March 2011 | Vol. X - No. 3
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Games
Fruitful Fun From Apples to Oranges
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggerio
Once again, Apples to Apples and Bananagrams topped TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Games List, (see 2010 and 2009) with offerings from Blue Orange right behind. Yes, Slamwich still makes the menu, too, suggesting that players have more on their mind than rolling dice.
Herewith the most delectable games named by 12 specialty toy retailers that TDmonthly's regional correspondents spoke with early in 2011:
Apples to Apples is a wild, award-winning card and party game that provides instant fun for four to 10 players. It’s as easy as "comparing apples to apples" ... players need only open the box and deal the cards to be ready to play. They then select the card from their hands that they think is best described by a card played by the judge. If the judge picks their card, they win that round. Everyone gets a chance to be the judge. Each round is filled with surprising and outrageous comparisons from a wide range of people, places, things and events. Fast moving and refreshing, Apples to Apples is perfect for any get-together with family and friends.
— "Sales have doubled every year," enthused Matt Mariani of Out of the Box Publishing in 2005. "We´re struggling to keep up to the demand." [Game previously available from Out of the Box.]
— Gwen Bowden, manager of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in Springfield, Va., told TDmonthly that she expected Apples to Apples to sell well during Christmas 2006.
― In early 2009, retailers reported sales of up to 40 per month of the Apples to Apples game.
― “We probably sell 25 a month,” Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Center in Paoli, Penn., told TDmonthly in early 2011.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3423 (added 4/22/2005)
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)
Spot It is a party game for two to eight players. It's played by laying a random assortment of cards on the table and all players racing to find one image that matches between two cards. This fast-paced game is designed to never be the same twice, and though it has very few rules to remember it requires a sharp eye to master. The set of 55 round cards transports in its own carry tin. Watch Spot It: Top-5 Video, Toy Fair 2010
— Spot It has been been a top seller for retailers surveyed by TDmonthly since early Spring 2010.
— In a March 2012 survey, 3 out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Spot It was their overall best selling product, and had been for more than a year.
— Dean Smith, Co-owner of JaZams in Princeton, N.J., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey that he sells 50-60 copies of Spot It each month.
Awards: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller, Dr. Toy 100 Best Children's Products - 2010
Where to buy:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27018 (added 2/11/2010)
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In this challenging game, players roll two dice, add the dots and find the best combination of numbers to shut two rows of nine tiles. Players cannot touch tiles in the second row unless the tile in front of it has already been shut. The goal of the game is to shut all the tiles and close the super box. Awards: TDmonthly Top Toy 2009. Launch date: February 2008.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18256 (added 4/4/2008)
Europe´s 2002 game of the year, Blokus is a strategy game for the family. It's similar to the ancient Go Game — the board is a grid and players use their pieces to try to control as much territory as possible. The game pieces are in four, 21-piece sets of varying shapes. Each player chooses a color and works on expanding his territory on the board while blocking others from doing the same. Each new piece laid down must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but can only touch at corners, not along edges. The game ends when all players have been blocked from laying down more pieces. Points are deducted for pieces not played, and the player with the highest score at the end, wins. Blokus comes with a game board with 400 squares, 84 game pieces (red, green, blue and yellow), and instructions.
— In spring 2007, Sally Lesser, owner of Massachusetts’ Henry Bear’s Park, called Blokus a “consistent best-seller” at her three stores. It's also tops at Juggles in Wakefield, R.I., and Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash. Six of 63 retailers named Blokus as their overall best seller in September 2008. Three of 52 retailers named Blokus as one of their overall top sellers in November 2008. Blokus is no longer distributed by Educational Insights as of 12/4/08.
― “No. 1 is Blokus,” Linda Hanzelko, owner of Timmy's Toy Chest in Lake Mary, Fla., told TDmonthly when asked about best-selling games in early 2009. “It's an easy sell. It's one that people come back later and say 'You were right.'” In late 2009, Lori Hershman, owner of Evan's Toy Shoppe in Hamden, Ct., estimated sales of about 34 units monthly. Six of 38 retailers called it a best-selling game in Feb. 2010, selling from three to 150 units per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3721 (added 5/27/2005)
The Settlers of Catan® (4th Edition) by MAYFAIR GAMES INC.
Other products from MAYFAIR GAMES INC.
In this game designed by Klaus Teber, three to four players who are immigrants to Catan must develop their colony on the island by establishing roads, villages and settlements and making strategic trades of bricks and lumber, livestock or other commodities to obtain necessary resources. Play takes about 60 to 90 minutes. The first player to 10 points wins. "The new edition was released three years ago and has sold more copies in those three years than the first, second or third editions combined," Bob Carty, Sales & Marketing Director, Mayfair Games, told TDmonthly in early 2010.
— In August 2010, five percent of 43 retailers surveyed named The Settlers of Catan an overall top seller. The same month, Steven Levy, owner of Toy City in Keene, New Hampshire, told TDmonthly his store sells approximately three Settlers of Catan games per week.
— “It's real easy to teach, and then you just develop strategies from there," Mike Snyder, owner and manager of Cville's Hobbies, Games and Toys in Charlottesville, Va., told TDmonthly in a February 2012 survey about best selling games. Cville's sells 16-20 copies of the game each month.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 632 reviews on Amazon.com.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27448 (added 3/3/2010)
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)
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)
Anomia is a game where common knowledge becomes uncommonly fun. Anomia plays off the fact that our minds are positively brimming with all sorts of random information: things to eat, pop songs, websites, etc... Sure, under normal circumstances, it's easy enough to give an example of a frozen food, or a dog breed; but you will find that your brain works a little differently under pressure. Easy to learn, fun to play over and over again, Anomia will have any group of friends, family, even perfect strangers, shouting and laughing out loud as they try to beat each other to the punch. It can be your turn at any time and anyone can be your opponent. For 3 to 6 players. One round lasts about 30 minutes. Launch date: Fall 2009.
— They sell "15 to 20" Anomia games per month at Magic Box in New Orleans, said manager James Dello Stritto in early 2011.
— Four of 12 retailers who attended ASTRA 2010 named Anomia as one of their favorite products at the show.
— “Anomia is really great; I’ve been told for the last year to get it,” said Kristen Pollard, owner of Mudpuddle Toys in Marblehead, Mass., in summer 2010.
— In an August 2010 survey, nine percent of 43 retailers said Anomia is a card game best seller. Barbara Fineblum, owner of Barston’s Child’s Play in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly the same month that her store sold 89 Anomia games in one month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 26705 (added 1/14/2010)
LCR® Left Center Right™ Dice Game Blue Tin by GEORGE & COMPANY LLC
Other products from GEORGE & COMPANY LLC
This addictive, fast-paced dice game is now available in a blue tin box. This edition includes three specially marked LCR® cubes. The game itself retains its original simplicity where the roll of the dice determines which players to the left, right or center get the chips; the winner being the player with the chips at the end. Simple, fun and even educational for growing minds. L-C-R also comes with 24 playing chips and game instructions. The game is designed for three or more players.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18409 (added 4/15/2008)
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Writer's Bio: ALISON MAREK is an award-winning writer, director and cartoonist whose work has been published by Fairchild Publications and DC Comics (Piranha Press), broadcast on Showtime and other cable networks, and viewed worldwide in film festivals. See her short films and print work on www.alisonmarek.com. Watch her nefarious villains in the web series www.MuggsMovers.com. Get inspired by her cartoons "Daily ARFFirmations to Unleash Your Inner Fido" at www.ARFFirmations.com. Phew! And then ... Read more articles by this author
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