Toy Fair 2017—Identity Games

I have a feeling that Identity Games has a hit on their hands with Who’s the Dude? (May, $25), a game that comes with a five foot and a few inches tall inflatable dude that you are forced to do charades with. Yeah, go ahead and read that sentence again. Okay? Good. So in Who’s the Dude? you might have to act out a scene from a movie and you’re manipulating this inflated dude and bending him around and it’s a bit crazy. Imagine having to perform North By Northwest with an inflatable dude as the biplane chases down Cary Grant or maybe you’ll have him hang off of your nose in the climatic Mount Rushmore scene. Or maybe you’re trying to get the others to realize that you’re Zeus and you’re throwing this dude like a lightning bolt.

This is quite possibly my favorite take on the “charades-in-a-box” game.

Dodgeball (summer or fall, about $25) reminded me a bit of Loopin’ Louie in reverse. You’ve got a spinning guy in the center that reverses direction occasionally, but you’re in charge of one of the guys he’s going to be hitting with a ball. As he swings by, you push your lever down, ducking your guy. If the ball tags your head, you’re out. Thing is, your guy? Ping pong ball head. So you might accidentally knock it off when ducking, or chase down the ping pong ball once it gets hit and honestly, nobody looks cool chasing after a bouncing ping pong ball. Idris Elba? Emma Watson? Matt Damon? You would laugh at ’em.

Play this in a carpeted room.


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Second Look—Poopyhead

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.There’s so many ways I can compare this game to it’s subject matter, but it’d be a bit crude for a family site such as ours. Let’s just say that Poopyhead left me and my kids with a “not so fresh” feeling after giving it a few plays.

Poopyhead is more a novelty than a game. It comes with 5 rubber poop headbands, a Whoopie cushion, and some cards. Players need to rid their hand of cards by playing them to the center stack in the correct order: Toilet – Poo – Paper – Wash your hands. Gameplay is simultaneous, so all players are trying to get their cards down as fast as they can. Rid your hand of all your cards and hit the Whoopie cushion to end the round. The player with the most cards left in their hand has to place a poop on their head. The player with the least poop on their head after five rounds wins the game.

The game seemed like it’d be something the kids would enjoy. Potty humor is always in fashion with little ones. Unfortunately the poop became more of a problem than a fun gimmick. The kids loved to laugh at others who had to wear the poop, but all got upset when they got laughed at for wearing it. The Whoopie cushion also broke the first day we got the game from repeated abuse by the kids. The actual card play wore out fast, and the kids were soon asking to play something else.

All in all Poopyhead was a bit of a stinker for us, and it’s already been tossed in the basement to be forgotten about.

A copy of Poopyhead was provided free for review by Identity Games.

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Escape Rooms on the Go

Escape rooms, one of the hottest new trends in entertainment, are a kind-of live adventure game. Participants are locked in a room or similar location and given usually about an hour to solve puzzles and follow a series of clues that finds the key and lets them out. Most are built around a theme or story and designed for groups of 4-6 friends.

But though escape rooms are popping up in many urban locations, they’re not accessible to many people, can sometimes be difficult to schedule, and can cost a hundred dollars or more for a 1 hour session. Enter several companies offering escape rooms to go.

Developed by Identity Games and licensed for North American distribution by Spin Master, Escape Room The Game is a $40 package due in the summer that can run 2-5 participants through four different rooms. The clues, puzzles, and mysteries for each room are contained in three envelopes. When participants believe they have solved an envelope, they choose one of the included keys and plug it in to the game’s electronic timer, called a “chrono decoder”. If they’re correct, they can move on to the next envelope. If not, the chrono decoder imposes a time penalty. Though the base game is not yet at retail, Identity is already at work on expansion packs, which should make use of the same chrono decoder.

Another at-home option, ThinkFun’s Escape the Room: Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor, addresses the problem of hiding answers with a “solution wheel” rather than something electronic. The game begins with the reading of a scene card and proceeds along a story line. Every puzzle solved on the way leads to a symbol and those symbols have to line up in a certain way on the wheel in order to trigger the next stage of the mystery. Due in March, Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor is just a single room activity but is timed at 90 minutes and priced at only $22.

There’s also the Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experiment Kickstarter project. At $45, this one is also only a single room game. However, it is a more handcrafted experience with jars, locks, and other more substantial elements. Also, certain replacement parts will be available, so that the kit can be used to host other teams.

Escape Room in a Box

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Identity Acquires Find It

Identity GamesIdentity Games, based in the Netherlands, announced the acquisition of Find It Games—the brand and associated properties. Find It’s main product line are clear plastic tubes filled with some small objects and a lot of colorful pebbles—the goal being to move the tube around until you’ve found all the objects.

Identity explained that the acquisition of Find It, which is based in Washington, will help accelerate the company’s development in the United States. Identity has also hired a new general manager for its U.S. business.

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