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Christmas Lights Kickstarter Preview

Quick Look:

WARNING: This is a preview of . All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Designer: Adam Collins and Chad Head
Artist: Sam Bowdridge
Publisher: The Humble Approach
Year Published: 2017
No. of Players: 2-4
Ages: 3+
Playing Time: 40 Min
Find more info on thehumbleapproach.com

Rules and Setup:

You don’t need much more than a flat surface, a half hour, and some holiday spirit to get a great game of Christmas lights started. The game includes 96 bulb cards, twelve patterns cards, and an instruction booklet as seen above. Setup is extremely simple, shuffle all the bulb cards and deal five to each player and make sure not to look at them! Then shuffle the pattern cards and let each player choose one, these cards shouldn’t be shown to other players. Each player fans their cards out, with the Christmas trees facing them, and the game can begin.

Official rules courtesy of The Humble Approach.
The rules above cover the basics of each player’s turn. Other basic rules include requiring players to play plug cards between completed sets before continuing on to a new one, closing sets by stacking cards until the last color in the pattern is on top, and discarding all cards in your hand if you accidentally see any of them.

You may be wondering why there are broken Christmas lights in the mix, and besides keeping the game realistic to everyone’s own boxes of lights at home they serve an interesting purpose in game play. A player can choose to use a broken bulb in place of the next light in their pattern if they don’t have the right color of bulb to play. Beware though, before finishing the strand of lights (completing the pattern) players must place the correct color of bulb over each broken one. Also, in the case of a tie the amount of broken bulbs used is added up and whichever player has the least is the winner. 

Another interesting rule relates to trading a bulb in the ‘Yard Sale’ phase for information about your own hand. If another player is interested in one of the bulbs revealed during your Yard Sale phase, you can choose to not draw either of the cards and instead have the other player answer one question. For example, if you knew you had a pink bulb in your hand but had no idea where it was you could ask where it was in your hand, and the other player would tell you its location in exchange for a Yard Sale bulb.

The first player to close three sets of their pattern wins, and must prove to all other players that their bulbs are in the correct sequence.

Themes and Mechanics:
This game has a charming old-fashioned Christmas feel to it, including classic looking Christmas trees as card backs and plenty of red and green. The use of the lights themselves to make the pattern into a complete string is nostalgic as well as fun.

The mechanics of the game are relatively simple, and this allows the game to be extremely inclusive. Even young children can join in and enjoy with the help of a parent or relative. The simplicity of the mechanics also help the theme of Christmas and the holidays to drive home, as this game is a perfect choice of entertainment for family gatherings.

Game play:

While the idea of not being able to see your own hand of bulb cards might seem strange, it adds to the fun as players swap cards at the beginning of each turn. You know exactly what you will take from your opponent, but who knows what you will trade them in return. Several times in my games I chose a bulb from my opponent’s hand and traded them back the exact same one!

Each game will be a little different depending on the pattern each player draws. If everyone has blue bulbs in their patterns, you may have a hard time snatching one up to complete your set. There is also a chance that two players might draw the same pattern, and this puts them in direct competition with each other for bulbs. One unique aspect of game play is that at the beginning of the game each player chooses which end of their pattern to start with. This allows even players with the same pattern to have different sets.

The game gives an age range of 3+ which I think is accurate for this game. The theme is appealing to players of all ages, and with a little help from an older player even young children can easily master the rules of the game.

Fantastic art, and a great use of the holiday theme to create a unique card game. Easy for families to play together, and a fun way to come together around the holidays.

The only downside to this game is the limited number of players. With such a family-friendly theme and set of rules it would be great to play with extended family visiting for the holidays. Unfortunately, with a four player maximum there would be many left to watch games and wait for the next round.

Final Thoughts:
This game brought a smile to my face each time I played. Despite the Christmas theme, it is a game that can be enjoyed all year round and is an exciting challenge for players of all ages.

Players Who Like:
Fluxx and other themed card games will enjoy Christmas Lights.

I am giving Christmas Lights 9 out of 10 super meeples.

9 10

Check out Christmas Lights on:

The Humble Approach

On Kickstarter now through June 16, 2017.

About the Author:

Sarah Johnson is a freelance writer and board game enthusiast. When she’s not playing games or writing reviews, she enjoys writing articles for food and wine magazines. Sarah lives in rainy Corvallis, Oregon where she studies writing, English, and communications.
Christmas Lights Kickstarter Preview Christmas Lights Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by Unknown on May 03, 2017 Rating: 5

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