When closely examined for any stretch of time, Power Rangers is a weird series. Alien invasions, time travel, alternate dimensions, giant robots fighting giant monsters that end with almost no collateral damage, monsters with vaudevillian voices, the list goes on. Then there's the fact that a fair number of episodes of the series involve the color-coded superheroes teaming up with Santa Claus to save Christmas.
As such, it comes as no surprise that the jolly bringer of toys would be showing up in Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid complete with his own holiday-themed monster to fight. But what is surprising is that it is also a great character pack in its own right. This is our review of the Santa Holiday Pack.
The Santa Holiday Pack for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid contains a new Ranger and a new monster. The new Ranger is Santa Claus (of course) with his own combat deck, character card, miniature, and even a Reindeer Zord card. The monster, Heximas comes with his own miniature and monster deck.
First, we'll be focusing on Santa Claus. At first, Santa appears to be a straightforward Ranger with a really basic combat deck. A healthy mix of two-dice attack cards for 0 energy, three-dice attacks for one energy, and maneuvers that can be played for defense.
But what really helps elevate Father Christmas to something genuinely fantastic is his Bag of Gifts character ability. At the start of each battle, you can give one of the cards in your hand to another Ranger as a gift. When that Ranger plays a card in that battle, they reveal the Gift and resolve the Gift effect written on the card. The person playing Santa cannot tell them what the card does, but can give them hints as to what to do next. The gift effects on the cards include everything from dealing bonus damage to enemies, adding more energy to the shared pool, and even giving Rangers additional attack dice.
It is with this in mind that Santa Claus turns into one of the best support characters in Heroes of the Grid. Cards like Bell Ringer and Christmas Rush lets Santa give out more cards from his hand. His deck contains doubles of his more offensive gift cards, The Naughty List and You Better Watch Out respectively. He even has an emergency recovery card with Milk and Cookies letting him get five shields' worth of cards from his discard pile back. But his biggest draw is his X energy cost card The Nice List. You just choose a number of cards from your discard pile equal to how much energy you spent and hand them out to Rangers as gifts.
Even Santa's Reindeer Zord has some utility. Exhausting it during a battle adds one energy to the shared pool and, at the cost of an action, a Ranger can be moved to a non-headquarters location. This is great if you know you need a bit more firepower against a monster or boss but one of your teammates are tapped out.
The biggest issue with Santa Claus is tied to this gift ability. He runs out of cards way too quickly. This makes him a bit of a sitting duck when it comes to more advanced fights. Worse still, while some of his gifts do allow Rangers to draw extra cards, that raises the danger of decking out. He's great at boosting his teammates, just don't expect him to last long in a more dragged out fight.
Now we come to the party pooper of the Santa Holiday Pack: the monster Heximas. Heximas first debuted during the Christmas episode (and series finale) of Power Rangers Super Dino Charge. He was memorable for his master plan of sending people Secret Santa gifts with cursed lumps of coal that would brainwash them into his loyal havoc-wreaking elves. If you had to pick one Christmas monster for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, Heximas is a great choice.
And generally speaking, his monster deck does have some nasty surprises. Season's Beatings is a Guard card that deals more damage based on how many figures (footsoldiers and Rangers) are in the location. Rocket Sleigh is a Fast attack that forces each Ranger to draw a card, then take damage to the drawn card's shield value. He even has a devious healing Passive card with Cursed Coal, complete with artwork of the brainwashed Dino Charge Red Ranger hamming it up. With Cursed Coal, every time a card is placed in a Ranger's discard pile, that Ranger must remove a hit token from an enemy card.
Overall, Heximas is a great monster encounter. Which is why I feel a bit sad that there wasn't a variation of him as a Villain to sell the whole “Saving Christmas” idea the Santa Holiday Pack promises. But if my complaint about a monster is that I'd love to see him elevated, it's a testament to the design.
The Bottom Line
With the Holidays right around the corner, the Santa Holiday Pack for Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid is a must-have stocking stuffer. Board game fans will love the novelty, Power Rangers fans will love the fan service, and even the hardcore Heroes of the Grid players will find a lot of combo potential with Santa as a playable Ranger.
Get This Pack If...
- You Believe in Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Men
- Like Giving Gifts
- Want Santa's Help
Don't Get This Pack If...
- You're Stuck On The Naughty List
- You Are Brainwashed by Heximas
The copy of Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid Santa Holiday Pack used in this review was provided by the publisher.