It's Capitalistmas! That means it's time to buy some board games! We played some great little stocking fillers at the 'Chits and Giggles Xmas Do' and wanted to share our thoughts on three cheap and cheerful Christmas themed games, which you can pick up to play with the family over the festive period.
2 Chits, 1 Giggle
First out of the stocking is 12 Days. This is a trick taking, set collection card game for three to five players from Calliope Games. Players have 12 cards, and play 12 rounds – 'days' - to win that amount of points for each round, whilst also saving some cards to get the most of each present set. There are 12 drummer cards, 5 gold ring cards, 1 partridge card etc, and the player with the most in each set in their hand at the end of the game gains that many points. For example, if I hold the most 'seven swans' cards at the end, I would get seven points to add to my score. You then add up your 'day' points and your present points and the winner is the player with the highest score.
The game is okay. It uses it's theme well but there is a definite learning curve and knowing when to play your low cards and your high cards is the tricky part of the game. It is a game of maths and our 'numbers player' won by a landslide, calculating the right way to play the game. It wasn't that much fun to play. The art is really nice and this helps but most of the people playing didn't enjoy it. It might be a game that grows on you the more you play it but after our initial game we were in no hurry to play another. Maybe after a few bottles of sherry the game might become more enjoyable.
3 Chits, 4 Giggles
Next to unwrap, we have Secret Santa. This is a four to eight player game by Osprey Games, which describes itself as a festive card game of proving to friends and family that you're a better person than they are. Perfect!
You have to be the first to give away every gift you've got to win the round. This game essentially uses very similar cards to 12 days but is a much, much better game. You have the '12 days' themed cards (but in reverse numbers for some reason i.e there are twelve partridges and one drummer) and are trying to lay them onto the central pile. If the first player plays three 1's, I also have to play three cards but of a higher number. This continues until everyone passes, and then the next round begins, until one player has got rid of all their cards. We had a lot of fun, to the point where we got told off by the neighbours. I think that's definitely the sign of a good game! The card art is great and you feel compelled to sing the presents as you lay them: “5 GOLD RINNNGGGGSSS!” you belt out, swiftly followed by angry foot stomps on the ceiling from the people upstairs trying to get to bed early on a Sunday night. Where is their Christmas spirit, eh?
You play the game until you get bored, and had we not have been strapped for time we would have definitely played a few more rounds of this christmas cracker of a game. This is a wonderful stocking filler for any gamer friends and well worth bringing to the table after the christmas pud has been scoffed.
Letters To Santa
4 Chits, 4 Giggles
Finally we tear open the wrapping on Letters to Santa. This is a Christmas re-theme of Love Letter, a game for two to four players by AEG. In Letters to Santa you've been a very naughty little girl/boy/other this year but you still want a pressie so are trying to get your letter to the big bearded man himself. The theme and art is great, all the way up from Lady Krampus to rosy-cheeked Santa. For those who haven't played Love Letter, it is a very simple deduction game where you are trying to eliminate other players or hold the highest value card – Santa being the best – at the end of the round. There are only sixteen cards in the game!
The first player to win four rounds is the game winner. It's incredible in its simplicity, the game makes you feel that you are doing much more than you actually are and that's brilliant. You get to feel sneaky and really clever when you correctly guess another players identity and eliminate them from the round. I love this game so much and so did everyone at the table. It is the perfect stocking filler and so easy to learn that everyone from little Timmy to Grandpa Scrooge will be playing in no time.
Sadly the stocking is now empty, but we have lots more gaming to do. From all of us at Chits and Giggles we hope you have wonderful and fun filled Christmas. Let us know what games you got to unwrap this year and we'll be back soon to tell you all about the games we're looking forward to playing in 2016!
By David Murcutt