Christmas Lights the Card Game – Chad Elkins Interview

Wooden Shoe Games:  We are here tonight with Chad Elkins from 25th Century Games to talk about his upcoming title Christmas Lights The Card Game. Good evening Chad.

Chad: Greetings JC. Thanks for the invitation!

WSG: We are really looking forward to the game, what can you tell us about it?

Chad: The core game is a very family approachable set collection game, where players are trying to arrange bulbs in a light strand that match a specific pattern. The first player to complete two strands, with a plug in the middle, is the winner.
What makes the game rather unique from your standard set collection card games is that you are the only person who can’t see your own cards. Sort of a different twist on Hanabi for those that are familiar with that game.

WSG: That sounds like a lot of fun, what gave you the idea for it?

Chad: The game was designed by Adam Collins and Chad Head. I saw their concept and it looked very intriguing, plus I love the Christmas season, so I contacted them about helping them further the development and publish it.

WSG: Awesome, we are big fans of everything to do with Christmas around here.
So what was the hardest part in designing this and what was your favorite part?

Chad: My favorite part of developing the game to publish had to be working on the overall art style and direction. I knew that I wanted the game to look very much like an old vintage box of Christmas Lights and even nod to the old stop motion TV specials I grew up watching every year.
I have been a big fan of Dave Perillo’s art for years and have several framed pieces in my home. His style fit that direction and I was very excited to have the opportunity to work with him on bringing the game to life visually.

The least favorite part is common in development and actually not even that bad really. And that is the culling the game down to the core components needed to play the game. We also worked on adding in some additional elements not in their original design. I was fortunate in that Adam and Chad are so easy to work with on those aspects.

WSG: That sounds like a lot of fun and the art work looks amazing. The game is going on Kickstarter on May 29th right?

Chad: That’s right! I’m super excited to see this launch. And a bit nervous too but that’s normal…at least I keep telling myself that . We’re going through some final prep for the page itself, layout and video trailer, but otherwise I think everything is looking good to hit that date.

WSG: So do you have any other games in the pipeline you can talk about?

Chad: Of course! The next game in our lineup we are targeting to launch on KS in Q4 of this year. It’s actually my own design as well and is called Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. That game is being illustrated by the incredibly talented Shawna Tenney.
It’s a casual gateway type game, about the same weight as King of Tokyo. It’s a dice chucker take that type game. Players each have their own fox character and are all raiding a chicken coop to steal chickens. They must then turn those chickens into…yep you guessed it…fried chicken dinner.

WSG: Lol nice!    So what inspires you as a game designer?

Chad: I think it’s probably the same for a lot of folks who get into this business. I’m a gamer first and foremost. And as such, I want to design and publish games that other people will enjoy putting on the table. Playing tabletop games is more than just pushing cubes or laying tiles. It’s an experience that you share with others, a reason to gather and enjoy time together. Being just a small part in helping make that enjoyment happen is a real treat to see.

WSG: So what is your favorite game?

Chad: Oh man. You had to ask! That’s a tough one as my collection has a wide range of games. I am a huge fan of Alien Frontiers. It’s been out a while, but I still enjoy playing it. It’s got amazing retro science fiction style art and dice chucking is always fun.
I also love Battlestar Galactica, Galaxy Truckers, and Spartacus. Honestly, I could probably rattle off games for an hour that I enjoy playing. It’s an amazing time to be a tabletop gamer. The wide range of options out there is just incredible.

WSG: What is your preferred pizza toppings?

Chad: This question is way easier to answer than my favorite game. My usual go to is chicken, pineapple, jalapeños, and green peppers.

Yes, I’m one of those pineapple on pizza people.

WSG: That’s ok, so am I.

So now one from the kids, do you have any advice for new designers?

Chad: Don’t be afraid to try. And fail. And fail again. Just keep trying.

One of the best ways for new designers to start out is to take a game you enjoy playing and try to design a variant method of play, or an expansion to it. Sometimes having very clear guardrails will help keep your design focused.

WSG: Great advice! I think that’s everything from us. Do you have anything you’d like to say to the world before you go?

Chad: Just that I encourage folks to check out Christmas Lights when we go live. We’ll be delivering to backers by the holidays so it’s a great option to get for yourself and as a gift for others. We also have more fun tucked in the box with 9 additional rules to play other games using a subset of the components. Some of these are brand new original game designs and others are modified versions of some classics. We’ll be sharing those games throughout the campaign.

Thank you so much for the invitation to chat. I enjoyed it!

WSG: Thank you very much and have a great night!


Christmas Lights the card game will be available on Kickstarter 29 May.  Until then more details can be found at


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