March 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 3
TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Games
It's Not All Fun and Games … It's Educational, Too!
With additional reporting by Sheila Coyle, Virginia Davis, Ingrid Floyd, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Christine Lebednik and Brenda Ruggiero
Most of the 63 specialty retailers recently surveyed by TDmonthly Magazine said their best-selling games are those that are educational, requiring players to hone their thinking and strategy skills. Bananagrams by Bananagrams is the most popular game, with more than 17 percent of retailers citing it as their best seller. Other games fast sellers include Blokus Trigon by Educational Insights, Apples to Apples by Out of the Box Publishing, Ruckus by Funstreet and Zingo! by ThinkFun.
Here are the top-10 games:
The fast-moving word game consists of 144 ivory-like letter tiles in a zippered banana pouch. Players place the tiles face down on the table and randomly select 21 tiles. They turn their letters right-side up simultaneously and proceed to form as many intersecting and interconnecting words as possible, rearranging their own letters as many times as desired throughout the game. Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2007; 2009 TOTY Game of the YEAR, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal; 2007 iParenting; 2007 Parents' Choice Recommended; 2007 Dr. Toy Best Products. (Read Review)
— This product has been making the TDmonthly Best-sellers lists since 2007.
— As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 456 reviews on Amazon.com.
— Eight of 66 retailers vouched for its best-selling status in May 2008; seven of 63 did in Sept. 2008. Shani Watmough of Planet Toys in Rockland, Maine, said her store sells 60 per month. Fifteen of 38 named it a top-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— As of April 5, 2010, Bananagrams had spent 570 days in the top-100 best-selling toys and games on Amazon.com.
— According to owner Brett Sommer of Figpickels Toy Emporium in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, “It was the 2009 game of the year. The brilliant packaging definitely helps this product."
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 8301 (added 6/19/2006)
The next in the series of the international best-seller Blokus. Designed for two to four players, it was launched in 2006. THIS PRODUCT IS NO LONGER DISTRIBUTED BY EDUCATIONAL INSIGHTS. 12/4/08.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7199 (added 3/10/2006)
Apples-to-Apples Party Crate by OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
Other products from OUT OF THE BOX PUBLISHING
This popular card game now comes in a solid wooden storage crate to be preserved for generations. It’s designed for 4 to 10 players, comes with 756 Red Apple Cards, 252 Green Apple Cards and two Deluxe Card Trays. Kids and adults can have fun by making outrageous comparisons that go beyond just “apples-to-apples.” Matt Mariani, director of marketing for Out of the Box Publishing, told TDmonthly, “It takes only 30 seconds to learn. A complete game takes less than 30 minutes to finish. The conversations around the table while playing the game are the focus.” Launch date: 2006.
— "Apples-to-Apples by Out of the Box: just got more in because people still want it, even after the holidays," said Karen Williams-Fox, owner of Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier, Vt. Five of 31 retailers said the game was one of their best sellers for Christmas 2006.
— “The word is out about this game for adults as well as kids,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass., told TDmonthly in summer 2007. “We carry all the versions. It’s so much fun ... a must at our family reunions!”
— An Apples-to-Apples sale a day helps keep the bill collector at bay, retailers have told TDmonthly (in so many words) bushels of times, and so it’s been honored with a TDmonthly Top Seller 2007 award.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9733 (added 10/23/2006)
Players try to fill their Zingo! cards with matching tiles from the Zingo Zinger. The first player to fill his or her card wins. Rules can be adjusted to favor more or less competition among players, and to vary the length of time each game requires. This game was a 2007 T.O.T.Y. Nominee for Specialty Toy of the Year. "It teaches memory, matching, vocabulary and social interaction skills. Kids have so much fun playing again and again; they don’t realize they’re learning essential thinking skills," Marketing Communications Manager Emily Peters of Thinkfun told TDmonthly.
— “Customers use this game as their ‘standard’ party gift,” Owner Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP’s Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass. told TDmonthly in summer 2007.
— “We sell out as soon as they come in,” added Pam Horwitz, manager of Mr. Toad’s Toy Company in Naples, Fla. Four of 63 retailers singled out Zingo! as the hottest-selling game in their store. Seven percent of 56 retailers listed Zingo as a top-selling game in January 2009. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010.
— “Zingo is a great game for 4- to 5-year olds,” Jamie Burdette, owner of LB Toys in Media, Pa., told TDmonthly about this game — a top seller in his store — in April 2008. “The basic Bingo concept starts to introduce words and spelling.”
