Who doesn’t love a fairytale? Especially one filled with poisoned apples, imprisonment, forced labour, and murderous tendencies…well Fairytale Gloom has all of this and more. A card game where misfortune is encouraged and you are only limited by your own imagination. For 2-5 players, ages 13+.
So What’s the Point of Fairytale Gloom?
You will control the fates of four different fairytale characters. Your aim is to provide them with the most miserable lives possible, before killing them off having achieved a negative self-worth score. There are twenty characters to choose from. You might recognise The Wolf, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, or my personal favourite, The Witch.
But beware, the game is full of ‘take that’. Though your aim is to provide your fairytale characters with the highest negative point scoring lives possible, your opponents will be trying to stop you! The modifier cards give you and your opponents the opportunity to play a card onto any active character. This means tactics play a big part in the game.
Modifier cards come with negative scoring events, such as ‘became a beast’, and positive scoring events, such as ‘came into a crown’. So, you and your opponents must pay close attention to each others’ characters and their stories. Only by doing so can you hope to play your cards to their best advantage, and to ultimately win Fairytale Gloom.
Card Design, Theme, and the Art of Story-Telling in Fairytale Gloom
The success of Fairytale Gloom is largely down to its unique card design and resulting gameplay. The transparent design enables the multi-layering of cards. Symbols activate and deactivate as cards are layered onto each other as the game progresses. This is both an interesting and space saving game concept, which certainly has a novelty value.
Coupled with the cards, the theme of fairytales is a clever choice. Everyone knows the traditional stories and happy endings for many of the characters but in this game that's all forgotten. Who wouldn’t want to see Cinderella meet a grizzly end? Or Baby Bear get his revenge?
To make the game last longer and to fully allow your imagination to run wild, you are encouraged to incorporate story-telling. So, when you play a card onto a character, such as ‘outwitted an ogre’, you can invent a fascinating tale as to how that character came to outsmart that ogre. Thus you entertain your opponents whilst getting to create your own unique fairytales.
But remember, the game is not meant to be all sweetness and smiles, the more gruesome the tale the better…so don’t hold back!
Symbols and Card Effects…
The game sounds straightforward enough but some of the mechanisms make it a much more competitive, fun, and challenging card game.
There are a number of symbols and card effects that can impact gameplay. This adds variety and yet more ‘take that’ aspects. Some cards might reduce your draw limit, require you to discard specific cards, or conduct an action depending on certain symbols on show. For those who like a challenge, mastering this game will be a delight.
For those looking to play with younger teenage members of the family, there is an alternative method of gameplay laid out in the rulebook, which does allow you to play a ‘very simple Fairytale Gloom’.
The rulebook is squeezed onto a single piece of paper, which after a thorough read will arm you with all the information you need to get stuck into a game. The general size of the packaging also means the game is easily transportable - perfect for a meet up with friends.
Let Your Imagination Run Wild in Fairytale Gloom!
Overall, the theme is great, the cards are novel, and the gameplay challenging. If you like ‘take that’ and ‘story-telling’ combined, with an ultimate desire to see your favourite fairytale characters meet a gruesome end, then buy this game!