Monday, March 24, 2014

New Arrivals: 3/22

Back this week are Betrayal at House on the Hill and Alien Frontiers! Betrayal is a popular semi-cooperative horror game with multiple scenarios, where players roll to see what horrible fate awaits them. Alien Frontiers is a dice-based worker placement game where players are colonizing space.

Smash Up has a new expansion! Science Fiction Double Feature includes new factions with new abilities that can be mixed into the base game or played as a stand-alone two-player game. The four new groups are Time Travelers, Cyborg Apes, Super Spies, and Shapeshifters.

By popular demand, we now have magic trick sets. There is a Discovery Set for six and up, and a Deluxe Set for 8 and up. You can learn to vanish coins, transform objects, and read minds! The kits come in wooden boxes that can be used to set the stage for a show, and since the tricks in the two sets are different, you can combine them for even more ways to impress your friends.
We have several new games this week from the creators of Set. Set Junior and Quiddler Junior are both simpler versions of the original games, so younger kids can join in on the fun! Also in this week is Karma, a new game by the creators of Five Crowns. Each turn play a card of equal or higher value to avoid picking up the entire discard pile. Move through your cards faster by playing doubles or triples. Karma cards can get you out of a jam, but be careful because What Goes Around...Comes Around! The last player with cards loses the game.

We also have tons of new puzzles available, including mini puzzles for toddlers, 3D Crystal Puzzles for more skilled solvers, and even a 500 piece map of the DC Metro!

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 3/11/14 to 3/17/14

by Becky "Colorful Shapes" Topol

Totally Gross has been a very popular game for burgeoning young scientists, or for anyone who loves all things icky, creepy, and gross! Now, the smaller Totally Gross Game Tin makes the disgusting yet educational game perfect for travel! With questions about chemistry, biology, zoology, and more, the game challenges players to answer questions as well as take part in revolting science activities and experiments. Can you milk a snake? Are bullfrogs cannibals? What is snot made of? Answering questions like these will help you move around the board and be the first to earn ten points. Totally Gross Game Tin helps scientists of all ages learn about the world while totally grossing each other out!

Brain Quest has put out two exciting new games. Brain Quest Silly Sentence Word Fun helps players learn the different parts of speech by challenging them to build crazy sentences. A spinner determines whether the player has to use a noun, proper noun, verb, or adjective. “Wild” means they can draw a card from any pile, and if the card is blank, the player can write in their own word! The last player to draw a card gets to read out the goofy, Mad Libs-style sentences that everyone has created. Silly Sentence Word Fun teaches sentence structure and parts of speech, all while letting kids be as goofy as they want to be! The other new game Brain Quest Smart Game tin is full of challenges tailored to specific grade levels. Players answer questions about science, arts, math, reading, and The World, and earn letter tokens as a reward. The first player to spell SMART is the winner!

Sunny Day Pond is a new cooperative game by Peaceable Kingdom. Three animals - Duck, Fish, and Frog - are trying to have a fun day at the pond, but the rain could start at any moment and ruin the party! Players must help each other to build the three animal puzzles before the rainstorm begins. A spinner determines which puzzle the active player can add to, whether they can choose any puzzle piece they like, or if a raindrop falls from the sky. Players help each other choose the right pieces and assemble the puzzles, and everyone gets to make animal noises! If you can put together all three puzzles before the six raindrops come down, everybody wins at Sunny Day Pond!

Mad City is a tile-laying game where it’s up to you to plan and build a city! Race against other planners to arrange your city tiles into Residential, Urban, and Industrial zones.The scoring system allows you to decide whether you focus on a certain type of zone or diversify your city, but be quick about using all the tiles in your hand! You may boast about certain parts of your city, such as your roads or communities, and if yours truly are the best, you’ll get bonus points for your parks and ponds. On the other hand, if someone has done a better job than you, they’ll snag the extra points instead! Be careful what you brag about, and move quickly to beat your opponents, or play solo against The Grid to become the most efficient city planner in Mad City.

Buzzword and Buzzword Junior are classic party games where two teams compete to find the winning words! On your team’s turn, one team member chooses a card and reads the “buzzword” from the top corner. Your team then has 45 seconds to solve the ten clues, where each answer is a word or phrase that contains the buzzword. For example, if the buzzword is “Tooth”, a clue might be “A bristled tool used for cleaning”, with the answer being “Toothbrush”. Don’t take too long on any one clue though; the opposite team will be keeping track of every clue you miss, and making sure you don’t get more than 45 seconds to think! With easy, medium, and hard clues on each card, Buzzword and Buzzword Junior are sure to get any party buzzing!

