Are you a megalomaniac who gets pleasure from the misfortune of others? Would you love to steer people into a direction that will cause their lives to come tumbling down? Then Gloom is the game for you. The object of the game, in fact, is to make your characters as miserable as you possibly can. Each player has a family, a group of characters that they then play event cards on. There are both good and bad event cards in your hand. The good events are played on your opponent’s characters to heighten their over-all self-worth points; the bad event cards are played on your own characters to lower their self-esteem. In your hand, there are also death cards and action cards. The death cards are very important, because at the end of the game, only your dead characters self-worth scores are added to your final score, and the player with the lowest score wins.
The really interesting thing about Gloom is the story-telling aspect of game play. Though not required, when you play an event card such as "Terrified by Topiary," you may explain how this event occurs. Each character develops as more and more event cards are placed on it, so the character’s life story becomes increasingly unfortunate and, well, abnormal. Taking the time to tell the story of each character and explain the appalling events that happen in the course of their miserable lives adds a unique aspect to game play and makes the game play particularly enjoyable, especially if you take pleasure in the pain of others.