The Gloomhaven board is made up of hexes. We all know this, and at first glance it seems perfectly easy to understand the alignment of the board. Hexes will line up straight, or move in one direction in a zig-zag fashion. Where this set up gets tricky is when it comes to Line of Sight (LoS). Line of Sight can be difficult to measure and is often hotly debated when there is a crowded board of enemies, overlay tiles, and artwork on the board itself.
In this article we’re going to give you a crash course on the Line of Sight rules. We’ll also run through an example or two with images and illustrated lines of sight.
Only Walls or Closed Doors Block Line of Sight
You can see right through everything else on the map. This includes allies, enemies, tables, and those obstacles that are pillars, which in theory should reach floor-to-ceiling. None of them block LoS.
Any hex with a wall in it is a complete blocker of sight, even if the artwork doesn’t cover the whole hex. And any seam between two map pieces is all wall except for the door hex that gets put on there.
Any Corner to Any Corner
Don’t bother looking at the middle of the hex when you’re figuring out Line of Sight. What we really care about are the corners.
The edge of the door makes it seem like none of the Archers can be seen.
When we take a look at the corners you can see there are two clear Lines of Sight. The Tinkerer can see the Elite Archer as well as number 3 in the back of the room. Archer 1 is out of sight because their hexes align, and are separated by a wall.
When Corners Line up
There are some instances when the corners of hexes all line up and it looks like Line of Sight should be able to just scrape by the corner of a wall hex. If your LoS touches the edge of the wall hex before reaching your target then you can’t see them.
It looks like the corner of Tink’s hex and the corner of the Elite Archer might line up. Unfortunately, even if Tink has Range 3, he still can’t see the Elite Archer or Archer 3. The corner of the hex with the wall blocks the connection between the hexes they’re each standing in, and Archer 1 is way out of sight.
You Need Line of Sight To Attack (Even with AOE)
When you’re dropping an area of effect attack on some fools you need to be able to see all of the targets.
It’s important that we differentiate Line of Sight rules and Range rules. When we’re talking about Range for the attack you only need one of the AOE hexes within range. If one of the red hexes within the formation is in Range of the attack then they’re all considered to be within range.
This is not the case with Line of Sight.
In order to Target an enemy (or be targeted by an enemy) you must have Line of Sight. This means you might be able to attack some of the enemies in your AOE, but not all of them. If an enemy is positioned within the formation of the red hexes, but isn’t within LoS then he can’t be attacked.
In this example, even though Archer 1(back row) is out of Range, she can still be attacked. She would still be within the red hex formation of the AOE attack, and she’s within Line of Sight. The corner of Tink’s hex can’t reach the Elite Archer’s without passing through the wall, therefore The Elite Archer cannot be attacked as part of this AOE.
Attacks Have To Go Around The Wall (Even If You Have Line of Sight)
Hex corners can jut out and it’ll seem like you can see right through the wall. All the edges of a map tile are considered to be walls.
Just because you can see a hex around a wall doesn’t mean you can melee attack that hex. A hex that is on the other side of a wall that you can see the corner of is within line of sight, but is considered a Range 2 because you need to step through the door to be adjacent to it.
Take a look at the example below. The Elite Bandit Guard clearly has Line of Sight on the Tinkerer because the corners of their respective hexes can connect straight through the door.
The Elite Bandit Guard can’t attack Tink because he only has a melee attack this turn, and because the edge of the map tile is considered a wall. The Tinkerer is Range 2 away because he can’t be attacked through the wall.
He still has two Bandit Archers on him though! Archer 1 would go first, has a clear Line of Sight to the Tinkerer’s hex (because the corners are poking out through the door) and would be able to hit him with Range 3 because the attack needs to go through the door. Archer 3 also has Line of Sight and is only Range 2 away.
This should clear up the vast majority of confusion around Line of Sight. Every so often you’ll run into another one where you’ll take a look and say “hmmmmmm I dunno, it’s pretty close”, but as long as you look at the corners and think about how the hexes are aligned then you’ll make the right call.