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Games & Puzzles
The name of the game G
ames and Puzzles has proved to be one of the bestperforming categories of the past few years, making a major contribution to the overall health of the UK toy market. 2016 saw the sector grow significantly for the third year in a row, reaching £242m according to NPD. Indeed, the increase in games sales was responsible for 23% of the entire toy market’s growth last year; in monetary terms, the 21% increase was worth a substantial £42m. Traditionally, sales remain heavily concentrated in the run-up to Christmas: 40% of the category’s annual sales tend to come in December alone. With peak-season approaching, the suppliers and retailers we spoke to for this supplement all believe that the sector is set for another strong performance this year. Classic games continue to be the bedrock on which the category is built, although it is worth bearing in mind that 23% of games sales in 2016 came from new items, so identifying potential new best-sellers is essential for retailers looking to maximise on consumer demand. Apps, social media, and the developments in technology have all played a pivotal role in the growth of the games and puzzles category. Many companies are now using apps as a key part of their marketing strategy, allowing consumers to ‘try before they buy.’ Apps also create opportunities for enhancing game development, with some products using apps as part of the gameplay.
Tickle Me Feet from Tomy
However, without question, traditional board games and jigsaw puzzles are more than holding their own in the digital age. For many consumers, tapping a button on a screen to re-load letters will never match picking up the little green bag, giving it a good shake, and taking out the tiles, hoping that they haven’t picked up a Q or a Z. Whilst apps can offer opportunities for co-operative play, this doesn’t compare to the camaraderie and interaction which physical games deliver. Evidence of the growing popularity of game-playing amongst adults can be found in the increase in the number of board game clubs and cafes springing up across the country, as well as the number of retail stores and online retailers specialising in games and puzzles. For this supplement, we caught up with owners of both types of business to gauge their thoughts on the current state of play in the games market, as well as Toymaster’s Paul Reader, who gives us an insight into the category from the independent retailer’s perspective. The ongoing success of the games market has attracted a variety of new players to the category, such as Oxford Games, set up by Jenga inventor Leslie Scott, who had noticed that there was a demand for board games outside the traditional toy market. She teamed up with graphic designer
Sara Finch, and together they founded Oxford Games, with the specific aim of devising and publishing games for the gift, heritage, and book markets. MD Frederica Scott Vollrath explains how, at first, Oxford Games experienced a few challenges: “Joining the toy market with just one entirely novel product, Jenga, was tough. We circumnavigated the problems by moving into different markets. At the time, we were pretty much the only company devising and publishing board games for the gift, museums, and book trades in the UK and USA.” Frederica believes that the growth of the games and puzzles market presents opportunities for companies like Oxford Games: “With a larger and broader market for board games, more esoteric games, such as Ex Libris, Anagram, Flummoxed, and Bookworm, have an opportunity to flourish. There is less pressure on having to devise games that need to appeal to everyone. In addition to expanding Ex Libris Live!, our popular literary game show and podcast, our aim is to focus on revitalizing Flummoxed and Anagram. We also hope to re-publish some games from our back catalogue, as well as launch an entirely new game next year.” Frederica believes that one reason for the enduring success of the category may be because many board games, like books, are slow burners. “They spread by personal recommendation and word of mouth. I think the growth in the games market may be down to the fact that, through social media, smaller publishers can now afford to launch games that might take a while to take off, or might only ever appeal to a limited number of people. As a result, there is a greater variety of games on the market,” she said. Another new player to the games sector is Worlds Apart: brand and marketing director Emily Maclennan believes that the growth of the category is driven by a desire for families to find ways of spending more time together: “Research we have conducted highlights the importance of family time to parents and how games are often credited for bringing the family together. Saturday night TV shows like The X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent also are big favourites of family time, and we hope that our new game Spin to Sing will enhance this time further.” As well as Spin to Sing, Worlds Apart also has high hopes for new introduction Whoofy Whoops. Emily commented: “The company has a research and development team which is always looking for trend changes in categories. After the success of SelfieMic last year, and seeing how consumers valued the enhancement of a product through app play, we felt there was a real
opportunity to replicate this approach in the games sector. Initial sales and feedback through our social media channels are very positive.” Worlds Apart has developed fully integrated marketing campaigns for both games, including a mix of TV, PR, and Digital activity, targeting both children and parents. Emily revealed: “While certain media such as TV are targeted to our child consumer, we value the importance and influence of parents and gift givers as the ultimate purchasers of family games for Christmas, so this will play a big role in our marketing activities. In support, and to ensure cut through, we have also planned influencer and brand partnerships on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.” Worlds Apart is also planning to extend its games range with new game Butt Mutts, which will launch in spring/summer 2018. This lower price point, compact travel game will be joined by new games for autumn/ winter 2018 and beyond, with the aim of establishing Worlds Apart as a key player in the games market. Other well-established games suppliers such as Tomy are contributing to the growth of the market with the launch of new games titles. Pedro Sousa, UK brand manager at Tomy, explained that the company’s direction has always been to provide quality family time, positive memories and moments of family fun: “A key feature of a Tomy game is the surprise element, complemented by a certain level of inappropriateness or a play pattern with a point of difference. A huge success story is our Pop Up Franchise segment, which was built around Pop Up Pirate and now features the hot licences such as Minions and Star Wars. Last year, Tomy launched Greedy Granny, and with only six months of sales, the game gained a place as one of the top six new items in the children’s games category. We are aiming to replicate this success with Fizzy Dizzy Hippo and Phil the Fridge, our two new hero lines for 2017. We’re investing in a high-profile marketing campaign and working closely with our retail partners to ensure we have another strong year.” Pedro added: “I think everybody wants to play in the categories that are growing. We started to plan 2018 a few months ago and we have some strong concepts in the pipeline. Innovation will continue to be essential for our range and we are working on some exciting new concepts.” Another company enjoying a successful return to the games and puzzles category is Character Options. Marketing manager Mark Hunt explains how the company sees the category as an opportunity to grow its product portfolio: “We have a strong history in games and have worked with our third-party suppliers to launch some exciting new lines with unique play patterns that should make us competitive. Our launch plan for each title is multi-faceted. We have retailer events, kids’ press activity and digital campaigns to drive brand awareness for Boom Blast Stix, Flip Slide, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Pokémon Trainer Guess.” Whether new or established, games and puzzles suppliers will be launching a wealth of new product in time for the festive season. You’ll find an extensive selection of the hottest new introductions within the supplement, along with comment and insight from numerous people across the gaming and puzzling community. We hope you enjoy our exhaustive round-up of this burgeoning category – game on!
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Taking turns with Casey Goodman talks to Toymaster product manager, Paul Reader to get a view of the games category from the perspective of the independent retail channel. the year seeing TV-promoted games being heavily discounted. But in general, customers will find games to suit everybody at an independent, and games are stocked all year round.
What impact do you think social media and app developments will have on the games and puzzles industry?
Have you noticed any trends in the games and puzzles category? It’s now considered cool to play games, however there does seem to be a lot of toilet humour coming through from various manufacturers. Puzzle games are still trending very well. TV show themed games are also performing strongly, as well as quirky games from companies such as Esdevium, such as Exploding Kittens. So there’s plenty going on in the games category, which is positive for everyone.
What new games and puzzles products have impressed you and why?
It is a high-profile aspect of the industry now, and it plays an important part. We all saw what Pie Face and Speak Out did when they went viral and I expect we’ll see more of that sort of thing in the nottoo-distant-future. I think games based on popular apps will develop into the toy and games space, like Angry Birds did in the past. I think the social media powered games like Speak Out will find a place, but I don’t think they will ever replace the classics, in terms of how many are sold. Monopoly, Frustration, Buckaroo, Articulate, Logo; all of these are evergreen classic games and I don’t think many challengers will ever take over from them, although they may enjoy a short-lived period of success.
What role does licensing play within the category?
As we all know, Hasbro pretty much dominate games sales in the last quarter and I particularly like Don’t Step In It! which I’m afraid leads back to the toilet humour. I’ve also been impressed with Hearing Things, Get a Grip, and Monopoly Gamer, because Monopoly always does extremely well every year. Other great games include Squawk from Mattel, and Mr Bucket and Giggle Wiggle from John Adams. I enjoy fun, action games as I’m not a great puzzle player. I love the Rubik’s Cube but have never been able to do it.
I don’t think licensing needs to play a major part for a game to be successful. Classic games are not affected by licences; for example, Operation is a great game in its own right and doesn’t need licensing behind it. The other issue with licences is that they can come and go too quickly. Where licences do work in the games and puzzles category is in the pre-school and educational area. If you look at the best-sellers at the end of the year, very rarely do you see a licensed game, unless it is something like Who Wants to be a Millionaire? which is based on a gameshow, not necessarily what you might consider to be a traditional children’s licence.
How do Toymaster members approach the games and puzzles category in the run up to Christmas?
How important do you think puzzles and educational games are?
We have a general stock of a comprehensive range of games throughout the year. We don’t expand our games offering towards the back end and we have to be very mindful of promotions, what the nationals choose to stock, and the final quarter of
Puzzles and educational games is a huge sector. If you look at what Paul Lamond, Clementoni, and various others have done, they have made learning fun, and this is another area where licensing does work. A popular character on a product, such as Paw Patrol flash cards, will engage a child in learning
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and developing important skills, which is massively important. Playing as a group also helps kids social skills enormously.
What price points do you think work best for games and puzzles? Children’s puzzles all perform very well at the under £10 price point, but adult puzzles tend to be a little bit more expensive. With action games, I think once we get over £20, it tends to limit how many games consumers might want to buy. Pricing can be tricky - if you are asking £24.99, sometimes £27.99, for a kids’ action game, that really becomes a considered purchase, not something the customer might just pick up to try. Once we get into the issue of TV advertised board games and some of the pricing that comes with the nationals, it becomes even more of a challenge for our members.
How important is it for games and puzzles to appeal to a wide range of ages? I think games hold an appeal from ages 1 to 101, so the games category is easy to get into and enjoy. As the BTHA emphasise with the Make Time To Play campaign, relaxing and having fun is important, and this applies no matter how old you are. Games engage people and I don’t think there is any age limit, as we can see with the rise in popularity of board game clubs. It’s no bad thing to enjoy a board game with your mates, as opposed to doing what they might normally do on a Friday or Saturday night.
How do you think the category will develop over the next few years? Over the next few years there is still going to be plenty of development in pre-school games. When you look at Hasbro’s plans for family games and action games, those categories will continue to develop, and I expect there are going to be further digital properties that will try to convert into board games. I think we will see further TV game show formats which have proved to be popular. But it always comes back to the classics; Trivial Pursuit for example, is always in the top 10 lists.
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The games people play
Toy World spoke to Michelle Chin, co-owner of d20 Board Game Café in Watford, Hertfordshire, about the visitors to the café, the most popular games with its clientele, and how crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter are influencing the games market. Do you think board game cafés help drive the sales and awareness of the games you offer? Definitely. Often we recommend games that people have never heard of before and they end up loving them, which is great. Board game cafés are really handy because you can ‘try before you buy’; some board games can be quite an investment but after having played them, our customers know whether or not they are worth purchasing.
Which of the games you offer are most popular with your visitors? Who is a typical visitor to the café? It really varies. During the day, we get families with kids playing the classics and groups of students playing party games. In the evening, we see a real mix of people; groups of young adults playing social deduction games and also more advanced gamers playing Dungeons and Dragons. We welcome people from all walks of life; we always say there’s a board game for everyone.
