In-game application

Attacks are one of both basic actions in the Gloomhaven board game. They are the basic and most common ways on how to remove health from monsters and eventually kill them. Attacks cannot unless noted otherwise, be made against friends.

The other way to suffer damage in the game is sources of damages. Please note that any in-game effect without the word "attack" is not considered an attack, does not get attack modifiers or effects and cannot be prevented by attack damage prevention items.

Attacks have a :

  • type, defining the reach of the attack (default is melee).
  • damage digit, showing the basic amount of damage inflicted.
  • target number, outlining the number of targets touched. (default is 1).

Attacks may have:

  • effects, varying their in-game effect.
  • conditions, varying the ailments and health of the enemies.


Attacks are either ranged or melee.

Melee attacks

In order to attack an enemy with a melee attack, you need to be in a hex adjacent to the enemy.

Ranged attacks

Ranged attacks are accompanied by a range number. This represents the number of hexes from which the attack can be made. Ranged attacks suffer from disadvantage if made at a melee range (see below), i.e. in a hex adjacent to the enemy.

Line of Sight

In order to hit successfully a ranged target, ranged attacks need to have a line of sight. This is calculated by tracing a line from any point of the attacker's hex to any point of the enemy's hex.

For more details, see Line of Sight.

Attack roll

As well, the attack will have a damage component. The number shown represents the basic amount of hit points the enemy will lose.


With every attack, a monster or a character needs to draw an attack modifier card. They represent the modification made to the damage inflicted. Any other component of the attacks, including conditions or effects, are never canceled by an attack modifier card. In other words, even if an attacker gets a critical miss or sees its attack damage output reduces to zero, it will still apply the condition or effect to the attack.

Most modifier cards are static, meaning only one card will be drawn, but others are rolling. For more details, see Attack modifiers.

Advantage and Disadvantage

Due to various rules, a character or a monster can gain advantage or disadvantage on their attack. In both cases, two attack modifiers will be drawn upon attacking: for advantages, the best card will be kept and for disadvantages, the worst.

Damage, Conditions, and Effects

After the attacker has tallied the total modified damage and the condition and effects applied, the enemy will try to mitigate the damage and impact of the attack.


Damage can be mitigated by a shield value. The Shield value reduces the number of damage received by an attack (and only attacks). A "Shield 1" value, for example, will reduce the damage from 2 to 1.

For more details, see Health.

Please note as well that a Retaliate value is often considered in mitigation, however, the retaliation is rather a counterattack. For more details, see Sources of damage and Retaliation.


Immunities, on the other hand, prevent some enemies from receiving conditions or effects.

For more details, see Conditions and Effects.