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Front Page Friday, January 17, 2003  

Victory shall go to the merciful
Mormon incorporates trials in board game


ex-dentist produces Mortality game

By Christina Capecchi
The Gazette
Thursday, January 16, 2003, 8:50:56 PM

The game is for sale at Drug Town pharmacies in Cedar Rapids and Marion, plus Shepley's Pharmacy in Mount Vernon, or on the Web at

MOUNT VERNON When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.

David Hall, 54, of Mount Vernon, knows the recipe. After running into a host of trouble surrounding his divorce and some financial and professional difficulties, culminating in October, he poured out his creative juices.

That same month Hall started Mapletree Publishing Co., operating out of his Mapletree Dental Clinic at 1570 42nd St. in northeast Cedar Rapids.

Just this week, Hall delivered his first product, a game called Mortality, to eight area Drug Town pharmacies.

"Dentistry is a conservative profession where creativity is often frowned upon," Hall said. "I'm enjoying exploring newer areas."

Mortality, the board game, takes the competitive game mentality and turns it upside down, rewarding players for helping their opponents. Victory goes to the one with the most inner strength, measured in Testimonies, not the most dollar bills.

The game, which sells for $24.95, incorporates concepts from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is Hall's church. Players are not ordered to jail but to Scripture Study. And player eyes are on the Bishop not Boardwalk.

Mortality gets tricky once players encounter Trials of Faith, ranging from car accidents and droughts to children with lice.

Hall said he's dealt with his own trials, including his divorce, troubles with children, and financial and professional difficulties. But, he said, he happily remarried and is enjoying his new profession as Mapletree's publisher.

"I've had to develop an attitude that I can grow and learn from obstacles," Hall said.

He hopes Mortality teaches the same lesson.

Mapletree Publishing has a three-person staff Hall, Michaele Burris of Cedar Rapids and Dawn Griesi of Springville and is expanding into book publishing. It has accepted two manuscripts and is evaluating several others. Manuscripts need not be religious but must be uplifting, Hall said.