If you're looking for a jolly seasonally-themed party game to break out with this year's festivities then Atlas Games' Weird Little Elf could be just the thing. It's an easy-to-play hidden role game for up to 12 players where players are dealt a card each round that either identifies them as an elf or tells them they are an imp who has infiltrated Santas's grotto. If you play with eight or more players, the rules suggest having two imps in each round. If you're an imp, your card will indicate a special 'tell' action that you have to perform...
Each round, one player takes a turn as Santa. They draw a question card and ask all the players a question. These vary but all are family-friendly. Players all have to give a unique answer and, of course, the imp(s) will be incorporating the 'tell' as instructed by their card. Santa then has to identify the elf that they think is an imp. Get it right and they win that player's imp card. Get it wrong, and the wrongly accused player gets to accuse another elf. Again, they win the imp card if they choose correctly. If they too are wrong then the imp keeps their card. The game is won by the first player to collect three imp cards.
With simple rules, Weird Little Elf is easy to teach and play, making it a very suitable Christmas party choice. It plays quickly, tho' in argumentative family gatherings you'll perhaps need to be prepared for the occasional inquest when an undiscovered imp reveals their card and another player disputes whether they performed the requisite 'tell'.
Don't expect to find a Lego Santa or elves packaged with the game; we just pressed them into service to help with our Board's Eye View 360. However, designers Maggie and Jordan Clyne haven't skimped on the range and variety of cards in the game, both for Santa and for the imps. Santa's deck comprises 50 double-sided cards, with seasonal questions on one side and more general queries on the other. For the imps, there's a deck of 100 cards - so plenty of variation to keep other players guessing.
If you're wondering why we're posting games about Christmas in July (which was the title of a great Preston Sturges film, by the way). Weird Little Elf launches on Kickstarter today. Click here to check it out.