Though a company representative told me even more new games through 2016, four spring releases were being highlighted at the this week’s New York Toy Fair.
Showdown ($20) is an argue-over-famous-people party game with a tournament bracket sort of arrangement. To begin, players seed the bracket with the names of famous characters and personalities. Then for each round to narrow the competition, a challenge card is drawn and the players vote on which character fits the challenge best. Points are scored for correctly guessing who will survive each round, as well as for having contributed the character that comes out on top.
Swipe Out ($20) is a game of competitive pattern-matching. Players start each new round with a board filled with chips in a 5×5 grid. Then when a card is turned over, the goal is to pull chips, matching the card’s pattern of spots and spaces, and squeeze the rubber duck.
Pickle Letter ($16) is played with letter tiles but is not a word game. The tiles are initially just dumped on the table, with some naturally landing upside down. Players are then supposed to grab any matching pairs of letters they see (+1 point) but also call out “pickle” whenever the upright pairs appear to be exhausted. At that point, every player takes a pickle token (-3 points), 10 new tiles are turned over, and the process begins again. Along the way, anyone who makes a mistake also has to take a pickle token. The game ends when the pile is all pickled out.
And R&R’s wizard-duel card game, Spellcaster, is getting an expansion. Spellcaster Potions ($9) includes 20 new cards and a set of wood potion tokens. The new cards can substitute for some of the existing cards, with the potions used as fuel for some of the new spells.