A wide variety of games are played at our café. The games chosen mostly depend on the size of the party and age of the group. Codenames is a popular game for all ages and group sizes. Another is Dobble, by Asmodee. More recently, Star Wars Destiny, a collectible card game, has been growing in popularity among our customers. More and more people have started playing, so much so that we have created regular events and even a Facebook group that people can join to talk about the game
Social climbers influencers, such as Dude Perfect who we recently worked with to create content for our Fantastic Gymnastics game, as well as influencers who have a smaller audience globally, such as in the UK and US markets, as well as France, Germany and Mexico, giving us the ability to reach fans around the world. Additionally, Hasbro Gaming was an exhibitor at the online video convention VidCon in Ahaheim, California, which attracts 30,000 creators, fans and consumers. Having a presence at this increasingly popular event provided a way for us to connect with game fans, creators and the overall community.
What role does social media play in driving sales and awareness of Hasbro’s games? We know that social content is a key driver for awareness of our games, with fans sharing their experiences of playing the games in a real and authentic way. We’ve seen social media become a great word-of-mouth tool for our audience to share how much fun they are having playing our games, and it has helped build great momentum.
How does Hasbro develop its social media campaigns in order to target game fans? Hasbro is focused on working with large-scale
The Monopoly Facebook page has over 10m followers and generates thousands of comments a day. Are comments made on social media, including Tweets, analysed as feedback for development purposes? We’re always keeping an eye on what is trending and popular on social media and we’re always listening to our fans to understand their interests and what they’re looking for. The Monopoly brand has a longstanding history of inviting its fans to make changes to the game. For example, in 2013, Hasbro held the Monopoly Save Your Token Vote on Facebook, where fans voted for the token they
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What kind of games are most popular and why do you think this is? Party games are definitely the most popular type of game played. While other genres are more appealing to the regular gamer, party games offer all players a chance to enjoy taking part together at the same level, irrespective of skill.
Generally speaking, how well are new games received by your visitors? Is there anything which influences this? Many new games have a lot of hype leading up to their release, so people are already looking forward to playing them before they arrive at the café. Because of this anticipation, new games get more attention initially. People are more aware of game releases because of things like Kickstarter, where you can discover new games every day and pledge towards them. This means that months before a game’s release, people know a lot about the game and what to expect with regards to game play.
Toy World spoke to Craig Wilkins, Hasbro’s marketing director, about the influence of social media on the company’s games offering. wanted to keep in the game and for a new token they would like added to the game. Fans ultimately chose the Cat token, which replaced the Iron token. And, earlier this year, we held a historic, worldwide vote asking fans to pick all eight Monopoly tokens in the game, which ultimately ended with the Boot, Thimble and Wheelbarrow leaving the game, replaced with the Rubber Ducky, T-Rex and Penguin tokens.
In terms of importance and impact, which social media platforms are most favoured by Hasbro? Social and digital media is key to reaching today’s modern audience, be that using YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or another social medium. We identify the right social media platform on a caseby-case basis, dependent on what we’re looking to achieve and how we think we can best engage our audience. It’s really important to Hasbro to keep on top of the games proving popular on social media. We’ve released hugely successful games in Speak Out and Pie Face, with two more recent hits including Egged On and Fantastic Gymnastics based on the popular viral egg roulette challenge and flip challenge, respectively.
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Piece by piece Toy World’s Rachael Simpson visited Jumbo to interview managing director Stewart Middleton and senior marketing executive Steven Russell on the success of the Wasgij brand, and the company’s growth in the adult puzzles market. Wasgij is a unique concept, where puzzlers use both their imagination and the clues provided to piece together a completely different picture than the one on the box. How much of an impact does social media have on brand awareness? Steven: We use social media to give our fans sneak peeks, for monthly competitions, revealing offers and asking for ideas. It’s a very responsive marketing tool. If we ask fans for theme suggestions we get hundreds, if not thousands of replies. We had an idea of who the typical puzzler is, but through social media and various promotions we have come to realise that Wasgij draws in a younger demographic as well as traditional puzzle buyers, because of the humour.
How has the Wasgij brand developed over the years? Stewart Middleton
Jumbo’s Wasgij brand has been No. 1 in the UK for 10 consecutive years – how has Jumbo maintained the popularity of the brand for so long? Steven: Ten consecutive years at No. 1 is incredible. We work closely with our artists, and also with puzzlers, to gain feedback on the themes and illustrations they want. In recent years, we have released five Wasgij puzzles a year, but as it’s the brand’s 20th anniversary this year we have decided to release 10. A lot of work goes into ensuring that the image fits the humour, that it contains the right level of brain-teasing, and that it’s a popular theme to keep fans coming back. In January each year we release our new Mystery, Destiny and Imagine…? Puzzles and in June the Original, Christmas and Back to…? puzzles, and retailers tell us that it’s the first thing they buy. Stewart: Over the years a collector fanbase has emerged with Wasgij and this continues to grow. Limited releases really appeal to collectors. This year we brought out the first edition Wasgij puzzles, from the initial range going back 20 years, in new Retro styled packaging This gives the people who started collecting more recently the chance to get the original ones - to start from the beginning. Steven: We only tend to keep the previous five years’ puzzles in stock, which means the real hardcore fans can add them to their collections where previously they may have missed out. Fans can offer these as gifts to friends and family to get them involved in Wasgij too.
Steven: It was first launched in 1997 and the Original concept remained for two years. We then created the Mystery and Destiny concepts, and slowly introduced them into the range. Feedback was good, so three or four years ago we introduced the Imagine…? concept, and then the Back to…? concept last year. We are seeing how far we can extend the brand, and exploring whether our fans will still buy into the new concepts. However, the Original concept is still by far the most popular. Stewart: There are some people who only buy a particular concept – Mystery, for example, because they like the fact that they can see what happens next in the image on the box. There is a core group of people who will buy all the puzzle concepts, but conversely there are those who will only collect certain themes within the range. For the Falcon brand we use lots of different artists, but we don’t for Wasgij to maintain the consistent level of humour. We do keep the themes as up to date as possible – we did a puzzle based on a British Bake Off competition which performed really well – but the humour is the same as it was 20 years ago.
What’s next for Wasgij? Steven: Without giving too much away, we are looking at introducing more ‘fan favourites’ throughout the year. Having seen the popularity of the brand, and with it being the 20th anniversary this year, we are going back to basics and revisiting where it all started. There will be two more Original puzzles next year, giving the fans new options within our most popular concept, and offering retailers more proven sellers too.
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Do you test shortlisted designs on puzzlers or do you simply pick what you feel is the strongest concept and run with it? Stewart: It varies. We have a committee of people involved in this, some from areas like marketing and product development, and others who are puzzlers that work for the company. There are also external customers who advise us who are very close to our target consumer base. Sometimes we come up with a concept but when the artist has done their bit we realise it doesn’t work. Great ideas don’t always translate well for Wasgij puzzles, as it’s easy to lose the mature humour level we aim for. We can always style a concept for a younger age group, but often the younger puzzlers enjoy Wasgij because of that adult level of humour, so we don’t want to lose it during design. Steven: A couple of weeks ago we had a meeting with our brand manager, reviewing artwork for a design which showed real promise, and during the meeting we realised it simply wasn’t going to translate into puzzle form. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to develop the concepts before they even go to the artist, and the artists know the brand so well that they sometimes make changes themselves. Our artists do a great job of producing strong pieces which sell well.
Jumbo’s adult puzzle ranges as a whole are also seeing good growth aren’t they? Steven: We are up 19% this year across our adult puzzles and accessories. Wasgij itself is up 14%, and Falcon deluxe is up 18%. We are delivering much stronger imagery, a broader range of puzzles, and the varying piece counts that people want. Families are looking for ways to spend quality time together away from TV and phone screens, so puzzles are increasingly becoming part of a consumer’s basket. Stewart: We have also substantially increased our distribution, including with independents and garden centres, places we hadn’t focused on before. Internally, our figures are much higher than NPD reports as those don’t include such retailers. The Falcon deluxe range also underwent a packaging refresh at the beginning of the year to modernise the look of the puzzles and get them to stand out among other products on the shelves. Subtle changes, such as the tone of the green and the contrasting logo, as well the white border around the image on the box, have really helped the range in a display setting.
Do you think the refreshed packaging will help bring in younger puzzlers? Steven: I think it will, in a subconscious way. And when gifting, it’s almost an insult to present someone with a puzzle in a dated, old-fashioned box. You are almost saying to them ‘you’re old!’ just not in such a direct way. Stewart: A lot of the retailers also like the new packaging and the way it had been refreshed, this also keeps their store looking modern and up to date. In fact, I’d say that the retailers are almost more appreciative of the packaging refresh than then consumers are.
What can toy shops do to boost sales of adult puzzles? Steven: In-store presence and point of sale
helps make customers aware that there are options for them as well as for kids. Previously, puzzles may have been put wherever there was space and not afforded the exposure they need, whereas our bespoke Jumbo shelving units offer a dedicated area. This has helped us expand our distribution channels and get a higher SKU count into retailers. For independents we can produce bespoke options, such as shelf strips, wobblers, banners, and header cards. We have seen good results from in-store brochures that customers can take away, and we also provide planograms to aid retailers in creating the best possible displays. Stewart: Jumbo has a range of geographic locale puzzles, such as Yorkshire, and we see shops, for example in Whitby and the surrounding areas, displaying that range in their windows – they are a great option for shops that can’t put in a big display on shelf. Our Christmas puzzles offer 2-for-1 value which boosts sales as everyone loves added value. Many retailers are confident in running our Christmas puzzles as an entry to the puzzle category, and the 2-for-1 gives us a chance to present customers with different yet related imagery – Father Christmas both inside and outside the house, for example. EPOS feedback also lets us know which ranges are performing well so we can guide retailers on which lines to stock. Last year one of our best-sellers was a canal boat scene, which took us completely by surprise. We also offer puzzle accessories. Year on year we have seen growth, but this year they have really taken off. The Portapuzzle brand is up 46%, because of the increase in adult puzzles, our widened distribution, and because retailers are realising that they generate good sales. A certain retailer wanted more margins on these accessories than we could offer, and walked away to create its own product. That wasn’t successful though, so now it is stocking ours again. We offer a range of different accessories, like the basic Portapuzzle Board, so that everyone can have
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something to sell without treading on the toes of others. Puzzle boards are a great complementary line, especially for those buying puzzles as gifts. The majority of puzzlers will take a few weeks to complete a puzzle, so having a board to store it on which you can just slide under the sofa is something that people find useful.
Are there any retailers that have really gone above and beyond in promoting Jumbo’s adult puzzle ranges? Steven: Over the last 12-18 months Hobbycraft and garden centres such as Dobbies and Notcutts have shown impressive increases. We work closely with them regarding in-store POS and display, but they work with us and allow us to take the lead rather that handling it completely themselves. In terms of independents, Messenger Enterprises has been successful with our fixed shelving units and recently added more to their stores. Another independent that really stands out for us is British Garden Centres, which owns 10 garden centres across the UK that have installed at least two metres of our fixed shelving units in six stores this year alone.
