It's in the cards

Dear Ace: I heard Shenanigans is outselling Toys R Us! Can it be true?—Meryl Lynch

Meryl: At first, Ace thought maybe this was a rouse. A rumor. Idle gossip, perhaps. Or maybe just a flat-out lie started to stir up trouble. (He’s nothing if not a dubious investigator.) And so, after a straight shot of whiskey and a cold shower, he started hunting.

Turns out, it’s as true as Ace’s heart is for the one he loves: Shenanigans, the Barracks Road toy store, is outselling Toys R Us. Specifically, in the sale of one particular game, and it’s causing quite a commotion. Er, Ruckus. Let Ace explain…

The $10 card game begins with each of its two to five players finding pairs within their hand and placing them face-up on the table. These pairs can then be stolen by other players, out of turn, for as long as the round takes and when the, erm, ruckus, dies down, another card is dealt (starting it all over again). The round ends when a player has gotten rid of all of their cards. Whoever is left with cards subtracts a point for each card and adds a point for each card found in the pairs they’ve collected. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Ace dug up a press release from the game’s creator, Dan Levy, who says Shenanigans’ employees use their downtime to play the game in the shop.

“People see us having fun,” Shenanigans owner Kai Raidy says, “and they just have to have it.” Well said, Kai. Including the 40 Toys R Us stores where the game is sold, Ruckus is in 1,500 stores nationwide, and Shenanigans, the press release said, is outselling all of the Toys R Us stores combined!

Speaking of combinations, Ruckus has received the Dr. Toy 10 Best Games Award, and Shenanigans won a 2008 Best Of C-VILLE award for Best Toy Store. Apart, the game and its local retailer boast an impressive list of accomplishments. Together, they’re unstoppable. Sounds kind of like Ace and his sweet thang, if you want to know the truth.


You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to

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