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Reviewed in the United States on August 9, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

Jaws of the Lion is a fantastic evolution of Gloomhavens setup. Gloomhaven is a great game and deserves its ranking, but its hard to teach (and play) and the setup takes a while to get going. Jaws of the Lion shortcuts a lot of the setup and the starter senarios, the added text on cards, and the tips catapult this game up my personal play rankings. If you were on the fence about spending the money on Gloomhaven this is the game to play first. The rules and game play mechanics are unchanged and the game is far more coached.
This makes it easy to get the core gameplay down and that carries over very well to the original.

Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2021

Style: GameVerified Purchase

I am a solo gamer who is most interested in heavy, tactical and deep roleplaying type games. I am a huge fan of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and have played more than 700 solo hours there and have about 500 more hours planned.

Gloomhaven has been on my radar for years, but I didnt have the time to try something new, which, frankly is just another variant of what PACG already does for me: a roleplaying solo game. Thanks (!) to Covid, I have some time and got separated from my PACG collection, so onto Gloomhaven (bought, not opened) and JotL (opened and now played for more than 40 hours). There is, as the other reviews have pointed out, a whole lot to like about this game: tactical miniature combat in as streamlined a way as possible, great miniatures, a decent story, RPG-ish features, a puzzle like structure, fully co-operative play and a great monster/boss card system.

But the flaws are killing the fun for me, despite being a fairly tactical player and having an above average patience for the setup and being willing to replay failed scenarios.

1. I do not like game systems in video games or this kind of game where the monsters level up when you do. This has annoyed me as a designer idea forever. If I level up, I should then be able to go places I couldnt go before and then win. Having the monsters level up with me takes me out of the fun of leveling up. This is, of course, subjective. I would much prefer if the world was more open, but then I would learn: do NOT go to section X until you are level Y, unless you want to die, rather than, it doesnt matter where you go, the monsters get stronger when you do.

2. I played the Hatchet and Voidwarden in 2-player solo. They are OK and I like the Voidwarden but now they are simply stuck. I choose a scenario which locked me in a path which has unknowingly become impossible. Apparently, that character is really meant for 3 (or better yet 4) player games. Now I cant complete the game I have 30+ hours into without just bashing my head against the wall hoping for impossible wins, or just start over. Even playing on easy they are just stuck. I can house-rule a little bit but easy - easy? No thanks.

3. So, I started over as 2 player Demolitionist and Red Guard (the other 2 characters) and yes, it is a bit easier, but on my second scenario I got super unlucky in card draws and will need to restart the scenario. Well, 30 hours ago I did that with a smile and looked forward to the next play, but now, its just annoying and I dont want to play. The play system is fun, but you can get super unlucky 30 minutes into the game, 30 minutes after setup, and then there goes your fun. Take this with a grain of salt, Im still kind of pissed about being stuck the first time though.

4. The parts of the game that are abstracted (all games are abstracted in some way, of course) kind of take me away from the story. Card says attack 2. OK. Sword? Punch? Card says attack 2 - range 2. OK. Bow? Knife? If 2 very different acting characters have the same attack what are they doing? This doesnt seem to bother most people and I do like the card system... to a point, but it still takes me out of the story.

I will play. I will certainly finish the game someday but now Im not sure if I will bother opening the full Gloomhaven, since Ive read that the setup is a bear and needs more table space than I can easily handle and is even more swingy.

This game is worth your time and attention, it certainly is an experience and fun, but Im looking forward to going back to PACG right now and Im packing JotL away, at least for now. If and when that happens, and if my opinion changes, I will come back and change my review.

