Christmas Canceled? (Board Game)

My family really likes playing board games. With a large family we found it difficult to find a game that everyone enjoyed playing, accommodated 6 players, was easy enough for small children, and keep the interest of adults at the same time.

So I created "Christmas Canceled!?", a game where you take on the role of Santa Claus and try to make sure Christmas goes off without a hitch. But it never does, does it.

Here's how I made it, and how you play it!

Supplies:

  1. Art Canvas, framed or not (I used 14"x16")
  2. Google Maps
  3. Digital picture editing software (I used Microsoft Paint)
  4. Color printer
  5. Glue stick
  6. Scissors
  7. Modeling clay (or something similar)
  8. 3x5 cards
  9. Pencil, Pens, Colored pencils

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Step 1: The Idea

The hardest part for me was coming up with an idea for a game. It happened to be Christmas time so that's the theme I decided to go with.

I also wanted to incorporate aspects from other games we enjoy playing like funny cards, nice pieces, dice, and not having to team up just so everyone can play.

The result was a board game for up to 6 players, where you take the role of Santa delivering presents.

There are obstacles and bonus' along the way represented by cards you pick up when you land on "Naughty" or "Nice" houses that affect your progress.

Complete 1 trip around the board successfully delivering all the presents to win the game.

Step 2: The Board

I'm not an artist so I had to come up with a way to create a colorful board that was playable. I accomplished this by taking screenshots from google earth.

  1. I picked a random town with houses I could...cut out.
  2. Then I took a second screenshot of a snowy landscape in Norway.
  3. I separated the houses I liked and made some markers for the "Naughty" and "Nice" houses.
  4. Next, I overlaid the houses onto the landscape in a pattern that resembled a generic suburb.
  5. I then took that tile and rotated it to create the 4 corners of my game board, and placed a starting/finishing point in the middle.

Step 3: The Cards

This was the hardest part.

Each player starts with 4 reindeer to pull their sleigh. As you move around the board there are 3 types of houses;

  1. "Naughty" (marked with a red dot)
  2. "Nice" (marked with a green dot)
  3. Neutral (no dot)

Landing on "Naughty" houses will hinder you in 1 of 2 ways;

  1. Lose a reindeer
    1. Example: "You've been spotted! - Loose one reindeer"
  2. Move back spaces

Landing on "Nice" houses will help you in 1 of 3 ways;

  1. Gain a reindeer
    1. Example: "A reindeer in training has graduated - Gain one reindeer"
  2. Move ahead spaces
  3. Grants a protection card against certain "Naughty" cards

Neutral houses are safe.

You can have more than 4 reindeer, but if you lose all your reindeer, you have to start over from the beginning.

TIP: Coming up with cards is hard, but make sure you create enough to minimize repeats as you play.

Step 4: The Pieces

In my version, each player is represented by a small Santa hat of a different color that I molded out of Playdough (it was all i had at the time).

I recommend using modeling clay because the playdough became very brittle once it dried and they all ended up breaking.

2 different types of dice (7 total).

  1. 4 sided (for moving around the board)
  2. 6 sided - 1 for each player (to keep track of how many reindeer each player has)

Step 5: PLAY!

TO START:
  1. separate the "Naughty" and "Nice" cards into different piles and place them next to the board
  2. Each player picks their piece and a 6 sided die
  3. All players start in the middle of the board
  4. The youngest player rolls the 4 sided die first
  5. Play passes to the left

PLAY:

  1. If you land on a house with a red dot, draw a "Naughty" card and follow the instructions on the card
  2. If you land on a house with a green dot, draw a "Nice" card and follow the instructions on the card
  3. If you land on a house with no dot, your are safe and your turn is over

TO WIN:

  1. Complete one trip around the board ending back at the starting location with at least 1 reindeer
  2. If you loose all your reindeer, go back to start, reset you counter to 4 reindeer, and begin again

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