Toy Fair 2015—Mad Cave Bird Games

ToyFair15HorizontalYup, Mad Cave Bird Games is a real name for a company. I swear I’m not making that up. To prove it to you, I’m going to cover two of their games I saw at Toy Fair this year.

ColorKu – $34.99

ColorKu is bascially Sudoku but with colorful wooden balls instead of numbers. The game comes with 104 different puzzle cards that you need to solve. Just like in Sudoku, you can only have 1 of each color in every row and column. There’s 3 additional packs of 104 puzzle cards that can be purchased for $9.95 each.

Tic Tac Ku – $29.99

Tic Tac Ku

An interesting twist on Tic Tac Toe. Played on the game board as ColorKu, players play a game of Tic Tac Toe where they’re trying to win the different zones on the board by getting 3 in a row. The gimmick here is that each player controls which segment of the board the other plays their next turn in. By placing a ball in the lower right hand corner of a segment, the next player must now play in the lower right hand segment. Played a ball in the middle of a segment? The next player has to play a ball in the center segment of the board.  It actually works out pretty well. Also, if you already own ColorKu you can just buy a Tic Tac Ku pieces kit for $14.95.

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Toy Fair—Kosmos


It seems like a long time since I’ve seen Kosmos game around, but they’re back with a vengeance in 2015! Six new games were being shown, some great reprints among them. I wish I had more pictures from the booth, but for some reason they all came out incredibly blurry. The only clear shot I got was from Lost Cities.

Dohdles! – $39.95 – Ages 8+

A sculpting family party game for 3-6 players, Dohdles is actually a reprint of the Spiel des Jahres winner Barbarossa. You need to sculpt items and have someone guess what it is, but you don’t want everyone to guess correctly! You also don’t want to make it so no one guesses correctly. Find the right mix to score the most points. Available in May.

Ubongo – $39.95 – Ages 8+

A reprint of the excellent puzzle game where players race against a timer to solve a puzzle. The faster you solve the geometric puzzles, the more gems you get. This new version looks excellent, and it’s about time I added this one to my collection! Available in May.

Dimension – $49.95 – Ages 8+

Dimension is another puzzle game, but this one uses colorful spheres. Using rules from 6 cards, players need to build with the spheres while adhering to the constraints. Fast building is important, but so is following the rules. Available in April.

Lost Cities – $19.95 – Ages 10+

A favorite of my wife and mine, Lost Cities is back in all its glory. With a very slightly updated look, everything you love about the classic exploration card game is still here. Play expedition cards to earn points, but make sure you have enough to cover the cost of the journey! Available in April.

Lost Cities: The Board Game – $39.95 – Ages 10+

Just like Lost Cities, except bigger and supporting up to 4 players. Of course it’s a bit different being a board game instead of a card game, but all the mechanics are still there. Set out on expeditions by playing cards in a path’s color to proceed along. Available in April.

Kahuna – $24.05 – Ages 10+

Another faithful reprint of a classic Kosmos game, Kahuna is a two player game where you’re trying to gain dominance of 12 small islands. As always with Kosmos 2-player games, it’s deceptively simple yet very strategic. Available in April.

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x-J8dArqLion Rampant Imports is a game distributor out of Ontario, Canada. I stopped by their booth to check out a bunch of new games from companies that didn’t have any other representation at Toy Fair, and what I found excited me.




Trakkx – Ages 8+

TrakkXA combination Rummikub and Qwirkle, TrakkX has players try to rid their hands of tiles by playing sets of numbers in sequential order, or playing the same number in all the available colors. There’s also special tiles that let you swap tiles or have another player draw 3 tiles.

Mangrovia and Safranito – Ages 10 +

Mangrovia and Safranito

In Mangrovia players are trying to place huts in the best locations. A role-selection game, there’s variable paths to victory. The board is gorgeous, and the gameplay is on the lighter, gamer fare. A good looking family game for those looking for a bit more meat in their games, but nothing super heavy.

Safranito was an awesome looking dexterity game where players are competing to create recipes using the required spices. To do so you have to toss your coins on the board and land on the spices you need. Of course you can knock your opponent’s pieces around, too! The first person to cook 3 meals wins.

Bandu – Ages 8+

BanduIt was hard to contain my excitement when I saw a new version of Bandu being put out by Zoch Games. Klaus Zoch, having recently reaquired the rights to his game, has put out this new edition of the classic building game with 5 different ways to play, and excellent looking gems to replace the beans most people remember when playing Bandu/Bausack. The pieces of excellent quality, and it seems no shortcuts were taken in this most-welcome new release.

Beasty Bar – Ages 8+

Beasty Bar

A cute little card game where players are trying to get their animals into a party. The animals line up, but only the first two in line will get into the party. Of course every animal played has special rules on how it effects the line. My favorite was the drunk skunk with the bubbles coming out of his backside.

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Toy Fair 2015—Continuum Games


logoWhile Continuum Games has a bunch of new products for 2015, the two they were spotlighting were Mega Monster City Smash and Word Q. Both games couldn’t be more different from each other, one having remote controlled monsters, and the other being just a box of letter tiles.

Mega Monster City Smash – $29.99 – Ages 5+

Mega Monster City SmashTo tell you the truth, this is more of a toy than a game. Each player controls one of two giant monsters trying to knock down the buildings of the other player. Each remote has two functions: move forward, or spin. Get your monster to face in the right direction and then charge the towers! I have to admit I even tried to push the other monster off the board, which I don’t know if that’s actually allowed or not. In the end I lost horribly.