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3529 (added 5/10/2005)
Players try to get four wooden columns in a row. The pieces can be moved after they’ve been initially played on the grid.
— Kathie Dockstader, buyer for Top Ten Toys in Seattle, said, "people like it because it´s visually stunning … it adds an element. It makes you want to play." Jude LaRene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, recommended this for Christmas because: “It’s still a game many don't have yet and everyone loves.”
— “Customers are looking for word games; I call them logical-thinking games. [Games] such as Gobblet by Blue Orange,” Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas, told TDmonthly.
— Two of 44 retailers named Gobblet as one of their absolute best sellers in late fall 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3950 (added 7/15/2005)
ColorKu is a high-quality wooden board game based on the popular Sudoku puzzles. It uses 81 wooden marbles in nine distinctive colors placed on a 9" x 9" wooden grid to solve puzzles. The board is solid wood and 13½" x 13½". The game comes with 104 puzzle cards, but it can be used to solve any Sudoku puzzle.
— “We had people ask for a new colorized Sudoku called ColorKu,” Mike Castor, owner of Pentwater Toy Box in Pentwater, Mich., reported to TDmonthly. “We were able to find the manufacturer in the next county, got a hold of him in Grand Rapids and got a shipment in 48 hours. We sold a bunch.”
— “We believe ColorKu is the best Sudoku product on the market. Players can solve puzzles individually or in groups, and it can be made competitive by setting up the same game on two or more boards,” said Mark Asperheim, president of Mad Cave Bird Games. “It’s also a beautiful piece that looks great on a coffee table!”
— Three of 63 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly named ColorKu as one of their top selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7323 (added 3/27/2006)
LCR® Left Center Right™ Dice Game by GEORGE & COMPANY LLC
Other products from GEORGE & COMPANY LLC
This addictive, fast-paced dice game is as simple as looking left, center and right. The roll of the dice determines which players to the left, right or center get the chips, and the player with the chips at the end wins the game. It's simple, fun and even educational for growing minds. L-C-R comes with a storage tube, three dice, 24 playing chips and game instructions printed on the back of the packaging. Yellow, red, blue and green chips are available. The game is designed for three or more players. "L-C-R is fun for kids and adults. It's fast-paced with its own twist. Even teachers like to use it to teach educational concepts such as sense of direction," said Jill Smilanich, a representative for George & Company LLC.
— "L-C-R is still our biggest seller," Bill Rayment, co-owner of Toy Crossing in Harbor Beach, Mich., told TDmonthly.
— "L-C-R is our No. 1 seller," said Michelle Sahr, owner of My Little Red Wagon in Stow, Ohio.
— “We have ordered ‘Left, Center, or Right,’ a new dice game from George & Company. We had lots of calls for those,” Sheena Brittan, manager of Weiner Dog Toys in Marco Island, Fla., told TDmonthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11310 (added 1/31/2007)
SET® ? The Family Game of Visual Perception® by SET ENTERPRISES INC.
Other products from SET ENTERPRISES INC.
SET is a board game where any table becomes the board. It is a highly addictive, original game of visual perception. The goal is to be the first to see a SET from the 12 cards laid face up on the table. A SET is three cards that are either all the same or all different in each individual feature. With no turns and no luck, SET is challenging, fast and fun!
Players 1 to 20 (or as many as can fit around a table)
Ages 6 to 99
— “It's a really great game, one that we sell day in and day out,” Sally Lesser, owner of Henry Bear’s Park in Massachusetts, told TDmonthly in spring 2007.
— Two of 63 retailers mentioned Set when asked about their overall best-selling toy or game in September 2008. Ten of 64 retailers named Set as a best-selling card game in August 2008, and more than 25 percent of 38 retailers said the same in late summer 2009. In Feb. 2010, five of 38 retailers cited it as a top-selling game.
— “[Set is] popular mainly because all ages can play it at the same time,” pointed out Greg Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., in summer 2008.
— In a late summer 2010 TDmonthly survey, 23 percent of 43 retailers surveyed named SET a best-selling card game.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller; 2007 TDmonthly Classic
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 4570 (added 9/13/2005)
The game is intended to entice both teens and adults.
— Cranium at one time ranked No. 3 on the Pazsaz Entertainment Network´s Top 10 selling board games in North America.
— On Amazon.com it used to be the No. 3 most popular board game.
— Joyce Matthews, owner of Just 4 Fun in St. Simon’s Island, Ga., told TDmonthly that Cranium by Cranium Inc. is the absolute best-selling game in her store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2156 (added 1/3/2005)
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