Halloween is right around the corner and I asked Mary what her favorite games were for Halloween and she mentioned Gloom. Gloom is a game that we have enjoyed a lot of playtime on. The game is easy and the cards are beautiful especially if you are into the whole Edward Gorey style. Being this game is a gloomy game about killing your family members its recommended for the 13+ age group.
Each player in this game represents a family consisting of five members, unless you are playing a four player game then you choose one of your family members to sit this one out. If its five families you seek then you can grab one of the expansions to Gloom or make a Hodge-podge family of the cards that were set aside for the 4 player game. The object of this game is to get the least points while inflicting horrible mishaps to your family for negative points while cheering up your opponents family with positive points. The game ends immediately when the last family member of any family dies.
The game has a very beautiful transparent cards that feature art by Scott Reeves and Todd Remick in a very Edward Gorey kind of way. This was the first game I played with transparent cards and was rather unique when this game came out in 2004 with the second edition of the game being released in 2014. There are also a few standalone versions that have come out like Gloom of Thrones and Space Gloom. There is also a new standalone version coming in November of 2021 called Gloomier.
All the point values that are visible count towards the card value. This is a really cool way of tracking stacking points.
Each player starts the game with a hand of five cards. On you turn you are able to preform two actions. The actions are adding a modifier to any living family member, play an event, play an untimely death, or discard your whole hand. Then at the end of your turn you draw up to your current hand size. Each modifier card has a positive or negative point value on it these cards are stacked on top of the family member cards. The cards are transparent so you can see the family member and the points as they stack up. There are 6 spots on each modifier card for points not all of them are used and some are covered with blank spots to block out previous cards played. All the point values that are visible count towards the card value. This is a really cool way of tracking stacking points. The only issue we have ever had was with the visibility when you have many cards stacked up together.
Remember that the lowest score wins.
So you want to score those points or lock in your opponents points in at a bad score? Well that is where the untimely death cards come in. You can only play these as your first action on your turn and you can only play them on a character with a negative value. Remember that the lowest score wins. When you play this card it locks the card and nobody can play any more cards on it unless for some reason you can bring this character back from the dead.
As I had said earlier this is a game we like to bring out in regular rotation at our house. The game is fairly quick depending on the amount of players. The rules are easy and intuitive so the learning curve is good. There is one thing that we do at our house that we think ads to the fun of the game, that is we add a little story of what happened to each character when you play a modifier or untimely death card. It keeps the right amount of silly in an otherwise macabre game of family sadness and death.
Designed by: Keith Baker
Published by: Atlas Games
Year Published: 2005
Recommended Ages: 13+
Time to Play: 60 minutes