Sunday, 14 December 2014

SANTA SABOTEURS: Download and play a festive version of the Werewolves card game.

This time last year, I wrote a blog post about the annual visit of the Puzzle Elf to the Emmett household. This year I thought I’d write about another of my family’s elf-based Christmas antics and give you the chance to join in the fun.

My family and many of our friends are big fans of the parlour game commonly known as Werewolves. Originally called Mafia, the game was invented in the 80s by Russian psychology student Dimitry Davidoff. It can be played with an ordinary pack of cards or even a few scraps of paper, but we usually play it with a proper deck of Werewolves cards like these.

Although the game has a distinctly Halloweeny feel, we play it all year round. It’s a popular fixture at our Christmas parties and a couple of years ago I decided to create a special festive version, called Santa Saboteurs, to play at this time of year.

This version of the game it set at Santa's North Pole workshop where the elves have been infiltrated by a small number of evil goblins — the Santa Saboteurs. The elves must root out the traitors in their midst and banish them from the workshop before Christmas is ruined for everyone!

If you fancy playing it yourself, you can download pdfs of the cards and rules below. The cards pdf contains both the card-fronts and the card-backs (with the snowflakes on). It’s best to print the cards pdf onto a sheet of A4 card or thick paper. Once you’ve printed out the card-fronts, turn the card/paper over and put it back into the printer to print the card-backs on the reverse side. Then cut carefully along the dotted lines to make your set of cards.

Click the images above to download pdf files of the cards and game rules

If you've never played Werewolves, don’t be put off by the length of the rules. Only one person, the moderator, needs to understand them fully and then he/she will be able to guide the other players throughout the game. Most people find the game easy to pick up once they start playing and it can be played with children as young as five.

The game is suitable for 8 to 24 players.

If you do make your own set, I hope you enjoy playing it as much as we do!

For a darkly funny Christmas story about another would-be Santa Saboteur
check out The Santa Trap by me and Poly Bernatene.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Bradley Bartleby's Badvent Tweets

Several years ago illustrator Poly Bernatene and I created a picture book called The Santa Trap about a beastly brat called Bradley Bartleby and his attempts to trap Santa Claus and steal all of his presents. You can find out more about the book on this page of my web site.

As far as Poly and I were concerned, the book was a work of fiction. So you can imagine our surprise when, in November 2012, we started to receive threatening messages from Bradley himself. It seemed that the young man was not happy with the way we had represented him and he demanded the opportunity to set the record straight on this blog, which – after some unpleasant threats  – I allowed him to do. You can read his post here.

Stranger still, it seemed that this real life Bradley was putting the finishing touches to a real life Santa trap! The real Bradley had not bothered to finish reading the book, which he dismissed as "made up nonsense". So he was unaware that his subsequent exploits (as documented in Bradley's Twitter feed below) were uncannily similar to those described in its pages.

  Scroll inside the box to read them all  

You might think that after such a humiliating defeat, young Bradley would want to retreat from the public eye, but the following Christmas he was back on Twitter again, doing his best to spoil the holiday spirit by offering some "Tips to Ruin Christmas".

  Scroll inside the box to read them all  

And this Christmas he's Tweeting once more. In an attempt to discourage people from reading about his villainous exploits, he's offering his own "Rotten Reviews" attacking my and Poly's work. Here's what he's tweeted so far. Watch this space for updates or subscribe to Bradley's Twitter feed.

  Scroll inside the box to read them all  

If you have the misfortune to come across any of Bradley's reviews on Twitter, please disregard them. Here are a few things that genuine reviewers have said about the book.
"Bernatene’s cinematic mixed-media illustrations work wicked magic with Emmett’s darkly comedic prose … an ideal Christmas present for children who prefer Halloween."
"The cleverly constructed plot unfolds with perfect comedic timing and dry wit."
KIRKUS REVIEWS  - Starred Review and one of the 100 Best Children's Books of 2012
"A hilarious adventure. The stylised illustrations complement the story brilliantly, creating a wonderful darkly funny atmosphere."
You can read more real reviews of the book here.


Unfortunately the regular UK paperback edition is currently out of stock and will not be reprinted before Christmas. However the Let's Read UK MINI-PAPERBACK and the US HARDBACK are still available and can be ordered using the links below.
find your local bookshop Buy this book at amazon UK Buy at amazon US

P.S. There are rumours that a musical theatre adaptation of Bradley's story is being developed for Christmas 2015. I dread to think how Bradley will react to that.