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GAMES : Trivia Game Toasts TV's 'Cheers'

March 25, 1993|PATRICK MOTT | Patrick Mott is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition

During this terrible time, destined to be known as "The Last Days of Cheers," it's occasionally possible on Thursday nights to belly up to two entire hours of the most successful situation comedy of the past decade.

Under this kind of video bombardment, it's possible--actually, almost inevitable--to mutate into a Cliff Claven clone, a veritable "Cheers" trivia machine.

It had to happen. In the past decade, "Cheers" has become a kind of beer-sodden "Star Trek," and it's only a matter of time before people with too much time on their hands start showing up at Holiday Inn convention halls dressed in postal uniforms and white socks.

In the meantime, to fill that horrible Thursday night gap that will appear when Sam Malone and Paramount finally announce last call in May, there's "Cheers": the trivia game.

Yes, if you have the sort of retentive memory that screens out your kids' names but sucks in every utterance Norm ever made, this game is going to be as user-friendly as a free beer.

The object of "Cheers"--which is a kind of Trivial Pursuit mutation--is to collect wooden nickels in each of four colors. You win them by answering a "Cheers" trivia question after landing your token directly on a space corresponding to the color of nickel you need.

The game board, however, isn't laid out in some wimpy shape like a spoked wheel. It's an exact floor plan of the "Cheers" bar, complete with furniture, ancillary rooms (even the johns) and designated spaces for all of the current regular characters (no Diane or Coach).

There are two types of trivia questions. The more common look like beverage napkins and are multiple choice. These must be answered every time you take a turn, unless you land on a wooden nickel space. In that event, you must answer a "Normism" or "Cliffism." A "Normism" is an actual Norm quote in which a blank must be filled in ("What's up, Norm?" "My weight, if I were (blank) feet tall." Answer: 11.) A "Cliffism" is a quote that may or may not have been spoken by Cliff. The player must determine the quote's accuracy. ("There's no rule against postal workers dating women. It just works out that way." Yep, he said it.)

"Normism" and "Cliffism" cards are designed to look like beer coasters.

There are a few specific rules to jazz the game up (if, for instance, you're using one of the male characters' tokens, such as Woody, you can't move into the ladies' room in order to try to land on a wooden nickel space; you've got to go to the gents'). The most kinetic of them all come into play when you land on a "Carla's Dare" space. In that event, you're allowed to dare another player to do anything your mind can invent. If the player does it, he gets to move twice. If he balks, you get a free turn instantly.

And, for the completely frenzied "Cheers" addict, instructions are included on how the rules of the game can be made more complex (the multiple-choice questions, for example, can be asked without the player being given the choice of answers).

So far, Classic Games Inc., the manufacturer of the game, hasn't produced a new set of questions since the game made its debut last year. But, said a company spokesman, the idea has been kicked around, since the series hasn't called it a wrap yet.

The suggested retail price is about the same as a round of beers for the cast: the low to mid-$20 range, according to Classic. However, you may pay more. At the Gamekeeper, a games store in MainPlace/Santa Ana, the price is about $33.

Your own beer is extra.

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