Toy Fair 2013—Mayfair Games

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Mayfair games has a pretty sizable booth with tons of The Settlers of Catan products. Among these were some new releases, one being a new Settlers expansion.

Catan: Explorers and Pirates: An expansion dealing with islands and the sea just like the Catan: Seafarers Game Expansion. This expansion has 5 new scenarios: Land ho, Pirate Lairs, Fish for Catan, Spices for Catan, and Explorers and Pirates, a scenarios that incorporates play from all the other scenarios. 2-4 players, ages 12+.

Zen Garden: A tile laying game where you’re trying to create your secret pattern twice within the zen garden. The game includes basic and advanced play, and has beautifully illustrated tiles. 2-4 players, ages 12+.

Road Rally USA: (not pictured) The hit of the Mayfair booth. It was always being played, so I barely got a glimpse of it. A card based racing game where the goal isn’t just to win, but score first at all your checkpoints. 3-4 players, ages 12+

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Toy Fair 2013—AppTivators

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Chompsters_onTableYes, there’s still more Toy Fair coverage. This time it’s AppTivators, a new physical element to tablet games. I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the booth, so this press image is the best you’re going to get right now.

AppTivators are cool electronic toys that attach to an iPad, or Android tablet, and interact with tablet based games. The first two games that will be available are Chompsters and Robot Rundown.

Chompsters is a pet monster that you feed by playing different puzzle games. Every time you get food into his mouth, the toy will chomp. Eat something that’s bad for him, and his head basically pops right off. I was more than mildly amused at this. Yes…I’m a grown man.
Robot Rundown is a racing game where you’re dodging obstacles and other robots. The toy aspect of it has rocket boosters that light up when placed on the tablet, and another exploding gimmick when you crash. It’s a lot of fun to play, but didn’t get quite the giggles out of me as Chompsters did.

AppTivators are going be out in the public in late August. I kept hearing a price tag of around $25.

Toy Fair 2013—Spin Master

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Spin Master LogoNo collectible games for Spin Master this year. Yet still there were a number of new products to see. After all, the company was declared the number 3 games manufacturer in 2012 by NPD.

Boom Boom Balloon makes a game out of popping balloons. The box includes balloons printed with a face, a vice-like device, long blunt-ended pins, and a die. You blow up the balloon, put it in the vice, and roll the die. The die will show a number 1-3, which is the number of clicks you have to press in the pins. The goal, of course, is to keep the balloon from popping as long as possible. It’s really amazing how quickly the tension builds.

With Storage Wars the Game you can pretend to be part of A&E’s reality TV show about buying abandoned storage lockers. Not surprisingly, the main focus of the game is on the auction, but there’s some very interesting mechanics that come before and after, as well. To start off with, it’s the players themselves who fill the lockers with goods. Each gets four tokens representing goods of various quality—for example, a +$500 antique or a -$100 clothing—and secretly places one token in each of the four lockers. Thus each player knows something about the value of each locker, but not everything. After the auction, the total value of a purchased locker may be adjusted according the character played by the person who purchased it. For example, collectibles are more valuable to Barry and furniture is more valuable to Jarrod.

A special version of The Hobbit Stratego should be available in the fall for $20. It will include a two-sided board—one side with the classic Stratego grid, the other with an “Escape from Mirkwood” configuration for a more linear adventure.

Another new licensed property for Spin Master is Monsters University, for which the company is producing a Who’s Behind the Door? character guessing game, a Look-a-Likes matching game, and the LCR dice game in a one-big-eye Mike Wazowski package.

And then there’s the series of variations on Spin Master’s earlier games. Headbanz Act Up requires players to act out what’s posted on each other’s foreheads. Instead of focusing on corporate trivia, Logo Party is more interactive than the original, for example, having players draw the logos. And Fact or Crap Celebrity concentrates the game on stories—true and not—about famous people.

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Toy Fair 2013—Monkeying Around

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As I was wandering the isles of Toy Fair from appointment to appointment a small booth caught my eye. It wasn’t something flashy that did, or something all that colorful even. What caught my eye were dots.

Lots of dots.

You see, Monkeying Around makes books of dot-to-dot pictures. You know the kind. Almost every kids’ menu in every restaurant has a small dot-to-dot picture on it. The kicker here is that these are not your father’s dot-to-dot puzzles.

Example A:
GIANT dot-to-dot

Yeah…that’s a 4 page long picture with over 2600 dots! Monkeying Around has tons of dot-to-dot books with over 17 different styles of dot-to-dot action. Most of their pictures are so detailed, that they make great coloring pages when the actual dot-to-dot part is over.

There’s some free samples on their website if you’d like a taste. The books themselves are pretty inexpensive considering how much you get inside them.

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Toy Fair 2013—LEGO Board Games

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LEGO plans four new constructable board games for this summer. One, a Legends of Chima board game, I wrote about yesterday.

A Batman board game has Batman and Robin racing around Gotham catching villains. For Lord of the Rings, LEGO will release The Battle of Helm’s Deep as a “customizable strategy game” (distinct from the construction set). And though they asked me not to take pictures of it, LEGO also plans for August the Story Mixer board game, which incorporates story-telling elements. The game includes about 20 constructed miniature objects (such as a rocket-ship, a piano, and a birthday cake), about a dozen pawns (half people, half animals), and a spinner. On their turns, players take a spin and then have to tell a story based on the combination of pawn and object.

