Gloom I am currently taking a break from DMing and that’s one of the reasons why my gaming group decided to try out several board and card games. One of the games I recently purchased and which is in my opinion perfectly suited for roleplayers is the card game Gloom. I learned about it from Wil Wheaton’s YouTube series Tabletop (which is highly recommended). Directly after watching the show I ordered the game online and we tried it on the next meeting.

So what is Gloom about? In Gloom each player controls an eccentric family of four or five people. The goal of the game is to make the other player’s family members as happy as possible while making the life of your own family as miserable as possible before eventually killing them off one by one.

This is done by placing the transparent cards on top of the family member cards that not only describe what happened to the person but which also modifies that family member’s self-worth. Multiple of these modifier cards can be placed on top of a family member and the modifiers to self-worth are either obscured by a new card or show through.

Gloom cards There are also cards that allow you to remove cards from a family member, kill him or her, etc. The game ends when one player managed to kill his or her family. The player with the most miserable family wins the game.

While this is a lot of fun by itself, it get’s even more fun when you describe what happens to the miserable family members while you place cards on them. That way very funny (and sometimes sad) tales are spun. In my experience especially roleplaying game enthusiasts enjoy this part of the game.

Gloom was designed by Keith Baker and is published by Atlas Games. If you are looking for a fun (and morbid) card game for 2 to 4 players, you definitely should pick Gloom up. There are also a couple of expansions available including a stand-alone Cthulhu-themed Gloom game.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

4 thoughts on “Gloom”

  1. I LOVE Gloom. I find myself thinking up new cards whenever I come up with two words that fit the theme (carved by crustaceans).

  2. I’ve never cared for it as a card game, but I like it as a role playing game. I tended to shy away after my first games of it, but then played it with people who (as the game suggests) told the stories behind the card play. This made it far more enjoyable. Its not that its a bad game, the design is clever, it just doesn’t give you much to think about while playing. Adding in the story telling makes it far more engaging.

  3. Thanks for posting about TableTop! If there’s anything you’d like to know about Geek & Sundry as far as press/blogger related info please let me know! (Tomorrow’s episode features them playing a different Cthulhu game…)

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