Sunday, June 7, 2015

#GetOutAndGame - Gloomy Tailgating for Dave Matthews Band



My wife and I are big Dave Matthews Band fans, and last night marked our fifth concert together at the First Niagara Pavilion (formerly the Post Gazette Pavilion, formerly Star Lake Amphitheater.)  Like many DMB fans, after arriving early we set up our chairs in front of the car, pulled out a few drinks, and relaxed in the amazing late-spring sun.  Since the price of beer at First Niagara Pavilion is now between $11 to $16 each, there was no rush to get through the main gate.

But we wanted this concert to be a little different.  To further celebrate the season of #GetOutAndGame, we brought along one of our favorite card games:  Gloom.




If you've never had the chance to try Gloom here is a brief rundown of the gameplay:


  • Each player starts with a dark and dismal family of strange characters.  Think "The Adams Family" or "The Munsters."
  • The goal of the game is to have each member of your family living a miserable life, as depressing as possible, and then die a sad death.
  • Each turn a player can play two cards.  Most are modifier cards placed on a character that bestow either a positive or negative value on that family member.  When you play a card, you as the player must tell the story as to how it happens.  
  • If a character has a negative value, an "untimely death" card can be played to "off" said character.  
  • Once one player's entire family has been killed off, the negative points from all dead characters are counted, and the person with the most negative points wins. 
This is just a brief rundown, but if you'd like a more in-depth look, the game was featured on Tabletop.

Since the cards are clear, after a while the table looks like this.


Some of my role-playing fans may be crying "foul" right about now.  In the past, we've always played RPG's during our #GetOutAndGame events.  Well unfortunately this year it was just the two of us, but perhaps next year some more of you will tag along and we'll smuggle some dice and mini's onto the lawn.  It'll be a good time!  

But one of the things we love about Gloom is the storytelling aspect of the game.  Since every card requires the player to tell a tale, this card game feels very similar to role-playing games.  

For example:

One of my characters, Darius Dark, runs Dark's Den of Deformity, a demented and diabolical circus.  On my turn I decided to play the Chastised by the Church card, and placed this over Darius Dark.  

In a normal card game the card is played and that is that… but not in Gloom.  In Gloom I had to tell a story which went a little like this:

Darius Dark had been a very religious man, as is required by one running a circus.  The trapeze is pretty dangerous, as are all those wild animals, so its good to have a god on your side.  But one day Darius Dark had a revelation!  He was watching a TV show and saw Ricky Gervais talking about atheism.  Darius Dark was swayed by Ricky's points, and decided to go out and meet Mr. Gervais in person.  This wasn't hard because Ricky Gervais was a big fan of circuses and loves free tickets.  But during a backstage meet and greet, while Darius Dark and Ricky Gervais were chatting, the local bishop saw them both together.  The bishop became angry, and chastised Darius Dark for his new association.  

Isn't that more fun than just playing a card?  

During last night's game we had one of my wife's characters, a butler who was afraid of topiaries, choked on a bone, get buried alive, get dug up two months later only to cough up the bone and spit it into the mouth of a another character, causing them to choke on a bone.  

Good times!



We had a few onlookers during our long game of Gloom, and if we had more time I think we would've tried to pull someone else into the game.  But as we wrapped up our one and only game (it took over an hour!) we looked at the time…

… a concert was starting soon, and we wanted to get to our seats.