Game On

By Paul R. Huard

September 19, 2008 4 min read

GAME ON

Traditional board games get a makeover for Christmas

Paul R. Huard

Creators News Service

Ah, the games people play -- especially at Christmas.

What could be more fun than a mug of hot cocoa, the TV turned off and members of your family actually connecting with other people in room -- all because of the traditional joys of a board game? The games are fun, inexpensive and great for family gatherings during the holidays.

Here are some offerings that are sure to delight both children and adults. One is a new game that brings the fun of the great outdoors inside for everyone's enjoyment, while others are updated versions of classics that are sure to please.

CAMP, from Education Outdoors Inc., brings families together by educating them about the great outdoors through questions about plants, animals, the natural world and camping skills. The board game offers four levels of play, allowing a 4-year-old to a grandparent to both be challenged, making the game fun for all ages.

Levels increase in difficulty, with questions about everything from the migration habits of birds to safety when ice fishing. The more you know, the more chances you get to take "shortcuts" on the trail. The first one back to camp wins.

The game board includes full-color photos on the playing cards, interesting playing characters and a card decoder. The game is a bona fide winner: Since the makers released the game two years ago, CAMP has earned several awards, including Dr. Toy's "100 Best Children's Products for 2007" and a Family Review Center Gold Award.

Each game comes with 400 questions, 99 fun facts, eight game characters, decoder, die and an illustrated game board. Two to eight players; $24.99. For more information, go to campboardgame.com.

Hasbro, a venerable name in board games, has several updated versions of favorite games just in time for the holidays:

* Clue, the classic murder mystery game, is getting a makeover. Although the usual suspects are still around, new rooms and weapons greet players in a celebrity-style mansion. The new intrigue and clock cards change elements of the game and quicken the pace of play. Be careful, though -- by the end of the night, there may be more than one murder to solve. Three to six players, ages 9 or older; $15.99.

* There have been many versions of Monopoly, but the Monopoly Here & Now: Global Edition is one for the ages. In early 2008, Hasbro asked fans of the game to vote on their website for the cities they wanted included in this latest version. Montreal is the most expensive spot and is joined on the board by Paris, London, New York and Tokyo. For this international edition, new features include game pieces shaped as iconic elements from each continent, new Chance and Community Chest cards, renewable-energy spaces and international hotels and houses. Two to six players, ages 8 or older; $34.99.

* Almost 25 years after its debut, Trivial Pursuit has hit the technology age with Trivial Pursuit: Digital Choice Edition. Instead of boxes of cards, the game comes with a loaded electronic game pod that has six 100-question categories. Players can also go online and load up to 1,800 questions onto the pod and customize which six categories they will be playing with. In addition to the questions available on the website, players can also load their own questions, which can be related to their families, their lives or any category that they know a lot about. Two to 36 players or teams, ages 18 or older; $49.99.

You can find more information about these and other games at www.hasbro.com.

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