Actor Neil Patrick Harris arrives for the 61st Annual American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Sunday, June 10, 2007. (Photographer: Rick Maiman/Bloomberg News.)

Actor Neil Patrick Harris Has an Amazing Way to Sharpen Your Brain

(Bloomberg Businessweek) -- Here’s a riddle: What word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly? If you said “incorrectly” you might be a whiz at Amazed, a $30 game co-created by actor/writer/producer/magician Neil Patrick Harris. The foldable, double-sided board offers 16 variations of a labyrinthine course. Players compete by solving brain teasers, puzzles, and codes to win. The roll of a numbered, six-sided die determines how many spots you move, and the color of the square you land on determines the difficulty of the question you have to answer. Greens are easy, blues are medium (“What has a neck but no head?” “A bottle”), and reds are mind-melters. Players have 60 seconds to answer; get it right, and you can roll again and attempt another challenge in the time remaining.

The Competition

• In Codenames, a deductive card game, two teams compete to make first contact with all their secret agents, while spymasters give clues. $15.

Been There, Done That shows how much you don’t know about friends and family. $20.

• Players pull together a fabulous yarn using cards in the Awkward Storyteller, a $25 game that encourages players to craft clever plot lines.

The Case

Harris and his friend Jonathan Bayme, chief executive officer of entertainment company Theory11, came up with the idea of a double-sided board divided into quarters: Players experience the game in multiple ways depending on how it’s folded. But it’s the range in difficulty of the puzzles that keeps Amazed fresh. “It’s different from trivia,” Harris says. “With trivia, if you don’t know the answer, you feel a little like you’re not smart. With riddles, you hear the answer, and you think, Ahhh, yes, it makes perfect sense now.” Amazed: The Game, $30. (All games suitable for teens and up.)

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Gaddy at jgaddy@bloomberg.net

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