England

Santa vs Jesus board game 'blasphemous'

cards from game Image copyright Santa vs Jesus
Image caption Santa Claus and Jesus Christ take each other on in the irreverent board game

A Christmas-themed board game that pits Jesus against Santa has been described as "offensive, shocking and blasphemous".

Santa vs Jesus, made by London company Komo Games, is played by two teams - one for each of the festive figures - who battle through challenges in an attempt to win the most "believers".

It was funded via crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter which said it was the "most complained about game in history".

But fans have called it "good fun".

Danny Webster, spokesperson for the Evangelical Alliance, says he believes a board game helping people learn about Jesus at Christmas would be "a great innovation" but he has a problem with the Santa vs Jesus game because "it trivialises Christian belief and equates them both as fictional characters.

"With over 4 out of 10 people in the UK mistakenly thinking that Jesus was not a real historical person, this game won't help correct that.

"At its heart Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus and the gift of life he brings. Santa comes from the story of St Nicholas who as a Christian bishop was generous to the poor and was very happy to have Christ as his king.

"When it comes to Santa vs Jesus, we're firmly on Team Jesus too."

Image copyright Santa vs Jesus
Image caption A promotional video for the board game involves the creators acting as Santa and Jesus while singing a jauntily catchy tune and sparring with one other

Some of the opinions of reviewers on Amazon, where the game is for sale, are less measured and include allegations of blasphemy and disrespect: "I dare you, creators of this game and Amazon, to make a game about Mohammed!

"You wouldn't would you! Then why pick Jesus? Christians are currently soft targets so why not jump on the bandwagon!"

Another review reads: "I find it in the poorest of taste and offensive. Jesus (complete with nail holes in hands) and Santa with his followers and friends fighting over a Christmas tree. How upsetting, cheap and nasty to corrupt the beauty and meaning of Christmas in this way."

Despite the controversy, Santa vs Jesus was fully funded within days of the project going live, securing the £4,500 Kickstarter goal in 48 hours and eventually attracting more than £7,000 of investment.

One of the creators of the game, Julian Miller, says sales "are exceeding all expectations and we've had to rush through another order with our manufacturer to keep up with the demand".

Image copyright Santa vs Jesus
Image caption The creators have defended the game as "tongue-in-cheek", although some detractors feel it mocks Christianity

Mr Miller, along with David McGranaghan, came up with the game for a family Christmas party a few years ago.

"The enthusiasm of our family and friends and the rise in popularity of games such as Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens made us realise there was a gap in the market for a funny tongue-in-cheek game pitting Santa against Jesus.

"For years people have wondered 'who rules Christmas? Santa or Jesus?'"

Not everyone is enraged by the game, though.

One commentator said: "It looks enormous fun. I am a Christian and am not the least offended by anything I saw.

"Take it in the spirit it is meant to be played."

Image copyright Santa vs Jesus

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites