Toy Fair 2017—ThinkFun

At Toy Fair, ThinkFun’s booth was full of puzzles and a few games. We saw the next entry in their Escape the Room line: Secret of Dr. Gravely’s Retreat (available now, $22). Containing four packed envelopes of props, puzzles, and clues, the new case has a higher age range. “Mystery at the Stargazer’s Manor was big hit for us,” explained Kacey Templin, “but we had a lot of feedback to make the next one a bit more difficult, a bit more adult.” Thus, the recommended age moved slightly forward from 10 to 13 and up.

Color Cube Sudoku (March, $20) replicates a 6×6 Sudoku puzzle with nine colored cubes. Orient, spin, and swap cubes to solve a Sudoku puzzle using colors instead of numbers.

But I thought the coolest thing there was Spin-A-Roo (in stores in March, $20), a number counting game for the preschooler to second grade set. On your player mat, you have four numbers. You race to grab numbered discs off of the central spin-a-roo piece, either one up or down from the numbers you currently are showing. One neat thing about the game is the spinning element on the central unit: just spin it once and the board is repopulated with tiles — it’s actually fun to set up the next round!

RollerCoaster Challenge (summer, $22) is designed by the person that created Gravity Maze. In this, you’re taking several roller coaster elements, and buildling out tracks. You can try one of the forty challenge cards that come with the game, or — as I suspect I’d do — just use it to build your own coaster set. Currently on Kickstarter — ThinkFun’s first foray using the crowdsourcing platform — backers can receive an exclusive ThinkFun-colored blue car.

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Toy Fair 2017—B&B Games

B&B Games had a few items on display at Toy Fair this year, including their recently-Kickstarted miniatures battle game, Destiny Aurora: Renegades. Listed at $80, the core set, containing 24 miniatures, will be available in April. The game has two distinct battlegrounds: while your away team is performing a mission on the ground, your ships participate in dogfights. Set up as a story-driven campaign based off of a book series, the game offers several add-ons and upgrades.

Just released the weekend of Toy Fair, Betabotz ($30) pits robot against robot. Players get a basic bot and bid for upgrades. Team up or hinder others on missions in this card-driven game.


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Later this year Beasts of Balance ($100) is coming to big box and specialty stores in North America. Currently the game was only available in mall-based marbles: the brain store, but they’re currently going out of business.

This app-driven dexterity game has you stacking cool sculpted creatures on a sensor, powering them up on the app by placing energy elements, interacting with the app while certain pieces are placed, and evolving and changing the creatures: Toucan and Octopus have formed OCTOUCAN! It’s a crazy fun game that’s been available in the UK for a while now.

Also at the show were two add-on creatures, the Omnibeast and (the Yogscast) Lalnalion, currently available on Sensible Object’s Beasts of Balance website for £15/$20 each.

This article was updated to reflect the locations Beasts of Balance will be available in later this year.

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Toy Fair 2017—Gamewright

One of of the larger booths I visited at Toy Fair was Gamewright. Several small games were on display as were some games that are about to return to your game store’s shelves.

In the Port-A-Party line of small games, they had Think ‘n Sync and PDQ, both available in March for $10. PDQ, which we’ve discussed before, has been out of print for five years and returns in a box sized to fit in the Port-A-Party line. In that game, three letter cards are placed in a row and players race to create a word using those letters either left-to-right or right-to-left. Think ‘n Sync is a game that reminded me a bit of Family Feud, except everyone shouts out their answer. Matches gain points.

Rory’s Story Cubes, Fantasia edition, is on its way for a summer release ($8). Fantasia contains three Enchanted dice, three Myth dice, and three Medieval dice.

Cha-Cha Chiahuahua (summer, $16) comes with a bunch of little doggie figures and several disco dance floors for kids 4 and up. Do activities and place your dancing pups on the color-coded dance floor.

Go Nuts for Donuts (summer, $15) is a Sushi Go-like game with bidding instead of drafting. Donut cards are laid out and you select which one to add to your collection; if others are also going for your choice, you all lose out. Each type of donut has different abilities, such as a point reward for having the fewest cards, ability to steal donuts from the discard pile, or a significant number of points for having a large collection of one type.

Imagine (now, $15) is charades with clear cards. Transparent cards with symbols printed on them are layered atop one another to create images others have to guess. A clever way to use see-through cards. Can you tell what’s on the center of the box above?

Tiki Topple (summer, $20) is a reprint of a ten year old game. This new Mensa Select edition has players trying to assemble a totem pole with certain tiki heads nearest the top. Cards that reorder and remove some sections of the pole are used to move your sections up and opponents’ down. But can you tell which tiki heads your opponents are trying to get to the top? It’s a quick game that I really enjoyed playing a demo of — it reminded me a bit of Abandon Ship, but with simpler and shorter gameplay.

This summer, two new entries into the CardVentures line, Vanished and Time Raiders (each $10), will be released. These choose-your-own-adventure-like games join last year’s Stowaway 52 and Jump Ship!. The single-player game is played with oversized cards with story elements, allowing you to jump to additional cards based on your choices to tell a story.

