Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond is a boxed set that expands upon information from Manual of the Planes and some choice e-zine articles, giving us a deeper look into the Shadowfell--particularly the city of Gloomwrought and surrounding environs. The box contains a campaign guide, encounter book, poster map, two token sheets, and a deck of cards. The books are soft-cover and the box is pretty thin (think Gamma World expansions), but otherwise I'm a lot happier overall with production, especially the art and cartography.
Tokens, tokens...what more can be said? You get all the new monsters, some older stuff, and you already know if you like tokens by now; I like them well enough because they're cheaper than buying a shitload of minis, are easier to store and transport, and work out really well for massive battles or to represent minions. I don't like them because minis just add a greater weight (figuratively and literally) to the table in terms of presentation.
I know what a handful of people are thinking: ZOMG MOAR CARDZ RAGE! This is the second time Wizards of the Coast has attempted to add a card mechanic to Dungeons & Dragons (three if you count Gamma World). For what it is worth the Despair Deck is not randomized and there are no boosters: you get all of them with the box. What they do is allow DMs to apply penalties to players that spend the night in the Shadowfell become subjected to something terrifying, unnatural, or what have you.
Despair effects range from minor stuff like falling prone when you roll a natural 1, to more serious effects like taking a -5 to death saves and dying after two failures or not being able to use Action Points. You overcome despair effects by making saves every time you reach a milestone (with a bonus if you have the right skills), or taking an extended rest (which generally means you are just swapping it out for another). As punishing as they are, they give you some really nice boons if you manage to overcome them, giving you incentive to hit those milestones: re-rolling one nat 1 per encounter, +4 bonus to Initiative, using two Action Points per encounter, and more.
I liked the idea of having players keep the card and effects secret, trying to convey it through social role-playing. I really wish I would have had these back when I was running Tendrils of Fate, and I fully intend to use these things even when the players aren't mucking about the Shadowfell.
The poster-map features the city of Gloomwrought on one side, and an encounter-style urban layout on the other, giving it a smidgen of usability to those who want nothing to do with Gloomwrought. However Gloomwrought is actually a pretty cool place, which brings me to the next part...