GameSpot: Atlas Games

Atlas Games is an American publisher of award-winning card games, board games, and RPG books. Since 1990, they’ve delivered some of the most fun and well respected games in the tabletop gaming industry. While they’ve produced loads of original and inventive games, their big two are Gloom and Once Upon a Time:


gloomclearsamplesIn Gloom your goal is sad, but simple: make your freakish family suffer the greatest tragedies possible before they pass on to the well-deserved respite of death, and tell the tale of their miserable demise. Play cards with horrible mishaps on your own characters to lower their self-worth scores, while cheering your opponents with happy occasions that pile on positive points. The innovative clear plastic cards reveal or cover up the effects of the cards they’re placed upon, with the totals showing through to give your score. The Unwelcome Guests expansion adds an extra level of complexity to the core game by adding persistent effects to the cards you can play, and the Unhappy Homes, Unquiet Dead and Unfortunate Expeditions expansions adds new families, new locations and much more!
The original game’s artwork is Burton-esque illustrations delivered in a stark black-and-white pencil line style which really give this game a huge amount of gothic charm. Break out the eyeliner and see who can make their family the most miserable! Alternatively, there’s Cthulhu Gloom and Fairytale Gloom, both of which are presented in full lurid colour. The game has even been parodied by Steve Jackson and the team for Munchkin, in a form that’s completely compatible with the Gloom games!




OUAT3CardFanOnce Upon a Time is the award-winning storytelling card game that encourages creativity and collaborative play. One player is the Storyteller, and begins telling a story using the fairytale elements on her Story cards, guiding the plot toward her Ending Card. The other players use their own cards to interrupt her and become the new Storyteller. The winner is the first player to use all her Story Cards and play her Ending Card. The object of the game, though, isn’t just to win, but to have fun telling a story together. The game is gorgeous to look at, with stunning illustrations by Magic: the Gathering artist Omar Rayyan in a charming fairytale style, and there are various themed expansions to add cards to the game and keep it fresh – you can even create your own cards with one expansion! A great family game – in fact Once Upon a Time was named GAMES Magazine’s Best Family Card Game in 1997.



big_comboWe can’t finish looking at Atlas Games without mentioning the controversial Lunch Money! Dark and brutal, Lunch Money is an exciting, fast-paced, multi-player card game that combines dark psychological images with the raw dynamics of a merciless street fight. One set is a complete game that supports two to four players, but you can combine additional sets accomodate even more players! The cards are creepy and unsettling to look at, and the gameplay is highly competitive, so this one’s not for the faint of heart!



So that’s Atlas Games – brilliantly presented games with strong themes and big cult followings!

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