AN entrepreneur who created a board game to entertain his family at Christmas has launched it on the market.

Phil Annets, 45, of King's Orchard, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, developed Whirred Play as family fun for his wife and children.

Friends said it was so good he should put it on the market.

And now the game has had an official launch at Pettits department store in Wallingford, and is also on sale at Boswells, in Oxford, and Wallingford post office, with Mr Annets hoping to go national in time for Christmas 2011.

The game, priced £29.99, is based on words which sound the same, but are spelt differently, known as homophones.

In devising it, Mr Annets found 450 such words, including ‘write’, ‘right’ and ‘wright’, and ‘bye’, ‘by’, ‘buy’ and ‘bi’.

Players have to guess which spelling of the word will be selected by the fewest opponents to earn points and move round the board Mr Annets said: “The beauty of the game is that no two times you can have the same outcome. People quickly realise it is all about bluffing your opponents.

“It is about guessing what other people are going to do, bluffing them and double-bluffing them.”

He added: “I tried it out at a party where I did not really know many people, to see if they liked it.

“They enjoyed playing it, and wanted to play it again.”

Mr Annets has previously invented several other games, including a version of fantasy football which he plays with friends each season, but has never launched one on the commercial market.

He said: “The key has been that with a young family, I want to play games where everyone can win.

“Usually, they are games of chance like Ludo and Snakes & Ladders. I find that with other games, like Monopoly, Scrabble and Cluedo, children are not able to win easily unless the adults deliberately play badly.

“In Whirred Play, everyone has a chance of winning.”

Wife Caroline and sons Edward, 14, and Stephen, 12, who both attend Wallingford School, helped him develop the game.

Pettits store manager Kevin Willis said: “We have had quite a lot of interest, even though it is not the best time of year to launch board games.

“People seem to like it. We think it is a really, really good product.”