Word Q – $12.99 – Ages 8+

Word Q

Word Q is a puzzle game where you’re trying to create words in every row and column. Words can be 3 letter words for easier puzzles, and 4 letter words on the harder puzzles. The book that comes with the game lets you know the starting layout of each puzzle, and which letters are already in the correct spot. There’s only 1 solution per puzzle, and it’s a lot harder than it looks.

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Toy Fair 2015—Across the Board

ToyFair15Horizontalheader_logoDrawn to the booth by the exquisite craftsmanship of their games, Across the Board had a trio of pub-style games to show off. The uniqueness of each game comes from the fact that they’re all handcrafted out of wood and metal. The boards are all one-of-a-kind as the color, grain, and even species of the wood is different from board to board.

Horseracing Game – $75 – $116

Horseracing GameThe Horseracing Game they have is just that, a gambling game where you’re betting on horses and using a deck of cards to determine which horses are scratched from the race, and which horses then move towards the finish line. A quick demo proved how, even when playing with small coins, a good pot of money can be won from a lucky horse! The game is pure luck, and would fit in well at a pub setting.

Baseball Game – $48

CameraZOOM-20150216135414387Another beautiful game of pure luck. Roll the dice, check the results on chart, and move your polished metal pieces around the bases. There’s even a small dry-erase board on top to keep track of score.

Soccer and Hockey Game

The Soccer and Hockey games differ from the above two as they aren’t games of chance. They’re both dexterity games where you flick a penny around the board. They’re both pretty much identical except for design and placement of the bumper pegs. Both incredibly study, they reminded me of days playing Foosball in my cousin’s basement as a kid. I didn’t snag the prices on these, and couldn’t find them on the website.

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Toy Fair 2015—KidRealm

ToyFair15HorizontalkrckidrealmKidRealm was another booth I found out of the way from the main gaming area at Toy Fair. A really interesting company, KidRealm runs camps for kids with geeky activities. There are LEGO games, Minecraft & Pokemon camps, Engineering camps, tabletop gaming camps, and more. Not only that, but they also put out their own game, Castle Combat.


Castle Combat is a CCG based on War with some very interesting twists. I was very impressed with how low the barrier to entry was for the game, and how it looked like it was something my 4-year-old could play yet something my older kids would enjoy. The game is sold in starter decks, booster packs, and single cards. There’s well over 200 cards to play with now and there looks to be more coming in the future. Even their business card at Toy Fair was a card for the game with a QR code sticker on the back.


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Toy Fair 2015—Griddly Games

ToyFair15Horizontal2015_Griddly_Logo_BLue_-01-01_jchmqnLast year David had posted about 5 Stones, a modern take on the ancient game of Knucklebones. The game was just in a prototype form then, but this year I had a chance to check out the final product.

The final version has ditched the bag in favor of a sturdy cardboard box with a lid that velcros shut. The stones are still hematite, and the same shape as we’d last seen them. There’s also rules for 5 different games in the box, and Griddly encourages players to come up with their own games and share them with the company.

The cost is still $8.95. Ages 6+.



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Toy Fair 2015—tonni-co

ToyFair15Horizontaltonni-co, LLC was at Toy Fair with TAG: the art game, a game that has all the players creating a collaborate piece of art.

The game is played with a color wheel, cards, dice, and art supplies. The color wheel is spun at the start of the game to dictate what colors will be used when the die is rolled. Gameplay is simple.

  1. Roll the die. Match the number on the color wheel. This is the color you’ll use this turn.
  2. Draw a location card. This will show you where on the paper your art will go.
  3. Draw an action card. This will tell you what to place in the location.
  4. Draw a medium card. This will tell you to either draw, paint, or make a collage.
  5. Play continues until the “Finished?” card is drawn. Players can choose to end the game there, or keep going.

It’s a cool concept, with some really cool results. Their booth was filled with art pieces created by playing the game.

TAG: the art game is available now in several different packages. There’s a full set that includes art supplies for $39.99, an Educational Edition that just has the game components for $19.99, and a Classroom Edition that has 3 sets of the game components for $39.99.

Toy Fair 2015—Twizmo


twizmo_games_logo_homeI had never heard of Twizmo before Toy Fair this year, and now I’m glad I have. The only game they were showing off this year was tak•tak, and abstract strategy game for two players ages 8+. The game’s rules are fairly simple. You move your pieces forward either straight or diagonally. You can attack other player’s pieces by moving of of yours with the same number or color on top of the opposing piece. You now control that stack. Of course your opponent can stack on that, and so forth. The game ends when one player has no more pieces in the center section of the board. The winner is the one with the highest numeric score in the opposing player’s Safe Zone.

It’s quick, easy to learn, and has a good amount of strategy to it. tak•tak ships in April of this year, and has an MSRP of $16.95.

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Toy Fair 2015—Smart Zone

ScanEvery time I meet the fine folks at Smart Zone they’re always quick to pull me right into a game. This year that game was The Hidden Code, by Dave Cousins. Still wrapping up production, the game has pieces that look like a Chess Rook cut in half. Each half has either a color or a number, and the two halves can stick together magnetically. The goal of the game is to guess a player’s color and number. You do this by asking them questions like, “Do you have 4 Red.” If the player you asked has either Red or a 4, they must answer “Yes.” The last player standing wins.

It seemed simple at first, but being a novice at the game I was quickly overwhelmed by the two gentlemen I played with. I found out using dirty tactics, like asking for colors that didn’t exist to make finding a number easier, are perfectly OK and are extremely clever.

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