Rainy Day Game's Card Game Review of Gloom:
Gloom in Summary
Gloom brings a gothic, macabre theme to one of the most interesting card game formats you've ever played. As the head of a gruesome family, you try to invoke as much suffering and woe on your own family as possible before finally setting them free with an untimely death. At the same time your opponents are trying to cheer them up with joyful events such as a beautiful wedding.
Gloom is played with a deck of transparent cards which you stack on top of your characters. These modify, change, or negate the cards below. With dark but evocative artwork and a devilishly twisted theme, the Gloom card game is a big hit with any card game player looking for something new.
The Gloom card game is upside down. Big negative scores are the goal. You take control of a bizarre family tree and guide them through the ups and downs of life. Hopefully mostly downs. Play starts with your 5 family members laid before you. All players draw 5 of the unique clear plastic cards and prepare to do battle.
On your turn you play or discard 0, 1 or 2 of your cards. The only limitation is that your second card play cannot kill a character. The reason will become clear in a moment. The cards that you play can be placed on any live character in the game. There are modifier cards, event cards and untimely death cards. Modifier and event cards make the character happier or sadder, and can have special effects (positive or negative) on the rules.
The strategy is to make your own characters as unhappy as possible and your opponents as happy as possible. When your character has a negative happiness score, it can be killed by an Untimely Death card. Only dead characters award points at the end of the game, so you want them to die. And that is why you can't kill him on the second card play, to prevent playing a devastating card and then quickly offing the character.
When you play these cards on a character, they may let the previous card show through, meaning it's still in effect. Or, they can obscure the previous card's effect, meaning it has been cancelled. And finally, they can cover the older effect with their own, replacing the old. When playing these cards, it's important to look at the card, AND the character it will play on. Then you can figure out which effects will be continued, cancelled, and replaced.
Another player may well kill your characters if they think it will prevent them from getting a lower score. And this is where the twist comes in: special event cards can resurrect a character and pass its death sentence on to another. The offensive and defensive opportunities abound.
The game ends when the first family looses all its members to the afterlife. The player whose dead family members add up to the lowest score wins. Remember, 4 really miserable characters will win over a whole family who was only mildly peeved.
Who should buy Gloom?
It takes a certain sense of humour to appreciate the Gloom card game. It has a very "Addams Family" theme to it. But the game is definitely light-hearted, with events such as being distressed by dysentery or pursued by poodles. In fact, we laughed a LOT during this game. So, if you can enjoy some twisted humour and a really inventive card mechanic interests you, Gloom will be a great buy for you.
The Manufacturer's Card Game Review of Gloom:
The world of Gloom is a sad and benighted place. The sky is gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner. Debt, disease, heartache, and packs of rabid flesh-eating mice -- just when it seems like things can't get any worse, they do. But some say that one's reward in the afterlife is based on the misery endured in life. If so, there may yet be hope -- if not in this world, then in the peace that lies beyond.
In the Gloom card game, you assume control of the fate of an eccentric family of misfits and misanthropes. The goal of the game is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of death. You'll play horrible mishaps like Pursued by Poodles or Mocked by Midgets on your own characters to lower their Self-Worth scores, while trying to cheer your opponents' characters with marriages and other happy occasions that pile on positive points. The player with the lowest total Family Value wins.
Printed on transparent plastic cards, Gloom features an innovative design by noted RPG author Keith Baker. Multiple modifier cards can be played on top of the same character card; since the cards are transparent, elements from previously played modifier cards either show through or are obscured by those played above them. You'll immediately and easily know the worth of every character, no matter how many modifiers they have. You've got to see (through) this game to believe it!
We're looking for more reviews and strategies for this card game. Submit yours here!
Related Products in the "Gloom" series