Kellogg alum creates globetrotting board game

Jackie Stewart

Paul Mistor decided he wanted to help educate his 11 nieces and nephews about the world, so he went beyond just sending them postcards from the countries he visited.

Mistor, Kellogg ’92, created Travel Mania, a board game filled with trivia questions about other countries and cultures.

“Hopefully it will help people understand a little bit more about the world,” said Mistor, of Winston-Salem, N.C. “If you know more, then you are less likely to offend.”

After developing a prototype for his family to try, Mistor spent a year producing the game for sale to the public. The game was released by Wagadoogoo!, Inc. and is the first of the new company’s family-friendly games.

Since the game’s release more than five months ago, about 600 copies have been sold, Mistor said.

Between two and 20 people, ages 13 and older, can play Travel Mania. Each player or team collects visas by answering trivia questions correctly. Players also receive stamps on their passport if they land on a space with a country’s name. To win the game, a player or team must have one passport stamp and one visa from each of the five continent groups.

Players take turns being “passport agents,” asking questions from one of four categories: government, language, economy and geography.

The “Looney Luck” cards simulate problems and challenges – some based on Mistor’s own experiences – a traveler can face in the real world, such as ordering a meal in a different language.

“I learn something every time I play it,” said Jonathan Burdette, a neuroradiologist at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

Burdette, a friend of Mistor, said he plays the game about once a week with his wife and other relatives. During games, Burdette added, they usually keep an atlas at hand and have the Internet nearby, ready to look up additional information and verify Mistor’s answers.

“Paul made the game so it is not so hard,” Burdette said. “You can feel good because you do know some questions. There have been several times when there is a country that I didn’t know even existed.”

Mistor, a management consultant, has been to more than 45 countries, mostly in the past 15 years. He said his initial interest in learning about other cultures started as a child growing up in Michigan with a family that loved traveling and adventure.

This interest increased during his years at Kellogg Graduate School of Management because some of his best friends were from around the world, he added.

When Mistor developed Travel Mania, he struggled to make sure the trivia questions came from all over the world, he said. By using a United Nations database and other sources for information, Mistor and his brother, Todd, crafted questions and answers with enough detail to be interesting, but broad enough not to be overwhelming.

“The game does involve brains, fun and some luck,” said Jim Paillot, the game’s illustrator. “I was hoping the artwork would convey that. It is a nice game for four to eight people to play while sitting around, drinking wine.”

Travel Mania can be purchased at some Borders Books and Music locations, as well as online at www.playtravelmania.com, for $39.95.

Reach Jackie Stewart at [email protected]