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Issue Date: December 2010

Game On

Jim Vickers

Move over, Rich Uncle Pennybags. Monopoly isn't going to cut it this season. Passing "Go" feels about as fresh as a 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story. It's time to find new ways to declare victory over our family and friends. That's why we were happy to learn two local companies have new games for the holidays. One mixes pop culture smarts with true knowledge while the other merges poker with a fistful of dice. Both will make you forget you ever cared about Clue.

Split Decision

$24.99 from Mental Floss
Objective: Players take turns asking questions of their fellow participants, who must respond either "A" or "B." For example: Fuzzy Wuzzy: Crayola crayon (A) or style of cocktail (B); Oshi: Pac-Man ghost (A) or type of sushi (B). You get the idea. For each correct answer, players fill in a bubble on their scoring sheet. Origin: Jason English, our Web guy, is very clever," says Mental Floss vice president of business development Toby Maloney. "The game grew out of his cleverness and interest in some of the things that had been successful on the website." Why You'll Like It: You'll always have an answer — and have a 50 percent chance of being right every time. "All you have to do is pick 'A' or 'B,' " Maloney says. "It's not as lonely out there as the geography category of Trivial Pursuit."

Square Shooters

$9.99 from Heartland Consumer Products

Objective: Win chips by rolling the correct target hand during each round. Players have three rolls of all nine dice to match the hand on each target card. Shootout cards such as Quick Draw, Double Down, Showdown and Joker keep things interesting. Origin: Heartland has its roots in playing cards but wanted to make other games part of its business. It bought exclusive rights to Square Shooters after president and CEO Tom Donelan received a letter from its inventor, Carmelyn Calvert. "It seemed like someone must have or should have done it already," Donelan recalls. "That's where the genius is." Why You'll Like It: "[Square Shooters has] a very family-oriented feeling to it, but at the same time, it converts well to a fun adult-oriented party game. ... You can play 21. You can play versions of rummy. You can play poker."

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