Special – Christmas Games

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We’re only just past Halloween and like the stores I’m already talking about Christmas, but bear with me. If you’re like me, Christmas is a great time to play some games with friends and family. A fun way to embrace this is to make some themed games, so that’s what we’re going to look at today.

Last year, Nick and Louise had a fantastic game on Warhammer plus. It was a kill team game with a few changes but most importantly it had this great looking board and scenery with Space Wolves trying to stop the Red Gobbo from delivering his very special gifts for Sanguniala, Bombs, his gifts were bombs.

Now is the perfect time to start planning if you want to have a Christmas themed game. It doesn’t take a lot of work, but thinking about it now rather than later will make a difference.

Make sure you keep an eye out for the December edition of White Dwarf, this was last years and it had some great themed options.

First up, snow. If you’ve got models with snow bases already fantastic, if you don’t that’s fine too. Unless you wanted to get deep into it, I wouldn’t worry. Getting a nice winter styled board though definitely helps set the scene. Games Workshop have done a few snow boards. The one you can see here comes from the Warcry Mausloeum box  which came out near the start of the Warcry first edition.

We also have the Bloodbowl Winter board which again has been out of print for years. More recently we saw the Norse board which has a frozen lake. If you have either of these, fantastic, if you don’t then maybe consider just a white sheet! It doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes adding in some snow scenic powder onto the table can work, but make sure you clean up later and don’t sneeze. There are also ways to make fake snow from stuff like flour, corn starch, and baby oil of all things. I’d suggest experimenting well in advance if you want to try any of these.

Once you’ve worked out your approach for the board, the thing to look at is the terrain. Presents make a great option. You can do small ones like the Warhammer TV team did as objectives, something especially good if you’re doing treasure missions. These are just painted cubes so there’s a good chance something around the house will work and plenty of the kits have crates which could fit the bill. Try stick to that Christmas pallet, so Red, Green, Gold, Silver, White.

You can also use non-miniature, but still small, presents as blocking terrain. You can always find a flavour reason for it and as a bonus you can sneak some actual presents for your opponent in them. Keep an eye out for tree decorations as often you can get very cheap miniature presents that way.

The other thing to look for are conifer trees. You’ll often find these as decorative festive scenery. For our purposes the conifer style trees are perfect, with or without decorations. As a bonus, these can be snuck into your normal terrain box after the holidays.

If you can manage it, lights are a great way to make a board festive, especially if you’re able to get colours everywhere. If you can find them, a great option is Doll House Christmas decorations, the 1/48 scale is about right for the GW games. There are lots of other holiday motives you can feed in, stars, turkey, holly, cookies, whatever comes to mind. 

When it comes to miniatures, there are two ways to go. The first is to just focus on the enemies letting your friend bring their own models. The other option is to build a full set so you have both sides.

There are a few classics. Here we have Santa Claws, with the emphasis on the Claws. You can go down the workshop route and even give Santa helpers, who may or may not have humanities best interests at heart. Going with this you also get to play with the idea of gifts like the Warhammer crew did.

Due to the Santa theme, Elves are a fantastic option making great enemies and heroes. Here we have the Corsair Voidscarred for Kill Team and the Khainite Shadowstalkers for Warcry. Depending on whether they are naughty or nice, they could be defending the workshop or attacking it. In both games, there are rules for carrying treasure or relics which are perfect with present style objectives.

And remember, the models don’t have to be in on the joke in-game, so you can have your Aeldari being super serious trying to reclaimed treasured artefacts that just happened to be in colourful boxes with bows on them.

Dwarves also make a great option, I’m a big fan of the Kharadron Overlords, but for this I think you need a Warden King of maybe Drekki Flynt. Someone with a big bushy white beard. Bonus points if you paint him up in red.

Orks and Gobbos make great grinches, and for some unknown reason squigs are remarkably festive. You already have that perfect red and green palette and they work well for a fun comedy game. 

Depending on your traditions, the mechanical toy soldiers or the Nutcracker might feature in which case the Ad Mech are great especially if you’ve already got them in the Mars Forge World colours.

Here we have a pretty classic festive line up for blood bowl. Norse, Dwarves, and Elves. All playing into that winter wonderland idea. There are a few special play cards and options you can add if you want to add to the theme and the mayhem.

For Necromunda, the annual event is called Fistmas! This is a fantastic opportunity to break out this new Goliath Model, set up a Necromunda bar brawl and stick little festive decorations everywhere in the under hive. The Assassin in the Spire is also a cool option for it, especially for someone new. They can play a juiced up overpowered Goliath looking to give a gift to a very naughty gang leader.

In true Necromunda tradition, the actual story of Fistmas is a little more sinister, with it whispered that Dorn himself left the dreaded Phanta Claws in Necromunda tasked to once a year deliver presents to the good gangers, of course to do this it spends the year murdering lone traders to gather the materials for his mutant minions to make them.  Yaktribe still has a link to an old scenario where two Gangs manage to find Phanta’s workshop the night before Fistmas, they spend the scenario stealing as many presents as they can before Phanta murders them all. That could be money, festive crackers, a wooly jumper, or even a puppy!

Aeronautica and Titanicus are a little trickier as you don’t get to see the people. Christmas missions with these will have some environmental effects, for Aeronautica that will be Bad Weather with snow causing Night Fighting below a random altitude. Delivering presents, whether they’re naughty or a nice ones, will probably the best type of mission.

If you’re ambitious, you could try find an appropriately scaled sleigh and reindeer and turn it into an epic escort mission as Santa goes from house to house.

Titans will enjoy the snow, the Open Engine War card pack has an Artic World as a guide, Titans can vent plasmas on a 4+ rather than a 5+ but repairing critical damage is harder and needs a 6+ rather than a 5+ as the crews struggle in the cold. Like with Aeronautica you’re probably looking at a destroy or protect mission, but if you have the Warlord Titan with one or even better two Arioch claws you could do something fun.

With Warhammer Underworlds you’ll have to work a little harder to get the mood going.  One of the great things about Underworlds is how complete it is, but for todays goal that’s a bit of a draw. back. There isn’t any Winter board, although in theory you could make your own. The best bet would be to take two warbands you can Christmas theme with a nice paint scheme and a snow base.

Another option is to sub in more festive miniatures but use the game rules for an existing model. Each year GW does a Christmas Miniature. Some recent ones have included the Red Gobbo, Grombrindal, and Jakkob Bugmansson. Any of these could happily take the spot in a warband or kill team of another model.

This year we have a Goff Rocker, which is an awesome miniature, but I’m not sure how I’d fit it into a Christmas themed game. 

The holidays are a great time to get some Warhammer in and it’s a wonderful opportunity to get someone who is curious into playing some games. Make it fun and light and don’t worry about balance too much, let crazy things happen and focus on the game being fun for everyone involved.

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.

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