October 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 10
TDmonthly’s Top-10 Most-Wanted Card Games
Set Enterprises Deals a Good Hand
With additional reporting by Sharri Hefner, Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero
In August, TDmonthly Magazine spoke to 64 specialty retailers about their best-selling card games. Among a mix of memorable classics and recent favorites, Set from Set Enterprises and Ruckus from Funstreet tied for first place. A host of others from Set Enterprises, and Gamewright’s line of whimsical games, filled in close behind. Games must appeal to a wide spectrum of ages, and simple rules, fun illustrations and unique twists best capture the attention of card-shark customers, retailers said. Here are the top 10:
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)
A fast word game played with cards, Quiddler is designed for 1 to 8 players. Each game consists of eight hands. The first hand is played with three cards, and a card is added during each hand until the players begin the final hand with 10 cards each. The object of the game is to combine an entire hand into words of two or more letters, drawing and discarding on each turn. The first player to have an entire hand of words goes out. Quiddler is a deck of 181 cards.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5300 (added 11/2/2005)
Kids flip and stack this clever loaf of cards to build slamwiches and double deckers. Tomato, lettuce, tomato ... slap! The player who gets there first will win the pile. But he’ll have to catch the thief and stop the muncher from stealing a stack of cards. When he’s out of cards, he’s out of the game. The first player to collect all the cards wins. Slamwich teaches reading readiness skills, such as visual discrimination and sequencing. While kids are flipping and stacking cards, they're actually learning how to recognize a series, make combinations, and anticipate what might happen. "Slamwich includes bread-shaped, die-cut cards. It's a fast-playing card game. It's also Gamewright's first card game," said Jason Schneider, product development and marketing manager for Gamewright.
— Rosie Morris, manager of Whiz Kid Toys in San Luis Obispo, Calif., told TDmonthly to watch out for Gamewright, naming Slamwich as one of their hottest 2006 sales items.
— "We have a lot of card games from Gamewright. One of the better ones is Slamwich," Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., told TDmonthly. In an August 2008 survey of 64 retailers, storeowners reported average sales of about a dozen per month. Six named Slamwich as a best-selling card game.
— In August 2010, five of 43 retailers surveyed cited Slamwich as a best-selling card game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10251 (added 11/27/2006)
FIVE CROWNS® – The Game Isn’t Over ‘til the Kings Go Wild! ® FIVE CROWNS is a five-suited rummy-style game that is a quick favorite for both avid and casual card players. It starts with 3 cards and 3s are wild, the next hand has 4 cards and 4s are wild and so on ‘til the Kings Go Wild! Make the right combinations, be the first to go out, then watch the others scramble as they get one last chance to cut their losses. Players 1-7. Age 8+
— This take-off on Rummy, only with five suits instead of four, sells well for Andy Detling, owner of Whoops! & Co. in Minocqua, Wis. “I noticed more of a return to family games this year,” said Cheri Sims, store manager of White Rabbit Toys in Ann Arbor, Mich., who said this game was one such game that families were stocking up on.
— In summer 2007, three of 32 retailers cited Five Crowns as the most popular card game. In August 2008, almost 25 percent of retailers named Set Enterprises as their top-selling card game company; 8 percent listed Five Crowns as a best-selling card game. In late summer 2009, three of 38 retailers cited it as their top-selling card game. In Feb. 2010, four of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game, selling between 3 and 25 units monthly. In an August 2010 TDmonthly survey, three of 43 retailers named Five Crowns a card game best seller.
— As of 10.25.10, this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 15 reviews on Walmart.com and was listed as the #3 bestseller in Games & Puzzles. PROS: easy to learn, fun for the whole family.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6639 (added 1/20/2006)
PokÚmon Diamond & Pearl Secret Wonders Starter Set by POKEMON USA
Other products from POKEMON USA
A complete foundation to building a customized deck of tradable Pokémon cards, this starter set is a great way to get into the action of the expandable trading card game. Through the character-based cards, children play as competing Pokémon trainers, using the different creatures and abilities in their decks to try and best their opponent as their Pokémon battle. Further cards can be purchased or acquired through trading, giving the game a substantially more social aspect than simply playing with a friend or two. Children must think ahead, deciding what will give them the best chance as their build their decks and use strategy in the game-play itself.
