How to entertain kids on a car trip? Reach for Rubberneckers

Ten points for spotting an "adopt a highway" sign. Five points for waving your foot and getting a response from someone in another car. Five points if you pass a cemetery. And 10 points if you see a driver singing.

Reach 100 points before anyone else in the car, and you win Rubberneckers. It's the award-winning family game that makes the dreaded question, "Are we there yet?" obsolete.

Rubberneckers is the invention of Mark and Matthew Lore, two brothers who never grew up. "It's a game of attentiveness," says Mark in a phone interview from Londonderry, N.H.

Rubberneckers begins with five dealt cards (from a deck of 65) that ask players to look for specific objects, like road signs, or people doing things. The first player to reach 100 points is the No. 1, primo Rubbernecker.

The idea for the game occurred to Mark four years ago, when he was driving with his two children.

Mark's teenage son, Jesse, says, "The appeal of the game is that it lets everyone in the car interact with one another." Jesse helped shape the final version, which is geared to kids 8 years old and up.

Adults join the fun, too. "A few months ago I was in a van with my VP of sales and a marketing manager driving to Canada," says Mark. "I whipped out Rubberneckers, and here were three Type A workaholics in fierce competition. We played all the way up and back."

The game was originally turned down by a number of companies. A friend of a friend of Matthew's managed to get the game in the hands of Chronicle Books, which agreed to market it. In its first year in bookstores, more than 100,000 have been sold at $12.95 each.

The game has won the Oppenheimer Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, a Parent Council Outstanding Seal, and recognition as one of Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products for 1999.

"We're planning another version," says Mark, "actually for younger children, that focuses on the pedagogy of the road, like octagonal signs and rectangles or triangles. Lots of simplicity, like numbers and colors, so smaller kids can play."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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