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Rolling The Dice
By Jerry Berrios
From the Miami Herald, October 15, 2003


J. ALBERT DIAZ/HERALD STAFF

GAMESMANSHIP: Avi Frier, president of the web-design company VisionBurst, holds the prototype of the board game Hollyopoly, based on the famed Monopoly game. Frier hopes to have the game on the market by February. Suggested retail price: $19.25.

Forget Boardwalk, Marvin Gardens and St. Charles Place. Hollyopoly -- Monopoly with a South Florida twist -- is in the works.

Avi Frier, president of a Hollywood-based marketing firm called VisionBurst, is creating the new board game with Hollywood landmarks and businesses.

Ocean Palms, the Wasserstrom and Giulianti law firm, and the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa are on his version of the popular board game.

''Jail is the Diplomat,'' Frier said. ``We have changed the rules so it's good to be in jail.''

If players land on the Diplomat Shuttle, they go directly to the Diplomat spot and collect $200 for a paid vacation.

Frier has made other changes: Instead of houses and hotels, players will place metal tables and chairs -- la sidewalk cafés -- on the spaces. Instead of Chance and Community Chest, players will pick up downtown or beach community redevelopment agency cards. The board's center features a map of Hollywood's beach and downtown.

Frier's company has already sold 30 percent of the spots on the board.

Buying a spot on the Hollyopoly game board costs seven times as much as the property lists for on the board. Railroad and utility spots cost $1,800 each.

The goal is to produce 10,000 games at a cost to the company of $75,000. The game could be in local stores by mid-February. ''Our suggested retail [price] is $19.25,'' Frier said. ``That's the year Hollywood was established.''

As with actual real estate, property prices vary. The Wasserstrom and Giulianti firm, owned by Vice Mayor Keith Wasserstrom and Mayor Mara Giulianti's son, Stacey, bought the Mediterranean Avenue space for $420.

For $2,800, the future Ocean Palms development will have its name on the traditional Boardwalk spot.

It will be a fun and unique marketing tool, said Michelle Le Vous, the director of public relations for the Diplomat, which will pay almost $3,000 to get its name on the game.

''It's not just about the hotel,'' Le Vous said. ``It's about the destination.''

Sun Credit Union, the city's credit union, will be on the board's start position and on the game's money. That price: almost $4,000.

Rose of Florida Realty replaces Baltic Avenue on the board. The YMCA takes the place of Oriental Avenue, and Academy of Dance is in Connecticut Avenue's usual spot.

Diplomat Landing replaces St. Charles Place.

Mayor Giulianti, recalling a similar Hollywood-based game that existed some 20 years ago, said she loves the idea. ''I am ready to buy it for presents,'' she said. `` I am ready to write out my check.''