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Mutual Fundz Game is Busman's Holiday

In a twist on get rich games, Mandricks & Cool Articles Worldwide, Port Washington, N.Y. has introduced Mutual Fundz, a new board game.

Mutual Fundz is designed to make Monopoly seem dull. The game's makers aim to simulate the excitement of the 1990s investment environment, but with a sense of humor.

Mutual Fundz is designed to be played by four investors, or teams. The goal is maximized portfolio performance.

Players begin with a token on Start; a green market value rack, where funds are placed to indicate their values; and a bankroll of $8,000 in checks. Each player begins with a portfolio of four to six funds (chosen or dealt out randomly) for which each player pays $1000 per fund. The six categories of mutual funds include the volatile Blue Ditz, the less explosive Fringe Belt Sector, the Supernatural Resources Sector, the Diversified Sector, the Faithworthy Sector that offers slow, steady growth and the very stable Conservative Alternative which offers no surprises.

Each sector offers many funds to choose from. In Blue Fringe, for example, investors will find Groundhog Emerging Markets, The Discovery Extra-terrestrial Fund and the Jolly Green Biotechnology Fund.

Each space on the board requires a player to draw a card or exchange a fund. There are "Uh Oh" cards that cost players money; "Market Move" cards that cause fund values to rise and fall and "Quote Me" cards that bring financial setbacks or windfalls- delivered in the words of celebrities.

There are also squares. The transact square allows players to buy or sell. Dividend squares mean a player earns cash. Hostile takeover squares allow the player to force an opponent to sell him the fund of his choice for just $300,000. And, of course, there is Black Monday.

The first player to get around the board, thereby completing a quarter, gets a $100,000 bonus from all players. The first to finish the fourth quarter gets all the money in the Karma Kitty, a collection of cash paid by players. At that point, the value of all funds is tallied along with any checks and the player with the highest combined total is the winner.

Introduced in late 1997, Mutual Fundz is the creation of Norman Kay, director of Mandricks & Cool Articles. While Kay studied business and finance in college, he now works in point-of-sale packaging.

"He feels everyone has a book inside him, and he had a game," said Marilyn Duarte, operations manager of Mandricks & Cool Articles Worldwide of Kay.

Although once available only over the Internet or through Mandricks & Cool Articles, Mutual Fundz is now available in retail and specialty stores and from various catalogs.