Games Nights – Gloom and Love Letter

loveletterWe’ve been introduced to a few new card games this last week, as we’ve casually extended our geekery in social situations. Lord S has been collecting a vast array of easily transportable games over the last few years, and brought a couple round on Sunday when he dropped by for a catch-up.

The first of these – Love Letter –¬† he also brought to #Tuesday, where it served as social glue for conversations through the night – it’s a simple game ostensibly suitable for 2-4 players, but at one point we had 6 or 7 players round the table. The action is pretty much take a card, play a card, with the aim being to eliminate or hold on to the Princess card by a process of knocking other players out of contention.

It’s a fun system that also proved once more that the former-Lady M has great difficulty in counting cards or reading instructions (first noted while playing Cards Against Humanity). Lord S was heard to opine that it was the first time he had ever had to consider being a games master/referee for a card game. Hilarity ensued.

gloomBy way of total contrast we also played Gloom for the first time, and I’ve decided to buy a set for myself as soon as pay day arrives (unless someone is kind and generous and gets it for me first). Not only is Gloom a beautiful set of cards with a simple set of mechanics, but it is first and foremost about telling stories. I wonder why that appeals to me?

In Gloom you take control of a Gothically horrible family and your aim is to make their lives as miserable as possible before killing them. The cards also include positive events that you can play on yourself or more usually on other people. When a character has a negative score, they can have a death card played on them – if you have one. The lovely conceit holding the whole thing together though is that rather than just placing cards, you need to tell a rambling story, for which the punchline is the title of the card you wish to play. These include positive cards like “was the toast of the town”, “was enchanted by the circus”, and “purchased a peerage” as well as negative ones like “cursed by the Queen”, “went mildly mad”, and “shunned by society”. Death cards include “burned by a mob”, “baked in a pie”, and “ran out of air”

As we’re all horrible, horrible people we took great delight in fashioning the demise of these dreadful characters, and quickly found the stories interweaving as we picked up and played with throwaway locations, situations and jokes from other players.

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