China Toy Fair


University Games Launches Annual National Young Game Inventors Contest

NYGIC_SplashPageUniversity Games has invited young game inventors with original board game ideas to participate in the 22nd annual National Young Game Inventors Contest for a chance to have their game manufactured and included in the University Games lineup next year. Additional prizes include a family vacation to San Francisco, Calif. (includes four nights lodging and airfare for up to two adults and one child), a $10,000 savings bond for college, and a complete library of board games from University Games.

Entries are now being accepted for the contest, which is open to kids ages 5 to 12, and sponsored by Toys “R” Us and Scholastic Parent & Child magazine. Complete rules and entry forms can be found at www.nygic.org.

Since the National Young Game Inventors Contest was launched in 1993, it has encouraged thousands of young children to stretch their imaginations and develop board games such as Munch Math, Rapunzel’s Revenge, Rhyme Time, and more.

Geocache Becomes First-Ever Fan-Voted Scrabble Word

The word “geocache” beat out 15 other nominees in last month’s Scrabble Word Showdown, and as a result, will be included in the fifth edition of Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, scheduled for release this August. This marks the dictionary’s first major update in nearly a decade, and the first time it has ever included a word voted on by fans.

Nominated by fans following a national call-for-entries on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page in March, “geocache” is a verb meaning to seek items by means of a GPS device as part of a game. It faced 15 other popular choices in an online showdown from April 2 to 10, besting such fan favorites as “bitcoin,” “cosplay,” and “ew.”

Geocache will be an eligible word right in time for National Scrabble Day on April 13. It will also be playable in the upcoming National School Scrabble Championship on April 26 to 27 and the National Scrabble Tournament in August.

Hasbro Is Bringing Down the House Rules for Monopoly

Monopoly.HouseRulesFrom March 25 to April 3, fans around the world weighed the pros and cons of their favorite Monopoly house rules on the Monopoly Facebook page. This past Friday, Hasbro announced the top five house rules, which will be featured in future Monopoly games. They are:

  • Free Parking, Fast Cash: All taxes and fees are collected in the middle of the game board, and if a player lands on Free Parking, they collect it.
  • Dash for the Cash: Players who land on Go! get to double their salary—400 Monopoly(M) Dollars instead of 200M Dollars.
  • Frozen Assets Rule: When in jail, a player cannot collect any rent money from other players.
  • See the Sights: Players must travel around the board one complete time before they can begin buying properties.
  • Lucky Roller: If a player rolls Snake Eyes—double ones—they collect 500M Dollars.

Fans will find the top five house rules in the Monopoly: House Rules edition game, available in select markets this fall. The chosen rules will also be included in the Monopoly game guide beginning next year.

Viewers Can Now Play the Hollywood Game Night Party Game

cardinalCardinal Industries has teamed up with NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products to create a card game based on the show, Hollywood Game Night. The product was initially available at Walmart for an exclusive window and at the NBC online store.

The game is composed of five different card games, which mimics the games played on the show. The game also includes dual-purpose coasters, a timer, and dry erase score sheet card with a marker to keep score.

Monopoly Meets The Wizard of Oz in New Collector’s Edition

the_wizard_of_oz_mn_3dbt_webA new version of the classic board game Monopoly salutes the beloved film, The Wizard of Oz. Produced by USAopoly, under license from Hasbro Inc. and in conjunction with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, Monopoly: The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition features a game board that unfolds to reveal a spectacular 3-D pop-up center showcasing movie plot points.

There are also new Monopoly rules created just for this game, the houses and hotels from the traditional game have been transformed into custom farmhouses and Emerald Cities, respectively, and classic movie icons such as the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat, the ruby slippers, and Toto replace the familiar Monopoly movers.

COMMENTARY: USAopoly Gives Classic Games a Licensed Twist

You may love Monopoly, but it’s okay to admit that sometimes you get a little tired of playing the same game over and over again. Games become classics because they span generations, and they’re well-designed and challenging. In a way, they can become timeless. But you can only force your grandma to mortgage all of her properties and hand over all her piles of pastel-colored money so many times before enough is enough. Her little thimble token—and your interest and passion for the game—has been defeated.

