Hello good folk of J4G fandom! Becca (aka friendlyfilmfan) here to review Gloom, a game I first saw being played on Table Top (video posted below) and have only had the chance to play in person once <insert sad face here>.
The cards are excellent. Made of a clear plastic and imprinted with the characters and modifiers, plus or minus value and other fun additions, they build on top of each other easily to show how many points you have (or don’t have as the case may be!).
The object of the game is to make your family, of which there are four, as miserable as possible before you are able to off them in the most interesting way you can. This will gain you negative points. Meanwhile other players are going to work to make your family happy, giving you positive points.
Each family consists of four members, or pairs if you get the twins, who each have their own card. In your hand will be five cards (unless game play modifies the hand limit). You can play two of three types of card on your go: a modifier (with negative or positive points), events (which can cancel out points), and an untimely death card (I don’t need to explain that surely?). You can only play the UDC as your first go, with the second a modifier or an event. So if you do not kill anyone in your first play, you cannot kill anyone else for that round.
The true objective of this game is imagination, so be as creative as you like, building up the families doom leading to the card that you wish to place upon them, be it a ‘good’ one (e.g. Greeted by Ghosts) or a ‘bad’ one (e.g. Delighted by Ducklings).
When a family is killed off everyone gathers their points together, whoever has the least wins!
Time scale and players
My one and only time of playing this game it was just me versus James, which was still a lot of fun. I think with more players, up to four, the stories would get crazier and you’d be pushed into battling more people so I’d probably recommend getting a group together for this. The length of time you play depends on everyone’s imaginations too – if you can spin your tales of woe the more time will go!
There are four expansion packs: Unhappy Homes, Unwelcome Guests, Unfortunate Expeditions and Unquiet Dead. There is also a Cthulu version, Fairytale and Munchkin Gloom, which are standalone card games.
I don’t come from a role-play gaming background. I wasn’t a D&D kinda gal, rather a solitaire and scrabble kid. So the idea of making up stories whilst playing cards was a bit petrifying, even after seeing how much fun @wilw and the gang had on Tabletop.
It is my absolute favourite new game, even though I’ve only played it once. It is funny and well crafted, helping those of us not used to RPG to create identities and stories with the information on the cards.
Highly recommend giving this game a play, especially if you’d like to get into RPG but you’re not so confident you can do it justice.
Gloom is available for around $19 on Amazon.
As always on my Tabletop game reviews, here is Wil Wheaton playing the game we review. Why? Because its awesome to watch, that’s why.
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