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Roll the dice on some winter board games

Stephanie DePrez | Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The winter season is fast approaching, and that means two things.

First, Notre Dame students are gearing up for the weather and the long hours spent hanging in the dorm to avoid freezing to death. Second, now begins the frantic search for Christmas gifts. And what better way to deal with both issues than by buying an entertaining board game for those long winter nights?

Many people scoff at the idea of board games. Why bother when we have such honorable amenities as Guitar Hero III? The day must come, though, that you do master the expert level of every song, and the glory is over. There’s still TV, though, right? Well, as long as studio producers refuse to sit down with the Writers Guild of America, all you’re going to see on your Comcast-provided cable for the next few months is “America’s Next Top Model.” There is a remedy, though, and way to consistently counteract boredom. That would be the great American pastime of gathering your roommates – and whomever is wandering around your section – and playing a board game.

Here’s a look at some of the best board games on the market this Christmas:

Scene It?: Movie Edition (2nd Edition): This is an updated release of the classic from a few years ago. Pop the disc into your DVD player and set up the board on your coffee table. Teams compete to answer question about movies, but the best part is, for a lot of the questions it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen the movie or not. Whether you are a film buff or a casual moviegoer, this game is intensely fun and overly addicting. Other editions include Disney, Harry Potter, 007, Marvel Comics, Sports, Music and TV.

Scattergories: Each team gets a pad with a list of everything from “musical group” to “vegetable.” Roll the die and get a letter. Turn the timer, and each team has to come up with something for each category that begins with that letter. But be careful – you only get the point if no other team came up with the same answer.

Cranium: If you haven’t played it already (or read the back of the box while waiting for your Starbucks back home), you are missing out. This game appeals to all sides of the brain. Teams move around the board, which is divided into quarters. On one section you act out or hum answers for your teammates. In the others, you draw or mold clay, recall trivia, or solve word puzzles. No matter what your talent is (or what you lack), there’s bound to be something here for you.

Electronic Catch Phrase: Everyone sits in a circle, and you are teammates with every other (alternating) person. Pass the disk around and try to get people to guess the world it gives you. Pass it fast, because whoever gets stuck holding it when the buzzer goes off is eliminated. The team with the last man standing wins.

Trivial Pursuit: This classic game has been reincarnated so many times that there’s bound to be an edition for you. Teams move around the board answering questions in a variety of categories. Tailor-made editions include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Chicago, New York, Totally 80s, Pop Culture, Nickelodeon and Book Lovers.