And finally, do you think that puzzle sales or seasonal or year-round? Steven: We see a spike around October or November. Historically, around 70% of puzzle sales have been in the last three months of the year, but over the past couple of years we have seen a shift towards slightly more year-round purchases. However, during the winter months when the nights are cold and the evenings are dark, and people want to stay in, we see our sales increase dramatically. Stewart: Around Christmas we also tend to get more space in stores, and puzzles are a wonderful gift so it’s no surprise that we see such a spike in figures.
Strategic moves One of the success stories of the games and puzzles category in recent years is Esdevium’s Dobble. Ben Hogg, marketing manager at Esdevium Games explains to Toy World how the card game has continued to develop since its launch in 2011. In July, the free digital app version of Dobble: Spot It Duel - A Dobble Game was released. It has already performed fantastically well, with over a million downloads, and the app is a useful tool to help us take the Dobble game to an even wider audience.
What do you think has made Esdevium such a key supplier to toy retailers?
Firstly, could you give us a bit of background on Esdevium and Dobble? Dobble was published in France by our parent company Asmodee. After a seeing its success in the first year, we launched the game in the UK in the spring of 2011. From the first play, it was clear the game was a winner as anyone could play, it was easy to learn, play was fast, and everyone enjoyed frantically matching cards. We quickly understood that when people played Dobble, they loved it. Dobble was one of the first games which allowed us to introduce Esdevium into traditional toy stores as a serious games supplier. Whilst many toy stores would buy their collectibles from us, because we serviced the specialist hobby games stores, our existing games range was perhaps seen as a little specialist with limited appeal to the wider toy industry.
How has Dobble developed and expanded over the past six years? From very humble beginnings, Dobble is a game we have developed over a number of years to become our best-selling game. In many ways, the launch of Dobble was the start of a key new focus for Esdevium, to offer a range of party games perfect for toy retailers, supported by a heavyweight demonstration programme. It also helped us to progress our ability as a team, as we concentrated on developing a must-have product. Dobble’s continued success has meant it has become a key feature in most stores’ games sections.
We are a little different to most toy suppliers out there. Our business is firmly rooted in distribution, particularly for games. Esdevium has a solid foundation in the hobby market and that has been the incubator for some really fantastic games. We have also been very lucky over the last decade that gaming culture has evolved to become bigger and more inclusive than ever, allowing us to make further in-roads into the wider toy industry. The aim with both suppliers and retailers has always been to develop long-term working relationships as well as trust, and we’re very proud of that.
How do you keep the marketing fresh? There is not one single strategy to our marketing, all of our games are supported by a diverse range of activity, which we review and change as necessary. Our marketing is built on the assumption that our games offer genuine fun experiences and create happy memories for all involved, which is a great starting point. We keep it fresh by listening to customers, observing trends and the market, and constantly asking ourselves what we could do better and how we can improve.
What plans does Esdevium have in the run up to Christmas? As you can probably imagine, it only gets busier from this moment onwards. We are always launching new product, but from September we have a host of big releases coming up. These include
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Pandemic Legacy Season 2, the Lego Ninjago Trading Card Game, Zomlings Series 6, and a number of seasonal Pokémon TCG releases. September also marks the beginning of our exciting Year of the Train marketing campaign to raise awareness for our successful train travel adventure, Ticket to Ride Europe. Starting in London, the game’s mascot, Max, will embark on an epic cross-country adventure across the continent, interacting with influencers, celebrities, and the public along the way, and playing the Ticket to Ride board game.
What is your take on the games category as a whole? The games category is evolving, and I think retailers should take the time to see where the growth is coming from and what type of games consumers are moving to.
Green Board Game
Going green Toy World spoke to Keith Grafham, CEO of Green Board Games about the company's ongoing success in the games and puzzles market. for all the family, who could learn together and laugh together whilst considering the impact on the environment. These are values the company still holds to this day.
How has the company expanded since its inception? The company was largely a lifestyle business for Gary until 2007, when he invented and launched BrainBox and the business really took off. The company has expanded considerably since then and in the past five years has grown nearly 20% year on year, with distribution in over 60 countries around the world, and over 300 SKUs. I think it is bigger and better than Gary could have imagined in 1991, but it is very much what we expected and planned for when I joined GBG in 2012.
Firstly, could you please give us a bit of background on Green Board Games, and how it started? Green Board Games was launched in 1991 when Gary Wyatt came up with the idea for the Alpha Animals board game, whilst sitting in traffic looking at number plates. He developed the game, got it made, and went to a show at Alexandra Palace where he sold most of the stock, so he quit his job at American Express and started GBG. His focus was on quality games
What do you think has made Green Board Games such a long-term success? The values on which Gary founded the company are solid and have stood the test of time. People will always want games which are quick to play, mix fun and learning, and allow families to play together. We have always developed games which have genuine play value and will last through generations; there is substance in the box, so retailers and consumers know they can trust a GBG game.
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How do you keep the marketing fresh? We support our retailers in a considered and direct way, whether it is with in store support, promotional activity, or creative approaches. We also see great value in reaching the end user in a positive and informative way; we want people to seek out GBG games in store. We do this through the channels of social media, TV advertising, magazine, and media promotions but we also do a few unique activities to add that bit extra. A good example of this would be the online BrainBox Club, which includes the brand new Create your own BrainBox feature, and enables us to send out updates and newsletters to the 25,000+ members, helping them with a whole host of child related matters.
What does Green Board Games have planned in the run up to Christmas? We will be working hard as usual to ensure we have plenty of stock of all key lines, as well as promoting all products and supporting our customers to ensure maximum sales all round. We have TV campaigns running on BrainBox, BrainBox Bounce, and Qwirkle throughout October, November, and December. We have a lot of great games, some of which are proven best-sellers, and others which are brand new, but with the same quality and value as all GBG products.
DISCOVER playful development with FUN Family Games 22261
Highly targeted TV advertising October to December
email@example.com Sales Hotline 01869 363800
Talking Shop Ahead of the game
Toy World spoke to independent retailers who have a particular focus on games and puzzles in their stores, to find out what they think makes a best seller and how they have established themselves as a go-to destination for their customers.
Mike Berry Leisure Games, London
Leisure Games was opened in August 1985 by my father Tony Berry. When the footwear wholesale business he had been working for closed down he decided to open a shop to support the family for a few years until he could afford to retire. Initially he was going to open a sports shop but could not find a suitable location, then a friend suggested he opened a games shop instead, as he was planning on closing his games shop in North London to concentrate on import/distribution. About 15 years later he had grown the business to become one of the best known specialist games shops in the country, and he began to start seriously thinking of retirement. I was being offered voluntary redundancy from my job in engineering, so everything came together and I
moved into the business. The last few years have been up and down. Mail order sales, which at one time accounted for some 65-70% of our turnover, have dropped off massively in recent years, mainly because of pricing. We took the decision to concentrate on the bricks and mortar side of the business, and fortunately that has grown strongly enough to offset the decline in mail order sales. Our biggest challenge right now is probably involvement in crowd funding. Backing the right projects can be very beneficial, but there are plenty of risks. I think social media is important and can really help to get people talking about the shop. It can also be a great source of information about games to consider stocking; the downside is that it can be very time consuming. In recent years we have seen a big increase in casual family customers, as opposed to hobby gamers who play games several times a week. I think this is great for the games industry as it shows that games are breaking out of the niche they were stuck in for so many years, and are being accepted as an enjoyable way to spend leisure time. Our most popular games with family customers are generally games which aren't too complicated, and games which all players can be a part of right up to the end. My problem with Monopoly is that usually the winner is decided very early on, and the rest of the game is just painful for the losing players. Games such as Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne are great for involving everyone, and co-operative games such as Forbidden Island and Pandemic are also great sellers. Really quick games like Love Letter and Dobble are an easy sell because you can be playing them within moments of opening the packaging. For people who want something a little meatier there is a lot to choose from. Small World is still quite easy to get to grips with and has a great fun fantasy civilisation building theme, the now famous Settlers of Catan is still a best seller with its trading theme. Escape Room games are the latest trend, where players have to solve a series of puzzles to escape. Games such as Unlock and the Exit series are good examples.
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Trading card games are always popular in the shop - we have a very active Magic: The Gathering player base and also a dedicated group of younger gamers who play various TCGs. I am always wary of licensed games - too often they rely on the licence and the game play comes second. To my mind that is not a good way to get people wanting to play more games. Although puzzles are more of a side-line because we are predominantly a games shop, we still give them space because I like to have something to offer people who ask. With the swing away from mail order, one of the most important changes we made was to introduce a couple of gaming tables to the shop. These days everybody knows that they can get games cheaper online so a bricks and mortar shop has to offer things you cannot get online. Face-to-face advice and demonstrations of games are invaluable, and having people actually playing in-store gives the place a real buzz which attracts others who want to find out what is going on. We hold weekly gaming nights, and various demonstration days, as well as many organised tournaments.
Talking Shop Phil Scaysbrook - Hoyle’s Games, Oxford We have been in business for just over twenty years. We developed from a company which was manufacturing ornamental chess sets in Banbury. We moved into retail as increasing competition from China put an end to our manufacturing side in the mid-nineties. We now offer a wide range of traditional games, board games, card games, magic equipment, juggling supplies, puzzles, science kits and, increasingly, vintage and collectible games. We are based in Oxford, and our customer base is a mix of well-off locals, prosperous students and year-round affluent tourists. Chess sets and accessories account for about a quarter of sales, but strategy board games and word games do well too. The Oxford Games company, the company behind Ex Libris, Anagram, Bookworm and Flummoxed, produces lovely niche products which appeal to our customer base. Scrabble sells consistently well, and any innovative word game is usually popular with our customers. Our customers have also given a positive response to Jask, a quiz-type strategy game made by a guy called Shaun Delaney. It’s a bit like a cross between Trivial Pursuit and backgammon, and it’s very good. Pass the Bomb and Boggle are also very
popular. These games appeal strongly to our demographic of students and well-educated adults. The Child Genius game and science games from the likes of Thames & Kosmos are often bought by parents looking for something educational and beneficial for their children. Board games have bucked the trend towards electronic gaming. In my opinion, a good game is anything that involves more than the chance throw of dice; a game where you really have to think and get into the other players’ heads. Diplomacy is a good example of this. I also like fast and furious word games such as Articulate and Bananagrams, and clever family games that have been in constant production for decades - Scotland Yard and Cluedo spring to mind. Cranham and Piatnik traditional jigsaws are popular with our clients, and John Adams’ take-apart puzzles also perform well. What our customers really look for in a puzzle is the difficulty level - they like to go for the particularly hard and challenging ones. Tourists that visit the shop often buy puzzles with an English connection. The small boxed range of Cranham 500-piece puzzles features country houses and gardens, which tourists like to buy as gifts. They come in a 3” by 4” box and are attractively packaged. We complement our puzzle ranges with boards, roll up mats and glue, and these tend to be bought by keen puzzlers. Over the years the percentage of our total take from puzzles and jigsaws has increased markedly; about a quarter of our retail space is now taken over by
puzzles of some sort. We occasionally go to local school and college fetes during periods like the run-up to Christmas. At one of the school fetes in Oxford we sell a lot of puzzles, and then spot the kids coming into the shop at a later date to buy the bigger and better ones, so that particular event pays off. Competition from Amazon and eBay has made it tough for retailers to compete on price. With our approach, however, concentrating on niche products and high-end games that aren’t readily available on the high-street, we continue to grow sales year on year. My advice to others is to constantly look to improve and seek new areas for retail, and for every new line you take on, get rid of a worst performing one, so that your range continually improves. In adopting this strategy, we have remained successful throughout the years, and I’m sure we will remain successful long into the future.