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Toy Fair 2017—R&R Games

We sat down with R&R Games and saw several items that were releasing just after Toy Fair. In fact, all of the items we’re showcasing have just been released and if they aren’t on your local game store’s shelves, they’re on the way.

Hashtag Me ($16) is a storytelling game, where one person follows a prompt and, as they’re relaying the story, the other players start playing cards with hashtags on them: #ThatsGoingToLeaveAMark or #CRAZY. When the storyteller is done, he or she selects the best cards.

Coin Quest ($30) is a bidding game where all players use coins to collect bigger and better coins. It’s a thirty-minute long deck building game with coin tokens instead of cards.

In Ulm ($40), players take the roles of guild masters and patricians in a city where a cathedral is being constructed. A bit of area control, trading, and influence gathering are in this one hour euro-style game.

In Touria ($40), all players take turns controlling a common party of adventurers around an enchanted land, gathering treasure, defeating dragons, and preparing you to approach the castle to find the rulers. Actions you can take on your turn are guided by the 3d towers on the board’s corners. The sides you can see dictate which actions you can take, once taken, the tower is rotated to the left or right. No one player has all possible actions available to them and must plan based on what they can see. Clever.

Lastly, Pyramid Poker ($20) is an… interesting two player game. You’ve got dominoes with card symbols like Q [diamond] on them. You build a pyramid-shaped structure using the dominoes with the ones you place facing you. Once it’s complete, you start dismantling the structure, placing the tile into one of three poker hands. Now, I don’t care for games that “do” poker, and I don’t particualry care for domino-like games, but this was crazy fun. If you have the same reservations that I do when it comes to this type of game, try a demo at your local store. I’m thinking it’s going to be a hit for R&R this year.

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Toy Fair 2017—Fat Brain Toy Co.

Three new games from Fat Brain Toy Co. are on their way, with one hitting retail right about now and the other two coming up in April. Farm Alarm (mid-March, $13) is a sequential memory game for preshoolers on up. Players have to remember a sequence of animal noises displayed on cards; if someone makes a mistake, the others grab the squeezable pig toy and make it squeal! Cute packaging, cute pig, silly sounds.

Crankity (early April, $20) is more of a logic puzzle than game, but it fits in the same space as Thinkfun’s Rush Hour line of games. A challenge card is shown with the starting position of colored gears and by placing the listed colored gears in the correct locations, you try to get the entire apparatus to turn. 40 challenge cards come in this travel-friendly brainteaser.

A rhythm party game, OffBeat (mid-April, $20) has a raised board with a spinner with colored discs indicating which motion or action to do next: tapping the box, clapping, snapping, or more. Fall off the beat or do the wrong action and you’re out of the round. Last player clapping wins.

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Toy Fair 2017—Fox Mind

Fox Mind’s latest release, Match Madness ($30), is a challenge puzzle played in real-time head-to-head. That is, each player has a set of five two-piece blocks covered with various symbols (sort of like three-dimensional dominoes). A challenge card is flipped and the first player to arrange their blocks in a matching pattern wins the point.



Fox Mind, known mostly in the past for these types of abstract titles, is moving this year to incorporate in to its lineup games with more thematic content.

Flipolo (imminent, $20) is another kind of fast-play race. Every player gets a board of animal faces and a set of double-sided tiles with the same animal faces mixed-and-matched on either side. The goal is to be the first to cover one’s board with matching animals. The challenge is to use the right side of the right tile on the right space, without needing the opposite side of the tile in a different space.

Sports Dice Baseball (May, $12) is a light dice game for two players. When a meeple comes up to bat, both players roll a set of dice. For each, the most common roll (single, double, etc.) governs. If the roll of the one at-bat is better, the hit is a success. If the roll of the player fielding is better, then the batter is out. Ties can be broken by the player currently holding the power chip, if they hand the chip over to their opponent.

Museum Heist (summer, $30) secretly assigns players individual art-thief characters. Then they take turns moving character tokens around the museum map-board (any, not just their own). The goal is to be the first to arrive at an art token and steal it without being discovered.

The concept for Head of Mousehold (summer, $20) is based on the saying, “The second mouse gets the cheese.” That is, after determining a new speed ranking each round for the various colored mice, players lay mouse cards (alternating face-down and face-up) on the cheese-baited mouse traps. At the end of a round, when everyone has placed their three mouse cards, the one who played the second-fastest mouse on each trap gets to claim the cheese.

Slide Blast (summer, $30) is a tile-laying path game along the lines of Tsuro or Psyche Paths. Starting from a central hub, players add hexagonal tiles to build out an elaborate water-slide. They rack up points for every segment that their token slides, as well as bonus points for slides they assist other players.

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Toy Fair 2017—WizKids

WizKids has a packed booth at Toy Fair with lots of items from their Dungeons & Dragons line on display as well as more Heroclix items and some standalone games.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the wall of unpainted Dungeons & Dragons miniatures. In the first wave of miniatures (this month, $2.99 each), sixty different miniature packs are available with some coming in with multiple figures. Also planned: Pathfinder miniatures! (No date or price on those as of yet!)