Other. Because Im trying to decide if I want to wade into the full Gloomhaven I tried some other options:

1. The box is very well laid out and doesnt need an insert. I bought one anyway and it helps with setup and play but is certainly not needed.
2. I bought the Sythe coins and use them instead of writing down the gp on the character sheets and it makes it look nicer but also isnt necessary (you can see them in my attached pictures).
3. I dont typically sleeve much but I bought a set to check them out. They also are not needed for JotL (unless you play with kids or sticky finger friends...) because you dont shuffle the cards much in a way that could damage them.
4. Instead of being tempted to shuffle any cards, I simply use a d4, d6, d8 and d10 dice: lightly shuffle cards then roll a dice to get more randomization.

EDIT: I have now finished the game with the Voidwarden and the Hatchet and Im trying the whole story again with the Demolitionist and the Red Guard. Im sorry to say, this game is FAR too swingy and it does NOT reward tactical play. Theme and interesting play? Sure, a bit. But even when you lower the difficulty and then again, and then again, you are going to get a couple bad card draws that block you from winning no matter what you do. Then, when you do win, youll look back and realize that you simply got the cards you needed (and the enemies didnt) right at the right times. Simply not a satisfying game unless you have LOADS of time to just keep resetting and resetting and resetting and .... you get the idea.

Customer

3.0 out of 5 stars JotL: please let me love you...
By Iron Giant on February 3, 2021

I am a solo gamer who is most interested in heavy, tactical and deep roleplaying type games. I am a huge fan of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and have played more than 700 solo hours there and have about 500 more hours planned.

Gloomhaven has been on my radar for years, but I didnt have the time to try something new, which, frankly is just another variant of what PACG already does for me: a roleplaying solo game. Thanks (!) to Covid, I have some time and got separated from my PACG collection, so onto Gloomhaven (bought, not opened) and JotL (opened and now played for more than 40 hours). There is, as the other reviews have pointed out, a whole lot to like about this game: tactical miniature combat in as streamlined a way as possible, great miniatures, a decent story, RPG-ish features, a puzzle like structure, fully co-operative play and a great monster/boss card system.

But the flaws are killing the fun for me, despite being a fairly tactical player and having an above average patience for the setup and being willing to replay failed scenarios.

1. I do not like game systems in video games or this kind of game where the monsters level up when you do. This has annoyed me as a designer idea forever. If I level up, I should then be able to go places I couldnt go before and then win. Having the monsters level up with me takes me out of the fun of leveling up. This is, of course, subjective. I would much prefer if the world was more open, but then I would learn: do NOT go to section X until you are level Y, unless you want to die, rather than, it doesnt matter where you go, the monsters get stronger when you do.

2. I played the Hatchet and Voidwarden in 2-player solo. They are OK and I like the Voidwarden but now they are simply stuck. I choose a scenario which locked me in a path which has unknowingly become impossible. Apparently, that character is really meant for 3 (or better yet 4) player games. Now I cant complete the game I have 30+ hours into without just bashing my head against the wall hoping for impossible wins, or just start over. Even playing on easy they are just stuck. I can house-rule a little bit but easy - easy? No thanks.

3. So, I started over as 2 player Demolitionist and Red Guard (the other 2 characters) and yes, it is a bit easier, but on my second scenario I got super unlucky in card draws and will need to restart the scenario. Well, 30 hours ago I did that with a smile and looked forward to the next play, but now, its just annoying and I dont want to play. The play system is fun, but you can get super unlucky 30 minutes into the game, 30 minutes after setup, and then there goes your fun. Take this with a grain of salt, Im still kind of pissed about being stuck the first time though.

4. The parts of the game that are abstracted (all games are abstracted in some way, of course) kind of take me away from the story. Card says attack 2. OK. Sword? Punch? Card says attack 2 - range 2. OK. Bow? Knife? If 2 very different acting characters have the same attack what are they doing? This doesnt seem to bother most people and I do like the card system... to a point, but it still takes me out of the story.

I will play. I will certainly finish the game someday but now Im not sure if I will bother opening the full Gloomhaven, since Ive read that the setup is a bear and needs more table space than I can easily handle and is even more swingy.

