Toy Fair 2013 Logo

RavensburgerI know that several of Ravensburger’s new products for Toy Fair have actually been available in Europe for several months. Fortunately, though, those of us in the United States will now have a chance to play these games.

Las Vegas is a dice game that’s more about how you play your dice than what you roll. Its rules are quite simple—roll your dice and choose one of the numbered (1-6) casinos on which to place the corresponding numbered dice. After going round and round until everyone has used up all their dice, prize payments at each casino are dealt, in-order, to the players with the most dice assigned there. What makes the game interesting, though, is figuring out when to commit to a particular casino, whether to go after one large prize or several small prizes, and how to time your plays to beat out your opponents.

In Saint Malo you roll dice to collect the resources necessary to protect your town against raiding pirates. Players have individual boards on which they use erasable markers to note such things as building walls. A central board records progression toward the pirate attack.

Casa Grande is another strategy game but one played in three dimensions. Over the course of the game, players stack posts and platforms, earning points equal to the size of each platform times the level at which it’s built. Every platform shape requires a specific configuration of support columns, all of which must belong to the same player. It’s not always possible, though, to build a column where you need it. To determine that involves a die roll and tracking movement around an outer track.

The goal in Indigo is to direct different colored stones off your sides of the playing board—1 point for yellow, 2 for green, and 5 for blue—by placing hex-shaped tiles featuring various curving paths. In a two-player game, each person gets three of the six sides. But in a three or four player game, the players have to share sides, meaning a score for yourself is also shared by another player.

So those were the strategy titles. But additionally, Ravensburger was showing two new kids games and a new party game.

For children, there was Discover the Seasons and On the Farm. The former teaches numbers, seasons, holidays, and colors, the latter farm animals and their noises.

Make ‘n’ Break Party has people playing with partners, one trying to instruct the other on how to build a particular structure using a set of wooden shapes. As many designs as are built within a set time limit are the number of spaces that the group moves along the board. Certain board spaces too affect the basic building game, for example requiring the builder to do it blindfolded! The first team around the board are the winners.