Tim Pickers - The Games Store, Lincoln
Carl and Audrey, who own the shop, have had a board games business for over 30 years. They started out with mail order, then opened a small shop, before moving to the current premises in Lincoln a couple of years ago. There is enough room here to host board game events, with tables to seat over 60 people. The Games Store sells a range of board games; we find that Code Names is one of our most popular. It’s a party game with a word-theme that lots of players can join in - I think that is one of the reasons why it is so popular.
Recently there has been a lot more interest in cooperative games, rather than adversarial ones, so games that allow people to play together on the same team have become popular. Although two-player specific games, where players compete head-to-head, are also in demand. Most of our customers are in the 25-35 age bracket, but we have all ages come in to the store. A couple of our most popular games are Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride which offer junior versions, so parents buy them to play with their kids. It has become increasingly important for families to take time out together, and playing games is an ideal way to do this. I think that’s why our games nights have been extremely popular, because they give people an opportunity to have a break from their screens. We play all kinds of games at these nights, a range of popular ones that people know and love, as well as games that have just come out. After people have finished their main board games for the night, they come together to play one big game, such as Code Names. We also hold board games clubs at the weekend, where all ages attend. We would expect licensed games to do better than non-licensed games because they have the recognition factor, but this is not always the case. For example, the Game of Thrones board game doesn’t sell as well as the latest hot board game. Recognised board game designers sell games. People decide to
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buy based on the designer, such as Eric Lang, rather than the brand. It’s a bit like going to watch films made by certain directors. I think customers’ acceptance of price points depend on how in-depth the game is. If it’s quite a light-hearted game and more than £20, it doesn’t sell well, but if it has more involved game play, where people will spend about four to five hours playing, then they are willing to spend up to £70-£80. I think when a board game is more than £40, people do a bit of research about it, before they’re willing to try it. YouTube is a great way for customers to find out about new games in detail, and I think social media, word-of-mouth and marketing games that way is very important. People consider their friends’ recommendations, and YouTube channels that review new games help people make an informed choice. The app versions of board games also help to sell physical copies, as people enjoy playing the apps and then want to play a real, physical version around the table with their friends. Some board games have integrated apps, which adds functionality; you would need a lot of cards to represent what an app can do. In fact, some of the games that used to be competitive with one-against-many, have now got apps that make them cooperative, so players can play together against the app. I don’t think apps hurt the board game industry at all; if anything, they make it more likely that people will get into board games.
FANTASTIC GAMES FOR FAMILY & KIDS THIS CHRISTMAS!
CONTACT YOUR JUMBO SALES REP FOR MORE INFORMATION Jumbo Games, 2 Carters Row, Hatfield Park, Hatfield, UK, AL9 5NB Telephone: 01707-289289
Playing by the rules Deej Johnson, creative consultant with Playtime PR, looks at instructions supplied with games, and offers some tips for how to make them effective and user friendly. Ever heard the sales adage, “People don’t buy drills - they buy holes”? Based on the words of Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt, this perfectly highlights the difference between what people buy and the reason they buy it. What has this got to do with game instructions? Everything. When people buy a board game, they only do so because something - word of mouth, effective marketing, a hunch - tells them that they’re going to have a good time playing it. In other words, people don’t buy board games: they buy fun. So every second your game is in front of people and there isn’t any fun, it’s bad for your game, bad for your brand and bad for your sales. This is one of the reasons that I’m enormously passionate about ensuring game instructions are well written. So many of them seem to create unnecessary obstructions between the person spending their money and the fun they’re anticipating. And yet most of these obstructions are quite easy to avoid. Here are some points that help...
A Touch of The Enid Blyton
You’re Writing a Monologue
“Come back and have tea with us,” said Moonface: “Silky has some pop biscuits, and I’ve made some google buns... I tell you, they are a treat!”
Other than learning how to play your game from an app or video, or somebody else who already knows it, there are only three ways your customers can communicate your instructions to each other: read them out loud, read them and paraphrase them, or combine reading them out and paraphrasing. That means your words are almost certainly going to be read, said and heard.
This excerpt, from Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood, may have sounded quite contemporary in 1939. Nowadays the formality of that tone often exactly that of written rules - can create an immediate disconnect with people. It feels stiff and formal while your customers are at their most relaxed. As a real-life example, I have an instruction sheet that includes the line: “Place the playing board in the centre of the playing area.” Never mind the repetition of playing: who actually talks like that? People say “put”, not “place”. People say “the board”, not “the playing board”. And people say, “middle of the table” not “centre of the playing area”. Keep your language informal and write conversationally to avoid sounding like Enid Blyton.
The Wah-Wah Factor Remember the Charlie Brown cartoons? If so, you might recall the sound effect used to convey the teacher droning on: “Wah, wah-wah wah wah... Wah-wah wah wah wahhh...” To me, a lot of instructions feel like that teacher’s droning. That’s not only because they’re overly long, but also because they address people in the third person - talking about “players”, or “another person on the same team” for example. They don’t speak to me... You can soften the copy tremendously, however, just by using the word “you”. The beauty of this is that when the reader then reads the word out loud to the other players, the instructions feel just as relevant to them.
In other words, you have to get rid of anything that looks, feels or sounds awkward - not only for the reader but also for the listener. My favourite example was a piece of text that qualified pulling a certain card from a pack as “Just terrific”. Easy words to read... Unfortunately, “just terrific” sounds exactly the same as “just horrific” when read aloud! So, while the rule was crystal clear to the reader it was confusing to the listener. It had to change. Other things that might make your rules hard to read include a cramped layout, bad punctuation, poor grammar, small fonts, long words and sentences, repetition and uncommon words. Remember: you’re not just writing rules - you’re writing a monologue.
Packed Like Pilchards As well as explaining how to play the game, the rules are sometimes expected to carry branding, and marketing for other products. Consequently, the copy can be too small and densely packed to read comfortably. Often, though, some of the text itself is completely redundant. My favourite example is a game that comes in a pouch. To open it, you rip off the tag, unzip the pouch, remove the plastic bag inside, tear
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that open and remove the instructions. The first line of copy says: “Open up the pouch”. It’s completely redundant: you simply cannot have the instructions in your hand unless you’ve already done that. Overall, about a third of the copy in those particular rules could be cut.
Empathise If there’s just one word that sums up what a game designer needs when they’re writing instructions, it’s empathy. You have to think where your writing’s going to appear, and under what conditions. You have to think who’s going to be reading your words, and who’s going to be hearing them. Indeed, one of the biggest obstacles to clarity when people check or explain their own rules is that they already know how to play; they know the idea that they’re communicating. This often makes them a very poor judge of whether it makes sense in a vacuum of knowledge. My advice is to play test your instruction sheet in exactly the same way people would see it in the real world: by letting them read it in context and seeing how quickly they get to the fun.
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Jumbo Games, 2 Carters Row, Hatfield Park, Hatfield, UK, AL9 5NB Telephone: 01707-289289 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jumbo.eu
Games & Puzzles
Movers and shakers As the ever popular games market enters its peak selling season, Toy World presents highlights of the most exciting games on offer from leading suppliers in the coming months, as each manufacturer strives to maintain its competetive edge in the sector.
Esdevium Games 01420 593 593 | www.esdeviumgames.com This year, Esdevium is celebrating the Year of the Train with a wide-reaching campaign to raise awareness for its popular game Ticket to Ride. In Q4, the game’s mascot Max will embark on an epic adventure across Europe. Beginning in London and running events designed to promote and get people playing Ticket to Ride, Max will travel to Paris, Munich, and Copenhagen. All stages of the journey will be filmed at out-ofthe-box, quirky locations with guests joining him at every stop, and the coverage will be used to promote the game. Esdevium will also release dedicated Year of the Train kits to allow for in-store events and competitions across the UK. Esdevium will also release three brand new Ticket to Ride games in the form of Ticket to Ride Germany, out now, Ticket to Ride France, coming soon, and Ticket to Ride Europe First Journey. Both Germany and France games feature new mechanics and adapted gameplay to make each a unique Ticket to Ride experience for fans of the franchise. Ticket to Ride First Journey Europe offers the gameplay from Ticket to Ride Europe in a simplified form, with a beautifully-illustrated and condensed European map, enabling the basics of the game to be enjoyed by children as young as six. The company will also release two brand new versions of brain-training card game, Cortex Challenge. Cortex 2 will include a host of new challenges as well as developing the existing challenges to test different parts of the brain, and will be available in both regular and Kids editions. Finally, after the successful launch of Unlock! Escape Adventures earlier in the year, new for Q4 will be Unlock! Mystery Adventures which features the same puzzle-solving gameplay, but instead of finding the way out, players work through a deck of cards, supported by the companion digital app, and are tasked with solving intriguing mysteries.
Trends UK 01295 768 078 | www.trendsuk.co.uk Zing offers a range of games including Wet Head, the game that drenches losers with water following a round of truth or dare. Younger kids and families will enjoy Stick’em. Armed with the suction cup stick, players must keep an eye on the picture cards placed in front of them and be ready to match the correct picture with the sound from the app. Blast Box is a suspense filled action game. One balloon is inflated per player and placed inside the Blast Box. Players use the spinner to determine how many spikes are needed per turn, but they must be careful where they place them; if they burst a balloon they are out. As well as Ghost Hunt Evolution, Megableu Games has some new titles launching this autumn. TV advertised Tumball is a bead-stacking game. With every bead a player adds, the space between the coloured balls will open. If players push their luck too far or make a false move the beads will tumble and must be added to the player’s collection. The first player to get rid of all their beads wins. New for 2017 is the bug-flipping game Beat the Flush. Players race to catch their bugs with their magnetic cap, and flick them into the bowl. The winner is the one who lands the most bugs in the bowl before it flushes. Players also have to avoid being sprayed with water. In Creepy Hand, players watch as the ghoulish green hand creeps around the table and points a finger at one of the players, who must then face a truth or dare question. Rounding out the line is Name That, the word game where players must think fast to win. Packed in tin case, at home or out travelling, Name That is an ideal game for all ages.
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Games & Puzzles
Character Options 0161 633 9800 | www.character-online.com Character Options offers a variety of exciting game-play patterns for kids and adults to discover. Boom Blast Stix is an explosive stacking game that features sensitive interlocking springs that can trigger at any time; the aim of the game is to stack as many of the 32 interlocking pieces as fast as possible before they explode. Presented in a tube which doubles as the tower’s base, this game is unpredictable, addictive, and suitable for all ages. Nerves are pushed to the limits with the jump-scare Five Nights at Freddy’s game. Bringing one of the world’s most popular mobile games to life in 3D form, this game is ideal for thrill-seeking kids and young adults. Freddy, the demon teddy, holds the tokens and is resting peacefully when the lights are low. Players take suspense-filled turns spinning the dial and taking tokens from under his nose. One token too far and they wake Freddy from his slumber, unleashing his fury. Inspired by classic games such as Tetris and the Rubik’s cube, FlipSlide is a highly addictive and fast-moving game in which players flip and slide blocks to solve puzzles, putting their memory, speed, and skill to the test. Pokémon Trainer Guess is an electronic guessing game which asks players questions to guess which Pokémon character they’re thinking of. The ball uses speech recognition technology to read the user’s mind and the aim of the game is to add all 151 characters to the electronic collection. The Cars 3 Piston Cup Race Game features two slot-style tracks and buttons which players use to race Lightning McQueen and new challenger from the film, Jackson Storm, to the finish line in order to win the Piston Cup. When the light turns green, players pump the button as fast as possible to get ahead but when it turns red they must stop or be sent to the start again.
