PICTIONARY. Parker Pounds 29.99. (Junior version Pounds 18.99)
From Argos, department stores, toy shops, W H Smith Equipment Board, six jolly cubes, lots of cards with words on, paper and pencils. The style is a la Trivial Pursuit, as is the price. For those who would rather spend their holiday pesetas on bottles of Pils and Piz Buin, you can just about get by with a dictionary and sketch pad.
Who can play Anyone who can hold a pencil. Minimum of four in two teams of two. Maximum of six teams of however many people you can persuade round to your villa cottagetent.
When In the evening. After it is all over you will probably just want to slide into your sleeping bag. Duties such as buying souvenirs for parents who still haven't used last year's Parmesan dispenser should not be on any post-Pictionary agenda.
What happens Standard board-game procedure: roll dice, move cube. Select a team member to draw the picture. This person picks up a card and draws one of the words on it while the rest of the team (sometimes everyone) attempts to guess what it is. The illustrator must not show the card to anyone or indicate by any means other than drawing - speech, Morse code, semaphore - what the word is.
An egg-timer puts the illustrator out of his or her misery after about a minute. If the word has been guessed the team has another go, and the first team to get round the board wins.
The colour of the square landed on determines which word is drawn. The words are categorised: noun, verb, adjective, and so on. Nouns are easy - everyone can draw a cat (can't they?). Abstract words, however, are a challenge. Drawing "cerebral" for a team convinced the answer is "jellyfish" may make you feel a bit of a Jackson Pollock.
Value for money Expensive, but worth it.
Entertainment factor Better (usually) than a double bill of Frasier.
Star rating ****
*** Rainy-day stand-by
** Emergencies only
* Go home