OBJECTIVE OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Be the first player to complete two sets of lights 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 6 players 

CONTENTS: 100 cards  

TYPE OF GAME: Abstract Strategy Card Game 

AUDIENCE: Ages 6+ 


Christmas Lights is a set collecting card game with deduction and hidden information.  In this game, players are trying to track the cards in their hand (which they cannot see) and create sets of lights.  They are allowed to ask other players questions and arrange the cards in their hand to help them remember the information.  The first player to complete two sets of lights wins the game. 


The bulb deck contains six different suits.  Each suit is a different colored bulb and has 7 cards in it.  The suit colors include: red, green, yellow, blue, purple, and pink.  There are 8 plug cards, 5 broken bulb cards, and 3 present cards. 

The event deck consists of 6 bubble light bulbs and 6 event cards.  There are 18 pattern cards in the pattern deck, 6 different character cards, and 6 player aids. 


Shuffle the bulb, event, and pattern cards separately.  Deal five bulbs and two pattern cards to each player.  Each player holds their bulb cards in a fan facing away from them.  A player does not look at their cards.  Their opponents should be able to see the cards. 

Each player keeps their pattern cards a secret.  During the game, this might change depending on other cards played. 

With enough character cards for each player to have one, shuffle them and deal one to each player.  Be sure to include Santa in the deck.   


The player with the Santa card goes first.  During play. Players should not look at their hands.  However, they are allowed to rearrange the cards to help them remember information about their hand.  Cards can be turned upside down, sideways, or held in different hands for a player to remember what they have learned about their hand.  Opponents should always be able to see your hand. 

Each player is trying to complete sets of cards according to the pattern cards they were dealt.  One set is picked to complete first.  During play, bulbs are placed face up on the table.  A player must have a plug on the end of their first set before it is considered complete.  When the set is complete, the player proves it by showing their opponents the pattern card. 

If the player was successful, their cards are discarded.  Any broken bulbs or bubble bulbs are kept in a pile near that player until the end of the game.  The next set is continued on from the plug.  A player does not need a plug to end their second set. 

If at any time, a player sees their cards (even just one), they must discard their entire hand and draw an equal number of cards. 


A player can choose to complete any number of the four actions.  Each action can only be completed once per turn by that player.  The actions must be completed in the order they are listed below. 


The player taking their turn chooses one card from their hand and one card from any opponent’s hand.  Those cards are traded.  Each player can look at the card they are given before placing it in their hand.  The card can be positioned however the player wants within their hand as long as opponents can still see it. 


One card is chosen from the player’s hand and placed face up in their set.  If the bulb matches the next card required by the pattern, the card stays.  If the bulb is incorrect, it is discarded. 


Once a card is picked from the player’s hand, and another card is drawn from the bulb deck.  Those two cards are placed face up in the center of the table.  The player may pick one of those cards to play in their set or negotiate a trade with an opponent.  If the player wants to trade, they pick an opponent and offer them one of the cards for information.   

When trading the bulb for information, the player can ask any question that can be answered with one word.  When the information has been given, that player collects the bulb they want and immediately plays it in their set.  The card does not go to their hand. 

If the bulbs cannot be used in anyone’s set and a trade cannot be made, the cards are discarded. 


The player draws back up to five cards from the bulb draw pile.  If the draw pile runs empty, shuffle the discard pile and start the raw pile anew. 


A broken bulb can be played in a set.  It allows the player to play the next colored bulb in their set, but it must be covered with the correct bulb in order for the set to be considered complete.  Broken bulbs can be covered during the PLAY and SALE actions. 


When a present card is played to the table during the PLAY action or the SALE action, draw an event card from that deck.  Its effects are applied immediately.  Once the event is over, the card is discarded from the game.  If more than one present is played, the events happen one at a time. 


Bubble lights are wild cards that can be used instead of the colored bulb that the pattern requires. 


At the end of the game, the player who has completed two sets of lights wins.  In the event that more than one player has two sets of lights, the player who used the least amount of broken bulbs wins.  If still tied, the player with the least number of bubble lights is the winner. 

Mark Ball
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