Toy Fair 2014: Trends Part 1

Toy Fair 2014: Trends Part 1

This is part 1 in a three part series.  See part 2 HERE and part 3 HERE.

2014: The Year of Continued Status Quo?!

Brainwright Booth Toy Fair 2014

Since I started The Game Aisle in 2009 I’ve written a “Toy Fair Trends” every single year… and for the first time I can’t say that I felt like I saw new “trends.”  Instead, it felt like more of the same from the last couple years (and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing).  There wasn’t a hot packaging trend, there wasn’t a new theme or game-style that was popping up all over the place.  Hasbro is still building their brands whereas Spin Master is bucking the trend and going for the non-branded game with a “wow-factor.”  I even had a post-Toy Fair twitter discussion with Labyrinth Game Shop (@LabyrinthDC) and David Miller (@LodestoneDavid) of Purple Pawn regarding trends, and the only one that came up was “abstract strategy games with a light theme” but in a way, that follows what I saw last year with the rise of geekier games flowing into the more mainstream companies.  Therefore, this year’s article is going to be a little different.  I still want to share what I saw, so we’ll discuss what the past trend was and how/if it still applies.  It’s not a great solution, but it’ll work.

To recap, the trends I listed  last year are in black and below that is how I feel about them now: (this will be a 3-part series…mostly because of all the pictures.)


FLASHBACK to 2013 TREND: Year of the Geek/Brain and the rise of the single-player “game”

2014 UPDATE pt 1.: Single-Player is Still Going Strong For Multiple Companies

Single player games are still strong with the usual players: Think Fun, Smart Games, Fat Brain Toys, Educational Insights and Gamewright seems to be really growing the Brainwright brand (see their booth pictured above).

Solo Player Brain Games - Toy Fair 2014

Clockwise from upper left: Hex Hive – Fat Brain Toys (shameless plug), Kanoodle Genius – Educational Insights, Gravity Maze – Think Fun, Logic Dots – Brainwright, Quadrillion Click And Play – Smart Games


FLASHBACK to 2013 TREND: Year of the Geek/Brain and the rise of the single-player “game”

2014 UPDATE pt. 2: “Geeky” and Being a Geeky Gamer is Still Cool

Last year we saw the industry embrace geeky and smart and I think that continues into 2014.  I mean… it’s big news that they’re filming a Dungeons and Dragon’s movie – and if that is happening, geeky is definitely cool.  I mean The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were one thing (and I LOVE THEM), but this is a game that goes along with jokes about what the really nerdy kids do in their parent’s basements.

So in addition to seeing “geeky” themes like Lord of the Rings, Robots and Zombies, we’re also seeing more “gateway games” with light strategy from companies like Asmodee, IELLO, Ravensburger — even Blue Orange this year.  And of course I have to mention that Robot Turtles, the game that’s intended to teach programming to youngsters.

Geek Out Pop Culture Party

Geek Out! (2013) and the new Geek Out! Pop Culture Party! from PlayRoom Entertainment

light strategy games - toy Fair 2014

Clockwise from upper left: Battle Sheep – Blue Orange, Zombie 15 – IELLO (this is a prototype box), Robot Turtles – ThinkFun, Aztack – Blue Orange


FLASHBACK to 2012 TREND: Toy-esque Games

castle blast 12014 UPDATE: Absolutely!

This was one of my top trends for 2012 and I’m not saying that it went away completely much last year, but I think it’s a little bigger this year than last.  We’re even seeing it in the solo-player game arena (see Gravity Maze from ThinkFun pictured above). And in addition to the round up below, Castle Blast from MindWare is at right, and I couldn’t find a picture of Hasbro’s new Angry Bird’s Stella Telepods dollhouse game that mixes dollhouse play with gaming.  Doesn’t get much more Toy-esque than that!

Toy-Esque Games Toy Fair 2014


Left to Right, Row 1: Dino Meal – Goliath, Pancake Pile-Up!  – Educational Insights, Row 2: PlayDoh Launch-O-Rama – Hasbro, Jumping Jack – Goliath, Row 3: Shark Mania – Spin Master, Moustache Smash – Spin Master, Row 4: Rampage – Asmodee (now called Terror in Meeple City)

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