Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideAt the Toy of the Year Awards opening Toy Fair, Spin Master’s Boom Boom Balloon won Game of the Year. A company representative also told me that HedBanz topped sales charts this past holiday season.

Boom Boom Balloon Game of the Year 2014But in terms of new products, Spin Master was showcasing two. One was Shark Mania ($20, available fall), a real-time game about pirates running from an attacking shark. The core of the game is roll-and-move—players roll a die to move their pirate figures down the dock. However meanwhile, a moving shark piece destroys the dock, knocking the pirates in to the water, as it follows them from one end to the other.

The second was Moustache Smash ($16, available fall), again, at the core a typical grabbing game, but with the addition of a cute mustache gimmick. Each player is given a wand, at the end of which is a mustache with a unique combination of shape and color. Also at the end of the wand is a suction cup. Cards picturing mustaches are flipped over while the players hold their mustache wands up to their faces. The goal is to be the first to smash and grab a card with the suction cup when the mustache on the card matches in either color or shape.

Spin Master also plans to release in 2014 The Best of TV & Movies ($25, available fall), which is based on the gameplay of Logo and features 400 question cards of TV and movie trivia, and Win the Gold ($20, available fall), which pits parents against kids in four challenge categories: sights, smarts, action, and luck.

Spin Master’s licenses will yield in 2014 a Paw Patrol Adventure Game ($10), Paw Patrol Lookalikes (a matching game for $6), Disney Fibber ($18, available spring), and Disney Beat the Parents ($18, available spring).

Disney FibberDisney Beat the Parents


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Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideLion Rampant Imports and Distributions, a full service game distributor based in Ontario, Canada, showcased several new games for the North American market at Toy Fair.

From Drei Maigier Spiele, translated versions of Cockroach Poker and Cheating Moth were available. Cockroach Poker is the English translation of Kakerlakenpoker, a cute bluffing game for the whole family. Cheating Moth (Mogel Motte) is a silly family game that is all about cheating: players need to discard all their cards, but several cards can’t be placed in the discard pile — the players have to hide them up sleeves, in pockets, or dropping them on the floor.

Cockroach Poker Cockroach Poker and Cheating Moth Pickomino Ghost Blitz 2 Polterfass Auf Teuful Komm Raus ukloo Rondo

Zoch is re-releasing Reiner Knizia’s Pickomino (Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck), the classic dice game, and Ghost Blitz 2 (Geistesblitz 2.0), a fast-thinking followup to Ghost Blitz where players grab matching (or mis-matching) items shown on cards. Lion Rampant also brought Ghost Blitz 5 to Midnight to the show to gauge interest. The 5 to Midnight version is a bit more complex than the other Ghost Blitz games released in North America, explained Rose Kriedemann, COO of Lion Rampant. In this version, players have to call out items on the cards as they grab the items. Other games Lion Rampart is testing in the North American market are Polterfass, a non-dice dice rolling game (barrels that land up on end or on sides), and Auf Teufel Komm Raus (Kettle of Hell), a push your luck betting game about grabbing coal from Hell without getting caught by the devil.

Lion Rampant also had Ukloo, an early reader treasure hunt game where the whole house is the game play area, and Schmidt Spiele’s Rondo, an abstract strategy game.

Toy Fair 2014—TDC Games

Toy Fair 2014 logoAfter the Campbell’s Alphabet Dice Game, The Game of Baloney, and The Game of Makin’ Bacon, TDC Games’ next food-branded title is The Tootsie Roll Dice Game ($13, available spring). Included in the box are 36 brown dice labeled: “T”, “oo”, “ts”, “ie”, “Ro”, and “ll”. Each player takes six with the goal of being the first to roll a set of combinations displayed on a central card. The one who does gets to keep that card and six cards is a winner.

Besides food games, TDC’s other specialty is suggestive adult party games. (A representative told me that more than 10 million copies of Dirty Minds have been sold in its various editions.) In the last year, the company published a Cards Against Humanity knockoff called, That Dirty Blanking Card Game (featured of course, in an elongated black box). And for 2014, TDC is launching another package of cards, descriptively titled, Four Naughty Party Games ($10, available spring).

