ars ludi

if you asked Ben's brain about gaming, this is what it would say

“We reject Kings, Princes, Santas and other Tyrants…”

She looked me dead in the eye and uttered two words: “Santa. Kingdom.”

A lot of the time we play serious, challenging games; dramatic examinations of life, society and the human condition. But sometimes you know you need a break and some surefire ace-in-the-hole fun. And in a situation like that you might just decide to call in your chits and demand some Santa Kingdom. Real friends would not say no to you. So we didn’t.

Our Kingdom was specifically Santa’s Workshop. We’re the elves hammering away making gifts and toys for good little girls and boys. The bad ones: they get the coal. Santa himself is technically outside the Kingdom, a decision that had major (awesome) ramifications on the course of our game:

What We Played: Santa’s Workshop (Kingdom)

So much elf-drama! There was hugging and weeping and attempts to form an enlightened republic founded on the principle that all elves are people and slaves to no Kringle. I got to play the elf whose heart was entirely too big for his/its tiny felt suit, so every time we thought Santa didn’t love us I got to throw myself in the snow and wail or hug the knees of Robo-Santa for consolation.

From a rules point of view it was fascinating to play a game with a clearly established authority (Santa) that was a complete vacuum in the fiction. Right off the bat Santa was shown to be a weary old slacker who wanted to take a year off and catch up on his reality TV but none of the elves started off willing to step on Santa’s toes (dude, it’s Santa!) which made the unfolding action extremely interesting. Someone finally taking Power was a big deal. Filling the void that was Santa — both in the Kingdom and in our tiny elfin hearts — became the central theme of the whole session.

And no, to answer your question, Robo-Santa is incapable of love, but he will choke an elf if crossed.


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