On My Radar: White Elephant and Eruption

I’ve been contacted by the designers of two upcoming games recently, and they sounded interesting enough for me to mention here on GamerChris.com.  Both are lighter games, but seem to have a lot of potential as family games and/or fillers…

The White Elephant Card Game [BGG]

If you’ve been a long-time reader, you may remember that I and my family are big fans of playing Dirty Santa at Christmas.  Well, designer Brian Kelly has developed a game that aims to capture the fun of a white elephant gift exchange using “Dirty-Santa”-type rules in a new card game called White Elephant

From its website: “In the White Elephant Card Game you play the part of a no-good cheapskate, unwilling to spend a measly dime on the people on your gift list. However, you will be attending several White Elephant parties. You can take some junk from your attic and exchange it for treasures to give as gifts. If you ‘play your cards right’ you could fill your gift list for free and no one will be the wiser!” 

The cards and whole retro look of the game is just glorious, and I estimate that the game will be somewhere along the depth of For Sale (which is a very good thing in my opinion) from reading the summary of play.  Both for the theme and how I think it will play, I’m definitely looking forward to this little game!

The really cool thing is that Brian is launching a Kickstarter campaign on this Saturday (June 18) to fund the printing, so keep an eye out and preorder it there if you’re interested.

Eruption [BGG]

Stratus Games also let me know about a new volcano-themed game coming from them called Eruption.  It’s a light tile-laying game where you try to direct lava into your opponents’ villages while protecting your own using walls, special actions cards, and crafty tile placement.  The theme is obviously very similar to The Downfall of Pompeii, but mechanically it seems to be quite different.  

It says that it’s for ages 10+, but from reading the rules, I bet children 8 or younger could probably pick up on it pretty easily.  On each turn, you basically place a lava tile each turn, play any action cards that you want to use, and then build a wall (if you have any).  Lava tiles have to match up with previously played tiles, but otherwise seem to be pretty easy to fit in almost anywhere.   Placing tiles on certain resource spaces give you more walls, and placing them next to villages lets you draw more action cards.  

Walls have different strengths (because they can be made of straw, wood, or stone), and have some chance of holding off lava (thus preventing other players from adding new ttiles to that branch) or protecting your village.  As villages take damage, there’s even a little catch-up mechanic where their owners get more power (by placing more tiles, getting free action cards, and being able to place more than one wall each turn), so games should stay pretty close.  

In addition to the game’s website and page on BGG, designer Chris James also just had a Designer Diary posted through the BGG News feature.  I think the theme is really great, and the game itself looks really solid as well, so I’m also looking forward to giving this a try when it comes out.    


  1. I’m REALLY looking forward to White Elephant, as well – the whole feel of the game is awesome, and I love the retro design. I grew up with White Elephant gifts (most called it Yankee Swap), and love playing it around the holidays. I think Brian Kelly is going to do well with this.

    I got a chance to playtest parts of Eruption, and it was pretty fun. I’m eager to see the improvements. The art is pretty spiffy, too.

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