Everywhere You Look: The Gladstone House in Obsession

January 17, 2021 | Sessions | 2 comments

Explore another Derbyshire family matchup in a solo battle for the highest place in British society with Obsession.

I was fully prepared to pack up Obsession and move onto something else… Yet there I was, intrigued by the next solo family and ready to dive back into Derbyshire society! I bid a temporary farewell to the Wessex clan so I could move onto managing the estate and social circle of another family. Enjoy another fond return to the British country estates!

Game Overview

Game Name: Obsession
Publication Year:
 Dan Hallagan
 Dan Hallagan
Publisher: Kayenta Games
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

Guide a family through the social seasons with the help of loyal staff, an expanding network of acquaintances, and a bustling country estate. What could possibly happen? Just about everything! I decided on the Cavendish family this time around. A little boost in reputation, and off I went!

Taking a Closer Look at the Cavendish Family in Obsession

First Play

January 25, 2019



Latest Play

February 24, 2021



Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays


Play Time

40 Minutes


High Score



Game Area

24" x 28"


Low Score


Across Derbyshire

Long ago, I wondered if the lack of building tile artwork would detract from the experience. Not at all! I appreciate lots of images, though this works out so nicely for me.

Looking out across Alderley Hall and Derbyshire has a very satisfying feeling. It’s all so organized… Even though high society is a constant eddy of chaos and gossip!

It was time to move onto the next family: Gladstone. When I was finished, they would be a note in the history books.

Only as I began, it was rather evident that my family management skills were severely lacking. AGAIN!

A Bright and Beautiful World Around Derbyshire in Obsession

The Lion of the County

But not during this play, when the Cavendish family boasted imported marble floors and the most reputable suite in the county! Surely this would be enough?

How wrong I was. It was comical how poorly I scored. The Gladstone family pulled ahead by a whopping 50 points on most occasions. Most ungracious of them!

Every time an undesirable entered the Cavendish social circle, it was guaranteed that a Gladstone was behind it.

This play was my closest attempt when I was within 10 points. How cruel Derbyshire society was, though!

A Grand Manor for the Cavendishes of Obsession

A Sideburn Case

Little by little, I kept right at it. This rivalry was reminiscent of my time against the Hanover family. But I was as determined as ever to win over the county.

When monuments and reputation didn’t pan out, I had the Cavendishes turn towards prestige guests for points.

The Gladstones were not impressed and spread more false rumors. The nerve! I think they were just jealous of these gentlemen and their glorious sideburns and facial hair.

Alas, I was doomed to failure as the theme cards just didn’t align with my strategy. There was tampering.

Sideburn Society for the Cavendish Friends in Obsession

Cut It Out, Gladstone!

What made this even worse was the fact that I just pictured Joey Gladstone from Full House back in Victorian England. “Cut it out!” was his only joke. So tiresome. Ha!

The hardest part was that sudden jump in the essentials category between seasons 2 and 3. What in the world were the Gladstones up to?! Nonsense. That’s what!

The randomization within the builders’ market often makes it difficult to compete head-to-head in all areas.

As much as that uncertainty might seem unfair, it offers a fun challenge in terms of finding new paths to points.

A New Nemesis in the Gladstones from Obsession

Session Overview

Play Number: 33-38
Expansion: Obsession: Wessex Expansion
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Standard Play with Closed Courtship
Outcome: 6 Losses

So terrible was this collection of plays that I managed to invite a Fairchild heir a single season… Out of 24 chances. I was shamed by the Gladstones all the way to the square! Despite the incessant defeats, it still felt possible to win. Time for a little break before I try to get the Fairchilds over to the country estate again! Awful, AWFUL Gladstones…

Getting Further and Further from the Fairchilds in Obsession


40 Plays


Price & Value



Challenges & Mechanics



Design & Theme



Components & Rules



Achievement & Enjoyment



Distinctness & Randomness


+ Pros (Positives)

  • All of the custom staff meeples are easy to tell apart and very stable, with toppling occurring rarely and comically.
  • Each solo opponent family offers a different challenge and the most difficult require a lot of strategic planning.
  • Although there are main ways to score victory points, several paths are always open to explore during each play.
  • Minimal artwork helps highlight the most important elements while placing a focus on the guests’ portraits.
  • No family plays exactly alike at the start, yet the starting bonuses diminish in importance during the later stages.
  • Revealing the theme card during each courtship phase is exciting and suspenseful, often altering the strategy.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • Luck can play a major role when it comes to scoring well against some of the more difficult families.
  • Some of the guest names are hard to read with the script font that’s used, though this is extremely minor.
  • Casual guests can often be quite risky since there are plenty of undesirable acquaintances worth negative points.
  • Even with the reminder token, it can be easy to forget to earn reputation points at the start of each round.

More Obsession

Explore related posts about Obsession!

Victory Conditions

Score the Most Points

  • Overall Goal Progress 93% 93%

Goals and Milestones


Win at least 1 game against the Blois family.


Win at least 1 game against the Boleyn family.


Win at least 1 game against the Brunswick family.


Win at least 1 game against the Cornwallis family.


Win at least 1 game against the Eden family.


Win at least 1 game against the Fairfax family.


Win at least 1 game against the Fitzherbert family.


Win at least 1 game against the Grosvenor family.


Win at least 1 game against the Hanover family.


Win at least 1 game against the Lancaster family.


Win at least 1 game against the Orange family.


Win at least 1 game against the Seymour family.


Win at least 1 game against the Simpson family.


Win at least 1 game against the Stuart family.


Win at least 1 game against the Gladstone family.

Continue the Conversation

What are your thoughts about Obsession? It continues to occupy a place as my favorite solo game. Nearly perfect, and I still have a ton of content or expansion material to dig into! Who is your favorite guest to show up? There might be a little break from this for some time, yet there’s no question that I shall return to socially destroy the Gladstones!


  1. Hi Jessica,
    I LOVE reading your reports on OBSESSION and I LOVE the game. It’s one of the best I’ve bought in the past 40 years. It creates a wonderful atmosphere and will entertain me for a long time, either as a solo game or a 2 player game. So please keep on writing your reports, it’s a pleasure to follow your experiences. The only thing I missed in the game was information about the family mansions. That’s why we created our own playerboards. You can see them here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/u1vx0vzeqfooui8/AAASN3Ufpk738fxKa7BDdEdIa?dl=0
    Best regards

    • Thank you so much for the kind words! I’m amazed I’m coming up on 40 lifetime plays and don’t feel bored of it at all. This session only dragged on a little bit… But that’s hours worth of plays, which is bound to happen with most games. I appreciate you following along! There is something so excellent about the game that leads to stories happening with practically no effort. So much fun!

      Your custom player boards are simply excellent! I agree that a lack of country estate photos does seem to be missing every now and then. Might have to give something like this a whirl to add more ambiance. Thanks for sharing, and I hope you continue to enjoy playing!


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