Here are some of the continuing trends I saw during Toy Fair 2011:
In the last two years we’ve seen a bunch of Blokus-like games such as Callisto by University Games, Cir*Kis by Winning Moves/Hasbro and Blockers by Briarpatch. New additions this year – both of which I think look pretty fun — include City Square Off by Gamewright and PathWords by ThinkFun. In City Square Off each player has their own board on which to put their pieces and a card is flipped to direct them which piece to add until they run out of space. Whoever is the last-person able to add a piece wins. PathWords is a brainteaser and uses Tetris-like pieces to cover letters on the board. Different, yes – but still tile placement.
Letter Tile, Dice and Card Games
I think almost everyone has a game centered around letter tiles, cubes or cards by now. Think about it: Scrabble, Boggle, Bananagrams, UpWords and Scrabble Slam are the big ones. Some more obscure ones: Lexigo, Amuse Amaze, Scrabble Me, Word Pirates, Zip-It, Tripoley Word, Pick Two, Anagrams, Appletters, My Word, Snatch-It, Stir ’em Up!, Word Shout, Take a Letter, A BEE C Match Game, Spill and Spell, Up 4 Grabs and so many others. And now following the trend is Letter Go by Think Fun, the reintroduction of Big Boggle by Winning Moves (can’t wait!), Kabam! by Educational Insights and Spell it! by Blue Orange. I’m guessing (and hoping) these games are pretty strong since they’ll be going up against a lot of other skus.
YAY, I LOVE cool packaging!! Although we’ve seen it before: the Banagrams fabric banana, the Scrabble Apple fabric apple, the Slamwich lunchbox, Jenga in a tube, tins, tins and more tins – packaging definitely isn’t just a box anymore! This year I saw more cute fabric zip-up pouches especially at University Games where they have a fabric pigeon for their Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus game and a fabric caterpillar, Very Hungry Caterpillar Match and Munch game. ThinkFun did a nice long pencil-box looking package with two drawers that open at the same time for their Letter Go game – very satisfying! Educational Insights also gets a shout out and gold star for their super-cute Sneaky Snacky Squirrel packaging which is in the shape of a tree with some AMAZING art! I asked Riley Wilkinson from Educational Insights about the packaging and he said:
“I hired Lucia Gaggiotti from Italy to design my package. I bought boxes of butter cookies in Starbucks that she had illustrated and knew she’d be the perfect choice to make my tree-shaped box adorable! She was so fun to work with and as I designed the game and package, she and I talked about the famous artist Charley Harper—a big influence on her style and in the history of illustration. I wanted the game to feel like some of the storybooks my mom used to read to me in the 1970s.”