Mattel 01628 500 000 | www.mattel.com Mattel continues to expand its games portfolio, introducing new ranges and favourites. Scrabble is gearing up for its 70th Anniversary celebrations in 2018, and in autumn/winter 17 will launch a digital-led strategic partnership with ITV across the I’m A Celebrity app and ITV hub. New this year is Scrabble Deluxe, with a luxury board. The company has introduced Squawk, the new chicken game that features sounds effects and eggs which crack. The game challenges players to win the most chicken tokens – but they must watch out for the exploding hen house. Classic card game Uno expands play themes with Uno Junior and Extreme Relaunch. Also new for 2017 is a new Uno family game with a Disney Pixar Cars 3 movie theme. Including customisable wild cards, this version features the Smokey Rule, which allows players to look ‘under the hood’ of an opponent of their choice. New Uno Emoji features a special Emoji Rule and characters. When the special card is played, the next player has to replicate the Emojis shown for the next two rounds. Party game Pictionary now includes an updated Pop Culture category. Players draw their best rendition of the clue on the card, with their teammate tasked to guess the word the drawing is intended to represent. Mattel has also introduced head-to-head competition game Bounce-Off Stack ‘N’ Stunts, a new version of the game that introduces a challenging stunts element. Players set up a trick shot, and if their opponent misses they get a letter. If the players make the opponent miss enough shots to spell out the word Bounce, they win. Rounding off Mattel’s portfolio is Gas Out, in which players must be the last person to pass Guster the Gas Cloud, without him passing wind, in order to win. Players take turns playing the number cards in their hand and pressing Guster as many times as shown. If Guster passes wind during their turn, that player is out. Game-changing Gas Out cards like Skip and Reverse add more fun.
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Exciting new puzzles and games
PAUL LAMOND GAMES LIMITED 31 Newington Green, Islington, London N16 9PU Tel: 020 7254 0100 Fax: 020 7254 3400 Web: www.paul-lamond.com
Games & Puzzles
Worlds Apart 0800 389 8591 | www.worldsapart.com Worlds Apart has two new games for Christmas 2017. A full marketing and PR campaign is already well underway, which sees a heavy mix of influencer relations, product placement, and national press news generation and media relations in the run-up to Christmas. Spin to Sing is an interactive talent show game that offers a sociable way to enjoy a get-together with friends and family, suitable for fans of all ages. Spin to Sing is all about recreating favourite Saturday night TV talent shows at home. Players take it in turns to spin the mic to select a performer to sing one of the their own downloaded tracks on their phone through the free Spin to Sing game app. Fellow players score the performance and the performer with the highest average score at the end of the game wins. There are also Lives, where players shuffle the songs, spin again, or have everyone sing the track as a group; and performance cards that bring a chance to win by challenging players to switch to singing styles such as Opera, Rap, Rock Out, and even Sing Like A Mouse. The winner is rewarded with a Winner’s Journey photo montage of best bits, which they can save to the camera roll and share online. Woofy Whoops is a suspense-style game with a digital twist that takes slapstick games to the next level with its integrated app. Players take turns to spin Woofy and whoever he lands on has to pat him as many times as he barks. If a player is unlucky enough to have the last pat, the player gets sprayed with water, as Woofy can hold on no longer. The app records the moment in slow motion, so players can watch back the moment they get peed on, and share the giggles online or with family and friends.
Bananagrams 020 7298 9500 | www.bananagrams.com The Re-Gifter, The Thief, Switcheroo, and Pouch Head are some of the 14 chaos-inducing Party Power tiles in the new Bananagrams Party edition. Each tile gives the receiving player the power to unleash a special action on the opponent of their choice, whether it’s making them play without using their thumbs, or forcing them to do a lap around the table, each action is sure to cause mayhem while players race to use all their letter tiles and complete their own word grids. Bananagrams Party is a sociable spin on the classic anagram game. Also available is My First Bananagrams. A new title for the younger player, the Bananagrams pouch is now a ripening green and, in response to customer requests, contains colourful lower-case letter tiles. The collection of fun games within caters to a wide range of reading abilities. There are 10 curriculum-based mini games for early learners, and word game challenges which grow in difficulty as the child’s skill level advances. This culminates in a simplified version of Bananagrams, and introduces children to the classic game that sees players racing to complete their own word grid. My First Bananagrams includes new double-tiles with vowel-teams, word families, and digraphs. The original Bananagrams game has sold more than eight million copies in 30+ countries globally since launching in 2006, and is loved by an army of fans including the cast of ITV’s Downton Abbey, Dame Judi Dench, Scarlett Johansson, and many more. The Bananagrams Challenge, a primary school tournament for children in Key Stage 2, is now in its third year in the UK.
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Games & Puzzles
Clementoni 020 3206 1397 | www.clementoni.com DOC is the first game that brings children closer to educational robotics. DOC will accompany children as they learn logical reasoning and problem solving skills, letters, numbers, colours and the names of animals. Children can program DOC using the game cards so that he follows routes and finds objects, or he can be programmed to roam at will. When DOC is used in Smart Mode, the robot will recognise its position on the game board and offer kids suggestions on how to play the game. Puzzles continue to be a strong foundation of the Clementoni business. 2017 has seen new launches tied into licences from Nickelodeon, Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, including theatrical releases such as Despicable Me 3 and Cars 3, and properties such as Num Noms and Shimmer and Shine. Clementoni’s 1000 piece Impossible Puzzles lend themselves well to licences such as Tsum Tsum, Emoji, Despicable Me, Num Noms, Trolls, Finding Nemo, 101 Dalmations, Frozen and The Penguins of Madagascar, with a Marvel edition due to launch for Christmas. The 1000 piece High Quality Panorama Collection draws on imagery from classic Disney properties as well as licences such as Despicable Me 3 and Trolls. The Clementoni range of puzzles offers a range of difficulty levels, from the 20 piece Maxi for younger puzzlers through to 104, 250 and 1500 piece puzzles. Certain lines will have added features; for example, the Num Noms puzzles are scented and the Trolls puzzles include velvet touch pieces.
Hasbro 0208 569 1234 | www.hasbro.co.uk In Hasbro Gaming’s Fantastic Gymnastics, players need to get the rhythm and speed just right for the gymnast to rotate around the high bar. At the opportune moment, pressing and holding the release button will cause the gymnast to dismount; achieving the perfect landing will earn players the most points. Get a Grip requires players to wrap their thumbs in the included bands, rendering them useless, and then try to perform the Draw it, Sculpt it, or Do it challenges listed on the cards. Players earn cards by completing challenges, and the first to three wins. Players can now test their strength in Pie Face Sky High, which resembles a strength-tester carnival game standing over three feet tall. While one player stands and looks through the mask, the other sets the difficulty level and the number of swings, then hits the base plate with the plastic hammer hard enough to pie their opponent. Players score a point each time an opponent gets pied, and the first player to reach three points wins. Monopoly joins forces with Nintendo in Monopoly Gamer. Instead of standard Monopoly tokens, this game features the Super Mario characters Mario, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Donkey Kong, each with their own powers. Players earn points by buying Properties, collecting Coins, and beating Bosses, and finish the game by defeating Bowser. Simon Optix is an electronic game of lights and sounds in which players sporting the wearable headset must repeat random light-led sequences by moving their hands over the sensors in the correct order. Simon Optix senses players’ moves with touch-free technology, and becomes increasingly challenging as levels are completed. This game can be played solo or with friends. The Egged On game is Hasbro’s twist on the popular egg roulette challenge, as players take turns picking plastic eggs from the carton to crack on their heads. Some of the eggs are filled with water, and players never know which one they’ve got in their hand. If a player presses an egg against their head and it splashes water, they’re out. The last player left in the game wins.
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Green Board Games presents...
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Games & Puzzles
Tactic Games 01483 332 070 | www.tactic.net Tactic games launched a number of new games at The London Toy Fair 2017. Coral Reef, a game for older children, allows two to four players to look for marine animals shown on the playing cards. Two cards are revealed on each turn, and players look for the marine animals on the game board, with everyone playing at the same time. To win, players point to the two marine animals at the same time, making it a fastpaced game. On each round, the winner is rewarded with a marine animal figurine which they keep in their own pond. The double sided game board is built with puzzle pieces, so is different every time, creating a lasting, interesting game whenever it is used. Coral Reef will be TV advertised from October 2017 on children’s TV channels and related family channels, with 450 spots. In addition, Emojito is a game where players make facial expressions and the other players guess what the expression is. Players can either play cooperatively or compete. The top card is drawn from the deck of emotion cards, and the other players decide which of the emotion cards is being portrayed. They turn the guessing dial to the number on the board that the card is on, and players then reveal their guessing dial. The guessers that are correct score a point as well as the player. Emojito will be TV advertised on family and children’s channels during Q4 2017. The box contains seven guessing dials, seven player tokens, 100 emotion cards, game board, and rules.
Vivid Imaginations 01483 449944 | www.drumondpark.com Drumond Park comes into Autumn-Winter 2017 with six new game launches across the children and adult categories. Younger kids can enjoy Shark Bite, Gassy the Cow, and Snotcha. Players avoid the sharks as they attempt to catch fish in Shark Bite, avoid the cow pats and dirty welly boots in Gassy the Cow, and dodge the snotty sneezes to win in Snotcha. For older children and families there’s Bang On, the actionpacked team game. Players must answer questions, bang the hammer and gain extra time to win. Pandemonio, the card swapping board game, sees players racing their friends up and down the board by swapping and gaining as many cards as they can before the timer runs out. King Pong is the action ballbouncing game in which players must throw their balls into the cube, with the aim of emptying their tray before the other players to win. All Drumond Park kids’ games will benefit from increased TV support across the autumn/winter season. The company’s adult games ranges welcomes Who’s The Dude, the new double act charades game where players compete against the timer as their team guesses as many charades as possible. Participants act out songs, movies and various activities, with their trusty sidekick The Dude lending a helping hand along the way. Who’s The Dude will be supported with a comprehensive digital and social led marketing campaign, including social media advertising across Facebook and Snapchat, influencer videos with UniLad, and online advertising across a variety of online and digital platforms.
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Games & Puzzles
Smart Toys and Games 01903 885669 | www.smartgames.eu Following the success of the educational Three Little Piggies and Little Red Riding Hood games, SmartGames has released a third pre-school puzzler – Snow White. Designed to nurture logical thinking skills, as well as educating kids about the use of symbols, this game is ideal for both boys and girls. With a 3D house, seven Dwarfs, Snow White and an Evil Queen, this game can also be used as a toy, and comes with the added bonus of a picture storybook. Children can work systematically through 48 challenges of varying levels, starting with either the interior or exterior of the house. SmartGames has also introduced JumpIn’, an innovative brainteasing game. Players guide the rabbits to the safety of their burrows by manoeuvring around the board, but with great care – they can only slide the foxes, and jump over the mushrooms. What seems like a simple process soon becomes a challenge, and with bright colours and a multitude of different solutions, this original game will engage children for hours. Enjoyable and educational, the brain teaser contains 60 multilevel challenges ranging from the very easy to expert, and is an ideal introduction to planning, problem solving and logical thinking skills.
