In recognition of our first New Year's Eve with Young Lord Shadowmoss, we opted to stay in - a much different experience than the raging party we went to last year (and honestly I think I prefer staying in). As Lady Shadowmoss had been generous enough to indulge my hobbies by getting me two games for Christmas: Cthulhu Dice and Gloom: The Game of Inauspicious Incidents and Grave Consequences, we decided to break them out after ringing in 2012:
Cthulhu Dice (Steve Jackson Games) comes with 18 "sanity tokens" (What would a Cthulhu game be without sanity loss?) and a special 12-sided Cthulhu die festooned with symbols from the Lovecraft mythos (which may find its way into a solo Cthulhu rpg)
Each player starts with 3 sanity and the symbol rolled tells the players what actions to take regarding the gaining or losing of said sanity. With 2 people, game play is under 5 minutes and requires little in the way of strategy. I imagine there's only nominally more strategy involved with more players, but, that said, the potential for a fun drinking game was obvious to us both and it will be joining me at the next party we host or attend.
The goal of Gloom (Atlas) "is sad, but simple: you want your characters to suffer the
greatest tragedies possible before passing on to the well-deserved respite of
death." It's a bit morbid as themes go, but both of us appreciate dark humor so we enjoyed it. We even laughed out loud at some of the character descriptions. But that could have been the champagne.
As a bonus, the cards are illustrated with awesome Edward Gorey-like artwork.
Gloom is a card game with a twist- all but the character cards are transparent in the middle. Previously played cards can thus effect the current round. It's actually rather easy to play - after one open-handed practice game I felt pretty confident I understood it. Never the less, because the cards can have some unwanted effects - even though they also bring great gain, each round required thought. It was a ton of fun and we are already planning to play it again.
My only complaint is that I didn't get all four families depicted in the rules, but 2 each of 2 families. I'll be writing Atlas to see if I can't get that rectified.