Celebrity Name Game

celebrity-name-gameCelebrity Name Game from PlayMonster (until recently known as Patch Products) recreates the television show for players at home. The game is played in teams with each team having one player give clues while the others try to guess the names of matching celebrities. Another name for this could be, “Guaranteed to Beat David”.

However, don’t let me hold you back! Included in the box ($25 suggested retail) are an electronic timer, score chips, and 150 double-sided cards filled with the names of people probably a lot more familiar to you.

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Paper Money

MattelMattel’s fourth quarter gross sales were 3 percent higher in 2015, absent the impact of currency exchange rates, compared to the same period in the previous year. Full-year gross sales were up 1 percent in constant-currency terms, buoyed by 7 percent growth in Fisher-Price and a 22 percent rise from Hot Wheels. Mattel’s entertainment business, which includes both the digital and tabletop games categories, grew 16 percent.

A recently announced “strategic partnership” will see Stronghold Games handling all English-language games of eggerspiele in North America.

The two Toys “R” Us stores in Ireland are shutting down just 6 months after opening.

Queen Games has begun providing its games direct to distributors in North America, ending its distribution arrangement with Asmodee NA. Queen Games will use Ship Naked for fulfillment, with Hit Point Sales also providing an alternate sales vehicle.

For its part, Asmodee has acquired Nordic and Dutch distributor Bersgala Enigma and is renaming the company to just “Enigma”.

Patch Products of Beloit, Wisconsin has acquired STEM and construction toy company, Roominate. Patch also changed its name to Playmonster.

Spin Master has acquired the Etch A Sketch and Doodle Sketch brands, including all related patents, trademarks, tooling, and inventory, from The Ohio Art Company.

Bay Tek Games has purchased Skee Ball.

Playmore Games of Finland announced the closing of an Angel round of funding with €250,000 from Nolwenture Ltd. and Davigia Ltd. The investment will be used to expand the company’s distribution network for tabletop games, as well as to develop its Dized application for enhancing tabletop games with digital content.

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I already wrote about Star Wars The Force Awakens games from Hasbro, Spin Master, and Topps but, as you’ll see below, there are still more.

Some of these may be exclusive to certain retailers. Also, some saw publication under a Star Wars theme previously but all have now at least been updated with the latest characters, graphic design, and images.

The Star Wars Death Star Perplexus 3-D maze has lights and sounds and… well, let’s be fair, was already shaped like a Death Star. Spin Master is distributing it to major retail outlets, Patch Products to specialty stores.

Star Wars Death Star Perplexus

Spin Master is also doing a Star Wars Death Star Boom Boom Balloon. It seems like such an obvious fit, yet don’t the good guys want the Death Star to explode?

Star Wars Death Star Boom Boom Balloon

Uncle Milton’s selling a Star Wars Jedi Holocron. It’s an electronic thingamabob that can guess what you’re thinking (providing it’s related to Star Wars) within 20 questions.

Star Wars Jedi Holocron

From Wonder Forge, there’s a Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Matching Game, which supposedly adds a twist to basic matching games but what that is I don’t know.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Battle Matching Game

Also from Wonder Forge is Star Wars The Force Awakens 6-in-1, which includes the Battle Matching Game, as well as Star Wars versions of Dominoes, Bingo, and other standards.

Star Wars The Force Awakens 6-in-1

Exclusive for Target, Wonder Forge has made the Star Wars Star Destroyer Strike Game. This one has the Finalizer at the center shooting actual lasers.

Star Wars Star Destroyer Strike Game

Toys “R” Us has two more Star Wars games from Hasbro: Star Wars Guess Who? and Star Wars Sorry. The latter imagines droids darting around the Millennium Falcon attempting to effect repairs without getting in each other’s way.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Sorry Star Wars The Force Awakens Guess Who


Patch ProductsFor me, the highlight of Patch’s booth this year—a highlight of the show even—was Chrono Bomb (July, $25 in box or $35 in case). It’s one of those games that has kids playing through the house, turning rooms in to part of the story.

