Now Gloom is a lovely game, even though it's not necessarily the greatest one around. I totally love the card aesthetic and the decision to go with transparent plastic. The gameplay mechanics themselves are a little less than ideal and the fun of the game is a little limited at times. Despite that, we have a mostly complete collection of Gloom expansions as part of our game collection.
Now Fairytale Gloom is one of their standalone expansions that ties to shake things up a bit by moving away from the generic sad families that defined the first game and instead expanded out into the world of classic fairy tales. I was very excited about this expansion since I'm kind of a sucker for fairytales incorporated into slightly more adult games but the end result was also not quite as fun.
Fairytale Gloom is a card game created by Keith Baker and is published by Atlas Games. The game is a standalone expansion that does not require the base Gloom game to play and supports 2-5 players.
This set of Gloom still follows the rules of the original game with little variation. It's pretty much a straight up re-skinning of the original Gloom but with the fairy tale theme and with certain expansion ideas brought in such as Story Cards, previously seen in expansions like Cthulhu Gloom. But for the most part, there's not much new brought into play - assemble a mix of fairy tale characters as your "family" (there are no preset families this time around) and you need to make them as miserable as possible before killing them.
This time around, the decision to go with fairy tale characters actually ended up feeling weird when you start mixing and matching their various fairy tale related misfortunes with different characters. Thus you can have the likes of Goldilocks falling into a deep sleep or Puss in Boots eating a poison apple or something. It's kind of funny at times, but otherwise the fairy tale purist in me wonders what's going on. The narrative flow of the game feels a bit more disjointed because of the wide variety of directions various fairy tales takes.
The card art is still quite cute and the decision to go with color portraits for everyone is always a welcome one. Of course you only get to enjoy the full color character portraits in the beginning of the game - later cards may cover the portraits with generic images that are predominately blue in tone in the same way a lot of Cthulhu cards were mostly green. I wish they had maintained more full color images though with some of the Modifier cards instead of this blue treatment.
In the end, it's still generally the same game with a slightly different but not much else. I was really hoping that they would have introduced a new card mechanic or something into the game to give it a more distinct feel versus other Gloom expansions, but sadly this was not the case. Thus Fairytale Gloom only gets 3 silly little fairy tale characters out of a possible 5.