Skip to Content

[GDS] December 2011 "Reindeer Games"

3 replies [Last post]
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008

December 2011 Game Design Showdown - "Reindeer Games"

Please Read: Details on entering the Game Design Showdown.

The December Game Design Showdown results are in!

Only three entrants this month, and low voter turnout as well. According to the votes, we have a tie for this month. Congrats to...

  • Merry F'ing Christmas by Richard Durham (richdurham), and
  • Overnight Delivery by Jim C (magic_user) which each received 5 votes.

Congrats also to runner up:

  • Top Elf by Mike Holcomb (devilindesign), which received 3 votes.

I consider all entrants this month to be winners! The Critique thread for this month's GDS should be open now, so if you have a minute, give these guys some comments on their game ideas.

Hopefully after the holidays the GDS will garner more participation, and potentially a new format. Stay tuned!

Main Design Requirements:

  • Theme Restriction: Parody of the holiday season.
    Christmas time is here by golly... and in honor of the holiday season, this month's game should be a parody of the holiday season the way we experience it in the US. I don't know about the rest of the world, but here this whole time of year seems at once festive as well as extremely commercial.

  • Mechanics Restriction: Route planning.
    One of my favorite mechanisms in board games, and one which I think is under-appreciated or underrated, is Route Planning. This time of year, with holiday traffic, shopping trips, parties to visit, people traveling to see family, and even Santa's annual gift-giving journey, there seems to be a lot of opportunities to plan efficient routes. I'd like to see some of that in a board game!

  • Submissions: Thursday the 1st through Thursday the 8th.
  • Voting: Through Thursday the 15th. PM your votes to sedjtroll.
  • Voting Format: Each person has 6 votes to distribute any way they choose among the GDS entries with the following restrictions:
    • You may not assign any votes to your own entry!
    • You may not assign more than 3 votes to any single entry.
    • You need not assign all 6 votes.
  • Comments or Questions: Comments and questions about this Challenge were handled on the Comments Thread.

  • CRITIQUES: After voting has closed the entries will be posted for comments and critiques. Post constructive critiques and commentary about the entries to this Challenge in the Critiques Thread
  • GDS Details: For more details on how these Game Design Showdown Challenges work, especially the details around the word count and graphics limits, visit the GDS Wiki Page.

Enjoy, and good luck!

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #1 - Top Elf

Top Elf

A Game for 2-6 players

You are all elves trying for the honor of Top Elf. To gain this honor you must gather all the reindeer and get them to sleigh, the only way to do this is by planning your moves and collecting the correct resources to achieve this goal while defending and sabotaging others.


  • Event Deck
  • Draw Deck
  • Game Board
  • Resource Tiles with bag
  • Player Pawns
  • Reindeer Tiles

Set Up

  1. Place board in the middle of the table.
  2. Shuffle the event deck and Place it next to the game board
  3. Shuffle the draw deck and deal 10 cards to each player then place the deck next to the board
  4. Players then take the 10 cards and draw 5 that is the starting hand, the other five you can look at and re-order this is the player cache
  5. Place all player pawns on the sleigh in the center of the game board
  6. Draw tiles from the bag filling the last two resource squares for each reindeer also place 2 resources on the empty present squares.
  7. Deal 2 resources to each play as well

Game Play

  1. Draw up to 5 cards from the player cache (skip on first turn)
  2. On your turn you may do one of three things

- Move - Collect a resource - Collect a reindeer 3. You can play as many cards from your hand as you can. When your turn is over replenish you hand from the player cache, then draw the number of cards from the draw deck equal to the number you of card you just took from your player cache and re-order them the way you want. If your player cache and hand is empty then you draw the top 5 cards from the draw deck for your hand and 5 that you can re order for your player cache. 4. Play continues clock wise until one player makes it to the sleigh with all 8 tiny reindeer.

To move you play movement cards from your hand. You may only move in one direction so you cannot backtrack. By playing cards and planning your route correctly it is possible to make it back to the same square.

To collect resources you must be on a present square and you may only pick one resource. The resource only gets replenished when you move off the present square.

To collect reindeer you must spend resources that match the colors in the reindeer space. You may only have one of each reindeer in your possession.

When playing cards from your hand you can play attack cards on other players and defense for yourself. If you draw an event card at anytime if must be revealed to everyone and a card from the event deck takes place. These cards can be played if it is your turn or not.

