GUEST COMMENTARY: Game Stores versus Toy Stores: There’s More than Enough Fun to Go Around

by Sara Erickson, owner, Rook’s Comics and Games

Rook's InteriorSitting in my game store on a warm Saturday afternoon, I watch as customers stream in with tote bags full of games they plan on playing during the next three or four hours. I know most of them by name and would consider many of them my friends. They’ve been shopping and playing at my store for the past nine years, and I’ve seen them grow from awkward teenagers into professional adults. Many have even outgrown my store and are now shopping at the local toy store across the street for their own kids. Eventually, the cycle will repeat and I’ll be selling the newest hot game to the next generation.

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Asmodee Acquires the Rights to Spot It! Game

SpotIt logoAsmodee Group has acquired the worldwide publishing, commercial, and brand rights to Spot It! from the Divertis Properties Group, Play Factory, Blue Orange publishers, and individual successors.

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COMMENTARY: ASTRA Marketplace & Academy: It’s All Fun and Games

Mollie Thonneson, the creator of Tag the Art Game, at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy with Alan Walker, aka The Art Cowboy

Mollie Thonneson, the creator of Tag the Art Game, at ASTRA Marketplace & Academy with Alan Walker, aka The Art Cowboy

So I recently attended the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) Marketplace & Academy, which took place in Charlotte earlier this month. While it wasn’t nearly as overwhelming as its northeastern counterpart, February’s North American International Toy Fair, it was still a great place to spot new developments in toys and games, especially the latter.

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Hasbro Introduces First Kid-Sourced The Game of Life with New Career Choices

TheGameofLifeHasbro Inc. surveyed U.S. children ages 8 to 12 about what they want to be when they grow up, and based on their feedback, have updated The Game of Life to include new career options. Kids were asked about the modern and traditional jobs that they would like to have, and their top picks are featured as Career cards in the newest version of The Game of Life, in stores now.

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COMMENTARY: These Classic Games Are Full of Fun Trivia Facts

Scrabble, circa 1948

Covering the toy industry, you learn a lot of neat facts about toys and games. That especially rings true in a year like this one, in which some of the best-known brands are celebrating impressive milestone birthdays. Here are some games with names you’ll probably recognize, and some related trivia, which hopefully you won’t have known until now.

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Creative Licensing Corporation Partners with USAopoly for Terminator Yahtzee

TerminatorYahtzeeAs reported by Creative Licensing Corporation, USAopoly will incorporate the classic film, The Terminator, into the board game, Yahtzee. As part of the resulting Yahtzee Collector’s Edition, the Terminator’s infamous endoskeleton will serve as the cup that holds the dice. The game will be available from retailers across the U.S. and Canada this summer.

GUEST OP-ED: Is That a Squirt Gun in Your Pocket, or Are You Just Displaying Your Deep Human Need to Play?

by Matthew Lawrence, strategist, Fresh Squeezed Ideas

FreshSqueezedPlay2As a 42-year-old dad to two young boys, I get excited when they ask for toys bearing the same franchises I loved as a child during the 70’s and 80’s (It seems to be superhero everything, these days!). Providing them these experiences reminds me that I still have some youthful zeal and enthusiasm, which is a great asset in my role as a cultural strategist who works day-to-day at loftier, more adult-natured stuff. But it also reminds me that they are able to enjoy the richest play experiences possible, through tried and true brands that have endured the test of time. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us Extends Hours, Offers Last-Minute Deals for the Holidays

toysrus.croppedIn the days leading up to Christmas, Toys “R” Us will offer extended shopping hours at stores nationwide. From December 20 through December 22, stores will remain open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m., while beginning at 6 a.m. on December 23, and continuing through 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Toys “R” Us stores will be open around the clock.

At Toys “R” Us stores between now and December 20, deals are available on all Barbie dolls, Charmazing kits, Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Combos or Blu-ray combo packs with ear buds and masks, Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs, LeapTV systems, The Lego Movie DVD with Lego construction set, Imaginext toys, and select board games (while supplies last). [Read more...]

Moose Toys Lines Up New Shopkins Licensees for Toys and Games

ShopkinsSmallMart_LifestyleMoose Toys has an impressive group of new licensees joining Shopkins’ licensed merchandise program for the U.S. and Canadian market. The new deals were brokered by The Licensing Shop Inc. Licensed products will include board games and puzzles from Pressman Toys, plush from Imports Dragon, novelty toys and trading card games from Bulls-i-Toys, art activity and craft products from Creative Kids, and more. The bulk of the products will be for the back-to-school season next year.

Shopkins hit retail shelves in June, and has since sold out in stores nationwide.

New Sons of Anarchy Merchandise Includes Toys from Gale Force Nine, Mezco

SonsofAnarchyWhen Sons of Anarchy returns to TV screens today, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products will have a multi-category global licensing program in place featuring new branded merchandise, including toys from Gale Force Nine and Mezco Toyz.

Gale Force Nine has already introduced Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem, a board game in which players control rival gangs and compete to be the most successful outlaw club. Mezco Toys will introduce branded action figures, plush, and bobble-heads.