But if you like painted miniatures, they’ve got you covered with the Adventurer’s Campsite as part of the Icons of the Realms’ Monster Menagerie II line. This $50 box comes with a painted covered wagon, two saddled horses, three treasure chests, two kegs (of course), and all the little things: sacks, camp fires, bedrolls, spellbooks, scrolls, bags of holding…

And just released the day of the show, Assault of the Giants. This newest entry into the line of D&D boardgames comes in a standard edition for $80 or a premium edition with fully-painted miniatures for $130.

Coming soon in Heroclix are two new lines: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Return and Marvel’s Deadpool & X-Force. TMNT will come in blind bags for $3 each. Deadpool & X-Force will be available in a brick of boosters for $130, which is probably your best bet at obtaining that Deadpool riding the unicorn ultra-rare piece (one is available in approximately every four cases).

Recreating a classic oversized comic book I had when I was a kid, the Heroclix Superman vs. Muhammad Ali set comes with a boxing ring, the greatest, and a Superman wearing boxing gloves. Debuting in March, this set will retail for $50.

Three new games were also shown: The Banishing, Tower of London, and Tournament at Camelot. Relasing in March, the Banishing is a difficult strategy cooperative game where you’re banishing creatures. Tower of London is a zone control game available in April. Tournament at Camelot, a May release, is a trick-taking game with box artwork inspired from illuminated manuscripts. All three games will retail for $20.

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Toy Fair 2017—Blue Orange

Dr. Eureka was a big hit for Blue Orange in 2017. The games company has expanded the line with two new science-themed puzzle games, Dr. Beaker (April, $20) and Dr. Microbe (just released, $20). Both games are shipping to stores this week. Dr. Beaker comes with four plastic Erlenmeyer flasks (not beakers) and plastic stir bars. At the bottom of the flask is a rotating ring with six colored marbles and an empty middle space; players race to match the pattern on a challenge card by rotating the ring with their stir bar, moving the “molecules” around. In Dr. Microbe, each player has a mini-petri dishes divided into sections and a big tweezer to pluck microbes pieces from a central petri dish. A challenge card is flipped over showing three different microbes; players use the tweezers to place those into their dishes, then find the one that doesn’t match any of the three microbe’s colors or shapes.

Zero (just shipped!, $10) is a card game where you’re trying to get the lowest score in your hand of nine cards by trading cards from a central tableau. When the game is over, each rank is worth only one card of that number, so if you happen to wind up with all seven 6s, that’s just six points.

Kingdomino (just shipped, $18) is a tile-laying game where you’re creating a 5×5 grid of terrain-themed dominoes around your castle. The really clever thing about this is how players choose domino tiles. Each is numbered from 1 to 48 on the back. In a four-player game, four are drawn and placed in numerical order. Four more are placed in a column next to it. Players choose which tiles they want, with more valuable tiles coming lower in the stack. The next turn, the order for choosing tiles is based on the previous turn’s order: you chose a low-scoring tile first? You have your pick of the next four. Choose that last one that’s worth a lot of points? You’re taking whatever is left over next round.

Designed by a pilot, Cleared for Takeoff (just shipped, $16) is a game about getting your fleet of planes off the tarmac and into the sky. Play matching sets of cards based on the plane you’re trying to advance through the boarding, taxiing, and takeoff process, to get all three of your planes off the ground. This game seems to have some of Take That-style of play involved.

A package of seven oddly-shaped six-sided dice are in Dice Stack (April, $10). The object? Roll and stack them in numberical order. It’s a cute dexterity game that’s easily portable (Dice Stack comes with a drawstring bag for the pieces) and can be played anywhere there is a flat surface, level or not. Plus: cool crazy-shaped dice.

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Toy Fair 2017—Identity Games

I have a feeling that Identity Games has a hit on their hands with Who’s the Dude? (May, $25), a game that comes with a five foot and a few inches tall inflatable dude that you are forced to do charades with. Yeah, go ahead and read that sentence again. Okay? Good. So in Who’s the Dude? you might have to act out a scene from a movie and you’re manipulating this inflated dude and bending him around and it’s a bit crazy. Imagine having to perform North By Northwest with an inflatable dude as the biplane chases down Cary Grant or maybe you’ll have him hang off of your nose in the climatic Mount Rushmore scene. Or maybe you’re trying to get the others to realize that you’re Zeus and you’re throwing this dude like a lightning bolt.

This is quite possibly my favorite take on the “charades-in-a-box” game.

Dodgeball (summer or fall, about $25) reminded me a bit of Loopin’ Louie in reverse. You’ve got a spinning guy in the center that reverses direction occasionally, but you’re in charge of one of the guys he’s going to be hitting with a ball. As he swings by, you push your lever down, ducking your guy. If the ball tags your head, you’re out. Thing is, your guy? Ping pong ball head. So you might accidentally knock it off when ducking, or chase down the ping pong ball once it gets hit and honestly, nobody looks cool chasing after a bouncing ping pong ball. Idris Elba? Emma Watson? Matt Damon? You would laugh at ’em.

Play this in a carpeted room.


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