Winning the Game

Collect all reindeer and enough resources to fill the sleigh.

Card Examples

Event cards:

  • Draw double the number of cards from the draw deck then the number of players. Each player then chooses a card to add to the top of their player cache. The remainders are shuffles with the draw deck and discard pile.
  • All players lose half of their resources.
  • Reindeer cost only two of the 4 requirements for 2 turns around the table.
  • Hands played face up for 1 turn around the table.
  • All players get 2 random resources.
  • All players hands are shuffled together and dealt out again forming new hands.

Draw Deck:

  • Movement cards (20 = 1 space and 10 = 2 spaces)
  • Attack Cards (16 total)
  • Steal Resource
  • Rotate Hands
  • Discard Hand
  • Discard Reindeer
  • Defense Cards (16 total)
  • Cancel 1 card effect
  • Bounce back card effect
  • General Cards (20 total)
  • Discard Resources
  • Draw 1 Card from player cache
  • Draw 1 Card from the Draw Deck
  • Draw 2 Cards from player cache
  • Draw 2 Cards from the Draw Deck
  • Double Movement
  • Take extra resource
  • Jump to location
  • Resource Cards (16 2 in each color)
  • Event Trigger Cards (8 total)
  • Rudolf Wild Cards (4 total)
  • Can be any resource or movement card
sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #2 - Merry Effing Christmas

Merry Effing Christmas

Sound familiar? It’s Christmas Eve, the stores close in an hour, and you’ve got more presents to buy than you can remember. Oh, and you’ve got to do this before the traditional family dinner...also in an hour, fighting the throngs of people in the exact same situation as you. Merry Effing Christmas.


In order to win, you’ll need to manage your time and plan a route through the streets that avoids traffic and takes you to all the stores carrying the presents you need while on your way home. Players lose points for missing presents and for being far away from home when the game is over. Since the holidays are all about avoiding disappointment, the winner is the player who loses the least amount of points.


The board is a map of town with intersections acting as stop-points. Some of them have a store where a player may take an action to shop and claim the current present at that store.

Players each have a car that moves between intersections on a town map. Also on the map are Green/Red cars that represent the holiday traffic, and generally get in your way. Each round, players will plan out four of 10 cards to move between intersections, or move the traffic to block other players’ moves.


  1. Each player has a set of 10 movement cards
  • 2 Left turn
  • 2 Right turn
  • 2 Straight on
  • 1 Red traffic
  • 1 Green traffic
  • 1 Shopping
  • 1 Brake (reclaim used cards)
  1. Each player picks a Home in the corner of the board as their start space. Their distance from this Home will add to the player’s negative score at the end of the game.

  2. Shuffle the Present deck and deal 7 to each player, who must choose 5 to keep.

- These are the Presents players must get to avoid losing points for them at game's end. Presents range from “Sweater” to “New Laptop!” each with a point value based on its rarity (Higher point items are more common, since more points are bad) 4. Place 2 Red and 2 Green traffic cars in start spaces next to like-colored buildings.

  1. Shuffle the Stores deck (which contains the small variety of presents available) deal five cards into a face-up pile on each Store.


  1. Each round the starting player will rotate, beginning with the player who started their Christmas shopping the earliest.

  2. Each player chooses four movement cards and places them facedown in front of himself.

  3. The first movement card will be resolved for each player in order, followed by the remaining movement cards one at a time in the same fashion.

  4. After all movement cards are resolved, the starting player rotates clockwise and a new round starts with each player choosing four new movement cards to play.

  5. Process repeats for a total of 6 rounds, at which point the game ends and players add up how many points they lost from unfulfilled gifts and how far from home they are.

Movement cards

The Turn and Straight On cards determine how your car will leave the intersection it is at. If a played turn is not possible at that intersection, or your car is stuck behind traffic cars at an intersection, the turn card is wasted and is returned to your hand to use next round.

Red and Green traffic cards

These cards allow you to move one of the same colored traffic cars in any direction from an intersection. If all the traffic cars are stuck behind others players at intersections, the card is wasted and returned to your hand.

Shopping card

Playing this card when your car is in front of a Store space allows you to claim the Present card that is currently visible at that store. Keep it face up in front of you.


