gateway games that can be played in 30-45 minutes and show my coworkers who show up how to play. On March 23rd I brought in a card game called Gloom.
In this game you have cards for the members of your family. Each member is strange and a bit dark. Each player introduces his or her family by reading off the flavor text on the cards. The object of the game is to lower your family members' self worth to such a point where they die of misery and despair.
This game reminds me of the old TV show, The Addams Family. In that show the Addams Family members were always doing things that were opposite of normal families. They tried to make each other miserable, picked dead flowers, and eating spoiled food. The humor in this show was in that they were opposites to social norms. The same is true for this game.
The cards in this game are made of transparent plastic. Each action card has either positive or negative self-worth points. You play the negative self-worth card on your family. You play positive self-worth card on your opponents family members - thus cheering them up and giving them hope. Occasionally you will draw R.I.P. cards that allow you to kill off any single family member with negative self-worth. You want to be careful that they don't die too soon, because you're trying to rack up negative self-worth points.
This game does sound like it is indeed gloomy. It is not. Part of the fun of this game is the story telling aspect. As you play each card on your family, you need to tell the story of what happened to your family members to lower their self-worth. The situations that each player comes up with to explain what happens is the part that causes much hilarity to ensue. The replay-ability of this game comes in playing the different families and by introducing this game to new people with different creative stories during game play.
I really enjoy playing this game. It allows for creativity in the story-telling aspect of the game-play. Some people may freeze up a bit at first as they try to get into the spirit of the game. I have found, however, that if they stick with it, they will get into the flow of the game and ultimately have fun.