Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideDrawing the most attention at ThinkFun’s booth was Robot Turtles ($25, available June), a game originally launched on Kickstarter and designed to teach kids the principles of computer programing. Really more of a cooperative activity, Robot Turtles challenges kids to put together a sequence of program cards that will navigate the turtles around various obstacles. The challenges are presented at different levels of difficulty. As the kids succeed, not only do the challenges become more difficult, but the programing tools available to them become more sophisticated as well. For example, eventually program cards can be used to represent distinct subroutines.

Following on ThinkFun’s highly successful Laser Maze, the company is releasing this year Gravity Maze ($30, available June). Though less high-tech, Gravity Maze is a challenge puzzle that asks players to think in three dimensions. It’s like a marble run toy with a set goal.

For toddlers ThinkFun was showing Move & Groove ($20), an activity game with a large plush die and 48 move cards. Play is just about finding inspiration to move and dance. The color on the rolled die indicates from which stack the player draws a card.


Expanding the Zingo line are Zingo Word Builder ($20) and Zingo Time-Telling ($20). In the former, the sliding Zingo device dispenses letter tiles that are used to complete words. In the latter, the device dispenses hour and minute tiles to match against pictures of analog clocks.

The Shell Game ($20, available June) is a challenge puzzle with a memory component. Colored crab pieces are put under uniform shells and must be rearranged to match a new pattern using limited moves. The difficulty for the person trying to figure it out is remembering halfway through which shell holds which color crab.

Last Letter ($13) is based on that common word-association game where the last letter of the current word determines the first letter of the next word, except in this version all the words must be drawn from the artwork on one of the game’s many beautifully illustrated cards.