AAR: Dark Secret of Santa Town

It’s a HoHoHOlocaust!!!


In the Grim Darkness of the North Pole, there is only War….

In a future that is only the day after tommorrow away, a corporate colossus spans the Earth. The fortuitous marriage of the scion of the venture capital giant Scrooge and Marley, Ltd. and the great-great daughter of Sam Walton, Lavinia Walton, has created a partnership that generates a remarkable asset.. Samuel Scrooge-Walton, named in honor of Lavinia’s illustrious ancestor. The merging of one of the world’s greatest sources of capital and the world’s leading retailer was a recipe for global domination.

After a remarkable youth, highlighted by an energetic and innovative approach towards solving the problem of the Wal*mart-Target war (leaving parts of Minneapolis St. Paul radioactive to this day), Sam came into his maturity, and the controlling interest in the mother corporation, when he arrived at the age of 25. Almost immediately he commenced working on the “Strike North” campaign. Long had he gazed on the one, last uncontrolled toy distribution network left on the face of the earth. He had to control it, and the time had come for aggressive negotiation.

Against the advice of key subordinates, Sam prepared a strike force of elite Wal*Mart Security teams Blue, White and Grey (named in honor of the store’s heraldic colors), and allowed reprentatives of the Longshoreman’s union (purchased long ago) and the Sweat Shop Union (from China and the Latin American shops) to accompany as observers. “We are up against indiginous personnel with almost no weapons, men!” Sam gleefully chortled in the mission pre-brief. “This should be a walkover”. He chortled with glee as he swiftly approached his target.

Full Backstory piece and mission briefs located here

The Game!

in the frigid darkness of a North Pole morning, a certain village wakes to another day’s frenetic activity. The dominant industry of the town has an impending deadline to make, and everywhere there is signs of rush, as the evening shift of skilled workers goes home to rest and the morning shift takes over.

Suddenly, the warning klaxon blares out:
Alarm! Alarm! Outer defenses have been breached! There is a large shape approaching Gingerbread Village at a high rate of speed. The object is metallic, of high density, and with many life forms inside!

Santa Claus, the Legend of the North, confers with chief elf Sherman: “Get the guard elves to the inner defenses. Activate the gingerbread people… and for God’s sake, MOVE THOSE PRESENTS INTO THE WAREHOUSE!!!

Santa grimaces and comments to the Bumble: “Dang it, this happens EVERY YEAR!!! And we have the entire Teddy Bear army locked up in the South fighting off the Mouse King!”

GM Note: Mouse King is a reference to last year’s Christmas Game, which featured Marxist Mouse soldiers and Brave Teddy Bear defenders of the North Pole

Elves and gingerbread people (hastily dragooned into the militia, grabbing for their peppermint stick melee weapons) burst into a frenzied activity to prepare for invaders.

(above) Santa knows he can call upon his friends in the Royal Canadian Mounties, Sergeant Preston, Rex the Wonder Horse, King and Dudley. But he might not need to, with the troops he has at hand…

… such as the Professor, Naughty Elf, and the Professor’s Animated Snowman squad.

(GM notes: the professor can cause the snowmen to ambulate and attack. Naughty elf has the power to “Beguile” humans when the professor spanks her. This equates to a human peforming a ‘duck back’ if in cover or just standing still)

(above) The vast majority of troops on hand, however, are the Gingerbread folk in the nearby village. The elves dragoon them into service with the weapons on hand, mostly giant peppermint sticks.

(above) On the horrizon, the behemoth approachs like a fast land-whale…

(above) CRASH! The Wal*Mat Offense force barrels on to the table, Goes about 100 more feet and crashes into a snow drift. Sam, in the command center, curses. He had meant to penetrate the village itself.

The grey team pops out and moves towards target quickly.

(above 2) The right flank of the invasion force hangs open precariously… fortunately, gingerpeople don’t move fast.

