GAME DESCRIPTION: Gloom is card game designed for two to four players. Each player takes a "family". and during their turn, writes out their life using their cards. The catch is that the player wants to get as few points as possible, and have as many negative points as they can get.
SET-UP: Each player begins with a family of 4-5 members, depending on the amount of players. Each player begins with a hand of 5 cards, and play begins with either the owner of the game, or the player who had the most miserable day.
PLAYS: Each player has two Plays per turn. Each player may play or discard 1 card from their hand during each Play, or pass. Each card generally has a title. The title determines what happened to your family, but the fun is telling a short 2 to 4 sentence story that explains how that happened.
MODIFIER CARDS: These generally have numbers on the left side, and a description or effect on the bottom. These are played directly on a family member. When played, the numbers seen count toward or against you, with any number covered up not applied. Any effects are applied to the family member either once (Immediate), or for the rest of the game (Continuous).
EFFECTS: These generally have a red text, and have various effects. Generally played on that players turn, they can also be used on another players turn if the card says "as it is played." Event Cards that move Modifier cards don't count as playing the card, so immediate effects don't go off. Continuous effects, however, are now applied to that player
UNTIMELY DEATH: Death cards are played for two reasons. First is that all Modifier cards, and most Event cards, can NOT be played on a dead character. Second, any players who have not died at the end of the game will not count towards a players total score. You cannot play a Death on any player on your second Play.
CONCLUSION: This is one of those games that you need to be careful with whom you play. The definite story-telling and slight improv elements make it hard for certain people to grasp. The dark, grim tone is also a warning to be sensible in choosing to play with younger audiences. Still, the art is wonderful, a very Edward Gorey-ian style (if you haven't read The Gashlycrumb Tinies, it has great dark humor). The game creates some wonderfully ghoulish, grim stories, and definite humorous situations. And there is still a sense of competitiveness for those players who want to win. It is actually pretty funny to see people get mad because something good happened to them. A great game for a night of creepy and grim.