I’m getting ready for my Halloween game night and I was out in the garage getting a big plastic cauldron for candy and saw a little game box up on the shelf. It was a copy of the Hecatomb collectible card game that I got as a gift years ago. I took it down and took a look at it and remembered why it was up on the dusty shelf instead of with my other games.
Hecatomb was a collectible card game published by Wizards of the Coast in 2005. It interested me because the cards were transparent plastic and I had heard that part of the mechanic was to place cards on top of each other and regions that would show through to the top card would influence the play of the game. It sounds neat, right?
Well, once I opened that cards I simply couldn’t get past how creepy the art was. I know that many people have no issues with stuff like this, but I do. I hate gross horror films. I don’t watch them. I’m lucky to get through an episode of C.S.I. without feeling a little squeamish, so imagine me trying to play with plastic cards decorated with blood soaked monster clowns holding body parts. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to see it. I don’t want my kids to see it, so it’s up in the garage. Seriously, the picture of the card I posted was the most tame card I could find. I suppose I will sell them on eBay. Hecatomb didn’t last very long. Wizards stopped publishing it in 2006.
I have heard of another game with a similar mechanic, called Gloom. This also has a creepy theme, but from what I’ve seen, the art has an Eward Gorey style to it, rather than a gross horrific give me nightmares kind of style. This looks like it would be more like what I would enjoy. Cartoony creepy is okay.
Gloom is still available and is published by Atlas Games. There’s even some expansions, including one called Unfortunate Expeditions that has this great image of a giant squid attacking a ship in the wonderful Jules Verne tradition, or at least the cinematic Jules Verne tradition.
I don’t think I’ll be running out to pick up a copy anytime soon, though. Until I can actually win a game of Race for the Galaxy, I have vowed not to look at any new (to me) card games that have that collectible card game feel to them. I may need to practice a bit more, because after writing this, I’m thinking Gloom looks pretty fun.