This game is worth your time and attention, it certainly is an experience and fun, but Im looking forward to going back to PACG right now and Im packing JotL away, at least for now. If and when that happens, and if my opinion changes, I will come back and change my review.

Other. Because Im trying to decide if I want to wade into the full Gloomhaven I tried some other options:

1. The box is very well laid out and doesnt need an insert. I bought one anyway and it helps with setup and play but is certainly not needed.
2. I bought the Sythe coins and use them instead of writing down the gp on the character sheets and it makes it look nicer but also isnt necessary (you can see them in my attached pictures).
3. I dont typically sleeve much but I bought a set to check them out. They also are not needed for JotL (unless you play with kids or sticky finger friends...) because you dont shuffle the cards much in a way that could damage them.
4. Instead of being tempted to shuffle any cards, I simply use a d4, d6, d8 and d10 dice: lightly shuffle cards then roll a dice to get more randomization.

EDIT: I have now finished the game with the Voidwarden and the Hatchet and Im trying the whole story again with the Demolitionist and the Red Guard. Im sorry to say, this game is FAR too swingy and it does NOT reward tactical play. Theme and interesting play? Sure, a bit. But even when you lower the difficulty and then again, and then again, you are going to get a couple bad card draws that block you from winning no matter what you do. Then, when you do win, youll look back and realize that you simply got the cards you needed (and the enemies didnt) right at the right times. Simply not a satisfying game unless you have LOADS of time to just keep resetting and resetting and resetting and .... you get the idea.

Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

I hate reviews that are not about the overall experience of the product so I am sorry that Im providing one now. However, I feel this is more beneficial (or in line with a product review) than those about the package being lost, damaged, or out of return policy since that doesnt properly represent the product.

ACTUAL PRODUCT PACKAGING REVIEW:
I just received the game (about 30 minutes ago) and, although Ill probably love the game, Im a little disappointed with the packaging. At initial glance, I thought the box was damaged because it was bulging (i.e. one side about a 1/2 inch higher than the other when sealed). Upon opening the box, I saw that it was due to the box being poorly designed. It barely holds the game after all the items are punched out and stored properly in the box. I quoted properly because I still cant figure out how to get everything to fit inside without the box bulging a little. As it stands and if using the original insert, its an extremely tight squeeze to the point I keep checking to make sure nothing is being bent. I wish the product/box designer would have given .25 to .50 inch more room for to allow a few more imperfect ways to repackage the game. That said (and even though I hate doing this), I may just remove the insert(s) to allow more ways to configure the game for repackaging purposes.

Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

If you already finished Gloomhaven, Jaws of the Lion might not be enough for you to play since it’s too short and too easier. Frosthaven is possible to be the right one. However, Gloomhaven is too heavy for me and both less than 10 years old kids, we never want to read the whole thing to start playing, so it sits there from 2018 to now. Jaws of the Lion provides a quick method for us to learning how to play Gloomhaven from fist 5 scenario, so we could catch up Gloomhaven easier later. The best thing is for the setting via book style map, so we don’t need to waste time for setting up. In addition, the storage is improved comparing with Gloomhaven to provide a the token tray. Overall, it does the job right as pre-Gloomhaven learning game.

Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

The shelf price is around $50 which is what I found this for. Contains everything you need for Gloomhaven fun in a relatively small(er) box. The four new characters are interesting though we have only played through our first session. A must buy if you loved the original Gloomhaven.

Reviewed in the United States on August 7, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

Gloomhaven is a simple yet complex game and Jaws of the lion is a great way to learn the rules as you play through the campaign. I have played through the original gloomhaven. And just purchased Jaws of the lion and another gloomhaven box to play with my wife and kids. Well worth every penny.

Top reviews from other countries

Rafael Imobac Pino Estevez

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect to learn the game and test it

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

This is an amazong way to learn the game and try to see if you will fully like it before buying the full game. So far amazed about the game. The fantasy and adventure is almost only in the background, what is amazing about this game is the strategy and the mechanics. Be aware of loads of admin, make sure one of the players really like organization and keeping tracknof everything.