USAopoly has solved this problem by taking our favorite classic games and slapping a license or five on them, making each edition more appealing and unique to the players. Properties include The Smurfs, The Wizard of Oz, My Little Pony, and many, many more, to appeal to all generations, collectors, and fans. The great thing about these licensed games is that they give your traditional family favorites a big twist—and turn it into a whole new game! So if you’re tiring of the same old games in your closet, these would be some great additions to your next family game night.

drwho_mn_3dbt_webI’m not one who’s all about sci-fi shows and aliens and such, but I have to admit that I find BBC‘s Doctor Who series highly addicting—and The Doctor has quite the cult following that will back me up on that. Now fans can travel through time and space with their favorite Doctor with USAopoly’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Monopoly.  Two to six plays ages 8 and up can buy, sell, and trade iconic episodes, spaceships, and landmarks, spanning billions of years across the Doctor Who universe. The Poison Sky, A Good Man Goes to War, The Daleks, and the Arc of Infinity are all able to be purchased by time travelers. [Read more...]

Patch Products Distributes Classic Board Game Stratego

StrategoJumboPatch Products has signed a licensing and distribution agreement with Royal Jumbo, which grants Patch the exclusive right to market and distribute Stratego products in the U.S. and Canada, effective next year. Stratego, a game of battlefield strategy, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Over the years, it has been released under different themes, looks, and rules, although the goal remains capturing the opponent’s flag.

Patch Products is a family-owned company that specializes in the design, manufacturing, and marketing of games, children’s puzzles, preschool toys, creative activities and teaching tools. Royal Jumbo, a 160-year-old company, is a Dutch publisher and manufacturer of games and puzzles.

COMMENTARY: Shaping Moral Values Through Play

Photographer Dennis Di Laura Stylist Xu Job# 1249680A retouch: Peter Kaye

Toys are so much more than just playthings. All children learn through play, and aside from basic skill building, toys can teach kids moral values and help them enhance and embrace their individuality. Being “different” is often shunned at the grade school level, especially with increased bullying in schools and on the Internet. Kids need to learn how to love what makes them unique and build their self-esteem, and there are many toys on the market that help them do exactly that.

Consumers are often critical of Barbie, from Mattel, arguing that her appearance is unrealistic and leads girls to feel self-conscious about their less-than perfect bodies. However, let’s not forget that first and foremost, Barbie teaches girls that they can be anything they want, including a chef, a scientist, a doctor, and a veterinarian. Though she may love her mascara, she is a power woman at heart and she gives kids the confidence they need to pursue their dreams. In the July/August edition of The Toy Book, we featured dolls of all shapes and sizes, and many of them teach kids important moral values, including nurturing techniques, celebration of individuality, and the importance of environmental conservation. Check out the full dolls showcase on page 31.

[Read more...]

Get in the Game with Landing Mr. Right

mrrightLanding Mr. Right, from Alys & Victoria, is a grown-up version of Mystery Date, all about girlfriends sharing stories and inspiring each other to get in the game to land their Mr. Right.

Landing Mr. Right is a journey of self discovery. You have the opportunity to date outside your comfort zone and explore relationships with different types of men. You can take chances in the board game you might not in life.  And, when you share your dating stories with your girlfriends, a journey of new possibilities begins. While technically the first player to land on Mr. Right (a space on the board) is the winner, all girlfriends who play the game win as they learn more about the guys they could be dating as well as themselves.

You roll the die, pick your guy, and share your story. The game revolves around dating six types of men: Blue Blood, CEO, Regular Guy, Rock Star, Triathlete, and Techno-Geek. When you choose a Date card, you are free to select whomever you’d like to date—just like in life. The guys take you on exciting dates to ten destinations around the board. But, whether your date gets you closer to or further away from Landing Mr. Right is all in the cards. After your date, you pick a Your Story card with a question that prompts you to share dating experiences with your girlfriends. From, “who was the first boy you kissed and is he now a friend on Facebook?” to whether your last relationship was sealed with a kiss or the great kiss-off– your answers get you thinking, laughing, and discovering new things about yourself, your dating choices, and the best kept secrets of your closest girlfriends.

Launching now on Kickstarter, Landing Mr. Right will be available in time for the holidays.  The creators, Alys Daly & Victoria Brewer are seasoned marketing professionals and dating experts who seek to inspire confidence in women through their humor and experience in everything from dating to personal styling.

COMMENTARY: Fun in a Flash: Quick Games for Families

Flash_Pack_3DOn rainy days, classic favorites such as Scrabble and Monopoly are perfect to entertain kids. But some busy families might not have hours to devote to board games. There are great new games on the market that take only a few minutes to play, but will keep kids entertained when they are in the mood for a game or two.

In Flash!, from Blue Orange Games, players race to complete eight challenges of dice combinations as they try to rack up the most points. Combinations include six of a kind, a straight, all odd numbers, all even numbers, and two sets of three. The first player to complete the challenge picks up the chip worth the most points. Players continue rolling until all players earn a chip. Straight-forward and easy to learn, game play only takes about 10 minutes. There are enough sets of brightly-colored dice for up to six players ages 7 and up. [Read more...]