Play this card to reclaim all other currently played cards back in to your hand, including the Brake card. This lets you play them immediately the following round instead of playing out your entire hand.


After the 6th round, each player reveals which of their presents they were not able to get. The point value for these missing presents are added up, plus one point for every intersection away you are from Home when dinner started. The more points, the more disappointing this Christmas will be. Nice job.

The Winner is the player with the least amount of points...and therefore the least ruined Christmas. Effing holidays...

sedjtroll's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Entry #3 - Overnight Delivery

Overnight Delivery

The world population has grown so much that Santa can no longer deliver all the presents himself. What can he do? Outsource! You are a contractor hired to help Santa with his deliveries. You have a reindeer powered sleigh and a bag of presents to deliver. It's Christmas Eve, you'd better get started.


Deliver all your presents and collect bonuses to outscore the other contractors and become the #1 delivery company for the North Pole.


  • 1 gameboard.
  • 4 score markers (RGBY).
  • 80 present cubes (20 each RGBY).
  • 4 small sleighs (RGBY).
  • 4 medium sleighs (RGBY).
  • 4 large sleighs (RGBY).
  • 1 deck of "Blokus" cards.
    Sample of "Blokus" cards:
    sample cards


  • Set up the gameboard.
  • Decide game type: EASY (small sleigh, 10 presents), MEDIUM (medium sleigh, 15 presents) or HARD (large sleigh, 20 presents).
  • Each player places their scoring marker at "0" on the score track around the gameboard.
  • Each player places their sleigh at the North Pole.
  • Each player takes the appropriate number of presents and keeps them in a pile in front of them.
  • Shuffle the deck.
  • Deal 4 cards face down to each player. This is their hand. A player can only look at their own hand.
  • The youngest player goes first.


Play proceeds in a clockwise motion. On his turn, a player may either MOVE or DELIVER. The game ends when a second player returns to the North Pole.


The player takes one of the present cubes in his pile and places it on the house he has landed on in the present area. A player may only deliver one of his presents to a house (i.e. a house can have max 1 present from each player).


To MOVE, you play a card from your hand. The shape on the card determines how you move. The card shows your starting and ending positions. The front of your sleigh must be placed on the ending position. After you move your sleigh, you draw another card. Special cases are:

  • You can not return to the North Pole until you have no more presents to deliver.
  • If your final position is off the board, on an obstacle or on another sleigh, you have had a COLLISION. Place your sleigh on the board in a clear area beside the place where the COLLISION occurred. Discard a present cube from your pile. If you hit another sleigh, that player must also discard a present cube.
  • If you are landing on a roof, your entire sleigh must be on the roof or you have had a COLLISION. If a COLLISION occurred, move your sleigh entirely on the roof and discard a present cube.


When a bonus is received, the player advances his scoring marker along the score track. Bonuses are:

  • +1 for delivering a present to a house.
  • +1 for being the first to deliver a present to a house.
  • +2 for delivering all your presents without losing any.
  • +2 for being the first to return to the North Pole.
  • +1 for being the second to return to the North Pole.


The winner is the player with the highest score. In case of a tie, tiebreakers are:

  • Most presents delivered.
  • Most bonus points.
  • First one back to the North Pole.

The Gameboard

  • A score track runs around the outside edge of the board.
  • The North Pole is at the top of the board, the houses (a city) is at the bottom.
  • The play area is made up of a grid pattern.
  • "Off the board" areas do not have the grid pattern.
  • Obstacles do not have a grid pattern. These may include trees, a water tower and power lines.
  • The path from the North Pole to the city is somewhat narrow with no obstacles.
  • The city has 20 houses. Only the roofs and the present areas are visible.
  • Each roof occupies a 2x5 grid. The present area occupies a 1x5 grid. They are connected making a 3x5 grid.
  • Each small sleigh occupies a 1x2 grid (1 for the sleigh and 1 for 2 reindeer).
  • Each medium sleigh occupies a 1x3 grid (1 for the sleigh and 2 for 4 reindeer).
  • Each large sleigh occupies a 1x4 grid (1 for the sleigh and 3 for 6 reindeer).


Some ideas to make you think.

  • Play with more than 4 players. This increases the chance of collisions.
  • If a player is too good, handicap them by making them play with a larger sleigh.
Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut