How To Play: Frosthaven – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Quick Summary

In Frosthaven, you will embark on an epic and immersive journey through the frozen wilderness. With its strategic depth, stunning artwork, and engaging gameplay mechanics, Frosthaven offers a thrilling experience for both new and experienced players alike.

Master your character's abilities and explore effective combinations to overcome the challenges that lie ahead. Efficient resource management, tactical combat tactics, and effective teamwork will be key to your success. Prioritize objectives wisely and make careful decisions to achieve victory in this atmospheric and unforgiving world.

Progress through the campaign, unlock new classes, and customize your characters with powerful items as you venture deeper into Frosthaven's secrets. Adapt your strategies, communicate with your team, and make the most of each turn to prevail against daunting adversaries.

With its branching narrative, captivating artwork, and rewarding progression system, Frosthaven delivers a gaming experience that will keep you coming back for more. Prepare yourself to be challenged, thrilled, and immersed in an unforgettable adventure as you journey through Frosthaven's unforgiving landscapes.

Prepare for a truly memorable adventure as you explore the mysteries of Frosthaven and forge your own unique path through this frozen realm. Turn the tide of destiny and rise triumphant in the face of countless dangers. Frosthaven awaits your arrival, brave hero!


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Frosthaven, the highly acclaimed sequel to the beloved game Gloomhaven. In this guide, we will take you through an in-depth exploration of the best strategies and tactics to help you conquer the frozen wilderness and emerge victorious. Whether you are a seasoned Gloomhaven player or new to the world of tabletop gaming, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and tips to enhance your gameplay experience.

Containing an outline of the game rules and focusing on the most effective strategies, our guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to face the challenges that await in Frosthaven. From character abilities and combinations to tactical combat tactics, optimal resource management to effective team coordination, and scenario and mission prioritization, we will delve into every aspect of the game to ensure you maximize your chances of success.

With the guidance and information provided in this guide, you’ll be able to navigate the treacherous lands of Frosthaven with confidence, as you assemble a formidable party, develop effective strategies, and overcome the harsh obstacles thrown your way. Brace yourself for an epic adventure filled with strategic decision-making, immersive gameplay, and thrilling encounters as you embark on your quest to unravel the secrets of Frosthaven.

What’s in the box

  • 1 Rulebook
  • 1 Scenario Book
  • 1 Town Records Book
  • 4 Developer Diary Booklets
  • 17 Character Boards
  • 17 Character Miniatures
  • 383 Ability Cards
  • 121 Attack Modifier Cards
  • 56 Scenario Cards
  • 50 Event Cards
  • 30 Random Dungeon Cards
  • 30 Arcade Mode Cards
  • 238 Battle Goal Cards
  • 76 Quest Cards
  • 142 Item Cards
  • 230 Standard and Blank Monster Stat Sheets
  • 25 Boss Monster Stat Sheets
  • 24 Ally Stat Sheets
  • 336 Perk Tokens
  • 200+ Damage Tokens
  • 29 Boss Revenge and Status Tokens
  • 90 Element Tokens
  • 120 Money Tokens
  • 44 Tough Hide Tokens
  • 42 Bleeding, Immobilize, Cut to Depth, Cauterize, Reinforced Steel Tokens
  • 42 Disarmed and Muddle Tokens
  • 40 Stam Potions, Bless, and Curse Tokens
  • 40 Triangles
  • 64 Positive and Negative Condition Tokens
  • 94 Damage and XP Tokens
  • 4 HP/XP Dials
  • 5 Barricade/Monument Tokens
  • 1 Supporting Party Aid Overlay
  • 131 Overlay Tiles
  • 54 Objective Tokens
  • 36 Treasure Tiles
  • 13 Personal Quest Treasure Tiles
  • 222 Map Tiles
  • 16 Durability Tokens
  • 60 Envelope Tokens
  • 4 Honestly Sealed Envelopes
  • 1 Conference Room Tile and Sealing Stamp