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Toy Fair 2013—Smartzone

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I stopped by Smartzone‘s booth as they were talking to a Mensa representative, and stuck around to get the nitty gritty on their latest two games.

Cobra Twist: An interesting 3D puzzle game where you need to create snakes out of different colored cubes. Each puzzle board will tell you how many snakes you need to make, how many cubes you can use, and what color cubes you can use. Perspective is the key here. 1 players, 40 challenges.

Hands On: A party game where each card tells you how to position your hands. The last person to make the gesture is the loser. The tricky part is that some gestures are impossible to make. Be the first to cross your arms in this case to win the round. Up to 8 players, ages 5+.


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LEGO Legends of ChimaThis year, LEGO launched a new franchise in Legends of Chima, centered around animal tribes and their ripcord-powered Speedorz. The Speedorz can be used to perform tricks, for racing, or in jousting-like tournaments over CHI crystals. Chima playsets will be accompanied in 2013 by an animated TV series on Cartoon Network, a free online CHIMA game, and a mobile game app.

Basic Speedorz tournaments proceed in two phases. The first involves two opponents running their Speedorz at each other over some piece of terrain and then rushing to grab a blue orb that should be knocked free. In the second phase, the person who grabbed the orb is given the lead in a War-like card game, with CHI crystals as the prize.

Chima Starter Sets (with Wolf and Lion tribe minifigs) are already available at retail, as are some of the basic action sets—including Ring of Fire and Boulder Bowling—and a variety of construction sets—including the Razcal Glider and the Eris Eagle Interceptor. The 609 piece Cragger’s Command Ship includes six minifigs, four CHI weapons, missiles, jet bikes, CHI crystals, and a ship with lots of teeth!

March will see the release of Ice Tower, Nest Dive, and Jungle Gates action sets. Each comes with one minifig, one Speedorz, two CHI weapons, five cards, six CHI crystals, and an 80-100 piece orb-holding obstacle.

Looking out to the summer releases, there’s the Skunk Attack set, which debuts the Skunk tribe, the Eglor’s Twin Bike set, which starts as a motorcycle but converts to a jet, and The Lion CHI Temple set, which comes with over a thousand pieces and seven minifigs. My favorite by far, though, has to be Gorzan’s Gorilla Striker, a 500 piece set due in August, which is essentially a walking mech for the Gorilla tribe.

Also in August, LEGO will release Legends of Chima Constraction sets, constructable action figures like the LEGO Hero Factory line, and a Legends of Chima board game.

Toy Fair 2013—Winning Moves

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Winning MovesStop It! is Winning Moves’ version of a card game where players play their cards in numeric order within each suit and the first to get rid of all their cards wins. The twist in Stop It! is that all 50 cards are dealt out at the start—which on its own would make the game pointless—but so are a number of “Stop It!” cards equal to one less than the number of players. Everyone knows that someone has the number 10 in each suit, so any one at any time can grab a Stop It! card to end play in one sequence and then start a new one.

Winning Moves continues to upsize Bogle with Super Big Boggle and a 6 x 6 grid of letter cubes. In this version the timer has been increased to 4 minutes, double-letter cubes have letter pairs on all sides, a blocking cube interrupts a row and column, and words must be a minimum of four letters long.

And this year’s crop of classic reprints from Winning Moves includes Yahtzee (in original packaging with an aluminum dice cup), Sorry (the 1930s era board with Point Sorry variant “for adult play”), and 5ive Straight. The last is a deceptively simple five-in-a-row game with an unusual board. Of course, the goal is to get five pegs in a straight line. The board is a 10 x 10 grid with spaces numbered 0 to 99 in a circuitous pattern. And the game includes a deck of cards numbered 0 to 99. Players start with four cards and each turn can either draw a new card or play a card to place a peg in a hole numbered that or higher. So it seems the lower-numbered cards provide more flexibility, while it’s good to target higher-numbered spaces for completing a line.

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Toy Fair 2013—The Pokemon Company

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IMG_0719With 3 kids at home, how could I pass by an opportunity to stop by The Pokemon Company? One of the biggest releases lately for the Pokemon TCG is the addition of a Fat Pack like box for cards called the Elite Trainer Box. The first one is for the Plasma Storm set, and includes: 7 Pokemon TCG: Black & White: Plasma Storm booster packs, 40 Pokemon TCG Energy cards, 2 acrylic condition markers, 6 damage-counter dice, a competition-legal coin-flip die, player’s guide, deckbox, and a collector’s box to hold everything .

This is the first product they’re releasing over $20 mark at $34.99.

Also coming up in May is the Plasma Freeze set, the 2nd in a trilogy of Team Plasma releases. There’s no word yet on what the 3rd set will be, or when it will come out. Then in November we can expect cards to be released for Pokemon X & Y, the two new 3DS games coming out at the end of the year.



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Codigo CubeFour Clowns’ Codigo Cube Trivia is your basic trivia game, cloud-based, with a physical die. The die’s six sides each feature a different QR code. You roll the die and scan it with your phone to determine from which category your question will be chosen. Data is stored on Four Clown’s servers, so new questions can be added without having to purchase additional dice. Different question sets, however, are packaged (virtually) with different dice—$10 each for Kidz, Teen, Entertainment, Sports, and RPG.

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