Will recomend anyone to buy this first before investing in Gloomhaven.

Another thing to add, love the fact of the maps/board withing the campaign book, not more dealing with a thousand tiles to build different scenarios

5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, deep but utterly accessible.

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2021

Style: GameVerified Purchase

I’d hesitated for a long time about buying a Gloomhaven game. I was a bit nervous about the depth of rules and commitment of tabletop space. That was all unnecessary. This is a fabulous game, everything is slick and easy to understand. Plus I’m have a lot of fun playing it solo. A very easy 5⭐️.

5.0 out of 5 stars It’s a great Game just buy it

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2021

Style: GameVerified Purchase

Great game buy
it !!!!
Great instructions easy to play

Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars It’s a great Game just buy it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2021

Great game buy
it !!!!
Great instructions easy to play

Images in this review

Customer Customer

CustomerCustomer

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantástico, divertido y práctico

Reviewed in Mexico on September 6, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

Muy buen juego, no por nada está en el ranking #1 en BGG, recomendable para empezar en el mundo de gloomhaven, ya que contiene 5 misiones de tutoiales (de un total de 25) que te llevan de la mano enseñando lo básico para jugar, incluye 4 personajes (los puedes pintar para mejorar la imagen) los cuales puedes jugar en el gloomhaven principal sin ningún problema, puedes jugar solitario manejando a dos personajes o hasta con 3 personas más.
La calidad es muy buena y ahora incluyeron una cajita y bolsas sellables para guardar todos los componentes y dejar todo ordenado.
Lo mejor de esta versión es que incluye los escenarios en una libreta, así solo abres en la página de la misión y ahorras muchísimo tiempo antes y después de jugar.

Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantástico, divertido y práctico
Reviewed in Mexico on September 6, 2020

Muy buen juego, no por nada está en el ranking #1 en BGG, recomendable para empezar en el mundo de gloomhaven, ya que contiene 5 misiones de tutoiales (de un total de 25) que te llevan de la mano enseñando lo básico para jugar, incluye 4 personajes (los puedes pintar para mejorar la imagen) los cuales puedes jugar en el gloomhaven principal sin ningún problema, puedes jugar solitario manejando a dos personajes o hasta con 3 personas más.
La calidad es muy buena y ahora incluyeron una cajita y bolsas sellables para guardar todos los componentes y dejar todo ordenado.
Lo mejor de esta versión es que incluye los escenarios en una libreta, así solo abres en la página de la misión y ahorras muchísimo tiempo antes y después de jugar.

4.0 out of 5 stars Gloomhaven’s best point of entry for newbies

Reviewed in Canada on November 29, 2020

Style: GameVerified Purchase

As a casual board gamer who’s been intimidated by Gloomhaven’s complexity, price, and footprint (without even being familiar with the mechanics of the game), I am really enjoying JoTL. My main concerns prior to buying this game were:

1. The lack of dungeon tiles and using the scenario book as a level map instead.

2. The fact that all enemies are cardboard standees, not plastic miniatures.

I purchased JoTL when the price dropped, nonetheless. After playing 4 scenarios, I can say that I enjoy the game despite my aforementioned concerns. The scenario book maps reduced setup time since there is no need to search for and layout tiles, and the standees were something I got used to.

The game mechanics are interesting and the game design takes you through them gradually while introducing a new element in each scenario. I’ve come to realize that the game may not be fulfilling to someone who finished the original Gloomhaven. But for a newbie like myself, it is the perfect point of entry without having to get overwhelmed by the full experience of the original.

I still don’t know how the original Gloomhaven is different from JoTL and I honestly don’t care. I can safely say that I enjoy JoTL in its own right and recommend it for anyone new to the game with an interest in tactical/ adventure/ dungeon crawl games.

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