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BLOOM – RPG Journaling Review

BLOOM is a solo GM-Less journaling game in which you play a teenage girl trapped in quarantine at a boarding school on an island infected by the Tox, a plague that makes the trees and animals grow huge and hungry, and mutates your body in strange and horrific ways.

In it, you will draw cards and write journal entries based on specific prompts in order to craft a story of survival and love.

– Description by author

Game Description

Bloom is a solo journaling RPG based on the Wretched and Alone rules by Chris Bissette and Matt Sanders.

It is also inspired by the New York Times bestseller novel, Wilder Girls by Rory Power. In case you haven’t read the book, you need to know that the game contains spoilers for the book.

You are at an all-girls school that has shut down after a plague called the Tox broke out.

The school is located on an island, and the plague has started to change the plants, animals, and girls themselves.

The Tox causes mutations like scales, gills, open sores, extra organs, and bone growths in the girls.

For various reasons (that are explained in the rules), you decide to break quarantine to look for a friend. You must survive the horrors of the Tox, the dangers of the wilds, the promises of the military, and the unpredictability of the other girls.

It uses:

  • A standard deck of 52 playing cards, with jokers removed
  • A single six-sided die
  • A tumbling block tower (optional)
  • Up to 24 tokens or counters

Like most Wretched games, your journal progresses until the tower falls.

Your deck of cards represents the events that will happen each day, and the 6 sided dice determine how many cards are pulled for each round of play.

The 24 tokens gradually come into play as certain cards are pulled from the deck.

Setting the Scene / Getting into Character

The “Who & What” section of the players guide sets the scene. It explains who you are and how you got into this situation.

The rest of your story is told by drawing cards and pulling blocks from the tower.

How to Play

The game is divided into days. Each day has two phases.

  • The Tasks
  • The Journal

The Tasks

Roll your die and draw that number of cards from the deck, keeping them face down.

Turn over the first card you drew and consult the tables of prompts. If the instructions ask you to do a specific thing, do it.

Continue turning over cards and consulting the instructions until your tasks are complete.

When you have completed all your tasks for the day, discard the cards you have used unless you are told otherwise.

The Journal

Take a moment to consider your experiences:

– Your hardships and successes.
– What keeps you awake at night.
– What inspires you to keep going.
– How the changes are affecting you.
– How you are feeling during all of this.

Reorganize the tasks into any order that makes sense to you, and record your journal in voice, video, or written format.

The Card Prompts

Each of the 52 cards have a unique prompt that relates to the face value, and the suit it belongs to.

Hearts relate to the military and how they interact with your group. The cards also talk about the supplies that the military drop off every few months.

Diamond cards relate to the other girls and how they interact with you. The girls usually play nice, but at the end of the day, they protect their own.

Clubs are all about the Wilds. Everything on the island is infected with the Tox. Trees and animals have mutated. It is full of strangeness, beasts, and danger.

Finally, Spades are about the Tox and what it does to you and your body. All sorts of mutations and sickness.

Note: I don't post actual prompts in my reviews. This is to protect the IP of the designer. You will need to buy the game to read the actual prompts.

How is it different

With the exception of the King and Ace of spades, if you draw more than one spade per day, you get to put the extra cards back into the deck and reshuffle.

The Tox is brutal, and you don’t want more than one dose of these cards per day.

Overall Impression

Bloom has some of the best written prompts I have seen in any Wretched game.

There is action associated with almost every card.

Unlike other Wretched games, there is not much time to think about how you feel, what you remember etc. (Which is a really good thing) It is recommended that you ask yourself these questions at the end of every day – even if the cards don’t ask you to.

After playing the game, I really want to read the book as well.



This game includes themes of fear, suspense, despair, violence, and death.

Read and play with caution, keeping in mind that you can take a break or stop completely at any time. Your mental health is important, and this is just a game.

This game is designed to make success very difficult and very unlikely. It is meant to be challenging and harrowing and emotional. If that doesn't sound fun to you, that's absolutely fine.

If you ever draw a card that makes you uncomfortable, or that you do not want to journal about for any reason, discard it and draw a different card.

Remember that you can change, ignore, rewrite or abandon any part of this game that you want.

The Wretched

This work is based on The Wretched, product of Chris Bissette and Loot The Room, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

THE WRETCHED™ is a trademark of Chris Bissette. If you want to make your own game, the System Reference Document (SRD) can be downloaded from the Sealed Library page

How to get the Game

Bloom was created by Thor and Litza Brownwyn of Baby Squalling Dragons.