Spin Master 01628 535 000 | www.spinmastertoys.co.uk
Tomy 01271 336 155 | www.tomy.com
New for this autumn, Spin Master is bringing out a range of games based on this year’s hottest properties including Hatchimals Eggventure Game and JoJo Siwa Bust a Bow Dance Game. Available in time for Christmas, the Hatchimals Eggventure board game is an ideal gift for Hatchimals fans and features four exclusive Hatchimals characters, one of which is found within a Hatchimals Colleggtible egg. The object of the game is to travel around the Giggling Tree, hatching eggs and bringing the Hatchimals home. The first player to collect all his or her Hatchimals wins. The game comes complete with the Hatchimals figures, cards and tokens required to play the game. Encouraging physical play through dance and movement, the JoJo Siwa Bust a Bow Dance Game comes with a dance mat and mini JoJo bows that players place in their hair. The object of the game is for players to complete a dance activity without their mini bows falling off. Kids can challenge their friends and family to a dance off in this active game. Just two of the many items in its portfolio, Spin Master offers a wide range of family-friendly games, puzzles and contemporary and evergreen licensed products for game and puzzle lovers of all ages.
Tomy has expanded its popular games collection with the addition of five new releases for autumn/winter 2017. Tickle Me Feet is a pirate themed game that challenges players to win the treasure by completing tasks during the allotted time, while having their feet tickled by the other remaining players, and Phil the Fridge is a fast paced game that challenges players to get their coloured food shapes into Phil’s fridge before he decides to pop open. Despite only being released last August, Tomy’s Greedy Granny has already gained a place as one of the top new children games. Tomy will follow on its success with the launch of Fizzy Dizzy Hippo this month. Having won an award for best new game in the BHTA’s Best New Toy Awards, Fizzy Dizzy Hippo is a hilarious game sure to inspire a lot of laughter between families. Tomy has also expanded its collection of Pop Up games with the addition of two new licensed products, including Pop Up Minions in July and Pop Up BB8 in September. In addition to new releases, Tomy is also supporting its core collection to ensure strong sales over the Christmas period.
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G RA B T H E B U G S
W H E N LE O N B L I N K S S A V E T H E M OST B U G S TO W I N !
Huge Social Media PR campaign Launching September Tel: +44 (0) 1273 467625 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.zappies.com
Games & Puzzles
Ginger Fox 01242 241 765 | www.gingerfox.co.uk Ginger Fox is well known for its card games, and its latest licensed release is based on one of the nation’s best-loved TV game shows. The All Star Family Fortunes Card Game reflects the gameplay of the long-running show, inviting teams and individuals to guess the most popular answers given by the ever-unpredictable British public to a variety of entertaining and everyday questions. Cards include “Name a creature with a large mouth,” “What would you do if you were to lock yourself out of your house in your underwear?” and “Give me something that rhymes with plank.” The player to buzz in fastest and predict the survey results will be declared the Family Fortunes champion. Perfect for get-togethers with family and friends, this allinclusive game has real mass appeal, as it is suitable for up to 11 players and features 70 question cards. Ginger Fox’s brand new, innovative and exciting game Corks is suitable for up to 14 players, and is a fast and furious contest of elimination, speed, thought, coordination, and stealth. Players can awaken the competitive spirit in friends and family with this grabbing game, in which the need to clap hands on a cork comes before anything else.
IMC Toys 01904 720 908 | www.imctoys.com This autumn/winter, IMC Toys has launched three additions to its Play Fun brand - Boom Ball, Speedy Doc and Alien Vision. Players of the fast paced game Boom Ball have to use their speed and skills to catch balls fired from a cannon in different directions. The player to catch the most balls in their head net wins the game. The cannon has adjustable heights to ensure fun for all the family. In the family game Speedy Doc, players give answers to a topic decided by Speedy Doc, such as ‘name something that smells bad’, before he runs out of patience. If they fail to answer before the time is up, or they answer incorrectly, they get a zero. At the end of the game the player with the fewest zeros wins. Finally, Alien Vision allows players to save the world from an alien invasion as they don the vision goggles and activate their laser gun. Players shoot the aliens appearing in the goggles and disable the threat. Destroying the most aliens, and achieving the highest score at the end of the mission, wins the game. All IMC’s games will be supported by marketing campaigns including TV advertising running from July to December, as well as online and print support.
Brainstorm 01200 445 113 | www.brainstormltd.co.uk Brainstorm has added four new games lines to its growing product portfolio. Igloo Mania is a fun game for all the family and will be TV advertised during Q4. Players must remove blocks of ice from the igloo. A steady hand is required; if the igloo crashes down and Parker Pete loses his balance, the player who caused him to fall loses the game. Each block is numbered and the player who has used the most skill to extract the trickiest blocks wins. Big Beard Battle is a game of memory skills. Players don moustaches and flip the spinner to collect beard cards. Using their memory, players must turn over the correct colour and affix it to their beard. If an opponent spins the scissors or shaver they can nominate a player to have their beard shaved off. If a player spins the shaving foam, all players get a chance to touch one of their own cards and win that round. Dynamite Dare will have players pitting their wits against each other to diffuse the dynamite and win the gold, and in Safe Breaker, players load the safe with diamonds and gold coins before using their memory and spy skills, plus the spy ear piece, to listen to clues and crack the code. The surprise 2016 hit Addict a Ball is back for 2017 and retailers are urged to order stock in advance. All games will be TV advertised, and plans are in place for targeted Christmas coverage to drive sales.
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Games & Puzzles
Kidicraft 01282 500 899 | www.kidicraft.com Kidicraft will introduce a further ten Super 3D magic motion jigsaw puzzles in the run up to Christmas this year. There will be eight more 63-piece puzzles for children, including a Great White Shark, Twin Pandas, a Penguin family and a baby Seal from the National Geographic Kids library, in addition to a Sloth, Shark, Dart Frogs pictured with other reptiles, and safari animals posing for the camera in African Smile, all from British artist Howard Robinson. Kidicraft will also be adding two more puzzles to its 48-piece Selfie range, with Horses and Cats appearing in the new offerings. All Kidicraft Selfie puzzles have larger pieces than the company’s other puzzles and are aimed at children from three years upwards. There are now over 60 puzzles to choose from in the Kidicraft range. As well as the 48 and 63-piece puzzles there are products with 100, 150 and 500 pieces, many of which are suitable for both adults and children alike. Particularly popular with adults have been 500-piece puzzles which are based on the work of Kevin Walsh, and which feature nostalgic scenes of everything from steam engines and liners to canal boats and the seaside. All Kidicraft puzzles feature lenticular photography which give the impression of movement in every completed jigsaw. There is a floor display unit available which is designed to hold a wide range of puzzles.
Zappies 01273 467624 | www.zappies.com The Stretchy Leon game was a firm favourite with the buyers at the Nuremberg toy fair in January, and is set to be equally popular with children. In the game, players race against each other to save as many baby bugs as possible from the long tongue of Stretchy Leon the chameleon. Children must work as fast as they can, using their sticky snatchers to collect as many of the baby bugs as possible, while Stretchy Leon has his eyes shut and the music is playing. If players try to collect a bug while Stretchy Leon’s eyes are open the music will get faster, and eventually he will snap his long tongue back, eating the bugs that haven’t been saved. Each bug is numbered on the underside. The winner of the game is the player with the highest total number of points on the bugs that they managed to save. Stretchy Leon will be promoted through to the end of the year and will be available from the beginning of October.
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Games & Puzzles
Juratoys 0208 878 2133 | www.janod.com Janod Hat Box Puzzles offer kids the opportunity to travel to far-off lands as they piece together a variety of fantastical and imaginative scenes. The range is available in four different piece counts, providing puzzles that are suitable for a range of ages and abilities. The Forest, Dinosaurs, and Ocean options all feature 24 large pieces for children aged three to six years, while children aged four to seven can enjoy Birthday Party, Animal Hospital and Treasure Hunt themed puzzles with 36 pieces for a slightly increased challenge. Older children can get to grips with the range of 54 and 100 piece puzzles. Titles includes the award-winning Circus (54 pieces), Underwater World (100 pieces) and Vehicles puzzles (100 pieces), alongside the 54 piece The Princess and the Coach, and the 100 piece Dance Academy. The newest introduction to the Hat Box range is Dragons, an adventure puzzle depicting a battle between knights and dragons. All Hat Box Puzzles are presented in a hat box carry case and are made of sturdy cardboard for durability. The box has a handle attached for easy transportation, making it ideal for travel and holidays.
Eduk8 Worldwide 01434 672 336 | www.eduk8worldwide.com Eduk8 Worldwide introduces Chalk & Chuckles, a range of table top games which have few instructions and don’t require batteries. Chalk and Chuckles’ toys and games turn playtime into learning, while maintaining the balance between skills and fun. The range is inspired by the latest research and created by a team of professionals in the area of child development and product design. The range has been developed by watching how children receive and process information while playing, so when children spend hours over the games, parents are assured there’s more to it than just plain fun. The range of 20 games covers a variety of topics and subjects, and Eduk8 Worldwide has the exclusive distribution rights to this range in the UK. The company is already experiencing a lot of interest from the education sector, and is pleased to offer this range to the retail sector too.
Melissa & Doug 0800 731 0578 | www.MelissaAndDoug.com Melissa & Doug offers a range of puzzles and games for just about every age and interest. In keeping with the company’s Countless Ways to Play ethos, its games and puzzles offer kids a variety of play options. In addition to wooden puzzles with pegs, textures and sounds, giant floor and jigsaw puzzles featuring colourful details present children with problem-solving play. For family game nights, the Melissa & Doug selection includes memory boosters, games that get kids moving, classic playing cards, travel sets, and more. For ages two years and up, the Sound Puzzles feature light activated sensors that trigger songs and sounds, an engaging way to reinforce early learning concepts. Old MacDonald’s Farm Song Puzzle features easy-tograsp pegs and musical cues. Other options in the Sound Puzzle collection include puzzles that incorporate the sights and sounds of the fire station, farm, home, and school bus. Two nursery rhyme puzzles, each featuring six classic songs such as Hickory Dickory Dock, complement the collection. For another hands-on approach to learning, chunky puzzles are ideal for toddlers and preschoolers. They’re easy to handle, quick to solve, and feature colourful themed artwork. On the games front, Suspend is a balancing game which challenges participants to steady their hands as they attempt to add another piece to a dangling structure without it toppling over. Suspend Junior is also available for younger players.
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Games & Puzzles
Jumbo Games 01707 289 289 | www.jumbo.eu Wasgij continues with strong sales during its 20th anniversary year. Key to the growth this year has been the special edition Wasgij Original 27: The 20th Party Parade! 1,000-piece puzzle, which also includes a free 1,000-piece puzzle, giving both retailers and consumer added value. Jumbo’s Falcon deluxe range of premium traditional puzzles is a well-loved collection of nostalgic puzzles. Having launched 30 new puzzles to date, with a further 10 new winter-themed puzzles this month, the range offers something for everyone. For Christmas, Jumbo has a variety of games for all the family to enjoy; and with consumers looking for products that offer family time value, the company has an ideal offering. Brand new this month is the Disney Guess the Movie Game that is suitable for all ages, as the game features an array of Disney films from classics through to modern day animations – ideal for keeping everyone entertained. Jumbo also has the hilariously entertaining Emotify Game, that aims to provide endless fun for children, teens, and families – making it an ideal Christmas purchase. The game is played in two teams of up to 10 players, inspiring creativity and plenty of laughs for all involved. The Disney Cars 3 Piston Cup Race game is a fun and exciting game for young fans that features a rotating board and track, electronic Piston Cup model with sound animations and four Lightning McQueen model playing pieces. The refreshed Disney Princess Glass Slipper Game features an elegant light up glass slipper that plays charming sound effects when pressed.
