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Gloom: Unhappy Homes» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Depressing Domiciles, The thoughts of a teen girl. rss

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Elorah Dementia
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Would you live in a house where someone (maybe) got murdered in? I suppose it would be weird. And I doubt anyone would clean it. I mean, curses are a thing. Still, I’d be fun to say “Hey, I live in the murder house!”. It’d make for an interesting conversation starter. People might give you odd looks, though. Don’t really see why… Gloom: Unhappy Homes is an expansion for the game Gloom by Atlas Games. It adds a new player to the table as well as some other things.

Besides a new player, Unhappy Homes adds… homes. Well, they’re technically called RESIDENCES, but we aren’t gonna get into specifics here. Even though they’re important here. Besides Residences, Mysteries were added. Normal houses are too mundane anyways. We want ones that’ll kill us in our sleep. Those are the best kind of houses. Mostly because they’re usually more than three stories tall. Along with these, a new family was added, which allows for another player to join in on the fun. Fun for us, not the family. I thought I should specify. This is the family of a bunch of bohemians. Eh, there was no diffinitive last name, so it was the best I had. The family's full of artists! You know how they say you have to suffer to make art? Well, that's true here! It also includes their house/place of business, Le Canard Noir Cafe. I wonder where they sleep if they live there.

The setup for the game is easy, with a small change. First, have everyone choose a family. A family consists of five family members. Each of the family members have an image on them, along with some flavor text and a Family Symbol. The flavor text doesn’t taste good, though. After choosing the family, you’ll take the house corresponding with it. For example, if you choose the Slogars, then you’ll take Castle Slogar. Lucky scientists… They get a CASTLE! Wish I had a castle. Anyways, after that, you’ll take the original deck and the expansion deck, and shuffle them together. Including the Mysteries. I'll explain the Mysteries in the next paragraph. Deal out five cards to each player. When that’s done, choose a player, either via rules or other methods. After that, you may begin the game!

The game is fairly simple to play. The first thing you can do is either play ANY card from your hand or discard your ENTIRE hand. There are four different types of cards: Modifiers, Events, Mysteries, and Untimely Deaths. These cards have different effects. Modifier cards give Pathos Points, which are points used for scoring at the end of the game. The good kind of scoring. The kind that wins games! What did you think I was talking about? The Pathos Points listed on Modifier cards can be listed on one to three spaces. Pathos Points can be either positive or negative. However, negative points are good, and positive points are bad. Cue Weird Al’s Everything You Know Is Wrong here. Modifier cards also have something on them called Story Icons. These explain exactly what the Modifier deals with. For example, a Modifier that has a Money icon on it can either mean losing or gaining money. Unlike in the core game, there are two new Story Icons, and a new spot they can appear on the right. These Story Icons can have effects on Untimely Death cards, as well as helping storytelling. Storytelling is optional, but it makes the gameplay more fun. Or at the very least helps people be more creative. Modifiers may also have special effects listed on the cards, such as making you skip a turn, or not draw for your turn. These special effects go to the person the card was played on, not the person who played it. These cards can not be played on Residences, seeing as though I doubt a house would mind being chewed on by a poodle. Or maybe it does. How should I know, I can’t speak to houses! Unlike in the original game, there are new Timing Icons that apply to the special effects. These tell you how long the effects last, such as until the text is covered up by a different card. Event cards are one time use cards that can have a variety of effects. These effects can include bringing a character back from the dead to canceling an effect as it is played. They are used, and then are discarded immediately. Mysteries are the spooky things that happen to houses that make them unappealing to normal people. Unlike the other cards, Mysteries are the only cards that can be played on Residences. They’re a lot like Modifier cards, as they give Pathos Points, and can have special effects on them. You can tell them apart from other cards because of their blue text. Untimely Deaths are just that, cards that cause an unfortunate event to happen to a family. They also lock in any visible Pathos Points on that character. And no, you can’t kill your house. You may only kill a character with a negative score on them, except in special curcumstances. When you play your first card, discard, or pass, you’ll play another card. That’s where the two types of players differ. I don’t discard, because I’m a dummy who gains an emotional attachment to their cards too quickly. For your second play, you can only discard or play Events, Modifiers, or Mysteries. After you play/discard your second round, you’ll finish up your turn by drawing back up to five. If you exceed the five card limit, just don’t draw until you get under five. The turn will go to the next person, and so on. The game ends when an entire family dies. Count up any visible Pathos Points on your dead family members, and the person with the most NEGATIVE points win.

The main components in this game is cards. But the cool thing about the cards is that they’re CLEAR! Since they’re made out of plastic, don’t worry about spilling water on them. Of course, it still might not be a good idea. Don’t test the Game Gods. They’ll do their best to prove you wrong in the worst possible ways. And they show no favoritism, either. Everyone is fair game to them.
I like this expansion quite a bit. Other than the fact that it gives my scientist family a home, it expands one of the games I enjoy. However, there aren't as many Mysteries as I'd like. It seems to work ok when you're playing with two players, but it may become problematic when you add more players. Also, the Untimely Deaths and Event look different to the core game's cards. It might be me, but it kinda makes it obvious when one of those cards are going to be drawn. But we DO have the first edition of the core game, so that's probably it. Other than that, 9/10.
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