So this week we are covering a few games that have caught my attention over the years, and encourage you to give them a try! Today, I am going to wind back the clock to 2004 and the release of Gloom!
What is Gloom?
Gloom is a game where to play a family that are about to have a series of unfortunate events! Your goal is to have your family being thoroughly miserable before they suffer a rather untimely death. All the while, you want your opponent’s families to be absolutely joyful before they all, pass away. Once one family members have all died, the game ends. The person who scores the most negative points by the end of the game, wins! A nice backwards way of working compared to the normal way of scoring makes it all the more interesting.
Ok, sounds easy, what makes it fun?
The fun not only comes from the wonderful schadenfreude you get from the suffering you place on each of the families, but also from the stories you tell. You see the idea is that as you place a negative modifier upon a family member, you really want to explain why this has happened to them. This rather macabre stories really do add to the feeling and experience of the game, assuming everyone buys into it.
Pros and Cons
What is also a rather interesting feature of these cards is that the modifiers are all transparent cards, which means they can sit nicely on top of each other on your character cards, a nice little quirk that looks really nice as the game continues. Some cards will wipe the score of one card and replace it with it’s own, with the cards being transparent this makes it really easy from looking at your character to tell which score they are on.
It is these little details which make the game fun. Of course, being a card draw mechanism can mean your chances or winning/losing pretty random. If you draw badly from the pile and the cards are against you, can make for a rather uninteresting game. Combined with the untimely death cards being combined within the deck, you can have a game where you have no ability to murder off your family members, and since you only score points for dead members of your family, it can scupper your entire game plan.
However, this is a easy, quick and lighthearted game to play without a massive amount of strategy possible (due to the randomness of the cards) it can be thought of as a nice Beer and Pretzel game. Brilliant little distraction during your downtime between massive play sessions of Battlestar Galactica with every single expansions added, and something you can happily take down to the pub for a game while grabbing a few pints with friends.
I will happily give this game a comfortable 4/5, and would heartily recommend it for any gamers out there wanting a little distraction. Of course, if my review doesn’t convince you, luckily Gloom was covered by the lovely Wil Wheaton over on Tabletop:
You can even go over to Red Dice Games and buy your own copy of Gloom, and if you use “nedice” you can even pick it up with a further 5% off!