While there may not be much game to it, I had a lot of fun playing with Educational Insight’s upcoming Smash Pong ($22). It’s got an air-pressure canon, ping pong balls, challenge cards, and a bucket that doubles as target and storage. The canon (excuse me, it’s officially called a launcher) is powered by smashing your fist down on an air bladder. Of course, it’s really meant for much younger kids but that didn’t stop me from having a great time blasting balls across the aisles in to neighboring booths.

Providing more of an intellectually-focused experience but still for younger children, the company has Kanoodle Jr. ($15). It’s a challenge puzzle that like its senior counterpart involves fitting a variety of colored pieces in to a tray-base while matching the partial patterns on hint cards. What makes it more suitable for the junior crowd is its square tray and squared-off pieces.

For the very younger children (ages 2+), there’s Peekaboo Barn ($25). As you can imagine for that age, game play is quite simple. Press the chimney to spin the animals around, grab the closest animal, make its sound, and put it in the barn. If instead of a cow or sheep, it’s a rooster that comes up, the rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo will wake up the last animal and draw it back out of the barn.

Sunrise Safari ($22) is, like the company’s Even Steven’s Odd, a fast-play dice-matching game. To make it suitable for players as young as 4, though, the matching process is slightly simplified and done with images of animals instead of typical dice with pips.

An introductory strategy game for ages 5+, Royal Roundup ($20) features a board with a bunch of mixed-up interconnecting paths. Each turn, players cross one path and collect a treasure. The idea is to think ahead, selecting the optimal paths for collecting the most high-valued treasures.

Another strategy title, Wiggle Waggle Whiskers ($22) pits cat player versus dog player, with each adding a new fence section every turn, and the first to surround all their cats or dogs being the winner.

Word on the Street ($20), formerly an Out of the Box Publishing game, plays kind of like tug-of-war with letters. Every time a letter shows up in a word used to respond to a question, that letter is pulled toward the answering team’s side of the street. There’s no right or wrong answers, only answers that pull more or better letters. Word on the Street Junior ($20) is exactly the same. It just comes with questions more appropriate for children.

Finally, another word game added to Education Insights’ catalog this year is After Words ($22). It’s one of those where players try to come up with words that begin with a specific letter. When they do, they can toss a matching letter card from their hand—getting rid of all seven is a win. The twist is they also have to match the final letter to the last letter marked on the board.

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Toy Fair 2013—Educational Insights

Toy Fair 2013 Logo

Educational Insights had a large booth, showing off plenty of toys and games. I could have spent a good amount of time there checking out all the cool new stuff, but I was there to cover new games, so here they are!

Raccoon Rumpus: Help the raccoons get dressed by rolling 2 dice and finding a card that has the correct article of clothing and color. Beware! Roll the underwear and your raccoon loses all his clothes! First raccoon to have 5 cards on it wins. 2-4 players, grades Pre-K+.

Shelby’s Snack Shack Game: A dexterity and counting game where you need to collect the most bones from the box. Seagulls and flip-flops take away bones or make you lose a turn. 2-4 players, grades Pre-K+.

Lickity Quick: A word game where 2 cards are drawn and you have to think of a word that follows the rules. 1 card has a letter or combination of letters, while the other is a challenge like “has 2 syllables.” First to come up with a correct word wins the round. 2+ players, grades 3+.

Even Steven’s Odd: Each round a challenge card is flipped and you need to roll your dice to they meet the challenge. A fast-paced game where the first player to win 10 challenges wins the game. I actually got a change to play this, and was pleasantly surprised. 2-4 players, grades 1+.

Wordical: Another word game. This time you’ve got a deck of consonants and 2 dice to roll that contain vowels. Build the highest scoring word to win. 2-8 players, grades 3+.

Kyro 5: Similar to connect 4, but without the board and with stacking. The first players to place a row of 5 pyramids wins. 2 players, grades 2+.

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