In This Christmas

Posted by Caroline


In a game of “In This World” by Ben Robbins, you take the world you know and remake it, focusing on a central topic. We kicked off 2023 with a delightful quick game, and to celebrate the season we created 4 alternate versions of Christmas. Did things get a little spooky? …. Yes. And awesome.

To start the game, you choose a topic and make a list of facts about it, describing the real world as the launching point: Santa lives at the north pole, Christmas is about goodwill, Christmas is highly commercialized, etc.

But what if things were different?

In this world (1), Santa takes toys from children and puts them in the woods for unhappy children to find.

In this world (2), Santa walks among us (sus). He’s a quantum being present in all communities, always. And, uh, he eats one person a year. Better leave out your tribute…

In this world (3), it’s always Christmas, and Santa isn’t real so you’d better be ready for presents and carols every day. The Christmas magic keeps it fun and capitalism crumbles (yay!).

In this world (4) we hang the bones of our loved ones on the great Christmas tree and celebrate with ritual and tradition, singing carols to guide the souls of our dead back home.

Four very different worlds all coming from the same ingredients, just changed and remixed in interesting ways.

I obviously love world-building games, and “In This World” delivers quick, collaborative world-building that leaves you thinking about the worlds that you make long after the game is done. It doesn’t hurt that it’s very simple to play and runs very quickly.

It was a great game to start the new year off with, and although “In This World” is still in playtest, I’m looking forward to it being one of my go-to games of 2023!