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Gloom: Unhappy Homes» Forums » Variants

Subject: Alternate Residence cards - printable from Atlas Games website rss

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Keith McCleary
United States
San Diego
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I just discovered a printable set of Residence cards available at the Atlas Games site. These are just for the families in the base game, but basically act as Modifiers that affect their respective families in a specific way, so it actually MATTERS which family you start with at the beginning of the game. I think you could also use these as Residence cards even with the 'Unhappy Homes' expansion, and just keep their special effects in play until they are covered by a Mystery.

Anyway, now that I've found them I think I'll be printing them out onto adhesive paper and sticking them to my current set of 'Unhappy Homes' Residence cards. But this printable set can be used WITHOUT any expansions.

Here's the webpage -- look for the 'Gloom Houses promo' in the lefthand sidebar:

Or just use this download link:
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John Q.T. Nguyen
United States
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We just recently started playing Gloom and one of the things that we wished was a part of the game was some type of strategic advantage in picking one family over another. So, I was very excited when I heard that there was a "Gloom Houses Promo" that offered just that.

Unfortunately, when I viewed the PDF, it appeared that even though it referenced the optional rules that would grant each house "special effects," they had either been removed from the article or existed elsewhere, never to be seen again. Some time later, I would discover this thread on the Atlas forums where one of their users reproduced a copy of these optional rules, and included some suggestions for the two expansions out at the time.

In an effort to help ensure that these optional rules exist in some shape or form, I'm re-posting the information here on BGG as well as a suggestion for the most recent expansion.

Original Optional House Rules from Atlas published in Game Trade Magazine in October 2004

Dark's Den of Deformity (Yellow):
As your first play, you may discard 3 cards from your hand to remove the top Modifier from a living Character you control.

Castle Slogar (Red):
Whenever a Modifier is played on a Character you control, you may discard 1 card from your hand.

Hemlock Hall (Purple):
After you draw from the deck, draw 1 additional card and then discard 1 card from your hand.

Blackwater Watch (Green):
Whenever you play an Untimely Death, you may immediately play 1 Modifier as a free play.

My Variation on the Optional House Rules with Backstories

Dark's Den of Deformity (Yellow):
As your first play, you may discard three cards from your hand to remove the top Modifier from a living character in your residence.

Backstory: Good fortune rarely lasts for long in Dark's Den of Deformity.

Castle Slogar (Red):
When an opponent plays a Modifier on one of your characters, you may discard one card from your hand and draw one card to replace it.

Backstory: The worse things get for the Slogars, the more likely they are to find what they're looking for!

Hemlock Hall (Purple):
Every time you finish drawing cards from the deck, draw one additional card and then discard one card from your hand.

Backstory: Hemlock Hall holds immense wealth, but this often brings tragedy to the unfortunate Wellington-Smythes.

Blackwater Watch (Green):
When you play an Untimely Death, you may immediately play one Modifier as a free play.

Backstory: For the Blackwater clan, death is an everyday occurrence, and they don't let it slow them down.

Le Canard Noir (Blue):
When you discard a card as one of your plays, you may draw one face-up card and immediately play it as a free play or add it to your hand.

Backstory: The bohemians of the Black Duck are often forced to come up with creative solutions, too bad they usually end in disaster.

The Broken Arms (Orange):
When an opponent plays an Untimely Death, play one Modifier from your hand on them after their second play and before their draw phase.

Backstory: Unauthorized killings don't go over very well with the Malone mob, and the punishment will be swift.

The Baobab (Seafoam Green):
As your first play, you may select a card from any opponent's hand which must be played immediately. Discard the card if a play is not possible.

Backstory: Thanks to their intrepid globetrotting, the Bumpersnoots have become quite adept at hunting down trouble.

Notes on My Variant...

I created some printable labels and alternate house cards with these additional abilities printed on them (which you can find here). While I was creating them, some of the flavor text was altered slightly for clarity and consistency.

The only significant change made to the original house rules was to Castle Slogar, where you may discard and replace a card rather than just a straight discard. In our playtesting, the additional discard was rarely ever used and we felt that it was relatively weaker than the other special abilities as it gave no immediate benefit.

The special abilities for Le Canard Noir was taken from amielid's post. The only change was the clarification that you may either immediately play the drawn card or take it to your hand (which I believe was the intention).

The special ability for the Broken Arms was largely inspired from amielid's post as well. However, we found that forcing a player to discard a card after they had just played an Untimely Death rarely affected gameplay and wasn't much of a "punishment," especially given that they would immediately re-draw back up to their hand limit shortly afterward.

That being the case, we altered this ability to be a free play out-of-turn that would force the "offending player" to live with the effects of the card played. At its best, it allowed the Broken Arms to gamble that they could pull ahead with the extra opportunities granted to them by playing a negative value card on another player that forced a miss a turn, skipped a draw phase, etc. At the very least, it gave the Broken Arms player a different way to play cards with positive values and less reason to discard them outright.

Additional Considerations

Aside from what has been listed above, the only other things that we have discussed changing are:

The ability for Dark's Den of Deformity. Out of all the house abilities, this one gets used the least in our playthroughs and part of the reason why is that it is an expensive ability. Rarely do we ever have three cards that we do NOT want to use, so we've discussed lowering the cost to two cards.

Modifying the Broken Arms ability somehow in case it doesn't scale well. We only have a small group that plays Gloom, so we can't tell how well it would work with more players.

If anyone is able to playtest either of these things (with a larger group of six or seven players) and provide feedback, that would be great!


In my opinion, the Blackwater Watch is the best ability. However, none of the abilities seem to be game breaking. I've played a few games one-on-one against a Blackwater Watch with the Dark's Den of Deformity (which essentially meant I played with no abilities, as I never used mine) and was still able to pull out some wins.

In any case, I hope this post helps other Gloom players have fun with infusing a little bit more variety and strategy into their games.
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