four models this was a relatively quick experience.
We do have a whole new big box version called Frosthaven to come, and yet i am undecided how much i want or need that one with all the content i already have. Given it became the highest backed kickstarter of all time, it means that for most people they just want more and more content, but for playing at home i am just not sure how i will get through another huge similar box alongside other games i will be getting.