With Chrono Bomb, strings attached to sensors are meant to imitate those laser-detection systems you see in all the spy action movies. Kids are supposed to stretch those strings across halls and doors making a sort-of obstacle course for their friends. Then object cards are spread through the course, a mission is chosen (indicating the specific objects that need to be retrieved), and a timer set.

In addition to simply playing the Chrono Bomb game, I could definitely see kids challenging each other with tougher courses or using the devices as an alarm system against their younger siblings entering their rooms.

Yeti in My Spaghetti (August, $18) has a certain similarity to Pick-up Sticks. Players take turns pulling noodles and hoping that the yeti won’t drop in to the bowl.

For children starting at 2 years, Patch is launching the Smart Start line in July. Sparky ($25) teaches shapes and colors with a cute light-up insect. When someone presses the button on top, Sparky says a shape and his tail lights a matching color. Cheese Dip ($20) is a letter recognition and spelling game. Children use the tails of their mouse pieces to pick up letters made with holes like Swiss cheese. Puppy Up ($25) is for numbers, which it teaches with a scale. On one side go a number of puppy figures, on the other matching numerals.

5 Second Rule Junior (fall, $20) includes a board for scoring, as well as questions easier for kids (for example, “Name three things dipped in ketchup”).

Stack Attack (July, $12) combines dice, fast-play, and dexterity elements. Players, all at the same time, stack their dice on a single tower. To place a die, though, it has to be showing a number either one more or one less than the last die at the top. Points are scored for dice that remain should the tower fall and for getting rid of all one’s dice.

A travel version of The Game of Things (March, $10) will include 107 new cards.

All In (fall, $25) is a get-to-know-you type game. Players wager on whether a fact about the reader is true or false. That wager, though, need not be all for one or the other. Each player must bet all his chips but can hedge by distributing them between true and false. The winner—because getting to know people is only fun if it’s a competitive process—is the last player with chips remaining.

You Bet Your Ass (fall, $25) plays the same as All In but features risque questions and donkey betting tokens.

In the Perplexus line of three-dimensional mazes, fall will see release of a micro series featuring thematic designs, including Q-Bot and Drakko (both $10). Also a Star Wars Perplexus Death Star ($40).

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Patch ProductsThe founders of Patch Products have sold the company to private equity firm, Topspin Partners. Patch headquarters will stay in Beloit, Wisconsin and Bob Wann will remain as CEO.

Patch has been a family-owned business since its founding by brothers Fran and Bryce Patch in 1985. The company publishes The Game of Things, Buzzword, and 5 Second Rule; distributes Perplexus mazes; makes the Lauri brand crepe-rubber puzzles; and recently took over manufacturing and sales of Stratego in the United States.

Wann indicated that Topspin’s financial resources will be used to further grow the company.

[via Gifts & Decorative Accessories]

UPDATE: Another private equity firm, Balance Point Capital Partners, has joined Topspin in the acquisition.

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Toy Fair 2014—Patch Products

Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideHaving taken over as of January the license for Stratego in North America, Patch Products had on display at Toy Fair four games tied to the classic title. Two, Stratego Original ($30, available May) and Stratego Sci-Fi ($20, available March), look and play the same as versions last published by Spin Master (I was told the artwork belongs to Royal Jumbo). One, Stratego Master’s Edition ($50, due in August), is just a deluxe version of Original. But one, Stratego Battle Cards ($10, available July), is a new game. Players lay out five cards as their front lines—there are cards for every traditional unit type—and then attack head-to-head.

Patch handles distribution of Perplexus (to specialty stores) and so was also showing Perplexus Warp, which introduces two new features to the 3D maze series. Number one, its shape is something the company is calling a “spherical octahedron”—still roughly round but now with eight somewhat flattened sides—designed to be easier to hold and less likely to roll off the table. Number two, there’s an external slider for manipulating the ball inside. This piece is given the name “warp drive”.

