Toy Like Me

Number 1 in this week’s Highlights isn’t a game. I’m not even sure the campaign is thinking about games rather than just toys. But it’s a cause worthy of our support. And that cause is #ToyLikeMe, an effort to have better representation of people with disabilities in children’s toys. The #ToyLikeMe campaign has already brought Playmobil around to the idea of producing figures with disabilities. And just today, Lego revealed a minifigure in a wheelchair. To help keep the campaign growing, though, its organizers are asking for £16,000 to develop a professional website and associated resources. Drop a little in the hat, will you?

Crowdfunding campaign number 2 this week is for a card game version of Manhattan Project, Minion Games’ title about developing and building nuclear weapons. I love the original and Manhattan Project: Chain Reaction looks to be a great translation. Of course all elements of the game—workers, resources, buildings, etc.—are now represented by cards. A more interesting difference, however, lies in the fact that at the end of each turn, a player has to discard every factory, every university, everything that’s not a resource or a bomb. This means that the industrial engines that players chain together will now constantly need to be refreshed.

Thief’s Market from Tasty Minstrel Games is about dividing and spending loot. The loot is represented by dice, which the players take turns either selecting from the center or grabbing from one of their fellow thieves. Then when the dice are all split up, they can be spent on finery, useful items, or henchmen, each of which confers some later benefit. At the end, the thief with the most notoriety wins. That is campaign number 3.

Fabulous BeastsNumber 4 is Fabulous Beasts. This one, at first, looks like a typical stacking game. Three-dimensional animal figures are placed on top of each other until something gives and everything falls. But that’s not actually the whole deal. Fabulous Beasts also integrates a sensor platform, such that as the animals are stacked a unique virtual world and story unfolds in a linked tablet app.

Finally, at number 5 is Olympus Inc, an urban fantasy setting book for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. Olympus Inc is the story of a magical war between Titans and Olympians taking place in, but hidden from, modern society. With Olympians developing their power through corporate intrigue and the magical war hidden from the perception of ordinary people, Olympus Inc has a distinct cyberpunk element as well.

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toysrus_logoAs they did last year, every Toys “R” Us store in the U.K. will be holding an autism-friendly shopping event, this year on Sunday, November 15th. Stores will open at 10:00 AM with subdued lighting, no music playing, and specially trained staff on-hand to assist shoppers.

Due to local law, purchases can’t be made until 11:00 AM.

[via Toy World]

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Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresIt was Yusuke Takanashi of Japan’s fourth time winning the World Othello Championship, which this year took place in Cambridge, U.K. and earned him a $3,000 prize.

The winner of the World Scrabble Championship and a $10,000 prize was 32 year-old Wellington Jighere of Nigeria. To prepare for the event, Jighere had spent the previous 4 months in training full-time. At the tournament, he beat out 450 other players, including perennial favorite Nigel Richards, who only came in eighth.

The top trophy of the World Chess Championship for the Disabled, which took place in Dresden, Germany, went to Alexey Smirnov, representing the Russian chapter of the International Braille Chess Association. Placing 53rd but tops in inspiration was Shailesh Nerlikar of India, who has to play lying down and with the aid of an assistant to make and record his moves.

Viktor Strekalovski vs Shailesh Nerlikar Chess

Feliks Zemdegs scored four Rubik’s Cube world records on his way to the top at Melbourne Cube Days. In one, he beat the previous record (which he held himself) for solving a 5×5 by 0.28 seconds (the new record is 46.97).

A world record-sized Twister mat (27,159.616 ft2—equivalent to 1,200 standard mats) saw play by singer Thomas Rhett and fans at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas


World no. 10-ranked Chess player, Wesley So, came in first at the Bilbao Masters, ahead of Viswanathan Anand (no. 3), Liren Ding (no. 8), and Anish Giri (no. 9).

The Trinidad & Tobago National Chess Championship was won by 24 year-old up-and-comer, Kevin Cupid, who has his sights on high-level international tournaments next. The National Women’s Championship was won by Aditi Soondarsingh for the ninth time.

Seven-hundred forty-eight students of California Baptist University playing Bunko set a new world record for most individuals playing the game at a single venue.

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UberStaxUberStax is a universal game accessory that can be used as a holder for cards, tiles, tokens and other game components. Its racks and supporting elements fit together in extra-wide, multi-level, or other configurations as appropriate to the game or desired by the user. UberStax are meant not just as a convenience for the general gamer but also as a support for those with manual dexterity issues.

Hawke Robinson is a registered recreational therapist who’s run both adapted and non-adapted roleplaying games for people with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and a variety of special needs, as well as for at-risk children. So far, he’s been limited to providing these therapeutic services—which he does without charge—to the area of Spokane, Washington. He’d like, however, to take his game on the road and so is turning to the public for help with funding a wheelchair-friendly RPG trailer—basically a game room on wheels.

