Toy Fair 2016—Winning Moves

Winning Moves’ lead was giant pigs, or to put it another way, a Pass the Pigs Big Pigs Edition ($18). Same game, same foam pigs, just bigger. Big enough to be fun tossing around the room.

Another new game on display by Winning Moves was Brainspin ($5). This one’s a deck of cards with simple shapes and symbols. Three are turned over each round and the players have 1 minute to come up with as many answers as they can as to what each card may represent. Then the answers are compared and the player with the most unique answers wins the round.

My favorite of the bunch was Brynk ($20), a stacking game that’s also a balancing game played on top of a rolling platform.

Winning Moves’ classic reprints for 2016 include Scrabble to Go, Upwords, and The Velveteen Rabbit Game.

Scrabble to Go ($45), previously known as Scrabble Folio, is, as you’d expect, a travel version of the popular word game. It’s letter tiles snap in to the board and tile racks hide their contents in between games.

Winning Moves’ version of the multi-level word-building game, Upwords ($20), returns to the 8×8 original board configuration.

The Velveteen Rabbit Game ($15), includes flocked standee pawns and features graduated play for children ages 4 and up.

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Toy Fair 2016—Iello

Toy Fair New York 2016Equal parts strategy and lighthearted fun is what you get from Iello. And to make that combination even more accessible, Iello is lowering the price on its Tales and Games series to $25.

The Pied Piper (March 17th, $25), the latest in that series, has players scurrying rodents through each other’s homes. Regular cards move individual rodents clockwise around the neighborhood of player homes, sending each closer to condemnation with every visit. Sewer cards allow players to bypass a house, such as their own. And a Pied Piper figure clears rodents when traveling through, thus allowing a home’s owner to partially restore its condition.

King of New York Power Up (fall, $20) expands King of New York with the same type of monster customization options found in King of Tokyo Power Up.

Loot N Run (March 17th, $15) is an easy card game about archaeological treasure-hunting. Each turn a player has the choice to loot (take a card), awaken (challenge another player), or run (score the cards held in hand). On every card is a number of treasures and a number of monsters. If whenever challenged a player holds more monsters than treasures, they lose the cards they have.

Tem-purr-a (March 17th, $15), about over-eating cats, is one of those play-cards-in-sequence games. The twist with this one is that if a person can’t play in sequence, then they have to draw a number of cards equal to the total value of all cards in the discard pile. Lurking in the draw pile, though, are a few indigestion cards, with more added every time one is drawn. For each one of those drawn, players collect indigestion tokens. The player with the fewest tokens is the winner.

Happy Pigs (March 17th, $35) is a cute pig-farming game with a economics lesson buried inside. Players who sell pigs at the same time must split the points.

The economics lesson at the heart of Candy Chaser (April, $15) is market-manipulation. [Fortunately, though, there is no CFTC jurisdiction!] The players as kids smuggling sweets in to school each secretly specialize in a certain type of candy. While of course they’re trying to maximize the going price of their own candy, if another player is able to guess their specialty they’re knocked out of the game.

Sea of Clouds (summer, $30) is about air pirates, which is enough for me. I was told, though, that others would also appreciate the Winston card drafting.

Oceanos (summer, $35), from designer Antoine Bauza, is a game in which players customize submarines to explore the sea.

Another game from Antoine Bauza, Monster Chase (summer, $25) is a quick cooperative memory game for little kids. The idea is to chase the monsters, each of whom is afraid of one particular toy, back in to the closet before they surround your bed.

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Magic’s Magic 2015

Magic The Gathering Hasbro 2016 Toy Fair Banner

Toy Fair New York 2016Though deposed this past year as Hasbro’s biggest brand, Magic: The Gathering still had a very strong 2015, according to John Frascotti, President of Hasbro Brands, its “seventh straight year of record-breaking results.” Speaking at the company’s Toy Fair presentation to investors, Frascotti revealed that the number of active Magic players grew 10.5 percent in 2015 and that the average player spent 16.7 percent more money on the game than they did the previous year.

Organized play too recorded significant growth. The number events was up 26.5 percent and the number of stores hosting those events up 8.5 percent.

Hasbro sees Magic: The Gathering as a competitor in the e-sports category, where the company says it ranks in the top-five. Last year saw a total of 850,000 competitive magic events. In the 55 classified as “global premier events”, more than 6,000 “premier” players participated and $4.1 million in prizes were distributed. Online video broadcast of tournaments attracted more than 1 million unique monthly viewers.

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Toy Fair 2016—Tactic

A new company for me, Tactic had on display at Toy Fair an eclectic mix of children’s, trivia, abstract, and party games, all of which are due sometime during the summer and priced at $20.

Totem is an abstract game for 2-4, played on a color-coded checkerboard with totem pieces that move like the rooks in Chess (any distance in a straight orthogonal line). While the goal of Totem is simply to get all one’s pieces to the opposite side, the challenge is to maneuver them around opponents’ pieces, as well as around a blocking color that changes throughout the game. That blocking color is initially determined at random by a “stop color” card, however, a player that lands on a black space also has the option to change it to any one they choose.

A new entry in the company’s iKnow line of trivia games, iKnow All In lets the reader participate in the guessing by hiding the answers to its multiple-choice questions with heat-activated printing. To reveal the correct answer, the reader only has to hold their finger on the designated spot for a few seconds. Another, iKnow Hit List, incorporates only questions with multiple valid answers. But what makes it tough is that for each question only the eight listed answers will be scored as correct. For both these games, getting the answer right yourself is good for points, but so is guessing who else will have the answer right.

