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Rating: 7.3 Good
Players: 1-4 players
Playing time: 120-524 minutes

Official Site: Founders of Gloomhaven - Cephalofair Games

Created by: Isaac Childres, Alexandr Elichev, Josh T. McDowell

Published by: Cephalofair Games


Founders of Gloomhaven is a competitive tile-placement, action-selection, city-building game in which each player controls a fantastical race working to build the city of Gloomhaven and gain influence over its residents.

This is a standalone game set in the same universe as Gloomhaven. The events, however, take place hundreds of years before Gloomhaven and depict the original construction of the city.

In Founders of Gloomhaven, players use action cards to place resource buildings on the map of the city, use these resources to create more advanced resources, then deliver them to proposed building sites to earn prestige.

An individual player, however, cannot do everything on their own because they can import only a small number of resource types, depending on their race. To create more advanced resources, they have to work with other players.

The game also features an auction mechanism in which players vote periodically to determine which new building proposals come out and where they are placed on the board. Players can also add the influence they've gathered to increase the strength of their vote.

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In the age after the Demon War, the continent enjoys a period of prosperity. Humans have made peace with the Valrath and Inox. Quatryls and Orchids arrive from across the Misty Sea looking to trade.

It is decided that a new city will be built on the eastern shores - a hub of trade and a symbol of many races working in harmony. Each race brings their own specialty to the city, and each race holds a desire for influence over the city by contributing the most to its construction. …

Quick setup guide:

a Place the board with the desired side face up (thematic or symmetric).

b Deal three prestige building cards to the adviser and proposal board.

c Deal four adviser cards to the adviser and proposal board.

d Place influence gems, money tokens, road tiles, completion markers, and building tiles to the side of the map board.

e Randomly determine start player and give them the active player token.

Each player does the following:

f Take five action cards (six for 2 players), *7 in money tokens, and three vote tiles. …

Game Variant - Achievements

To add more variability to the game, players can add achievements to the game play. There are three separate achievement decks: immediate a, mid-game b, and end-game c.

As part of setup, before races are selected, shuffle each deck separately and deal out one card from each deck face up above the main board. These are the only three achievement cards that will be used this game.

Each card has a condition and a point value, which will be scored by each of the players who fulfill the condition at a specific time. …

Founders of Gloomhaven can also be played as a solo game with a few extra rules.


Select a race and set up the game as normal, collecting all of the components listed on page 3, except without the voting tiles or the "Income" action card used in a two-player game.

Note that some racial actions will make the game easier than others:

  • Easy: Orchid, Quatryl

  • Medium: Savvas, Harrower, Aesther

  • Hard: Human, Vermling

  • Very Hard: Valrath, Inox

In a solo game, the player controls all eight resources, so selecting resources is not necessary, but the rest of the game setup should be performed, ending with placing the player's race's resource onto any numbered grey space. The game difficulty will also be affected by where this resource is placed: …

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