RPG trailer

The Networks is a card-drafting game where the goal of players is to assemble the best lineup of television shows and attract the most viewers. Shows, stars, time slots, genres, demographics, and advertisers all must be managed and considered. The shows themselves even age over time, forcing players to continually develop new shows to keep viewers tuning in. Despite these various elements, The Networks is supposed to be a light-to-moderate game with a healthy dose of satirical humor.

LaticeLatice is beautiful and its gameplay simple. Place a tile adjacent to another tile with which it shares a color or shape. Place it next to two or more tiles with shared color or shape to earn special moves such as repositioning an already placed tile.

A Hindu board game out of Croatia, Catch Krishna in Vrindavan aims to encapsulate the Bhakti devotion. One player takes on the role of Krishna, the others become the gopis chasing him around a map of the ancient city.

Recall of CthulhuUnder a banner of “cultists have kids too,” Toy Vault is seeking funds for Recall of Cthulhu, a Lovecraftian memory-matching game. The basic game is straightforward—turn over two matching tiles—but the advanced game adds a layer of moderate complexity. For example, some tiles are worth more than others, matching is no longer 1-to-1, and certain tiles trigger special actions, like a bonus turn-over.

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Toys R Us Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids 2015Toys “R” Us has released the 2015 edition of its Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. Providing help in identifying the best toys for each child’s individual needs, the Guide, rather than categorizing by diagnosis, tags toys with icons for fine motor, social, language, auditory, and other skills. The Toy Guide also provides recommendations for mobile apps suitable for children with physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities.

Toys “R” Us has made its special needs Toy Guide available both in print and online, in English and in Spanish.

Supporting Toy “R” Us this year is singer-songwriter and television personality, Nick Lachey, who has a brother with Asperger syndrome and has been an advocate for children through his personal charitable foundation. Josephine Gonzalez of New Jersey shares the cover of the Toy Guide this year with Nick.


At first one might think The Extraordinaires a STEM education game (and certainly there was a lot of talk about STEM at Toy Fair). But really this new product from the inventors of Rory’s Story Cubes is meant to encourage imagination and exercise empathy.

The Extraordinaires Design Studio Deluxe comes in a plastic portfolio case with character cards, job cards, and a drawing pad. Players are supposed to design products that satisfy the need described on a selected job card, specifically for the person specified on a selected character card. For example, with one randomly chosen card of each type, the goal might be to design a source of light for a pirate.

Exercising empathy is made part of the task because with each character comes a bit of background information in the form of images of their life. The images convey something more of that character’s unique personality, as well as at least one limitation. For example, it turns out that the ninja is in a band and the pirate has only one hand.

The Extraordinaires Design Studio Deluxe is available now and comes with 225 design challenges for $40. An Inventions set has 36 challenges (18 new) but no and a smaller drawing pad for $20. The Buildings set also has no the smaller pad and is also $20 but does feature 36 entirely new challenges.

The Extraordinaires Design Studio

corrected 2/20/2015

Emotional Intelligence Game

EQtainment Board GameEQtainment’s new product line aims to teach children emotional intelligence, the awareness and control of emotions, particularly with regard to social interactions. One of those products is Q’s Race to the Top, a board game in which the players (ages 3+) move their pieces through a monkey’s tree house. Along the way, they play You, Q, and Do cards, which have the kids answering questions about themselves; advising the monkey, Q, on social situations; and practicing balance and coordination.

Q’s Race to the Top retails for $25, exclusively at Target

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Hasbro and The Autism Project have teamed up to provide instructional videos, play-mats, and other supportive materials for children with developmental disabilities. The resources are available to download for free from

At the website are materials tailored to specific Hasbro toys and games—including Play-Doh, Mr. Potato Head, Trouble, and Connect 4—as well as general tools, like a count-down timer and turn-taking cards.

Hasbro Turn Taking Card

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toysrus_logoToys “R” Us stores in the U.K. will be holding an autism-friendly shopping event on Sunday, November 30th. Every store will open early at 9:00 AM, and until 11:00 AM will operate with reduced lighting and no music or announcements. Staff are also being given special parent-led training for the event.

[via Daily Echo]

Toys R Us Toy Guide for Differently abled Kids 2014 Cover Albert PujolsToys “R” Us has released its 20th annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids. The Guide provides 63 pages of toy recommendations for children with special needs. Each of the products in the guide is labeled with icons for the skills which it supports, such as auditory, fine motor, gross motor, language, social skills, and others.

On the cover this year is Albert Pujols, world champion baseball player, father of a daughter with Down syndrome, and advocate of children with special needs through the Pujols Family Foundation. With him is 5-year-old Cameron Withers.

Along with the toy guide, Toys “R” Us provides an App Guide covering both the App Store for iOS and the Google Play Store for Android.

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