Light It Up
Disco volador que se enciende! Beleuchtete wurfscheibe! Uh, that's
light-up flying disc ($28.95) to you English-only types. It's a 185-gram, battery-powered, UFO-like gizmo that emits an eerie blue glow. Perfect for those long trek days when you don't get to camp until dark but are still ready for a game of ultimate. Amusant pour tous les ages! Available at Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works (328 S. Guadalupe St., 984-8221).
Horizon-The Discovery Store (328 S. Guadalupe St., 983-1554) boasts an endlessly fascinating inventory of toys and games, many directly related to science, nature or general brain-bending. The hottest new board game along these lines this year is Cogno: The Alien Adventure Game ($29.99), which won awards from the National Parenting Center and the National Association for Gifted Children. It's a fast-paced game of cosmic exploration. Includes The Book of Y, explaining game answers.
Know When to Hold 'Em
The poker craze continues unabated. Perhaps you know someone who plays for pennies or toothpicks or uses cheap plastic poker chips. Head to Stag Tobacconists (947 W. Alameda St., Solana Center, 982-3242) for high-quality, casino-weighted ceramic and wood chips in a huge variety of styles and colors ($14.95-$24.95). Try not to get distracted by the handcrafted chess sets, ranging up to $1,000; remember, stacks of 50 poker chips make great stocking stuffers.
Take a Whirl
Spinning magnetic tops on a low-friction board make for competition and wacky, unexpected effects in a game called Whirl-O ($27). The magnetic game pieces can be spun to attract or repel one another, with the goal being to move a sliding marker into an end zone. Explore gravity, centrifugal force and magnetism, or just fool around with the darned thing. Find it at Science Toy Magic (500 Montezuma Ave. #109, Sanbusco Center, 820-7264).
Bear and Bull
Do you like to shout? Wave your hands wildly? Be surrounded by several other people maniacally shouting and waving their hands? No, we're not talking about a Santa Fe City Council Meeting, but the insane card game Pit ($10.99 online and at major retailers). Corner the market on commodities using your lungs. Who knows? You may have a future on the floor of the stock exchange and not even know it. This game has been around for more than 100 years-no bull.
Matt Hannifan, manager of Science Toy Magic (500 Montezuma Ave. #109, Sanbusco Center, 820-7264), is like a kid in a…toy store. A recent visit had him excitedly raving about the new Laser Beam "Chess" Game ($52). The game features a variety of pieces, with evocative names such as Pharoah, Djed, Obelisk, Pyramid and Beam-Splitter, that either reflect light or not. If laser light hits a nonreflective surface of a piece, it must be removed. Just like something Spock and McCoy might have played.
Triple Word Score
There's nothing like a holiday family gathering marred by shouting matches over orthography or gloating over triple word scores. The Deluxe Edition Scrabble ($35 online and at other retailers) with a revolving play surface, fancy-looking tiles and tile holders, and a snazzy cloth carrying bag looks great no matter the drama.
Know someone on Santa's list who has always wanted to own The Journal Santa Fe? The Eldorado? Or maybe Hotel Santa Fe? Santa Fe On Board ($35) gets the acquisitive spirit of the holidays going with a local flair and for a good cause. Proceeds from this Santa Fe version of Monopoly go to benefit the St. Vincent Regional Medical Center Foundation. You'll find the game at local retailers such as Body (333 W. Cordova Road, 986-0362).
The Game of Life
Grappling with personal choices? The Scotland-based Transformation Game ($60) begins with players choosing a question or issue. This then becomes their "personal playing focus." Players move along the "life path," beginning with the physical level and passing through the emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Along the way, they choose "life angel cards," "universal feedback cards" and other game parts to help them face fears and challenges. The game is suitable for ages 16 and up, can be played with as few as two players and is available at The Ark Bookstore (133 Romero St., 988-3709).
Over the Board
Traditional chess still holds fascination, despite laser beam and electronic variations. High-end handmade and gorgeous chess sets and boards ($38-$1,000) are a great way to say "happy holidays" to the thoughtful luddite in your life. Stag Tobacconists (947 W. Alameda St., Solana Center, 982-3242) has 'em, including figures from the original Star Trek, the Civil War, the Napoleonic era and ancient Greece, for example.