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They got game

What are life's greatest pleasures? Wine, food, chocolate and sex are, for a start. South of Market based SmartsCo entrepreneurs Jennifer Elias and Julie Tucker have produced four question and answer games based on these pleasures that are as much fun for the dilettante as the expert. Written by "passionate novices" the sets of cards with roughly 100 questions each, also serve as a tutorial for anyone wanting to learn the essentials on a given topic.

What common hobby connected the partners? Answer: Wine; an interest for the two led to the development of the first and most successful game to date, WineSmarts. Like FoodSmarts, ChocolateSmarts and SexSmarts, the game focuses on the most valuable and useful content rather than the "trivial". The topics of the game cards are divided into four areas, Vocabulary, Grape, Region and Wild Card. At $25 the game is less expensive than a wine class, and the cards can be used as flash cards for anyone looking to learn more about wine. The information is so useful in fact, that New York chef Mario Batali uses the cards to train his restaurant staff. Look for version two of WineSmarts next year.

But the goal is more than just education, playing the games is addictive fun, and allows interaction between the "know-it-all" and the novice. Each game (except ChocolateSmarts) comes with a score pad, true or false and multiple-choice game cards and a tips guide packaged up in a stylishly designed box.

These games are for adults, and would make a perfect hostess, birthday or holiday gift. They could also be used for team building or at parties. Though you may want to save SexSmarts for a romantic partner given the racy subject, topics include: Bodies -- hot spots and positions; Carnal Culture -- sex through the ages; Dirty Talk -- the language of lust; and the salacious samplings of "Wild Card".

WineSmarts, FoodSmarts and SexSmarts retail for $25 and ChocolateSmarts with fewer cards than the others, sells for $16.95. You can purchase any of the four games at the following retailers:

To try out any of the games online or find out about the release party for ChocolateSmarts, visit the web site for more information.