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Hollywood Game Night Board Game

Toy Fair 2014 logoA board game based on the NBC television show Hollywood Game Night is being prepped by TDC Games for release in the spring. At this point, the company is estimating a retail price of $20-25.

Hollywood Game Night, the board game, allows players at home to recreate eight of the parlor games featured in the television show’s first season:

  • Take the Hint
  • Lost in Translation
  • Celebrity Fusion
  • How do You Doo?
  • I Love a Charade
  • Smash the Buzzer
  • Celebrity Name Game
  • and one other that I missed, sorry!

The demo unit that I had chance to see at Toy Fair included a sand-timer and two electric buzzers, which made silly noises.

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Toy Fair 2014—Winning Moves

Toy Fair 2014 logoThe highlight of Winning Moves 2014 Toy Fair booth was for me Connect 4 & More ($6, available now). Instead of using an upright contraption, the game is played by laying tiles on a table. A player’s goal is still to get four in a row, however when placing a tile, all adjacent sides must have matching colors. By allowing play in all four directions, yet restricting moves on individual turns to matching spaces, I found this new version to be surprisingly engaging for a Connect 4 title.

Connect 4 & More setup    Connect 4 & More

Another variant that the company had on display was Jenga Throw’n Go ($25, available now). This one adds a die, which tells players which of the two colors they’re supposed to pull on their turn.

Jenga Throw'n Go

Two classic titles being resurrected by Winning moves are Aggravation ($20, available now) and Touring ($6, available now). Both were previously published by Parker Brothers. The former is a version of Pachisi. The latter, a card game about auto racing across the United States, was published for nearly 60 years but replaced in the 1960s by Mille Bornes, a card game about auto racing across France.

Aggravation boxAggravation boardAggravation

Touring boxTouringTouring cards

Finally, Winning Moves is launching a series of waterproof, washable, and floating card games, so kids can have something to play in the bath ($16 each, available now). Splashimals is a matching game about animals, Splash Pals a matching game about people. Splash Jack is a regular deck of playing cards. So is Splash Jack Royal, but with a design aimed at adults (also for bath time?).

Splash CardsSplashimalsSplash Pals and Splash Jack

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Gale Force Nine announced two new boardgames at NY Toy Fair: Homeland and Black Sails.


Based on the critically-acclaimed Showtime series, Homeland allows up to four players working together to prevent a terrorist “event” while pursuing their own agendas. “It’s a PVP co-op game,” said Jeff Smith, North American General Manager for Battlefront Miniatures and Sales Manager for Gale Force Nine. “Everyone has to work together to stop the event, because if it goes off, the players lose.” As the players attempt to defeat the terrorists, they are also working to reach their own victory condition. While everyone has to work together, only one player can win. Jeff Smith confirmed that one of the hidden player agendas is to have the event succeed, with that player working against the others while “trying to help”. Homeland will be a fourth quarter 2014 release.

Teaser_Poster_for_Black_SailsThe second major announcement was the Black Sails boardgame, based on the Starz drama series set in the Golden Age of Piracy. Not many details were available at Toy Fair as Gale Force Nine had “just put ink on the contract” before the show.  Smith joked that the company had just enough time to add the show’s logo to their Toy Fair brochure. GF9 expects Black Sails to be available in 2015.

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Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideEverest, a North American toy, game, and gift manufacturer and distributor, debuted two games based on Downton Abbey at the 111th Annual Toy Fair: the Downton Abbey Boardgame and the Downton Abbey Compendium of Parlour and Card Games.


The Downton Abbey boardgame casts the players in the roles of the help as they complete tasks at various locations in the massive Crawley residence. Along the way, the staff may pick up letters to help or hinder their progress and encounter Carson, who will simply hinder them. The Compendium will contain rules and supplies for various games popular during the setting of the show. The boardgame will be available in April, the Compendium is forthcoming.

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