#tpt: Gloom and Man Bites Dog

7 March 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Today’s top picks are a little different from my usual ones.  I always choose books, movies, television shows, or music.  This time, I have chosen something else entirely—card games!  So without further ado, here are my 2 picks: Gloom and Man Bites Dog.

gloomMy family is still really big into playing board games and card games, and every year at Christmas we buy a new family game.  This year, while browsing through F.G. Bradley’s, my sister and I came across a card game called Gloom.  Now, what first drew me to the game was the box itself [pictured left].  Created by Keith Baker, Gloom is “the game of inauspicious incidents and grave consequences”.  Well, that sounded like something completely different.

In Gloom there are four main families, represented by unique symbols—a brain for Castle Slogar, a hat for Hemlock Hall, a circus tent for Dark’s Den of Deformity, and a scythe for Blackwater Watch.  Each family consists of five unique characters.  You chose four as your main players and discard one (which can then be put together to make a misfit family if you have five players).  Now the really cool thing about these cards is that they are transparent!  That way, as the game goes on, you can always see underneath cards as they are played.

The families of Gloom.
The families of Gloom.

The basic goal of Gloom is simple—you want to have the most miserable family.  You create a miserable family by playing negative point cards on your own characters, such as “was beaten by beggars -15 points”.  Meanwhile, you’ll want to play positive point cards on your opponents’ family members to give them higher scores, such as “was wondrously well wed +20 points”.  Remember, you want the lowest score!  This game requires strategy and a little bit of creative storytelling!

gloom-unquiet-deadIt’s super fun and actually has quite a few expansion packs you can buy.  After Christmas, I bought one called Unquiet Dead, which adds a supernatural element to the game.  Some of the other expansion packs include, Unhappy Homes, Unwelcome Guests, and Unfortunate Expeditions.  These expansion packs are really cool because you can just shuffle the cards in with your core game, and voila, now you have even more gloom-filled fun to enjoy!

If you’re someone who likes card games and are looking for something a little different, this is definitely a game you should check out!

My second pick for the day is a card game I was actually introduced to in university called Man Bites Dog.

man-bites-dog-2I went through school for journalism (specifically print), and had this one professor for multiple classes each year.  By the end of fourth year, there were only eight people in my program and we all had every journalism class together—with quite a few taught by this one professor.  At the end of the year, we all went to a local pub for some drinks and to chat about this and that, with said professor.  Because there were so few of us, he brought along this game, Man Bites Dog.  Turns out, it was the perfect game for a bunch of aspiring journalists.  However, it’s also just a really fun word game.

In Man Bites Dog, there are a bunch of random words on cards, each with a different point score on the bottom.  For example, ‘snubs’ for 5 points, ‘psychic’ for 25, or ‘cop’ for 10 points.  The objective of the game is to create a unique news headline with the words in your hand.  For instance, “Psychic snubs cop” for a total of 40 points.  The goal is to collect the most points and be the first player to reach 500 points.  There are “exclusive” cards that double the value of points for that hand.  So “Exclusive: Psychic snubs cop” would be worth 80 points.  This game is a lot simpler than Gloom, but just as fun.

I would highly recommend both of these games to anyone who enjoys spending some quality time with family and/or friends.  Let me know if you’ve tried either of these games or can think of any you think I should try!

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