— David Marks, owner of Learning Express of Westport in Westport, Conn., said Pokemon is still his top seller. “There's been a resurgence after a couple of years,” he told TDmonthly.
— “Pokemon's been kind of ridiculous. We can't keep Pokemon in stock,” Michelle Deutschmann, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Falmouth, Mass., told TDmonthly in August 2008.
— Four of 64 retailers named Pokémon when asked about best-selling card games in summer 2008. The Toy Chest in Cary, N.C., sells between 30 to 50 card packs per month, Owner Sharon Heath said.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20785 (added 9/29/2008)
A simple card game, Old Maid is played by two to eight players who try to make pairs out of randomly dealt cards. Pairing up is the only way to eliminate cards from a hand, but each round every player has to take a card that he or she has not seen from another player’s hand and hope it makes a pair! The game is over when only the ‘Old Maid’ card is left ― the one card in the deck that has no match ― and the person holding it loses. This set from eeBoo features whimsical illustrations for children. Launch date: 2002.
— “It’s a classic game with adorable illustrations!” Kim Emigh, VP of e-commerce at Growing Tree Toys in State College, Pa., told TDmonthly.
— Five of 64 retailers named Old Maid when asked about best-selling card games in August 2008. This version from eeBoo is one of many on the market.
— Nathan McKelvey, manager of Toy Castle, LLC in Jonesboro, Ar., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that Old Maid is one of his top-three bestselling card games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20786 (added 9/29/2008)
Players get rid of the high cards (rats) and go for the low cards (cats) in this poker-style game with cat- and rat-decorated cards. As children play Rat-a-Tat Cat, they develop a sense of timing and an understanding of basic, but essential, mathematical concepts. They also begin to develop an intuitive sense of probability. It’s won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Products, Mensa Select and a Canadian Toy Testing Council “Children’s Choice” Award.
— Mark Truax, store manager at Try & Buy Toy Stores in Katonah, N.Y., said this game is “up there in the top” of its best-selling card games.
— “Gamewright is a strong seller for us,” Colleen Nelson, owner of Goodie Gumdrops in Burien Wash., told TDmonthly in summer 2008.
— Five percent of 64 retailers named Rat-a-Tat Cat as one of their top-selling card games in August 2008, and three of 38 echoed the same in late summer 2009. “It’s been our best seller for seven years,” Jennifer Schneeweis, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, told TDmonthly in August 2009, citing sales of 24 units monthly.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5694 (added 11/28/2005)
Originally from the 1960s, Mille Bornes involves a car race across France via a card game. Players must avoid traffic hazards and earn points along the way, while keeping a close eye on — and sabotaging — their fellow players. The game contains 106 illustrated cards.
— Amanda Lepley, manager of Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts in Portland, Ore., named Mille Bornes as her best-selling card game in summer 2008.
— “We carry several, but I’d say Mille Bornes [is the top seller],” remarked Richard Stoecklein, owner of The Toy Factory in Jacksonville, Fla.
— Three of 64 retailers named the game as a top-selling card game in August 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20787 (added 9/29/2008)
Blink is a lightning-fast game where two players race to be the first to play all of their cards. Using sharp eyes and fast hands, players quickly try to match the shape, count or color on the cards. The first player out of cards wins. Fast and portable, Blink is instant fun for everyone.
— “Any age can play it,” said Linda Doucette, manager of Learning Express in North Hampton, N.H., of why Blink is a favorite in her store. When asked about her top-selling card games, Melissa McCollum, owner of Learning Express of Hoover in Hoover, Ala., told TDmonthly, “That would have to be Blink. I’d say [we sell] about 10 per month.”
— Two of 32 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 cited Blink as a top-selling card game in their specialty stores. Three of 64 retailers named it as a best-selling card game in August 2008.
— In early September 2009, Andrew Wage, owner of Building Blocks Toy Store in Chicago, said his store sells about 10 to 20 units per month of this game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3424 (added 4/22/2005)
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Writer's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author
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