Even the most dedicated video gamers, Web surfers and couch potatoes long for an occasional escape from electronic amusement. For old-fashioned fun, many Americans are going back to family board games--sales were up 18% in 2005--and discovering that there's a fresh new crop every year. Here's a sampling of the latest in living-room play.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT TOTALLY 80s Remember the days of Care Bears and Trapper Keepers? This new take on the original Trivial Pursuit focuses on factoids from the early Madonna years, when Rubik's Cubes were hot and Michael Jackson was still known for his music. When '80s is released next month, pop-culture buffs can finally capitalize on all those Cosby Show reruns.
SCENE IT? SQUABBLE Games with DVDs are coming on strong. After watching clips, you call out answers to onscreen questions. Scene It? sold 5 million copies in 2005, and now there are editions devoted to music, TV and even Harry Potter. The newest twist, Squabble, is billed as a battle of the sexes, but the original Scene It? movie version is better.
WITS & WAGERS The average human tongue has how many taste buds? In this lively trivia game, teams ponder such stumpers and jot down their answers. Players then wager points on which team's guesses are closest to the correct answer.
WHOONU The creators of the popular game Cranium have produced a slew of follow-up hits. Their latest is silly but surprisingly engaging. You earn points for guessing each other's preferences. Most fun are the cross-category comparisons; try guessing if someone prefers sunshine or chocolate.
WALLAMOPPI Like the old kids' game Operation, Wallamoppi requires nimble fingers. The rules are simple: two players take turns trying to stack disks atop a tower without toppling it. The game box cleverly doubles as the timer. Before each turn, a marble is dropped into the box. When it reaches the bottom, your turn is up.
LAST WORD Coming up with six vegetables that begin with the letter C can be tricky, especially if the clock is ticking. As in Scattergories, players try to rattle off words within a category that begin with a given letter. The twist here is that a buzzer sounds at random intervals. The goal is to be the last player to chime in successfully. If you're the one who screams "Celery!" just before the buzzer, you win the round.