Heroes always get all the glory. But what about their noble sidekicks? When you think of the Tinkerer, you probably think of an average card with mediocre support abilities. And while this may be true when playing with smaller parties, Tikerer’s can be incredibly useful in larger groups – if you know how to use him!
Every great party needs a generalist. In Gloomhaven, that’s the Tinkerer! Want to know how to make the most of him? Check out our ultimate Tinkerer Guide!
The Tinkerer is a generalist character. Tinkerers can do it all, whether it’s damage support, healing, or crowd control. Tinkerers don’t have any impressive stats, but they have their uses – particularly in larger parties.
Tinkerers support characters from behind with healing and crowd control or jump into the fray and deal damage. They can do ranged and area-of-effect damage, so you can hang back and support your party without taking damage. Because they are a specialist of none, the Tinkerer’s damage and healing stats are only average.
Tinkerers are an excellent starting support character. And while some of the unlockable support classes may outclass them, they’re not a poor choice. In four-player parties without a healer, the Tinkerer does a fine job. There are two main paths you can explore with the Tinkerer.
You can help your party deal damage or focus on healing if your party doesn’t have a healer. Both avenues can prove helpful on your adventures. You can also build other Tinkerer classes like summoner and crowd control-focused characters.
Suppose you want to help your party deal damage. In that case, the Tinkerer can provide ranged, area-of-effect, and crowd control attacks and abilities for support. On the other hand, focusing your Tinkerer’s build on healing can help keep your party alive in difficult situations. So while your party may not be sailing through quests at max health, it should be enough to get you through.
Tinkerer Cards Overview
The Tinkerer starts with a hand of twelve cards, which is enough to prevent you from running out of stamina. A few of the Tinkerer’s cards can also help other players regain some of their stamina.
Your starting hand is essential, as it will decide how your character is used for the rest of the scenario. Depending on what kind of support you want to provide, you’ll choose different cards. The Tinkerer has a large card pool of thirty-one cards and fifteen level-1 cards.
Harmless Contraption is a semi-situational 74 initiative card. It has the top effect of summoning a decoy, while the bottom allows you to heal teammates at range. The top effect can be helpful if your party lacks a tank or needs a distraction. Alternatively, the bottom effect can provide a teammate with much-needed healing.
Proximity Mine’s bottom effect lets you move four spaces to get ahead or out of trouble. The top effect is usually too situational to be effective, despite the loss effect, as it places a six-damage mine on a space adjacent to your character.
Volatile Concoction’s best feature is its high initiative score of 76. You won’t have many opportunities where the top effect of placing a poison trap in an adjacent space is beneficial. The bottom effect lets you return one discarded card to an ally within a short range. It can be two cards if an ally has generated ice, though this is rare.
Toxic Bolt is a helpful card for damage-dealing Tinkerers. The top effect lets you do two damage at three range and poisons the enemy. The bottom effect does five damage at two range, which is good damage for a level 1 card. This card is highly versatile.
Despite Ink Bomb’s high initiative score, you’ll want it handy. The top effect has three range and four damage in three spaces. At best, you can deal twelve joint damage; at worst, you’ll do four, which is still respectable for a level 1 Tinkerer. The bottom effect lets you move four spaces, so it’s still a helpful card even if you don’t get to use the loss attack right away.
Restorative Mist is one of your best cards at level 1. The top effect lets you heal three at three range, while the bottom lets you move two and heal one for adjacent teammates. It’s another versatile healing card to add to your arsenal. No matter the situation, you’ll be able to provide excellent support.
Enhancement Field is another card you’ll want to keep handy, except this card focuses on damage. With the top effect of three damage and three range, it’s great for chipping away at enemies. The bottom effect boosts adjacent ally attack stats, which helps ranged allies deal enough damage, so enemies are easy to kill when they get closer.
Net Shooter provides two beneficial options. The top effect is a decent three-damage area attack with three range for supporting an ally against a group or finishing them off. The bottom effect immobilizes an enemy and lets you move two spaces. The low initiative score is helpful for tricky situations.
