Toy Fair 2011: Top 10 Board Games
Filed under: Toys
No matter how fancified, upgraded, or teched-out games become –- whether they involve iPads or LEGO bricks –- they're still old-fashioned board games at the core. So grab your family and sit around the "boards" of these great new games from Toy Fair 2011.
1. Wiggity Bang!FURT
Who says board games have to make sense? Furt, from the makers of Quelf and Flapdoodle, is a celebration of inanity and wackiness. Challenge cards may ask players to act out nonsense phrases, ad lib stories that need to contain seemingly unconnected words, or speak in bizarre ways without telling other players why you're doing it. First person to fall in the volcano wins! Sound ridiculous? You just need to go with it. Ages 14 and up.
Available at specialty stores in May 2011 for $29.99.
Discovery Bay Games
2. Discovery Bay Yoomi for Duo
The first of its kind -– though surely not the last you'll see –- Yoomi is a board game that interacts directly with an iPad. You buy the Duo device (complete with colored stone pieces), download the free Yoomi app, place the Duo directly onto the screen of your iPad and start playing the game. One player answers "Would you rather ..." type questions that appear on the iPad screen, and her opponents try to guess your answers by placing a marker stone onto the appropriate spot on the Duo. The iPad knows who's right or wrong and tells the Duo to take the stones of the correct guessers. First to lose all their stones wins. Ages 8 and up.
Available at Amazon for $35.99.
3. Playroom Magician's Kitchen
Your little wizard figure needs to carry colored marbles (i.e. potion ingredients) to a cauldron in the middle of the kitchen. Sounds easy, but there are hidden magnets under the gameboard -– and if your piece crosses one of them, it will tip and spill its marble. Through trial and error, you need to memorize the locations of the stumbling blocks and find a clear path to the cauldron before your opponents do. Magnet locations change with each new game. Ages 5 and up.
Available at specialty stores in summer 2011 for $30.
4. MindTwister Repello
A strategy game with a classic feel, but a very new twist, Repello would feel right at home alongside games like Othello. Your goal is to clear the board by putting new pieces onto it. No two pieces can be in adjacent spaces, so when a new disc goes down, it "repels" any existing piece one space away from it. And those pieces in turn repel any pieces they go near. And so on and so on, until massive chain reactions are made and discs are eventually pushed off the board. It's a neat game in that it feels like it can be played just as successfully through strategic thinking or random let's-see-what-happens moves.
Available at specialty stores in May 2011 for $29.99.
5. LEGO Heroica
As with LEGO's other board games, you need to build these fantasy-themed questing adventures yourself with the blocks and pieces provided. Then you wend your way along the maze-like boards, past traps and monsters. But, best of all, while any of the four initial Heroica games -- like Waldruk Forest (shown here) -- can be played individually, you can also connect all four to make one mega-gameboard. Ages 8 and up.
Available at toys stores in August 2011 for $14.95–$29.95.
6. Educational Insights Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel
This game's adorable, straight-from-the-pages-of-a-1950s-picture-book visuals may be enough to make you want to buy it. But don't overlook its fun-yet-edifying gameplay. It's simple enough for young kids (use the squirrel-shaped tongs to snatch up colored acorns and fill your tree), but with just enough of a strategy element (you can sometimes sneak acorns from other players) to get little brains working along with those little fingers. Ages 3 and up.
Available at specialty stores and on Amazon for $19.99.
7. Techno Source Tetris Link
Combining the best parts of Connect Four and, well, Tetris, this challenging party-style strategy game is best played in groups of four. Can you connect three of your Tetriminos (yes, that's what those little falling shapes are called) while blocking your opponents from doing the same? Making it tougher, you don't get to choose which shape you drop -- a die roll does.
Available at toy stores in spring 2011 for $19.99. Ages 8 and up.
8. HABA Animal Upon Animal Balancing Bridge
Imagine Jenga if the pieces were shaped like giraffes and flamingos. That's sort of the idea behind this updated version of HABA's old Animal Upon Animal game. Cards tell players which animal (including bats, iguanas, and crocodiles) they need to stack upon the others, all while balancing upon a suspended jungle bridge. Hooray for manual dexterity! Ages 5 and up.
Available at specialty stores for $19.99.
9. Haywire Group The Cat's Pajamas
An adorable –- and adorably simple -– preschool game. Your kitty has gone to bed wearing far too many articles of clothing. Help out the poor sweaty feline by removing extra clothing pieces until he's down to his one basic set of PJs. Kids get to remove pajama pieces by matching either color or pattern. Ages 3 and up.
Available at specialty stores or haywiregroup.com for $19.99.
10. Glowfly nyms
With party-style game play, this board game tests your knowledge of homonyms and words with multiple meanings. When you hear "right," for example, do you think "correct" or "opposite of left?" Or do you think "human rights?" Or to "set right?" Or maybe you thought, "write?" Sometimes you'll need to guess which meaning will be most popular among your group; other times you'll need to try to come up with a unique meaning that nobody else chooses. Ages 10 and up.
Available at specialty stores in June 2011 for $24.95.
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