The last 2 parts of this series talked about NEW trends I saw at Toy Fair 2013 and this installment will talk about the continuing trends, how they’ve changed and trends we’re not seeing anymore. Enjoy!
CONTINUING TREND: Branding and Licensing
Many companies have found great success through creating successful brands and then adding licenses to them. Seriously, how cute will Despicable Me Operation be with all of those minions? Companies big and small have found success creating “junior,” “party,” or “travel” versions of hit games. Like Spin Master’s new this year party version of the Logo Game, Q-Bitz Solo and Q-Bitz Extreme from Mindware, Swish Jr. from ThinkFun and Jungle Speed Silver from Asmodee. We’re also seeing HUGE versions of games like the Angry Birds: Super Colossal Build-Up! from Mattel – as well as the much awaited $200 Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot, which includes all of the booster decks and a book with all of the rules. (that’s a lot of cards and quite an impressive rulebook!) For Dixit fans, Asmodee is releasing multiple new skus with different themes thus creating the brand of Dixit.
We’re also seeing further-reaching line extensions like the Twister Rave line of products that are focused on LEDs mixed with more dancing. It’s pretty far from classic Twister play but only a few steps away from the successful Twister Dance game.
MICRO TREND: Multi Game Branding/Licensing
Obviously this trend stems from the continuing importance of branding and licensing, but when you take a big step back it does seem a little odd to have a game with two — or more — brands/licenses on it. I saw quite a few examples of that this year and even at the end of last year when we started seeing some of Hasbro’s classics fall under a new umbrella – like Scrabble Catch Phrase.
Now this idea isn’t entirely new as we saw Donkey Kong Jenga a few years ago, but there were enough to make me notice this Toy Fair. A few games that stuck in my head:
Risk Plants VS Zombies – USAOPOLY
Tetris Jenga – Hasbro
Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga – Hasbro (whew that’s a mouthful!)
CONTINUING TREND: Quick Reaction All Play Games
All play games aren’t going to go away anytime soon since none of us have the patience to sit around and wait for other people to take their turn anymore, but only time will tell for quick reaction games. This year there were a bunch of new ones including the World Series of Yahtzee from Hasbro, WordARound from ThinkFun, Even Steven’s Odd from Educational Insights, Farkle Around from Patch, Show me the Kwan! from Griddly Games, Chef Pop de Pop from Gamewright (see pic above) and others I’m sure I forgot.
CONTINUING TREND: Cooperative Games
Peaceable Kingdom is still going strong in the cooperative play category. This year Playroom Entertainment is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Puff the Magic Dragon by releasing a children’s cooperative board game based on the song and some amazing book art. Mindware also has a cooperative balancing game called Frog Wobble.
TRENDS WE’RE OVER:
1. iPad/iPhone integration. For the last couple years I felt like this concept was tried by almost everyone, and it doesn’t seem like anything’s really stuck.
2. Tins Okay I saw a couple new games in tins (Iota and Monster Café at Gamewright), but it wasn’t like last year where I could have sworn it must have been cheaper to package a game in a tin versus a box!
3. Fabric Packaging I saw one new game released in fabric, but I think the craze that Bananagrams started is over. It was cute for a while, but fabric packaging really limits space so it might be right to pile tiles in a fabric banana, not every game needs to fit into a fabric pouch.