For 2014, Patch is also planning a The Game of Things 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, which at $40 will include a full new set of cards.

In Yowza ($8), players take turns flipping cards and chanting “Zap”, “Zoom”, “Boom”, “Bam”, “Wham”, and “Yowza”. Should the card a player flipped match the word that player chanted, then the whole discard stack becomes theirs. But of course the goal is to get rid of cards, not collect them.

And saving the best for last… Stinky Pig ($10, June) is a Hot Potato game. A die-roll tells players which way to pass the pig. They know time is up when the pig farts.

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Stratego Jumps to Patch

Stratego Original JumboPatch Products will be taking over distribution of Stratego in the United States and Canada beginning January 1st. The company announced this week an exclusive regional license with Royal Jumbo, the game’s Dutch owner.

Stratego, of which over 20 million copies have been sold, was for 50 years licensed to Hasbro. Then in 2010, Jumbo moved the license to Spin Master. Describing the latest move, Jumbo’s CEO, Arend Smit, said:

We’re excited to start our cooperation with Patch Products for our famous and much nurtured Stratego brand. After launching our online version last year this is another big step for the brand.

Patch’s announcement explained that the company planned to “offer unique products for both the mass and specialty channels.”

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PrintTerrible People, creators of the recently funded Kickstarter project for Terrible Things, have decided to change the name of their game. Why? Because they received a cease-and-desist letter on behalf of Quinn & Sherry and Patch Products, the developers and publishers of The Game of Things.

The letter that Terrible People received specifically states:

We are concerned that your use of the name TERRIBLE THINGS on an identical type of product, a game, will cause consumer confusion.

In further correspondence, attorneys for Quinn & Sherry and Patch explained:

A game with the word THINGS in the title may appear to consumers to be a variation or themed version of the THINGS… game. Thus, a name with THINGS in it is likely to be too close to the THINGS… trademark.

So basically, their claim is that any game with the word “things” in the title could be confused with Quinn & Sherry’s trademark for “THINGS…“.

In a response to accusations that many other games over time have used the word “things”, Quinn & Sherry, on the company’s Facebook page, state that these “none of them are ‘funny’ ‘party games’.”

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Toy Fair 2013 Logo

Patch Products had a varied lineup of new games for 2013 ranging from toy-like games to party games. I had a wonderful tour of their booth, and saw a lot of really cool stuff.

Flying Kung Fu Frogs: In this game you’re trying to flip plastic frogs onto several targets attached to a circulating set of trees. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks! 1-4 players, ages 4+.

Odd Jobs: A party game where one player plays the “client” and all the other players use the wacky business cards that come with the game to find the best solution to the problem at hand. Most of the time players won’t have a business that perfectly fits the job, so they need to convince the client to hire them. The business cards are pretty awesome in how ridiculous they are. The iPad pictured above shows the second image for the box cover, which will be lenticular when the game goes to print. 3+ players, ages 10+.

Farkle Around:  Roll the dice and try to fill up either side of whatever card is in play. It’s a race to see who can roll the right numbers the fastest. 2+ players, ages 8+.

Go Oink: A children’s cards game that plays like Go Fish, except instead of asking for a certain card, you need to make the sound of the animal you’re looking for. Ages 4+.

Shizzle: The coolest part about this is the Twist & Tumble dice cup. Put the dice in, give it a quick twist, and the dice come tumbling out of the bottom of the cup. Each die has different colored pips on each side, and players are trying to create a line of colors or numbers to score points. 2-6 players, ages 8+.

The Game of Things: Pictures above with one of the designers, Tom Quinn. A party game with an interesting twist. One player reads a statement, such as “Things you don’t want to put in your mouth.” All the other players then write an answer secretly, and the reader reads all the answers. Then the players go around the game trying to guess who wrote each response. 1 point is awarded for each correct guess, and an incorrect guess passes the guessing to the next player. Players who avoid detection earn 6 points. 4+ players, ages 10+

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