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Stay at home, if youâ??re game



Even a New Year's Eve spent at home can be a gut-busting good time, if only you possess a little imagination -- and a closetful of Milton Bradley detritus. The board games of your misspent youth can easily be transformed into drinking games the likes of which you haven't experienced since you bounced your first quarter off your first dormitory table. Now all you need are some friends to play with; but if you've been reading this paper all year long, you've already figured out that we can't help you on that front. Of course, we expect that whatever friends you rustle up will be sprawled out on your floor for the night, not a car key in sight. That being said, on to the rules.

Connect Four: Arrange four colored chips in a line -- vertically, horizontally, diagonally or according to a Byzantine, self-created pattern whose validity you're willing to defend with fisticuffs. Celebrate each fresh victory with slugs of malt liquor. Subsequent rounds are progressively rechristened Connect Three, Connect Two, Connect One and Connect Me to Al-Anon.

Mystery Date: Down a stiff shot of bourbon for every disheveled loser who shows up at your door. An ideal game for single women, who've been doing this all year long, anyway.

Mouse Trap: As always, the fun of this game isn't springing the trap, but building it as you go. Having to swallow four fingers of whiskey for each new piece you earn only adds to the challenge. By the time your shaky hands have assembled the rickety contraption, it owes less to Rube Goldberg than Heronymous Bosch.

Battleship: "You sunk my battleship!" But can you sink a fifth of vodka in 15 minutes?

Clue: Your guess: Miss Scarlet in the library with the lead pipe. Correct answer: Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with the revolver. Hell, close enough.

Shoots and Ladders: Your linear progression across the board is regularly interrupted by unanticipated, unfortunate side trips to places you've already been. Wait ... that's New Year's Eve downtown.

Sorry! "Sorry I sent you back five spaces."
;"Sorry I drank all your gin."
;"Sorry I sent you back six more spaces."
;"Sorry I threw up on your rug."

Backgammon: Come on. You aren't really going to inflict this mind-numbingly boring game on your guests, not even with the added benefit of booze.

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