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Look out, Old Maid, here’s Bishop Rick

LDS-themed card games fill a niche

SHARE Look out, Old Maid, here’s Bishop Rick

LINDON — Those who play cards with Reed Hansen learn quickly to watch out for Bishop Rick.

This ordinary-looking guy with the friendly smile could spell trouble. Or his appearance could be the trump card, depending on how you play the game.

"Bishop Rick" is LDS "Old Maid," developed for LDS game-players by Hansen and his wife, Eve, who run Scripture Creations Inc. from their home.

"It's a children's game that teaches the callings (of the LDS Church) in a fun way," Hansen said.

In the deck, you'll find such characters in pairs as Clerk Clark, Chorister Connie and Priesthood Preston, depicted with just enough humorous detail to make members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chuckle.

Priesthood Preston is shown drawing football plays on the chalkboard to teach church doctrine.

Relief Society Rita has a to-do list that goes on forever.

"It's all meant to be fun, but we didn't want a negative concept," Hansen said. "So we turned it around. In the bishop-friendly version, if you get the bishop card, you win."

Brigham Young University professor and LDS bishop David Cherrington isn't offended by the gentle poking.

"Really, the bishop does stand alone in the end. It doesn't seem to be out of place at all," Cherrington said. "I find no offense in it at all, although I would probably play it as more of a match card game than as Old Maid."

He also commends the Hansens for developing products for the LDS market. "It was only a few years ago we were lamenting the lack of good LDS-oriented drama, songs and games," Cherrington said.

"Bishop Rick" is one of several products, including laminated maps of Book of Mormon territory, that the Hansens have created for use in family time and Sunday School lessons.

"Fishing for Nephites" is scriptural "Go Fish."

"Concentrate on LDS Presidents" focuses on knowledge of church leaders. "Articles of Faith" includes a tiny die that, when rolled, will tell players how many words one must recite of a specific Article of Faith, a list of principles that sums up LDS beliefs.

The games are available in local book, game and grocery stores and in several foreign countries.

Deseret Book has featured the card games in its mailer the past few months, and BYU ordered 800 maps for an upcoming religion teachers' conference.

To meet the demand, the Hansens have contracted with a card printer in Texas so they can move the collating out of their home.

"We're growing so quickly. We won't be able to keep up without help," Eve Hansen said.

Reed Hansen is the idea and concept man, while Eve is the detail and sales person — but they switch roles as needed.

He's an expert in LDS Church history, and she's artistic with an eye for color and graphic design.

It was Eve who noticed the ink on a sheet of cards varied in shade slightly from those at the top of the sheet to the bottom. That's unacceptable when people are playing cards and trying to guess what's in the other players' hands.

She changed printers, even though it meant discarding several thousand cards.

Then, when the edges started coming back ragged, she changed again.

"If it's not going to compete with 'Rook,' we're not going to put it out there," Eve Hansen said. "It's got to look professional."

The ideas come by inspiration of the moment.

"We get an idea and we brainstorm," Eve Hansen said. "Someone tells us what they'd like to see and we create it."

They're aware that their games will appeal mainly to a limited audience — and that's fine.

"We think we fill a niche," Eve Hansen said. "There's a real need for this, and it's a wonderful way to teach."

E-MAIL: haddoc@desnews.com