If you and your friends want a little less logic in your game, you need to try We Didn’t Playtest This Pasted-On Theme at All! The newest addition to the We Didn’t Playtest This family, Pasted-On Theme can stand alone or be combined with any other games in the series. This game contains every theme you could want, though of course they have little or nothing to do with the actual gameplay. Zombies, Time Travel, Elves, Spaceships, Baked Goods - this game has the perfect theme for everyone! As with every game in the series you’re just trying to win before your opponents can. However, Pasted-On Theme gives you a new way to claim victory: Thematic Conclusion cards! If your Thematic Conclusion is met, you win! For 30 seconds to five minutes of thematic chaos, We Didn’t Playtest This Pasted-On Theme at All! is a rush of hazards, surprises, and sudden switches!

Safari Hide & Seek is just the thing for kids who love animals and puzzles! The game board displays herds of elephants, rhinos, zebra, antelope, and a pride of lions, and comes with a challenge book and four puzzle pieces of different shapes. Each of the 48 challenges tests your spatial abilities by asking you to lay the puzzle pieces on the board such that only a certain set of animals remains visible. The pieces fit on the board in hundreds of different ways, but each challenge has only one solution! Hide some animals and let the others roam free with Safari Hide & Seek!

The makers of the popular Timeline series have added two new games to their lineup! Timeline: Music and Cinema is the latest addition to the Timeline family, with 110 cards featuring significant events in the history of the arts. Each card features an artistic achievement such as a movie, song, ballet, or opera, and you must try to correctly add your cards into the timeline one by one. The back side of each card features the year in which the piece was premiered, so once you make your decision, flip the card to see if you were right! If so, you’re one step closer to winning, and if not, you must draw a new card. It’s easy to learn, but addictive and surprisingly challenging to play! As with its predecessors, Timeline: Music and Cinema can be combined with any other games in the Timeline series for a bigger challenge!

Released by the same designers, Cardline: Globetrotters, is played similarly to Timeline in that you begin with a hand of cards, and win when you can correctly place them all into the line in order. However in this version of the game, each card features a country, and the back of each tells you that nation’s size, population, GDP, and pollution level. At the beginning of the game, players agree on one trait to focus on. One card is revealed to begin the tableau, and players then take turns trying to place their cards in order. Is France bigger than the Seychelles Islands? Does Guatemala have a bigger population than Russia? With so many countries and traits to compare, Cardline: Globetrotters will never be the same twice!

If you’re looking to change up your gaming experience, why not try some new dice? We got a bunch of crazy new models this week that you’ll have to see to believe. Jumbo translucent d20s, nested dice that allow you to roll two d12 in one throw, big foam dice, HUGE foam dice, spherical dice (yes, really), and itty-bitty d6’s that would look at home decorating a cupcake are just some of the crazy new models we’ve received! We also have cool new educational dice that help teach fractions, geography, money, math and spelling!

Once again, we got a crop of cool new puzzles this week! The Collide-o-Cube consists of eight cubes, all of which appear identical on the surface. However, each one is packed full of magnets which will repel and attract in unexpected ways. Your task is to match one of the 28 patterns provided, so try to make the magnets click if you can! Geobrix is a set of 13 brightly-colored geometric shapes that fit together in innumerable ways. Take them out of their tray and try to fit them back together in one of the 18 different solutions, use them to build 20 different 3-D objects, or try to use them to construct a cube for the ultimate challenge! Roundominoes is a beautiful brainteaser comprised of curved, colorful shapes. The laser-cut acrylic pieces can be used to play three different games for up to two players, or you can use them to make dazzling free-form patterns!

Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Buzzword Junior, Mad City, Sunny Day Pond, Noodle Speedoodle, Concept, Safari Hide & Seek

Friday, March 7, 2014

New Arrivals This Week 3/4/14 to 3/10/14

by Becky "Made Entirely of Gears" Topol

Concept is a unique game of communication and interpretation. One team draws a card and chooses a word or phrase, which they must then get other players to guess. The only way to communicate is via a board covered with various universal icons. By placing markers on these icons, the active team must try to get the other players to guess their word. Trying to communicate the title of the movie Titanic? Maybe you’d place your Main Concept marker on the movie icon, and another on the boat icon.  A subcategory about the character Jack Dawson could use markers on the icons for man, wet, cold, and dead. Rose could be described with woman, money, love, and sad. With over 900 topics to describe, and more than 100 images, symbols, shapes, and colors to choose from, Concept is a mind-bending game where the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts!

Lancaster is a Euro-style worker placement game where the outcome of the Hundred Years’ War is in your hands. Young King Henry V has ambitious plans to unite England and conquer France, but he will need the support of noble families to realize his plans. Proving yourself a loyal and useful ally to the king has many benefits, but is no simple task. You must cleverly deploy your knights to defeat not only the French, but the other English lords who hope to steal glory away from you! In the English counties knights compete for the valuable favors of nobles; in your castle they earn you money; and in France they must combine their powers with your opponents’ knights to battle the French. New rules may be voted into effect which benefit some players, thereby rewarding their strategies while also making them a target. With beautiful high-quality components, Lancaster challenges you to gain power, even of you have to destroy everyone in your path.

In Continental Express, players are train station managers competing for train cars in the hope of completing their own secret goals. Based on hidden contracts, players try to collect groups of icons based on certain criteria. The game is based on set collection and card drafting, with the ever-present temptation to take more cards for a higher price. Characters give you special actions you may take, such as grabbing a company token of your choice, or stealing all the money from any player. Since completed objectives as well as money count for points at the end of the game, you have to play it smart in Continental Express!  

The Builders: Middle Ages is a small, card-based worker placement game where players must juggle workers and resources in order to complete buildings and machinery. Buildings are chosen from a central pool, with each building card telling you what resources you must pay to complete it. Workers are necessary to complete these structures and earn you points, but they certainly won’t work for free. Machines, once completed, act like specialized workers but don’t need to be paid! Easy to learn and quick to play, The Builders: Middle Ages is a compact game of fast fun!

Mayhem is a family word game that lives up to its name. You begin with a simple board scattered with letter tokens, then a category card is drawn and the race is on! For whatever category is chosen, players try to blurt out as many words in that category as possible, while snatching the first letters of those words off the board. Not every letter of the alphabet may be present, so you have to be smart as well as quick! The word “carrot” won’t do you any good in the “Vegetable” category if the letter C isn’t on the board, but if it’s there you get the point as long as you can grab it first. After ten rounds, the player with the most tokens wins, so get your vocabulary ready and you may become the master of Mayhem!

Flip Flops is a frantic game of Hawaiian-themed chaos! After being dealt a hand of five cards, players race to collect sets where nothing matches. The cards are covered in bright swim trunks, surf boards, sunglasses, and flip-flops, in groups of various sizes. You must scramble to make groups of two to four cards where each features a different object as well as a different number of objects. Once a group has been made, you can lay it out on the table, but be careful! Your opponents can steal cards that are out in the open in order to make sets of their own!

We also got a on of great new mechanical puzzles this week! Pyraminx is very similar to the traditional Rubik’s Cube, only pyramid-shaped for a whole new challenge! Another cousin of the Rubik’s Cube is Meffert’s Gear Ball. Your goal is to get each side of this rounded cube to be one color, but the whole puzzle is made up of interlocking gears which move and interact in complex, changing ways. The Gear Ball looks, feels, and sounds extremely cool, and poses a fascinating new challenge.

The Brainstring R is another interesting new puzzle of twists and turns. Roughly spherical in shape, the Brainstring R contains four brightly-colored elastic strings which can be seen through the ball’s clear panels. Twist the interlocking sections of the outer shell, and the strings inside tangle into a knot, which you must now solve! It sounds simple, but the Brainstring R is difficult and addictive!

And finally, we’ve received Cubebot! Inspired by Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, Cubebot is a small wooden puzzle toy in the shape of a robot. With strong elastic “muscles”, Cubebot is endlessly poseable, though the real challenge of Cubebot is folding it into a cube! Available in a rainbow of bright colors, Cubebot is the perfect companion any time you need a pocket-size puzzle to play with!
Added to our Game Demo Library this Week: Meffert’s Gear Ball, Brainstring R, Cubebot, Jamaica, Move & Groove