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Matt and I wrote this FAQ for the game after launch, as we weren't given as much space as we wanted on the back of the box and had to keep the rules brief and unillustrated.
The aim of the game is to collect the most presents for your character! Cut out the tiles and character strip from the pack. Each player picks one of the four Christmas characters. Place the character strip in the centre of the table and shuffle the tiles into a face down pile. Players take turns to draw and play a tile to build chimneys to get presents to their character, or away from other characters. The first tile played must connect to one of the chimneys at the bottom. The rest of tiles drawn must be placed next to an existing tile or to cover up an existing tile, but there can be gaps on the tile board. Chimneys can't be joined onto blank edges of tiles, but you can make your chimneys as wide or as tall as you can to try and get the most presents!
Whenever you draw a tile with a present on it, there is a present drop! Presents fall down the chimneys before you even play the tile! From the top of each chimney, starting from the top, trace how a present would fall through the chimney. Presents only fall through the top of each column, and if one passes through the "x2" chimney, It becomes two presents. Keep score of how many presents you receive.
After the last tile is played, there is one extra present drop, and then the game ends. The player whose character received the most presents wins!
Should the game be played within the frame of the box?
No. You just need to cut out the strip of characters and connect the chimney tiles from there. Keep the strip, keep the tiles, eat the chocolate and throw the rest away.
Do I have to place the tile in the direction that I drew it from the pile?
No, you can turn them around and place them facing whichever way you like.
How do the T-junction chimneys work - which way do the presents go?
The diagram on the right shows how presents fall through chimney junctions when they enter through the side branch. (We wanted to get this diagram on the box, but there wasn't room.) Just imagine how the presents would fall through if you dropped them down a curved, slippery pipe in real life - the speed is enough to carry them around the corners.
If I join up two chimneys, do I get two presents?
If you're clever enough to do this, then yes! The example picture shows that the columns above C and D both end up in C's chimney.
What happens if there is a gap in a chimney?
A falling present falls through the gap. As shown in the bottom right and top right corners of the diagram, if they fall out into open space, they just drop straight down (and will land in a chimney or fireplace if there's one there). Presents will also drop through the gap in the double-dead-end piece.
Can chimneys be built out to the sides?
Yes, that's fine. If you start building out to the sides, presents also start dropping in those columns, so you can get more than four presents in a turn!
Do I have to place all my tiles on my own chimney?
No. In fact, if you are feeling un-festively nasty you might try to stop presents from getting to other people's chimneys...
What's the point of the curved chimney? If you draw it as the first tile will you lose your present?
Curved chimneys are good for connecting a horizontal chimney to the open sky, or for blocking off one of your opponent's chimneys. And the present drop happens before you place the tile, so if it's the first tile you draw, you'll still get a present.
What happens to presents that get stuck at dead ends of chimneys?
These presents are lost - nobody gets them, not even if the dead-end tile is replaced later.
The crossroad-shaped pieces - are they two chimneys crossing over, or one chimney and two blocked ends joined onto it?
It's two chimneys crossing over. If you drop a present into the "back" chimney, it will come out the other end.
Can presents travel along horizontal chimney sections?
Once they get into them by going around a corner, yes. They're quite slippery chimneys.
What happens if a present hits the outside of a chimney?
If a present lands on top of a horizontal chimney section, or on the curved side of a curved section, then the present is lost. Presents have to drop into a chimney to count.
Should we cut the character strip at the bottom into four tiles?
No, they're meant to stay as a single strip, but it doesn't matter if you've cut them out by mistake (or have done so to make the game more portable) - just put them back together in a line, in any order, before you play.
Are there any other ways to play Present Drop?
Yes! Here are a few variations you could try:-
- Add tiles from another set of Present Drop. For every four tiles you add be sure to include at least one with a Present Drop icon.
- Suggested by John H: play with the tiles from multiple copies of the game, but give each player their own private draw pile. (So they all have the same sixteen tiles to play with, just in a randomly shuffled order.)
- For two players try playing two characters each: Spots versus Stripes.
- Instead of drawing and playing a tile, each player has a "hand" of three tiles. On your turn, you choose and play one tile from your hand and then draw one to replace it (if there are any left).
- Cut up some blank cardboard squares and draw your own set of tiles.
We're working on some other, more elaborate variations. (Returning covered-up tiles to the bottom of the draw pile makes for a rather more toothsome German-style game, but it needs polishing.)
- Last edited Fri Nov 4, 2016 1:24 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Fri Nov 4, 2016 12:13 pm