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A while ago I got to try a lovely little card game called Gloom, which is all about having the absolutely most depressing terrible life possible and then a suitably morbid death. The game is actually produced by one of my favourite RPG game designers, Keith Baker, who of course wrote the fantastic Eberron campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons. The most innovative and intriguing part of Gloom is the way the cards are designed: They are transparent. As every card is transparent, when stacked on top of one another they show (or block) bits from other cards below them.

This creates an innovative, fascinating and decidedly tactical scoring system, which encourages paying attention to where on the cards the negative modifiers are located (Top, middle and bottom most often). This episode of tabletop from a while ago aptly illustrates the way the game works:

One of the neat things that did come across while I was playing it was the idea of making a story as you went along. So instead of just placing cards down purely mechanically, coming up with story justifications for why these characters felt so awful worked very well. For example, one of my characters ran away to the circus (a card played on them by another player) improving their mood, where at the circus they were having a great time until they got mauled my a manatee (it happens) drastically reducing their mood (as it covered the bonus of the other card).

Hopefully I can fetch myself my own copy of the game, including the Cthulhu Gloom expansion (obviously), to make more amusingly depressing stories!

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