is a darkly comic card game by Keith Baker for two to four players (increased to seven with the expansion packs).
The world of Gloom is a sad and benighted place. The sky is gray, the tea is cold, and a new tragedy lies around every corner. Each player assumes control of a fate of an eccentric Victorian family of misfits and misanthropes, whose world-weary, thin-lined faces are caricatured from the pages of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley. Each seeks to magnify the tribulations of the members of their own ailing household and ultimately lead them to the well-deserved respite of an untimely death
, while assuaging the sorrows of their deserving opponents
. Storytelling is encouraged!
At the end of the game, the family with the most tragic past wins.
- Castle Slogar, whose icon is the brain.
- Hemlock Hall, represented by the top hat.
- Blackwater Watch, symbolised by the scythe.
- Dark's Den of Deformity, which presents beneath the circus tent.
The expansion packs introduce:
- Le Canard Noir, personified by the duck.
- The Broken Arms, depicted by the moneybag.
- The Baoba, embodied by the Pith Helmet
Tropes that appear in this game include:
- Affectionate Parody - Of Victorian literature, especially Gothic Horror, and especially Charles Dickens.
- Aristocrats Are Evil - Lord Wellington-Smythe is oblivious to what goes on under his roof, and Cousin Mordecai is ill-treated by the rest of his family. The rest of Castle Slogar, Hemlock Hall, and Blackwater Watch all count.
- Arranged Marriage - Professor Helena Slogar intends her daughter Melissa to be wedded to Grogar... never mind that Melissa is barely undead and Grogar is home-made. They'll be certain to get along splendidly, since Grogar is partially Melissa's teddy bear.
- Big Screwed-Up Family - Four of them, and more in expansions.
- Black Comedy
- Brain in a Jar - Lord Slogar has a rather sedentary life these days.
- Break the Cutie - Life is not fair to poor Cousin Mordecai.
- The Butler Did It - Butterfield, head servant at Hemlock Hall. Whatever it was, he did it.
- Character Death
- Crapsack World
- Creepy Twins - The Wellington-Smythe twins, the most adorable little sadists you'll ever meet.
- Colour Coded Armies
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Dozens of them, courtesy of the death cards (Baked into a Pie, Consumed from Within, Torn Limb from Limb, etc.)
- Dark and Troubled Past - The path to victory.
- Death as Comedy
- Low-Level Advantage - Characters do not give you points until they have passed beyond the mortal coil, at which point they are past the other families' best efforts to cheer them, but they also have no more lots left in life for you to worsen. In general, the better a player is doing, the harder it is to improve further.
- Mad Scientist - Professor Helena Slogar prefers the title 'Eccentric Inventor'.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter - Melissa Slogar would have been, had she not been prevented from growing up...
- Monster Clown - Mr. Giggles always has a smile for the children.
- Peaceful in Death - The object of the game.
- Poke the Poodle - It is evidentally quite traumatising for a character to be Pursued by Poodles.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: With certain cards, it's possible to revive dead characters. With absolutely no explanation whatsoever.
- Scoring Points - Points are negative. You want as many negative points as possible, and a character who has positive Self-Worth can't die.
- Spin-Off - Cthulhu Gloom, which applies the gameplay style to the Cthulhu Mythos. It's compatible with the original but not otherwise related.
- This Index Has Had a Hard Life
- Unwanted Revival: It's possible to resurrect your opponents' dead family members, in order to give them happy experiences and weaken their chances of winning.
- Victorian Novel Disease: Several of the available Tragic Death cards.
- Your Cheating Heart - After his wife's (naturally, tragic) death, Lord Wellington-Smythe dotes extensively over their young twins... oblivious to the suspicious lack of family resemblance.