Stun Shot is a strategic card with the top effect of one damage with three range and a stunning ability. Its low initiative score makes it great, giving teammates time to heal or inflict damage. The bottom effect lets you move four spaces, which is extremely useful.
Reinvigorating Elixir has an excellent bottom effect if you play it correctly. Helping others is one of the Tinkerer’s primary goals. The bottom effect lets one adjacent ally recover all of their discarded cards. For characters with smaller hands, this can have a significant effect. The top effect is standard with heal three range three.
Potent Potables is a situational card that can be extremely useful or a wasted move. You can heal your entire team if you use this card well. The top effect is continuous and adds two to your following four heals. The bottom effect is move three, which is average.
Reviving Shock has an average initiative score, which is helpful for the different effects. The top effect is two damage, three range on two targets. So you can ideally do four damage from range. The bottom effect is less beneficial but can support your teammates with five heal two range, though this effect is a loss.
Hook Gun is underwhelming. While the bottom effect of looting two is excellent, the top effect leaves much to be desired. Two damage and three range are average, but the Pull ability can be damaging if misused. The Tinkerer isn’t a melee character, so the high initiative score means you’ll have to kill the enemy with this move or risk getting hurt.
Energizing Tonic is a dual-effect loss card. This card isn’t typically one you want to play because the Tinkerer already has many loss cards. The effects are alright, but better cards match the top effect of heal five range two. The bottom effect of move six is good, but playing the loss effects isn’t worth it.
Flamethrower does the most damage of any level 1 card but is challenging to use. The top effect of three damage and Wound over three spaces make it possible to inflict twelve damage. The bottom effect is lackluster, adding one Shield to adjacent teammates. However, you have to be in melee range, which isn’t a good place for a Tinkerer.
Upgrading to level 2 brings an easy choice between Stamina Booster and Disorienting Flash. Disorienting Flash has a decent top loss effect of stunning two enemies with three range, but it’s a loss. The bottom effect muddles adjacent enemies, which is miles below this card’s top effect. It’s dangerous to play and highly situational overall.
On the other hand, Stamina Booster has a better than average top effect of heal four range three. Its bottom effect is semi-situational. But it could help one of your teammates out of a tough spot, so it’s better to pick Stamina Booster over Disorienting Flash.
You should also remove Proximity Mine. Proximity Mine is situational and not worth the bonus of slightly higher damage to try and get right. All your other cards have at least some effect on the game.
Level 3 comes with another easy choice. But in this case, you want to avoid the highly situational Tinkerer’s Tools. I feel like Crank Bow does OK but has no significant effects.
Tinkerer’s Tools’ top effect disarms one adjacent enemy, meaning you’d have to be next to one to do this. The bottom effect is slightly more helpful but also very situational. It lets you create a stun trap in an adjacent space, meaning enemies must get close to you to trigger it.
Crank Bow has the top loss effect of six damage two range and a bottom effect of move four. While these are decent effects, they don’t match up well against other level-3 cards. I’d recommend taking Crank Bow because of the movement effect and because it’s better than Tinkerer’s Tools in most cases.
You can replace either Proximity Mine or Potent Potables for the damage build. For the healing build, Flamethrower won’t do you much good later.
Level 4 has slightly better options. Microbots is a dual loss card with the top effect of heal six range three and a bottom effect of move three loot one. While these effects aren’t poor, the dual loss isn’t worth it. Dangerous Contraption is much better off. Its top effect lets you summon a bot to tank a few hits and deal damage, while its bottom effect is to move four.
Dangerous Contraption is the better of the two cards for both the damage and healing builds. For both builds, you can replace either Reinvigorating Elixir or Reviving Shock.
Level 5 has two great options. Noxious Vials has the top effect of refreshing an adjacent ally’s items. The bottom effect is a three-damage three-range poison loss effect targeting three enemies. Somewhat situational effects, but it can be helpful to have.
Disintegration Beam is a great card. Its top effect is instantly killing enemies within three range in a straight line with five or fewer hit points. The bottom effect is a move two and disarm ability that isn’t a loss. This card can help you clear a room in one move.
Flamethrower should be replaced with Disintegration Beam for damage builds, while Ink Bomb should be replaced for healing builds.