Big Potato 07472 824 526 | www.bigpotato.co.uk Independent board games company Big Potato is launching three new games for summer 2017: First Dates, The Chameleon, and Colourbrain. First Dates is the official board game of the Channel 4 reality dating show. It’s an adult party game that pairs players up on a fictional dinner date and gets them to answer awkward questions. Other players on their own dates earn points by predicting the answers. To fit the restaurant theme, the questions come in the form of a starter, main course, and dessert. As players progress from starter through to dessert, questions become more controversial. First Dates does not have to be played by couples; in fact, couples might find some questions too awkward. The Chameleon is an award-winning family party game devised by legendary board game designer, Rikki Tahta. Played in a group, one person is secretly appointed the role of the Chameleon. The aim of the game is for the Chameleon to try and blend in by working out the secret word without being caught. It involves a lot of bluffing, debate, and deduction as players try to expose the Chameleon without giving away the secret word. Colourbrain is a simple family trivia game. Players split into teams, and each team is given 11 different coloured cards. A colourrelated question is called out and teams answer by placing a colour (or colours) face down on the table. The first team to do so shouts out “Colourbrain!” which gives the other teams 10 seconds to answer before the time is up. Questions range from “What colour is a baby swan?” to “What colour is Charlie Brown’s shirt?”.
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Discover our new educational card games! Our brains are 68% more active when we’re having fun. So gather around and learn something new whilst playing. Fundels Matching Numbers helps pre-school children recognize and write numbers from 1 to 10. The best thing? They won’t even notice they’re practising their skills.
Fundels Matching Numbers is the newest addition to the Fundels educational range, which already includes Writing Letters, Colours & Shapes, Drawing with Numbers and Playing with Numbers.
Promotion: Buy a Fundels premium display and receive a Fundels flashcard display for free. Enquire by sending “Fundels ToyWorld” to email@example.com or call +44 (0)12 68 51 15 22.
Games & Puzzles
Paul Lamond Games 0207 254 0100 | www.paul-lamond.com One of the new titles now available in Paul Lamond’s extensive children’s games portfolio is Silly Spaghetti. This new, fast-paced, action game will see players intently twirling their forks in an attempt to be the first to claim their spaghetti. Also available are new logic games from Think Fun; Colour Cube Sudoku, Lunar Landing, and Roller Coaster Challenge. Paul Lamond made its debut into the world of magic this year, in partnership with Britain’s Got Talent phenomenon Jamie Raven. The Jamie Raven Magic Range features four Sets: Card Magic, Magic of the Mind, Street Magic, and Sleight of Hand. Paul Lamond has also unveiled new children’s puzzles based on characters from two of the world’s most famous authors. This autumn, the company will launch four 250 piece puzzles featuring entertaining scenes from four of David Walliams’ most famous books; Gangsta Granny, The Boy in the Dress, Billionaire Boy, and Mr Stink. New to Paul Lamond’s pre-school line up this autumn will be two new puzzles featuring the villainous Highway Rat from Julia Donaldson, and Axel Scheffler children’s storybook. The new 4-in-1 Puzzle Set and 24 piece Floor Puzzle feature scenes from the rhyming classic. Highway Rat will be a key focus this Christmas, as a specially adapted version of the storybook is scheduled to be BBC’s main animation over the festive period.
Oxford Games 01865 351 007 | www.oxfordgames.co.uk Oxford Games offers a range of games designed to cater beyond the mainstream. With social deduction and bluffing games continuing to grow in popularity, Oxford Games offers two such games; Ex Libris and Flummoxed. Created by Leslie Scott, the inventor of Jenga, these two board games are set to bring something different to the sector. Ex Libris; the game of first lines and last words, is perfect for book lovers. It’s a social bluffing game that challenges literary acumen and tests writing skills as players compete to write fake, but plausible opening or closing lines of genuine books. Players have the choice of one hundred different handpicked authors from Charles Dickens to Harold Robbins, from Jane Austen to Barbara Cartland. Ex Libris is suitable for four or more players and older children and is available now. Also available is Flummoxed; the foreign language bluffer’s game, that sees players compete to convince each other that their definition of a foreign language word is the right one. Perfect for budding linguists, the game features 120 different languages, from Afrikaans to Arabic, Polish to Pali and Chinese to Chamorro. Players are read background notes on the language before hearing the word they have to define, and then try to flummox other players into believing their definition is the correct one. Flummoxed is suitable for three or more players and older children and is available now.
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Games & Puzzles
Hape 0845 6000 286 | www.marbel.co.uk Hape’s George Luck is recognised for its extensive range of multi-layer wooden puzzles, which improve children’s dexterity skills and shape recognition, as well as their hand-eye coordination. Children can enjoy Hape George Luck Five Cats, which depicts five colourful cats curled up in readiness for a nap. This puzzle comes with six pieces. Arctic Animals is a two-layer puzzle that introduces children to a range of animals from the frozen North, including Polar Bears, a Walrus, and a Whale. This puzzle comes with 34 pieces. For something on the wilder side, kids can enjoy the African Animals puzzle. This 39 piece multi-layer puzzle will encourage kids to discover all the animals contained within, including a giraffe, elephant, and snake.
Usborne 01865 883731 | www.usborne.com Children’s publisher Usborne has branched out into the world of jigsaws, launching an exciting new range of book and jigsaw sets in 2017. Ideal for pre-school children, the Usborne Jigsaw and Picture Book range features a variety of classic fairytales including Cinderella (winner in the Right Start Best Toy Awards 2017), Little Red Riding Hood, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with The Snow Queen and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas coming in October 2017. Each boxed set features a 30-piece jigsaw puzzle, with large pieces that are suitable for little hands, and a beautifully illustrated paperback book, making these an ideal gift choice this Christmas. For slightly older children, there is the Usborne Jigsaw and Picture Puzzle Book range, including the titles Dinosaurs and Under the Sea. Each boxed set contains a 100-piece jigsaw and an entertaining picture puzzle book, both of which are packed with things to spot, match, count, and talk about. The Usborne Atlas and Jigsaw range is launching in November with The World, a 300-piece jigsaw map of the world and a fascinating picture atlas in which kids can explore each continent in more detail. The second title in the series, Great Britain and Ireland, is coming in January 2018. All Usborne book and jigsaw sets come in a sturdy, luxury box and are priced competitively.
Winning Moves 0207 298 9507 | www.winningmoves.co.uk Winning Moves UK is set to launch Retro Top Trumps packs this September, reviving six of the most requested packs, which include: Fantasy, Horror Pack 1, Horror Pack 2, Exotic Sports Cars, Crazy Cars, and Today’s Strikers. The revived titles will showcase all the original artwork and are presented in a newly designed cassette style case. Displayed in a Retro CDU, these vintage packs will transport players back to yesteryear. The Top Trumps range is also expanding in 2017 with many more hot licences being introduced, including Yo-Kai Watch, Cars 3, and Spiderman. Also available will be the new Despicable Me 3 pack, which contains all the favourite characters from the Despicable Me franchise. Players can also discover the stars of Shopville in the brand new Top Trumps pack featuring Shopkins from all eight seasons. Also available will be premium Top Trumps packs, which will showcase special finished cases including metallic and flocked. As well as Top Trumps, Winning Moves owns or distributes a range of classic game brands such as Regional Monopoly, Waddington’s Number One Playing Cards, PIT, Bananagrams, and Pass the Pigs. The company is also the exclusive licensee in Europe, Middle East, Australia, and Africa for limited editions of Hasbro games including Monopoly, Cluedo, Risk, and Twister.
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Games & Puzzles
Trefl 07850 779 797 | www.trefl.com Combining educational features with the joy of play, Treflâ€™s licensed range of puzzles includes the 4-in-1 Super Wings puzzle set, which features 35, 48, 54 and 70 piece puzzles with scenes of the characters, and the 30 piece Super Wings puzzle, suitable for younger children. Trefl SA is the Polish market leader in jigsaw puzzles and board games, and a major European manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles.
Learning Resources 01553 819 380 | www.learningresources.co.uk Jolly Rogerâ€™s Pirate Pieces from Learning Resources is a hands-on board game that takes players on a voyage for hidden treasure whilst practising fractions. It is designed for ages six and above, and players collect treasure pieces to fill all of the spaces on their corner of the illustrated board. Each piece represents a whole, half, third, or quarter and displays the written fraction on the reverse. Players spin the spinner to select their next piece but need watch out for Jolly Roger the pirate. Advanced play options support progression by encouraging players to convert fractions into decimals and percentages.
DKL Marketing 01604 678 780 | www.dkl.co.uk DKL distributes a collection of games and puzzles for a variety of age groups. The Scratch range includes Magnetic Darts, reversible hanging dartboards packaged in tubes, designed for ages five years and up and fun for all the family. This range offers the Magnetic Darts FSDU which holds both the small and large sized darts-tubes for effective merchandising. Retailers are urged to look out for the Sea-themed Button Puzzle, and the Classic Fishing Game which is packaged in a quirky fishshaped box. DKL supports all its ranges with a full marketing campaign, including bespoke planograms, social media and PR activity.
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Games & Puzzles
John Adams 01480 414 361 | www.johnadams.co.uk John Adams Leisure is further expanding its established games portfolio in 2017 with a host of new lines. Joining the range of kids’ action games is Mr Bucket. Players pick a colour and race to be the first to scoop up all the balls of their colour as Mr Bucket moves around the floor. Children catch the balls and get them back into Mr Bucket before he can shoot them out again. The first person to complete the task and pick up Mr Bucket by his handle wins the game. Also joining the action games portfolio this year is Giggle Wiggle. Players press Giggle Wiggle’s button to watch him start dancing to the samba music. Then they race to be the first to stack all of their coloured balls on Giggle Wiggle’s hands as he twists and turns around. Don’t be a Donkey is a fast-paced action game, where players wear their donkey headbands and pass the cards until they get a full house. At this point they shout “donkey!” and grab a carrot. The last person to react must lift up one of the donkey ears on their headband. If a player misses out three times they must wear the donkey mask and they lose the game. A new take on the retro classic, Tetris Dual brings the iconic video game to the table top. Featuring two games, players go head to head in a strategic battle and race against the clock to create rows. The electronic unit keeps score until a winner is declared. A new challenge for the youngest Rubik’s fans, Rubik’s Junior is Rubik’s in animal form. Available as bear, bunny, kitten, and puppy characters, children can twist and turn the animals to create mixed-up characters, then keep twisting until they solve the puzzle and turn them back to their normal state. The award-winning Doggie Doo also has a brand-new look for 2017, now featuring a new dog and improved food. Joining the Rummikub family of games, Rummikub Twist adds an extra twist to the classic game. Three new jokers, Colour Change, Mirror, and Double add more strategy, fun, challenge, and pace to gameplay. The new addition sits alongside Rummikub Classic, Travel and Prime, and Word versions.
