Game Gumshoes Presents: Gloom
MFG: Atlas Games
#of Players: 2 – 4
Age Range: 13+
Overall Construction: Gloom is one in a small handful of card games that is made using translucent or clear cards. This in my opinion is an advantage because it means that you don’t have to worry about spilling anything on them or them getting damaged in the rain. The packaging that the game comes in has a convenient area in it to separate the cards and the rules.
Gameplay: In Gloom you play a family of 4 to 5 people. The objective is to make your family as depressed(Gloomy) as possible and then killing them off. All the while you are trying to make your opponents family members Happy and possibly kill them off. This is all done through a unique mixture of strategy & story telling.
Each player pics a family of cards, then draw 5 cards to be their starting hand. According to the rules, the player who has had the worst day goes first. If everyone has had a crappy day, then the owner of the game goes first. Each player gets to make 2 plays. Prior to the first play you may discard & draw up to 2 cards, but to draw cards you must have discarded 2 cards. On the first play you may use any cards including Untimely Death cards. On the second play you can play anything but the Untimely Death cards. So if you are going to kill of one of your family members or an opponents it must be done on the first turn. As you play the various gloom or happy cards ou will read them and slowly weave a story about those characters based on the various calamities or positive things listed on the cards.
After the second card is played, then comes the draw phase. During your draw phase, draw back up to 5 cards. If you have more than 5 cards, then do not draw any cards.
Keep playing cards on each other and killing off family members/reviving them until one person’s entire family is dead. For shorter games just use less family members. Once one person goes out, figure out who has the gloomiest family.
Yes/No Recommend: I will say if the person/persons you’re playing with aren’t very creative, then this game will not be as much fun as it could be. This game also requires that you have a somewhat twisted sense of humor as the whole object of the game is to make your family depressed and kill them. I will also say that, the math can be difficult. Since you want Gloom you will want as many negative numbers and very few to no positive numbers, which is different than how we would normally do math.
I was hesitant to buy this game at first due to the price, but it was on the list of games for an International Tabletop Game Day I was helping host at Rockin’ Rooster. I broke down and bought a copy so we could demo it. Once I opened the pack and saw the quality of the product, I no longer questioned the price.
I will say that this became a game I really enjoyed playing. It took people a while to get used to the story telling aspect of the game, but once that was sorted out people started enjoying themselves.
Where To Get It: I purchased my copy at Rockin’ Rooster, but I have seen this in most, if not all, of the local game/hobby shops. I know it is available online as well. I have not encountered it at any Big Box Stores. For more information about Gloom or it’s many expansions & variants please visit their website at http://www.atlas-games.com/gloom/