(above) Sherman commands gingerpeople to move the packages indoors.

(above) Meanwhile, Boomer, the littlest grenadier elf, bravely encounters the Wal*Mart truck.

… and we all discover that THIS brave little elf is aptly named.



(above) Boomer is concussed; he lays there happily in the snowbank, thinking happy thoughts.

(above) Blue Team joins Grey Team as the Gingers line up for the gingerbread wave attack.

See that brown felt piece? It’s ginger goo left from a gingerbread casualty destined for the rebaking ovens.

(NOTE: incoming “Dead” Gingers went to the “bake pile” in groups of four. At the start of each turn, you rolled 1D6 for each bake pile. If it matched how many stands were in that pile, the stand was placed in the Biscuit shop.

(above) Sam Scrooge-Walton jumps out and runs for protection behind the grey squad. This is not going as planned. He whistles up for some longshoremen reinforcments, but only one is bellicose to stop cowering in the back of the truck.

(above) On the right flank of the Wal*Mart attack, White Team is doing markedly better.

(above 2) The gingerbread wave on the left flank was awesome. Here, the chef “Goops” a Blue Team soldier.

GM Note: A Ginger Person can fire (twice) a big gob of icing at a target before dissolveing. These are “Shooters”. The icing halts movement for a turn

We got a man down!!!

(above) Freshly baked reinforcements rush up to cover the left flank. That brown felt is ginger goo from a gingerperson casualty.

Grey team goes down (mostly) due to head wounds from melee (mostly). Blue team engages a couple of multiple attack stands… things look bad.

(above) Cute and cuddly doesn’t equal “Stupid.” Here, Wilma and Boomer hide in the snowbank created by the truck explosion and let the “big cookies” catch lead for them.

“You Hear that, human? That’s the Jingle Bells of DOOM, and they’re ringing for YOU!!!

(above) A longshoreman summons the courage to join in. See that multiple candy stick base up there? It was the best fighter the gingers had, and it kicked butt with three attacks per turn.

(above) Blastina (r), Bronson (c) and Boomer (l, under partial cover), engage White Team directly. They must sense weakness.

(above) Some of the faster Gingers (on sleds) approach on the run.

(above 2) Blastina and Bronson don’t know of the reinforcements arriving right behind them. Good thing; they are now riddled with bullets.

(above) The Longshoremen finally show up in force; they show the SWAT guys how it’s done; six bat-wielding Longshoremen to one Ginger turns Gingerbread people into ginger goo!

(above) Blue team, in extremis, is bailed out by the Longshoremen..

(above) Bronson gives White Team a lesson on how sawed off shotguns are no fun at close range.

“Mercy, please!”

“I’m sorry, you’ve been Naughty!” (BOOOM!)

(above) The tide might have turned a bit with the arrival of the Longshoremen, but Sam now knows this battle is lost. “Retreat, boys! Retreat! There will be a another day!” he howls, as he runs for the comms unit to call in a chopper extraction. “Curse you, Claus!!!! You haven’t heard the last of meeeeee!”

As he gazed out on the smoking ruin of of the Wal*Mart assault, Santa laughed a cheeful “Ho Ho HO!”…

These Waltons are amateurs.. we’ve been fighting a war at the North Pole every year for a thousand years!”

How did you know how to defeat him, Santa?” asked Sherman

‘Tis Simple, Sherman.. I knew all about it in advance, due to my highly skilled intelligence network. After all, I know when you’ve been sleeping, I know when you’re awaaaake…” shouted Santa over his shoulder, as he hustled back to the Workshop to supervise another job lot of toys getting prepped for shipment.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


White Team: All Dead or severly wounded.

Grey Team: one dead, three unconscious, one alive.

Blue Team: one unconscious.

No Longshoremen casualties.

No Sweat Shop union casualties.

Elves: Four elves severely wounded.

Countless Gingerbread casaulties.

