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Gloomhaven’s bite-sized board game Buttons & Bugs coming from Mountains of Madness designer

Finally, a Gloomhaven box below lethal throwing weight.

Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs promotional trailer screenshot
Image credit: Cephalofair Games

An upcoming board game from the creator of Gloomhaven embraces the well-heeled joke about the series’ massive box sizes. Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs will fit its solo strategic experience in a box that reportedly weighs less than a single pound.

Publisher Cephalofair detailed Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs via a July 5th update to the ongoing Gloomhaven Grand Festival on Backerkit. What initially seemed like a convenient way to handle pre-orders for a second printing of Frosthaven, along with a colossal miniature offering, has instead become a platform for designer Isaac Childres and the rest of the team to unveil several new projects.

Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs is a strictly single-player board game that claims it will distil the series’ trademark tactical combat into a compact and portable form that relies on a grand total of 100 cards, along with tiny character boards to track nearly every bit of game information. Scenarios are contained on a single card, which uses tiny miniatures and coloured cubes to track positioning on a hexagonal grid.

The best board games to get on your table in 2023.Watch on YouTube

Players can choose amongst the six core Gloomhaven classes, and all of their abilities are contained within four double-sided cards. Like the original, the top and bottom offer different strategic choices along with a flat movement and attack option. Unlike the original, full-sized game, ability cards are used twice (they have a clearly marked A and B side) before they are discarded from the player’s hand.

Enemies move according to simple AI commands listed on their card and all attacks - player and enemy - use a single six-sided modifier die to determine the result. The number of components have been intentionally slimmed down, relative to its massive predecessor, so that the solo player doesn’t have 14 different cards, miniature, modifier tokens and trackers to keep in their head at all times.

Over the course of 20 included scenarios, characters will level up in ways that should feel very familiar to Gloomhaven veterans. Modifier cards can be upgraded to offer a more favourable spread, and new, stronger ability cards can be added to their deck. Gear and items also return, printed on the flipside of scenario cards - Buttons & Bugs wastes no extra space.

Announcement video for Gloomhaven: Buttons & BugsWatch on YouTube

Gloomhaven: Buttons & Bugs is based on the award-winning Gloomholdin’, the independent creation of Joe Klipfel that recreated the flow of combat encounters using a mere 18 cards. Klipfel has returned, alongside co-designer Nikki Valens to expand that initial design into a fully fledged game that plays through a full session in about 20 minutes. Valens previously worked on cosmic horror board game Mountains of Madness 2nd Edition and Artisans of Splendent Vale.

Those interested in pre-ordering the game can do so for $15 through the ongoing Gloomhaven Backerkit crowdfunding campaign, which also recently doled out some new information on the upcoming Gloomhaven RPG. Cephalofair currently predicts boxes will begin shipping to backers in November of this year.

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