Publisher: Matt Worden Games
Game Designer: Matt Worden
Artwork: Kristijan Hranisavljevic, Matt Worden
Players: 2 – 6 Players
Playing Time: 15 – 30 min
Game Mechanics: Grid Movement, Modular Board, Pick-up and Deliver and Set Collection
Contents: 6 Elf Pawns, 6 Tracking Cards, 36 Ice Cubes, 40 Map Cards, 1 Drawstring Bag
Suggested Retail Price: $14.99
Parental Advisory: Safe For Kids
Video Link: If applicable
Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam by Matt Worden Games is a quick game in that players move around the modular winter map using the terrain to your advantage trying to collect sets of three different colored ice and delivering them to Santa’s Workshop. The numbers of set required will be either 3 sets for 2-4 players or 2 set for 5 – 6 players. The first player to deliver the correct number of sets immediately wins the game.
In Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam, players lay out a 3 x 5 grid of cards that represent spaces with ice, snow, walls or Santa’s Workshop. Players can use the ice to slide until something stop them, or use the snow for single space movement. Walls will prevent players from going that direction. There are 3 different colors of ice for the players to collect. Blue, green and white cubes that players track on their tracking card so all the players can see who has delivered what and how many sets.
Each turn consists of the following optional actions. Players can add one card to the map within the appropriate parameters or they can take up to 2 steps with their pawn in an orthogonal direction. Once a player either moves through or ends their turn on a cube they don’t already have in their current set, they immediately pick it up. Once a full set has been collected, the players must immediately deliver them to Santa’s Workshop.
Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam is very simple game that is super quick and easy to learn. It is a very light game that has basic decisions to make and those decisions are based on the color of cubes that randomly come out on the map and the terrain that is constantly changing from players playing new cards to their advantage. There is not a lot of game here in general which is a disappointment for the $15 price tag. The focus of the game is to be simple and quick to play and yet there are other games that are even cheaper than have more depth and game play to them.
The components for Santa’s Little Helper and the Ice Cube Jam are extremely bare bones and not high quality. While the cards are of decent stock, the artwork is very minimal most really just graphic design. The pawns are something out of a Sorry game which I am sure keeps the cost of the game way down, but I would have preferred at least something more akin to an elf since there really is much more to this game. The cubes are clear which is the only thing that stands out as even kind of cool for the game. The bag to pull the cubes from is okay quality though.
Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam is probably best suited for young kids and actually fits great in a purse or something to be used as a travel game that can be played anywhere. While not a brain burner, I can see some parents enjoying this as a quick family game and perfect for the holidays and family get togethers during the holiday season. While it is a neat idea for the Christmas season, this game is best suited as a stocking stuffer for the kids.
Caveat: I am not sure if the copy sent to me was a prototype or not but let’s assume not. While I appreciate the attempt at a quality game at a low price point, this one is probably a bit more low quality than most. There are plenty of other games such as Love Letter or Niya that are in the same price range that offer more game play and better quality components. That isn’t to say that Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam isn’t awful, it just isn’t great or awesome. It’s just okay. As long as you aren’t looking for an amazing game, this game might fit the holiday family game time.
Club Fantasci Scoring (Based on scale of 10):
Rules Book: 6
Component Quality: 4
Club Fantasci Overall Score: 5.25
I am giving Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam 5.25 out 10 stars because while it is a simple game and I did enjoy it, many times simple can be amazing and this simply isn’t, it is just okay.
Company Website: www.mwgames.com
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Note: A review copy of this game was provided to me.
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