Clearly, The North Pole was victorious. No presents were extracted, nobody got kidnapped, and no industrial secrets were compromised.

Christmas was saved!

Wal*Mart, suffering a bloody nose, vowed to try again next Yuletide.

Technical Notes

The rules were heavily modified RULES WITH NO NAME (originally by Brian Ansell, heavily modified by me and many others over the years). I have conversion notes, mission briefs, North Pole Creature notes, and etc. available at the following link:

http://mrnizz.50megs.com/darksecretdownload.htm (50megs popup warning!)

TRWNN works very well for this game, but it badly needs tinkering. The Elf-controlling the Gingerbread thing did give the North Pole side an awesome advantage in melee (not ranged) combat, and having fewer troops on the bad guy side didn’t help much, even if they did have autofire weapons.

I tried the modern rules conversion for autofire (Foundry’s street chaos rules) and found them too complex and slow for our game, we went back to a modified “Gatling gun” approach towards autofire.

As in many of our Western games, Duck Backs (but NOT recovery) were quickly abandoned as a game slower.

This game was concieved by Walt O’Hara and executed by Walt and Harry Morris, who provided most of the terrain pieces (except for the village and factory), the snowmen, various Wal*Mart teams, Santa and the bumble. I provided all of the Elves, the Mounties, the Longshoremen, the Gingerbread People, and various terrain bits.

Figures were a real hodgepodge of a lot of everything, mostly Eureka, Copplestone and Foundry.

Picture of “Doctor Jeckyl” above is copyright 2005 Parroom Station.

Special thanks to Anne O’Hara for painting all those candy sticks for me.


Speaking from my own perspective, this was one of the funnest games I’ve ever run, with exactly the right crowd to play it. I just wish we had run it earlier in the month so that we could have had about 4 more players. I look forward to a rematch.

Oh; and the truck was donated to a deserving kid…


8 responses to “AAR: Dark Secret of Santa Town

  1. This brings back memories. I loved the hell out of that game. I’d love to play it again…
    …say, you know what? Perhaps I will. Prepare for my triumphant, and permanent, return to the DC Metropolitan Area, oh denizens of the dizz.

  2. Heyah, stranger!

    Yeppers, you landed in the right blog. How you found me, I dunno!

    Great news about your relocation! When? Spill, man, spill!

    Fortuitously enough, this is a very portable game, it fits into two small boxes. I’m keeping it on the shelf, you never know when you’ll need one.

  3. Heyah, stranger!

    Yeppers, you landed in the right blog. How you found me, I dunno!

    Great news about your relocation! When? Spill, man, spill!

    Fortuitously enough, this is a very portable game, it fits into two small boxes. I’m keeping it on the shelf, you never know when you’ll need one.

  4. I’m currently waiting for someone to find my house in Austin, TX, habitable and worthy of the pittance I am asking in return. Once the house is sold, I’m loading up the truck and pointing my compass North East. I hope to be up there somewhere between February and April.

    The move comes on the heels of some unfortunate news, however. Kathy and I have gone our separate ways – happily, however, so shed no tears. Feel free to find me at my old stomping grounds at dubya-dubya-dubya dot fraize dot com, and via email: fraize at fraize dot com.

  5. I will say I’m sorry, I won’t shed any tears because you seem to be the better for it.

    Well, in one (happy) sense, COOL! It will be great to see you again.

    I can be found here, obviously.. I’ve become a blogging addict (just ask my friend Coldfoot, he’ll tell you). It’s more addictive than crack, and I’m guessing “better” for you…


  6. I enjoyed this writeup too. Glad to see you guys still go in for the different stuff.

    Dale (from Houston)

    P.S. Can’t wait to get back and try another ARES game.

  7. Damn funny, thanks for the link at TMP.

    Kid kyoto @ hot mail . com

  8. Pingback: 2011 Nigel Clarke Invitational Christmas Game | Third Point of Singularity