X-Tiles is a Dominoes-type game with pieces colored and shaped in such a way that players never have a turn in which they can’t place a tile with an adjacent match. If, however, they can place a tile that matches two adjacent colors at the same time, then they get an immediate extra turn. The goal is to be the first to get rid of all one’s tiles.

Zombie Labyrinth is a spin-and-move game played on a modular board. The goal in this one is to collect the most brains. Every spin gives a choice of directions to move. One of the possible spin results, however, is the mad scientist. Moving his pawn allows players to steal brains from their opponents.

In Colorology, one player each turn plays the colorologist, secretly choosing a preferred color for the current item card. The other players attempt to guess the colorologist’s choice.

With Women vs. Men Alias, Tactic strays in to sensitive territory, creating separate decks of cards with women’s words and men’s words. Women play with the men’s deck, men with the women’s deck, trying to get each other to say the word on the card without actually repeating it in the clue.

For younger children, Tactic has coming out 3 Little Pigs. It’s a simple game that involves rolling a die and building up from a straw house, to a wood house, to a sturdy one made of bricks. However, a kid that rolls a wolf gets to squeeze the wolf-head thingamajig to try to blow someone else’s house down.

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Toy Fair New York 2016If nothing else came out of Toy Fair for Playroom Entertainment, it’d still be great news that production of Killer Bunnies has resumed and the whole line of murderous-rabbit card games should be back in-stock on store shelves soon.

But of course that wasn’t the only news from Playroom. The company is moving ahead with several new products in 2016.

Pass the Pandas (spring, $12) is a light, cute dice game with the simple goal of getting rid of all your dice. Everyone rolls. Pandas are passed. Water dice are out. Blanks you have to keep. And any that land bamboo go in to a kind-of roll-off to see with whom they end up.

Playroom’s Geek Out line of trivia games gets an edition, Geek Out Family (spring, $20), populated with questions that should be easier for kids.

Another trivia game coming from the company plays off the current obsessive concern with spoilers. In Spoiler Alert (June, $20), players attempt to get their partners to guess the names of movies, TV shows, books, and songs. Every one they can do within 60 seconds, not using a list of specific “spoiler” words, earns 10 points. Alternatively, they can go ahead and use one of those words, which will certainly make the guessing easier, but at a penalty of 1 or 5 points, depending on how good a clue it is (proper names are never allowed). For example, if the title is Star Wars, then “light saber” is a giveaway at -5 points.

Costume Party Assassins (spring, $30) has players trying to guess which character meeple belongs to which player based on how they move the other meeples around the board.

Three Little Birds (May, $20) is a cooperative game for young children. The goal is to get the birds back to the nest. But with every card offering two or more ways to move them, the players must discuss and come to agreement on which they choose together.

Sherlock Deluxe (May, $15) plays the same as Playroom’s previously published non-deluxe memory-and-move card game. This one, though, has a few additional cards and a cute Sherlock, dog detective, pawn.

Toy Fair 2016—Rocket Lander

Toy Fair New York 2016Coming in April from Griddly Games is Rocket Lander ($27). Played on a gridded board, Rocket Lander continues until one player has managed to place 25 points of rockets on contiguous spaces. Getting there, involves rolling three dice on every turn. Two are used for grid coordinates, one for selecting a rocket of that point value.

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Toy Fair New York 2016One of the brands Hasbro is making a big push with in 2016 is Yo-kai Watch. It’s based on a Japanese anime series that’s centered on the story of a young boy, his magical watch, and the yokai (mythological ghosts and spirits) that he summons with it to solve mysteries and do good deeds. Of course, with Hasbro part of that push had to be Yo-kai Watch games.

In the fall, Hasbro will launch a Yo-kai Watch Trading Card Game. A starter pack ($13) will include 40 cards, a play mat, and one exclusive Yo-kai Watch medal (collectible discs that fit in the replica watches also for sale). Blind booster packs will include 10 randomized cards for $4. And a collection box exclusive to Walmart will retail for $20 and come with four booster packs and one exclusive medal.

Before the TCG, though, this spring will see release of a Yo-kai Watch The Game of Life ($20), and already hitting retail is a Yo-kai Watch Monopoly Junior ($15). Player tokens in the Monopoly game represent the yokai Komojiro, Whisper, Jibanyan, and Komasan.

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Toy Fair 2016—R&R Games

Toy Fair New York 2016Though a company representative told me even more new games through 2016, four spring releases were being highlighted at the this week’s New York Toy Fair.

Showdown ($20) is an argue-over-famous-people party game with a tournament bracket sort of arrangement. To begin, players seed the bracket with the names of famous characters and personalities. Then for each round to narrow the competition, a challenge card is drawn and the players vote on which character fits the challenge best. Points are scored for correctly guessing who will survive each round, as well as for having contributed the character that comes out on top.

Swipe Out ($20) is a game of competitive pattern-matching. Players start each new round with a board filled with chips in a 5×5 grid. Then when a card is turned over, the goal is to pull chips, matching the card’s pattern of spots and spaces, and squeeze the rubber duck.

Pickle Letter ($16) is played with letter tiles but is not a word game. The tiles are initially just dumped on the table, with some naturally landing upside down. Players are then supposed to grab any matching pairs of letters they see (+1 point) but also call out “pickle” whenever the upright pairs appear to be exhausted. At that point, every player takes a pickle token (-3 points), 10 new tiles are turned over, and the process begins again. Along the way, anyone who makes a mistake also has to take a pickle token. The game ends when the pile is all pickled out.

And R&R’s wizard-duel card game, Spellcaster, is getting an expansion. Spellcaster Potions ($9) includes 20 new cards and a set of wood potion tokens. The new cards can substitute for some of the existing cards, with the potions used as fuel for some of the new spells.

Spellcaster Potions

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