How To Play Frosthaven: Rules Summary

  1. Assemble the game board by placing terrain tiles according to the scenario requirements.
  2. Select your characters and place their corresponding miniatures and player boards.
  3. Shuffle the ability cards and create a personal ability card deck for each character.
  4. Create the modifier deck with attack modifier cards and shuffle it.
  5. Place elements and overlay tiles according to the scenario instructions.
Turn Order
  1. At the start of each round, choose two ability cards from your hand.
  2. Reveal initiative values on the chosen cards to determine the turn order.
  3. Take turns playing your two ability cards, using the top or bottom actions.
  4. Resolve actions one by one, applying attack damage, moving, using abilities, and so on.
  5. Remember to spend and recover your character’s resources as necessary.
  6. After each round, players perform a short rest, choosing one discarded card to lose.
Movement and Combat
  1. Use the designated movement value on your ability cards to determine how far you can move.
  2. Measure your range for attacks and target enemies based on their proximity.
  3. Roll for attack damage with modifiers, drawing from the attack modifier deck.
  4. Consider factors such as line of sight, obstacles, and conditions when performing attacks.
Scenario Objectives and Success
  1. Each scenario will have specific objectives to achieve in order to succeed.
  2. Work together with your teammates to complete these objectives within the given time frame.
  3. Manage resources, time, and strategic decision-making to ensure victory.
Gaining Experience and Rewards
  1. Defeat enemies, accomplish goals, and perform exceptional actions to earn experience points.
  2. Gain levels by accumulating enough experience to unlock new abilities and perks.
  3. Collect treasures and complete personal quests to acquire powerful items.
  4. Use gold earned during scenarios to purchase equipment and make your characters stronger.
Continuing Progression and Campaign Play
  1. Continue playing Frosthaven by progressing through interconnected scenarios in the campaign.
  2. Make choices with consequences that impact the story and unlock new branches in the campaign book.
  3. Characters can retire or unlock new classes and abilities, offering fresh gameplay experiences.
  4. Enjoy the immersive and ever-evolving world of Frosthaven as you progress through the campaign.

By understanding the setup, turn order, movement and combat, scenario objectives, experience and rewards, as well as the campaign progression, you are ready to embark on your epic journey in Frosthaven. May the frozen wilderness yield its secrets and victories as you discover the path to triumph!

Best Frosthaven Strategies

Character Abilities and Combinations

Mastering the abilities of your characters and finding effective combinations can greatly increase your chances of success in Frosthaven. Here are some strategies to consider:

Diverse Team Composition
  1. Ensure your team consists of characters with complementary abilities.
  2. Have a mix of damage-dealing, support, and crowd-control characters.
  3. Consider the synergy between character classes when selecting your party.
Maximizing Individual Abilities
  1. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of each character.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the available ability cards and their effects.
  3. Plan your card selection to optimize your character’s abilities in different situations.
Creating Synergies
  1. Coordinate with your teammates to set up powerful combos.
  2. Use crowd-control abilities to immobilize enemies for devastating attacks.
  3. Combine support abilities to keep the team healthy and buffed.
Effective Use of Elements
  1. Utilize elements strategically to enhance your attacks and abilities.
  2. Coordinate with teammates to consume and generate elements for maximum impact.
  3. Consider enhancing abilities with elements to deal additional or elemental-specific damage.

Mastering the abilities of your characters and understanding their synergies will give you a significant advantage in Frosthaven, increasing your chances of victory and enhancing the overall strategy of your team.

Optimal Resource Management

Efficiently managing your resources is crucial for success in Frosthaven. Here are some strategies to ensure optimal resource management:

Planning your Hand
  1. Strategically choose which ability cards to play and when.
  2. Avoid wasting cards early on in the scenario.
  3. Prioritize using cards that provide the most value and align with your objectives.
Balancing Long Rests and Short Rests
  1. Determine the right balance between long rests and short rests.
  2. Consider long rests when your character is low on health or needs to recover lost cards.
  3. Opt for short rests to keep the pace of the game high and limit downtime.
Efficient Card Loss Management
  1. Plan the use of cards with “Lost” effects carefully.
  2. Avoid losing essential abilities too early in a scenario unless necessary.
  3. Evaluate whether the long-term benefits justify the loss of a card.
Economic Decision-Making
  1. Make wise spending choices when purchasing items between scenarios.
  2. Invest in items that align with your character’s playstyle and can provide a significant advantage in battles.
  3. Consider selling or trading items that are no longer useful or needed.

By effectively managing your resources, you can optimize your chances of success in Frosthaven. Careful planning, balancing rests, prudent card loss management, and smart economic decision-making will ensure that you are well-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

Tactical Combat Tactics

Mastering tactical combat is key to achieving victory in the challenging battles of Frosthaven. Here are some strategies to excel in combat:

Focus Fire on Priority Targets
  1. Identify high-priority enemies that pose the most threat or support their allies.
  2. Coordinate attacks to focus your damage on these targets, taking them out swiftly.
  3. Prevent enemies from overwhelming your party by eliminating their key units quickly.
Control the Battlefield
  1. Use crowd-control abilities to immobilize enemies or manipulate their positioning.
  2. Block chokepoints to prevent enemies from reaching vulnerable allies or objectives.
  3. Strategically position characters to control and manipulate the battlefield terrain.
Resource-Conserving Attacks
  1. Identify opportunities where lighter attacks or abilities can get the job done without wasting scarce resources.
  2. Avoid overkilling enemies unless necessary to conserve actions and ability resources.
  3. Maximize the efficiency of your character’s abilities by utilizing their effects to full potential.
Adaptability in Combat
  1. Stay flexible and adapt your tactics to shifting scenarios and enemy behavior.
  2. React to enemy moves, reinforcements, or changes in battlefield circumstances.
  3. Adjust your strategies to exploit enemy weaknesses or counter their strengths.

