[Blast from the Past] It's all in the Game

Six boomers create the perfect diversion.

What started as a night on the town for three Ashland couples has turned into a journey toward tranquility for board-game enthusiasts.

Four months ago, retired teachers Noel and Juanita Watson –– with more than just a little help from their friends, Dennis and JoEllen Smalley and Lynn and Libby Livelsberger –– launched their new venture, The Baby Boomer Retirement Game.

Designed for two to six players, the humorous dice game is the best of Monopoly, Life and Trivial Pursuit rolled into one. It features 300 pop-culture trivia questions geared toward 50-plussers, along with cards xploring 120 situations covering topics that are front and center at this time of life: assets, health and lifestyle experience. Players strive to achieve the ultimate goal of landing in the winner’s circle of inner peace –– no easy task, since along the way they spend time at the nursing home, pay real estate taxes, nap and have a “senior moment” or two. And that chance encounter with the Grim Reaper could be deadly
if a player is caught without a Resuscitation Card.

The idea for the game was hatched in March 2007, when the six pals celebrated the guys’ birthdays at a local club. The entertainment for the evening was a comedian who engaged in some good-natured ribbing about the boomer generation that revolved around sports cars and gold chains.

“We were laughing, of course,” Noel Watson, 59, says. “But at the table we were also making comments of our own that we thought were just as good. Juanita mentioned that maybe we should make a game out of this. It was a real Aha! moment.”

The fun continued in the car on the way home as the couples proffered topics that folks ages boomer and beyond could relate to. By the time they pulled into the Watsons’ driveway, the premise of the game was on the drawing board.

“We took our notion and set it into motion,”

Juanita Watson, 60, says about the countless pizza-and-beer nights that ensued over the next eight months, as they devised strategy and researched subjects to include.

“Above all,” she adds, “we wanted to make the game nonthreatening. This isn’t about skill, where you actively compete with your neighbor. It’s about sheer fun. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to play.”

As work progressed, the couples contacted the Ashland marketing firm, Detrow & Underwood, for help with board and box design, and last-minute tweaks. Since the game’s debut, 500 have been sold.

“We’ve gotten so many positive responses,” Juanita says. “People who haven’t played games in years are sharing conversation, laughter and fellowship. And there’s no better way to get through a cold Ohio

To order the game, visit www.babyboomerretirementgame.com or call (419) 289-8453.

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