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Around Main Line magazine names best holiday toys “unplugged” including the You’ve been Sentenced! word game

December 11, 2009 is the Philadelphia region’s first online magazine covering the Main Line and beyond. AML is a reliable, socially responsible and culturally rich online magazine that speaks to the Philadelphia region. In their recent article Holiday Toy Guide: Unplugged, AML interviewed Philadelphia toy store owner Fran O’Donnell of O’Doodles. Fran O’Donnell embraces an ‘unplugged’ philosophy when it comes to his toy store. Of his “top picks” for Christmas 2009, You’ve been Sentenced! ranked #7.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

“Since 1997, Chestnut Hill’s renowned toy store O’Doodles has prided itself on its motto: “Toys Unplugged!” Owner Fran O’Donnell believes in bringing back the good ole days of play with his style of inventory which is, for the past, not powered by any electronics.

So, you won’t find any DVDs, PS3s or Wii anywhere ‘round these parts. Instead, O’Doodles aisles are filled with puzzles, board games, books, stuffed animals and more. “I think nowadays everyone is so plugged in with either organized sports, activities or electronics-and that to kids now is defined as ‘play’. We firmly believe here at O’Doodles in a back-to-the-basics philosophy and introducing the fun of playing and encouraging imagination. So, by embracing the idea of only having toys that are powered by a child’s creativity, we offer a unique and exciting selection for parents,” explained O’Donnell.

O’Doodles has a spacious second floor and due to customer demand, in Mid December, the store will start hosting kids’ birthday parties. And, in January, O’Doodles will offer a series of yoga classes for the little ones. For now and the next three weeks, O’Donnell and his staff will be concentrating on stocking his shelves with the best toys possible for his customers. Here are seven of our store favorites below to guide you for the gift-giving season and of course, suggest to Santa.

7) “You’ve been Sentenced!”
Ages: 8 and up

The latest in the evolution of games, “You’ve been Sentenced!” is the first game in history to really turn making sentences into a very funny, playable, and challenging game. Using a unique word deck of pentagon shaped cards containing conjugations of funny words, famous names from throughout history, familiar places, and wild cards, players have to make grammatically correct and justifiable sentences. The real fun begins when players have to read their sentences out loud and explain what they mean to the rest of players. They form the jury and vote thumbs up or down on whether the sentence and justification stand and the points are scored. 540 cards with over 2,500 words insure billions of possible sentences so the game is never repetitive and has unlimited re-play value.

Wilmington native Don McNeill came up with the idea of ‘You’ve been Sentenced!” in 2004 and launched the game on May 5, of 2005 to coordinate with the pentagon-shaped packaging. Winner of nine national awards, the game has a cult following and is about to be on the national radar thanks to a recently completed television pilot. “This year we have actually sixteen articles written about the game. Tomorrow, I am having a peek at the game show pilot that was just completed in Hollywood by a production company,” enthused McNeill. In February, McNeill signed an agreement with Arizona State University who is creating an online version of You’ve been Sentenced! In addition, ASU will develop an interactive white board for classrooms across the country. McNeill sums up the super popular board game in two words: “seriously hilarious.”

O’Doodles is located at 8335 Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, PA 19118. Holiday hours of operation are: Monday thru Thursday 10-7pm, Fridays 10-8pm. O’Doodles will be open till 9pm on Stag and Doe Nights starting Dec 9th. Saturday 9:30 to 6pm, Sunday 11-6pm.

Visit their website at: or call 215-247-7405.

Want to learn more about McNeill Designs for Brighter Minds’ award-winning games like You’ve been Sentenced!, Twisted Fish and more? Visit McNeill Designs for game rules, printable score sheets, or even order online!


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