By implementing effective tactical combat tactics, such as strategic target prioritization, battlefield control, resource-conserving attacks, and Adaptability, you will gain the upper hand in the battles of Frosthaven and increase your likelihood of success.

Effective Team Coordination

Coordinated teamwork is the foundation of success in Frosthaven. To achieve victory, rely on effective team coordination to maximize your potential. Here are some strategies to enhance your team coordination:

Communication and Planning
  1. Regularly communicate with your teammates to share information and discuss potential strategies.
  2. Prior to a scenario, plan out your team’s general approach and individual roles.
  3. Discuss which abilities will be used, how to support each other, and potential combinations.
Synergistic Actions
  1. Take advantage of synergistic actions by closely coordinating your abilities.
  2. Coordinate buffs, debuffs, and crowd-control effects to maximize overall team effectiveness.
  3. Create tactical plans to set up combos and unleash devastating attacks when the timing is right.
Covering Weaknesses
  1. Recognize and account for your team’s weaknesses and adjust your tactics accordingly.
  2. React to allies in danger, providing support and assistance when needed.
  3. Balance individual goals with the overall objectives, ensuring the team is well-rounded and adaptable.
Shared Objectives and Timing
  1. Ensure the team has a clear understanding of the primary objectives and how to achieve them.
  2. Analyze the timing of actions and abilities to maintain cohesion and coordination.
  3. Coordinate movement and actions to reach key points and converge on critical moments simultaneously.

Effective team coordination is vital in Frosthaven and can be the determining factor between success and failure. By focusing on solid communication, synergistic actions, covering weaknesses, and shared objectives, your team will be equipped to tackle the frozen challenges that await.

Scenario and Mission Prioritization

Effective scenario and mission prioritization is essential for success in Frosthaven. To make wise decisions and optimize your progress, consider the following strategies:

Evaluating Original Objectives
  1. Thoroughly analyze the primary objectives of a scenario before making any decisions.
  2. Determine which objectives must be completed to succeed and focus your efforts accordingly.
  3. Identify secondary objectives that provide additional benefits and prioritize them when feasible.
Understanding Time Constraints
  1. Consider the time factor in Frosthaven, which can influence scenario outcomes and progression.
  2. Avoid unnecessary delays and prioritize efficient routes to meet critical deadlines.
  3. Balance exploration and looting opportunities with time-sensitive objectives to prevent failure.
Managing Limited Resources
  1. Beware of depleting limited resources, such as cards and health, prematurely.
  2. List characters’ vital resources and plan their usage throughout the scenario meticulously.
  3. Avoid wasteful actions and deploy abilities judiciously to sustain lasting effectiveness.
Flexibility and Adaptation
  1. Be adaptable in your priorities and prepared to adjust your strategies during a scenario.
  2. React to unexpected events or changing conditions by focusing on the most pertinent objectives.
  3. Consistently reassess and realign your priorities to achieve optimal outcomes.

By effectively prioritizing scenarios and missions based on objectives, understanding time constraints, managing resources wisely, and staying flexible, you’ll set yourself up for success in Frosthaven. Making informed decisions and keeping a keen eye on the bigger picture will pave the way to victory in this frozen realm.


Congratulations! You have now mastered the essential rules and strategies needed to conquer Frosthaven. Armed with this knowledge, you can navigate the treacherous landscapes, overcome challenging enemies, and unravel the secrets that lie within this frozen realm. Through effective team coordination, tactical combat tactics, optimal resource management, and scenario prioritization, you will pave your way towards victory.

Remember to adapt your strategies when needed and communicate with your teammates to achieve optimal coordination. Utilize the strengths of your characters and plan your actions strategically to make the most out of every turn. Experience the thrill of leveling up and unlocking new abilities, acquire treasures, and make wise choices in the branching campaign to shape your own unique story.

Now it’s time for you to gather your party, choose your characters, and embark on an epic adventure that awaits in Frosthaven. May your strategic prowess and determination lead you to triumph! Embrace the challenge, persevere through hardships, and savor the glory of victory as you become the hero of the frozen wastelands.

Prepare yourselves, adventurers, for a frostbitten escapade like no other. May Frosthaven forge legends and memories that will endure for ages to come.

Want to know what we think of Frosthaven? Read our detailed review of Frosthaven here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.