What’s Going On With Gloom?

SDCC Booth


Gloom Second Edition is due to hit stores this week, and I hope to be playing it at Gen Con. But what is Gloom Second Edition? What’s different, and why was it changed?

Starting with what’s different, Atlas has a helpful list of significant changes on their website. The fundamental structure and layout of the game hasn’t changed, and it is possible to play with first and second edition cards mixed together into one deck. Here’s a few key points…

Look at Cthulhu Gloom. Like Cthulhu Gloom, the second edition uses timing icons to specify when card effects are resolved, and it has the tombstone images on death cards. One improvement over Cthulhu Gloom: Event cards now have a central image that gives them the same silhouette as Deaths, so you can’t recognize them from the back of the card.

Troublesome cards have been changed or removed. There have always been a few cards that have been too powerful (Body Thief), too confusing (Til Death Do Us Part), or simply awkward (any card that has an effect that resolves on your next turn). Some of these cards have been removed completely; others have been streamlined.

Expansion Symbols. A long-standing issue has been the difficulty of pulling out an expansion once you’ve mixed it in with your core set. Now all cards have symbols that indicates what set they belong to, making it easy to play with just one expansion at a time. In addition, the art for the story icons has had a facelift. 

All of these things are the results of ten years of playing Gloom and bumping into things I wish I could change. It’s not a complete redesign; it’s just an opportunity to improve a host of little problems. Think of it as a Designer’s Cut (I wanted to add a commentary track and some deleted scenes, but it just didn’t work out). Let me know what you think of the changes, and if you have any questions ask here!


My next project is Fairy Tale Gloom. We all know that many of the fairy tales we know and love turn out badly in the end, whether it’s the Little Mermaid dissolving into foam when she fails to win her Prince (spoiler alert!) or Snow White’s stepmother being forced to dance to death in red-hot iron boots. Fairy Tale Gloom gives you the opportunity to establish once and for all just which classic character had it the worst… though the winner is expected to come up with a moral for their story!

Fairy Tale Gloom is a stand-alone game that supports 2-5 players. It’s possible to mix it with any other set, and in the promo card Atlas has been handing out this summer – The Looking Glass – is intentionally compatible with both Fairy Tale and classic Gloom. However, like Cthulhu Gloom, it uses a few icons you won’t find in other sets, so you’ll water down the effect a bit if you mix it together. There’s some interesting twists in FT Gloom, but at this point we’re not sure when it will be out – certainly not until the end of the year – so I’m going to wait to dig into the details until we have a release date set!

Gloom aside, it’s an exciting time. I’ll be at Gen Con and PAX Prime, and I’ll post my Gen Con schedule in the next few days… along with a new Dragonmark!