Level 6 has two more excellent cards. Gas Canister has the top effect that creates a 4-damage muddle trap adjacent to your character. The bottom effect lets one ally within range 3 recover a discarded card for four turns, which can help.
Auto Turret’s bottom effect is healing three range four. But the star of the show is the top effect which lets you deal two damage at five range for the next five turns. If you’re careful to place this card in a good position, you can easily take care of enemies before they get close.
Auto Turret wins and should replace Harmless Contraption because we now have Dangerous Contraption.
Curative Aerosol isn’t worth keeping because, while the top effect of heal two, move two, heal two, and move two is decent, the bottom loss effect of heal four isn’t worth it. Murderous Contraption is slightly better because the bottom effect is OK with four damage and four range. The top effect is a loss summon with underwhelming stats.
I’d recommend replacing either Reviving Shock or Reinvigorating Elixir with Murderous Contraption.
Neither Jet Propulsion nor Harsh Stimulants are great cards. Jet Propulsion has the top effect of giving summoned allies within three range may move 2, while the bottom is a loss move eight effect. Harsh Stimulants is slightly better, with the top effect of nine damage, and you take two damage. The bottom effect lets your adjacent allies deal two extra damage while suffering two.
Harsh Stimulants should replace Enhancement Field because it can prove helpful in certain situations. It lets you or your allies deal a lot of damage.
Lethal Injection has the top loss effect of killing one adjacent enemy and the bottom effect of moving four and poisoning all adjacent enemies. Chimeric Formula‘s top effect lets an adjacent ally recover two lost cards, then discard two. The bottom loss effect lets an ally in range three recover one lost card of an ally adjacent to them.
Both are situational cards, but Lethal Injection has the edge. It should replace Crank Bow, which isn’t helpful at this stage. It gives the Tinkerer a safety net for dangerous situations and some crowd control.
You can earn perks through checkmarks, retiring a character, and starting a new one in a higher-level town.
The best strategy for optimizing perks is to remove as many negative modifiers as possible, starting with the most severe. While it won’t let you sweep enemies, it will minimize your losses.
The Tinkerer’s perks are:
- Remove two -1 cards
- Replace one -1 card with a +1 card
- Add two +1 cards
- Add one +3 card
- Add three PUSH 1 cards
- Add two PIERCE 3 cards
- Add one STUN card
- Add one DISARM card and one MUDDLE card
- Add one ADD TARGET card
- Add one +1 Shield 1, Self card
- Ignore negative item effects and add one +1 card
The best perks to learn are:
- Replace one -2 card with +0
- Remove two -1 cards (take both opportunities)
- Add two +1 cards
- Add one + 3 card
- Ignore negative scenario effects
- Add one +1 WOUND card (take both opportunities)
- Add one +1 IMMOBILIZE card (take both opportunities)
Enhancements provide extra abilities and effects for cards you can unlock as you play the game. Prioritizing and using enhancements properly can make gameplay more manageable and help you on your journey.
As a Tinkerer, you should prioritize these enhancements:
- STRENGTHEN Restorative Mist’s top effect
- Give Stun Shot’s top effect WOUND
- Add MOVE to Restorative Mist’s bottom effect
- STRENGTHEN Stamina Booster’s top effect
- Give Disintegration Beam’s bottom effect JUMP
- Add JUMP to Lethal Injection’s Bottom effect
Items can make a difference as you play through scenarios. Equipping your character with items can bring out their strengths and compensate for weaknesses. You can either buy them between scenarios or find them by looting. The Tinkerer starts with Eagle-Eye Glasses, but some items are most valuable when used by specific characters.
The items that most help Tinkerers are:
- Eagle-Eye goggles
- Minor Stamina Potions
- Boots of Striding
As with all classes, the Tinkerer has strengths and weaknesses. You can follow various builds to focus on different aspects of the Tinkerer’s abilities. The Tinkerer isn’t for you if you’d rather be a damage-dealing tank or a healing-focused support player. But if you want a class that can heal, damage enemies, and everything in between, the Tinkerer is an excellent Jack-of-all-trades.