Checkpoint: its a board game; its an Internet game

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    Victoria Laney

    The leftover turkey is stowed in the fridge, and you open a new board game to play with your family. They are pleased you are spending time with them, instead of playing a computer game by yourself. Your parents like Checkpoint because its a road rally game with small cars that travel around the board. In their youth, when gas was 35 cents a gallon and Chevys had fins, they competed in actual road rallies. Once again they enjoy “driving” from location to location, solving fast-paced puzzles. Their memories are warm, and so is the good night hug they give you.

    Quickly, you move from the living room to cyberspace. Now that the folks are asleep, you fire up your computer and enter the worlds first interactive cyber rally. It is part of the Checkpoint game. The board game gave you practice in solving rally puzzles. Now you solve harder rally puzzles hidden in various places on the World Wide Web. You are playing for your piece of 20 million dollars. The first prize is $25,000 in cash. There are thousands of other prizes, from a 1937 Jaguar replica to a dream vacation in Hawaii.

    “Just for finishing Roadrally.com, each player will receive over $200 in prize coupons…which is almost seven times the initial cost of the game,” said Sandra Bergeson, promotions director of TDC, which created Checkpoint.

    Over the course of the competition, you will be able to check an on-line listing of how you rank in the standings against all other entrants worldwide. You never know; while you sleep in, Mom and Dad may enter the cyber rally themselves and outrank you. You and other players may re-enter as many times as you like over a 16 month span in an attempt to improve your score, she said.

    Checkpoint contains four separate road rally simulations, which become increasingly difficult. Three of them are Living Room Rallies. The forth is played on-line. To win, you and other players must stay on course as you follow a set of instructions on a road map. On-line, the goal is to visit various Web sites. The writers are skilled Rallymasters who contribute years of experience in designing challenging yet fun competitions. The Rallymaster places many tricks and traps in your path with the specific intention of leading you astray, she said.

    “Road rallying is an extremely entertaining and challenging gaming system that has somehow been completely overlooked by our industry. It is our hope that Checkpoint will introduce this brain game to a new generation of intelligent, computer literate rallyists,” said Larry Balsamo, president of TDC Games.

    The board game is for one to four players, aged 12 to adult. The Internet game is for players aged 18 and over. A CD ROM with free Internet access is enclosed with the game. It requires a PC or Mac and a modem. Screen samples of the Checkpoint Cyber Rally are available at www.roadrally.com. More details on the game are at www.tdgames.com

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