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Gifts for the entire family can be difficult to find.

Age differences tend to make it even more challenging. Will it hold everyone’s interest, including that of adults joining in?

But the board game “Patriot Challenge” could be a solution to this problem.

The game, now available in Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores and online, is a trivia board game with questions about American history, society, politics and culture. It’s intended for three to six players, age 10 and older.

The game is the brainchild of Christine Nelson, who initially created the game to be played at her annual Super Bowl party in 2002. “I wanted to do something after Sept. 11 that was patriotic and helped us celebrate America,” she said. Her friends really enjoyed learning more about history and participating in government and suggested she market it. “I’ve played board games all my life. It was easy for me to take the Super Bowl game and turn it into a board game,” she said.

Game play is surprisingly simple: Players choose a 2-moves, 4-moves or 6-moves card (the higher the number of moves, the tougher the question) and the player next to them reads the answer key. Be prepared to actually talk about some of the questions — the five adults I played with (which included three people who intensely studied political science) were constantly stopping to discuss our answers. Questions included defining “monopoly” and “filibuster;” the poetry of Robert Frost; the Gettysburg Address; and nuclear proliferation. Bonus questions gave players the amusing opportunity to state their opinions on a question topic; demonstrate something like the Pledge of Allegiance; or describe a person, place or event.

The game board includes officially licensed U.S. postage stamps that mark milestones in U.S. history, including the Pilgrims arriving on the Mayflower, the moon landing and the Alaska Purchase. Nelson said she was inspired to use stamps as the primary art for the game (there are about 300 used) because stamps reflect U.S. history well.

Players start in the year 35,000 B.C., and the winner is the first player to arrive at the year 2000. The board is colorful, although could initially be tough to navigate. Even tougher were questions that referred to stamps on the board; we played in a spot where it was difficult to move around to find stamps, and turning the board was not an option.

“Patriot Challenge” also would be excellent for educators to use as a classroom tool.

For more information, visit the Web site at www.patriotchallenge.com.


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