KD UK 01727 827 194 | www.kdplanet.com/uk KD UK is entering the games category with three new entertaining games. Balloon Bot Battle is an action-packed, balloon-bursting game where players pop balloons in fights and challenges. Players aim to avoid their balloon bot being popped by battling it out to be the last one standing. Trumping Trudy is full of suspense, flies and funny sounds. Each player takes turns spinning the selector to see whether they have to lift Trudy’s tail, challenge another player, or perform another action. If Trudy laughs or moos when her tail is raised then the player is safe, but if Trudy trumps, then they must take one fly. When there are no more flies on the table, the player with the fewest number of flies wins the game. Balloon Bot Battle and Trumping Trudy will be supported with their own marketing campaign across TV, Digital, Social and PR. The TV campaign offers over five opportunities to see for families and children throughout the October to December activity. Also available in the KD Games portfolio is family friendly board game Lynx. A game of sharp eyesight and quick reactions, players aim to be the first to spot images on the board and gather as many pieces as possible to win the game. In addition, the game comes with a free app to expand the game experience and play in an interactive way. The board game includes 401 pieces, 18 colour cards, a box and instructions.
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Cartamundi 01268 511 522 | www.fundels.com Cartamundi’s educational range Fundels teaches children new skills by learning through play. Research shows that brains are 68% active when having fun, and playing games is the perfect opportunity to learn something new. With Fundels, children do not even notice they’re developing new skills. They can draw a monkey by using only numbers, or build a world of cards that consists of the craziest colours and shapes. Fundels teaches children how to write their first words, with mum and dad by their side. Matching Numbers is the fourth addition to the Play&Learn games range, helping pre-school children with ranking, recognising, and writing numbers from 1 to 10. The Fundels range holds three categories, each easily recognisable by colour: mathematics (red), language (green) and conceptual thinking (blue). Previous launches includes Writing Letters, Colours & Shapes, Drawing with Numbers, and Playing with Numbers. Fundels also offers FlashCards games. Children can quickly and easily practise counting with the game Multiplications, tackle language with Learning English, and get creative with Learn to Draw. All Fundels games use the Dyslexie Font, so everyone can effortlessly read and understand the rules. The games are aligned with the UK national curriculum, so kids can benefit in the classroom from the fun they’re having at home. Packaging design features bold colours which stand out and the take-anywhere plastic box fits both little and adult hands, and makes the products easily portable.
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For more information and a copy of our latest catalogue please contact email@example.com or call 02392 524098
Games & Puzzles
Green Board Games 01494 538 999 | www.greenboardgames.com The current offering from Green Board Games includes a wide range of games which aim to help families play together and learn together. From the colourful range of pre-school toys and games from FatBrain Toys, Green Board Games offers Peek-A-Doodle-Doo, a chicken and egg game. Children who want to test their building skills can do so in Neck of the Woods, where they build a giraffe tall enough to reach the point scoring leaf cards. As well as the existing 40+ titles, the ever popular and growing BrainBox range now includes a Peppa Pig licence and a collaboration with Marvin’s Magic, bringing together classic BrainBox game play with the facts, figures, tricks, and intrigue of the celebrated magic brand. Perfect for a quiet day at home, where players might want to relax the body but give the brain some exercise, Green Board Games offers the challenge of wooden strategy games from Gigamic, such as Quarto, Quoridor, and the well-known Katamino.
Cheatwell Games 02392 524098 | www.cheatwell.com Cheatwell Games has a reputation for easy to learn, out of the box family games, and a raft of new titles joins its tried and tested range in 2017. The much-acclaimed round tin games were launched at Toy Fair earlier this year. The three fun titles are all simple to learn, with no complicated rules but plenty to keep children’s brains buzzing as they try to find missing animals in Silly Safari, learn to talk like a Caveman, or collect sets of cards to Lift Off. Back by popular demand is Topix, the rapid recall race, where players need to think outside the box as only unique answers count. Joining Topix in this new format is Host Your Own Quiz, which is packed with all the features expected from Cheatwell Games’ great value family games. Three new trivia games are available in time for Christmas. The Quizmaster Range of themed quizzes are a double challenge, as it’s not just what you know it’s what you roll that will help players to win. The build-your-own puzzle range has a new addition, the Supermarine Spitfire. This puzzle needs no tools or glue to assemble and is a great gift for model fans and plane enthusiasts alike. Traditional dexterity and reasoning puzzles are also available, including The Great Zucchini range, starting with chunky metal puzzles, up to elaborate wooden logic problems. A new range of pick up puzzles and trivia completes the range.
Binca 01494 372 130 | www.fletter.in A trio of Binca games will hit the market this autumn. The Binca games portfolio includes Fletter, a fast paced word game for all the family that is sure to test even the quickest thinkers. Being pocket sized, Fletter can be played on the go with a minimum of two players. Fletter is ideal for family road trips, weekend breaks or catching up with friends, and also makes a great impulse purchase. Simple to pick up and play right out of the box, Fletter offers quick play options. For the seasoned gamer, Binca has created The Dirty Squad. Dirty Squad is a bluffing game and offers something different based on gritty crime themes. Easy to pick up, and playable within 30 minutes, fans of bluffing and strategy games will enjoy the dark Dirty Squad, a new take on table top gaming suitable for three to five players. To complete the innovative trio of games launching this autumn, the Binca team has created Spill, a party-starting drinking game for over 18s. Each Binca game comes with innovative packaging resonant to the theme, helping them stand out in a display setting and offering strong gifting options.
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Games & Puzzles
Ravensburger 01869 363 830 | www.ravensburger.com Ravensburger’s games and puzzles portfolio includes both children’s and family games, plus 3D puzzles. Two 3D action games, Funny Bunny and Penguin Pile Up, are relaunched this autumn. In Funny Bunny, players compete to be the first to get to the juicy carrot at the top of the hill. Every step a player’s rabbit takes gets them closer to the carrot, but if the player draws a carrot card they can be flipped, knocked or dropped out of the game. Disney Eye Found It!, is a hidden picture game in which everyone can take part thanks to the 6’ long game board. Players can join Mickey Mouse and friends on a race through 12 different Disney realms, searching for over 1000 hidden iconic Disney objects along the way. Players must race to Cinderella’s castle at the end of the board before the hands of the clock reach midnight. Hot on the heels of the award-winning Bugs in the Kitchen is the newly launched Buggaloop, a game where the Hexbug NanoV2 scuttles up and down 3D loops, emerging when players least expect it. Award-winning Scotland Yard and Labyrinth continue to perform well and are popular with families wanting traditional yet clever game play for all ages. The company’s 3D Puzzle range includes the American Flag Sneaker, an assortment of Despicable Me 3 Minions puzzles, Vanity Boxes and Pencil Pots, and the classic puzzleballs. The buildings offering features Big Ben, the Empire State Building, and the Eiffel Tower, amongst others. Ravensburger’s games and puzzles are supported by an extensive TV advertising campaign.
Puzzles and Play 01354 669 733 | www.puzzlesandplay.co.uk King International has a large collection of jigsaw puzzles featuring well-known licences including Frozen, Toy Story, The Lion King, Disney Princesses, Nemo, as well as all the classic Disney characters. Other ranges include Strawberry Shortcake and Bubble Guppies. Older children and adults are catered for with high quality 1000-piece puzzles with images of racing cars, animals, and landscapes. A humorous collection of comic cartoon style puzzles completes the collection with images based on the cities of the world. The Heye range not only brings humour and cartoons to the puzzle market but also images from renowned international artists, with some amazing pop art and more unique titles. Products include Audrey Hepburn, pop-art cycle images, and wildlife and landscape panoramas. A new introduction to the range is the Puzzle Pad which is a jigsaw roll large enough for puzzles with up to 2000 pieces. Measuring 147 x 75 cm and secured with three sturdy straps, this is a must have accessory for all puzzle fans. Eurographics is a vast range of jigsaw puzzles from Canada, aimed at both children and adults. Its range includes 100, 300, 500, 1000, and 2000 piece jigsaws and subjects include animals, landscapes, space, natural history, and food subjects such as cupcakes, sweets, and biscuits. It is currently expanding its range of smaller 100 piece puzzles (18 x 23cm jigsaw) which come in an 11 x 11cm box and retail at pocket money prices. Of particular interest for Q4 are the new Christmas themed puzzles. Creative Educational Aids has been producing educational fun games for developing minds for the past 25 years. Its catalogue includes a library of games for early years, pre-school years, school age, and games for the whole family to play and enjoy together. Each game is aimed at developing a key area of development; such as literacy, numeracy, science, etc, combining fun and learning with games and activities. Particular highlights are the game gift packs. Each of the three gift packs contains a mix of books, puzzles, board games, colouring books, and much more.
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Usborne for toyshops · books · jigsaws · toys · gis ·
Jigsaw and book boxed sets, RRP £9.99 inc VAT
30 PIECES Cinderella, 9781474929042 Also in the series: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 9781474929059 (Out now) Little Red Riding Hood, 9781474937597 (Out in September) The Snow Queen, 9781474940597 (Out in October) ’Twas the night before Christmas, 9781474937603 (Out in October)
300 PIECES The World, 9781474937610 (Out in November)
Dinosaurs, 9781474940177 Also in the series: Under the Sea, 9781474927925 (Out now)
Contact your Usborne Territory Manager via www.usborne.com/uksales Toyworld_HalfPage_Jigsaw and Puzzle.indd 1
Games & Puzzles
Gibsons 020 8661 8866 | www.gibsonsgames.co.uk Gibsons’ new additions include ten traditional puzzles published on thick, 100% recycled board. The 1000 piece Edinburgh - Vennel Street is the last Gibsons puzzle that Terry Harrison painted before he passed away in June 2017. Also joining the range is the Christmas Limited Edition puzzle Wrapped Up For Christmas.
GP Flair 0208 643 0320 | www.flairplc.co.uk Rat Trap, the suspense filled action game, puts players’ nerves to the test. The aim of Rat Trap is to steal the cheese from the rat trap. Designed like a real trap, the game takes suspense to a whole new level as players race to steal as much cheese as possible before they get caught. The objective is to end the game with more slices than your opponent. With 30 cheese cards included, Rat Trap has an ideal game duration and children can play on their own or with their friends.
Bertoy 07748 150 906 | www.bertoy.com For this autumn, Bertoy is putting all its focus on the new additions to the Crocodile Creek puzzle range. Following the continuous success and stunning designs of its ranges, Bertoy is pleased to announce a range of new puzzles. The new Fall Puzzle range includes the 24-piece Mini Double Fun Puzzle, the 100-piece Canister Puzzle, and The Animal Memories Game. Following the on-going success of the 36-piece category, Bertoy is also launching a new design called Bears and Friends, which comes in attractive shaped retail packaging.
Accentuate 01420 593 593 | www.accentuategames.com In Accentuate, players pick one of 90 different quotes from famous movies, then read it aloud in a randomly selected accent. Team-mates have thirty seconds to guess the accent, and can also earn points by identifying the movie and year of release. The game is compatible with the Film Quotes Expansion Pack.
Thames & Kosmos 01580 212 000 | www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk Thames & Kosmos UK is adding three more games to its Exit: The Game range – The Forgotten Island, The Polar Station, and The Forbidden Castle. In each Exit Game, the team starts out locked in a room and together players must solve a series of riddles and puzzles in order to unlock doors and reveal new riddles. Each correct solution brings players to another riddle and eventually to freedom. Players must solve all of the puzzles as fast as possible – the faster the team escapes the room and the fewer hints they use on the way, the more points they earn.
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