March 2014 | Vol. XIII - No. 3
Top-10 Most-Wanted Games
With additional reporting by Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero
Video games and apps may be more popular than ever, but specialty store owners are seeing an increase in the popularity of traditional games, too.
"Games in general have made a huge comeback and increased in sales, including travel, board and action games. Families are playing games together more," Barb Stine, owner of Toys on the Square in Hummelstown, Pa., told TDmonthly.
Check out the best-selling games in specialty, according to 10 store owners interviewed by TDmonthly in February 2014, below.
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
Requiring no reading from its players, Qwirkle is a simple-to-learn but stimulating game based around matching the attributes of the game play tiles. Players build rows and columns by placing tiles adjacent to tiles they share an attribute with (shape or color), and score bonus points if they can think ahead and put a tile down touching multiple other tiles. While the game is easy to understand, a good eye and quick thinking make Qwirkle challenging enough for a wide range of ages to play together.
Awards: 2011 Speiele des Jahres (German game of the year).
― “We sell a lot of Qwirkle,” Sue Banducci said of popular games in her Danville, Calif., store, Games Unlimited. “Qwirkle was best-selling over Christmas,” said Shirley Reilly, owner of Let's Play in Hillsboro, Ore., in January 2009.
― When asked about his top-selling games in early 2009, Tye Steinbach of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore. told TDmonthly, “It was probably Qwirkle. We're not huge gamers in our family, but it's really fun.”
— Four of 44 specialty retailers named Qwirkle as a best seller in late fall 2009. Ages & Stages Toy Box in Golden, Colo., sells about 10 Qwirkle games per month, Manager Holly Anvers told TDmonthly.
— As of 12/17/2012 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 483 reviews on Amazon.com and was No. 6 on the top 100 bestselling toys and games. Pros: Exciting; intellectually stimulating, easy to learn. Cons: Some said it took too long to play; only had 3 reviews less than 3 stars, however.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22437 (added 2/9/2009)
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)
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 must decide who will rule the Ancient Earth — and beyond. In the world of Risk Godstorm, ancient faiths and rears rule. Players must battle across the Earth and in the dark regions below, harness spiritual forces to strike with devastating power, and command five ancient cultures: Greek, Celtic, Babylonian, Norse and Egyptian in a continent-spanning battle. Risk Godstorm also includes everything needed to play the classic game of Risk. It is for 2 to 5 players. It includes an Ancient Earth Game Board (20" x 30"), Underworld Game Board, 5 Ancient Armies, 5 Sets of Gods, 12 temples, 60 Faith Tokens, etc.
— Risk is the best selling fantasy game at Ambassador Toys San Francisco, said manager Emily.
— The average customer review, based on 6 reviews, was 5 stars, according to amazon.com.
— Gamepieces include highly detailed characters.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 7728 (added 4/26/2006)
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)
To begin, one card is randomly drawn from those not given to players. This is placed in the middle of the table, date-side up and is the starting point of a chronological line which will slowly be built by players. The first player then chooses one of their cards. If the player thinks that the invention on their card came before that of the initial card, the player places their card to the left of the initial card. The player's card is then turned date-side up. If the player was right, it remains on the table. Otherwise, the card is discarded and a new one must be drawn to replace it. Play proceeds clockwise. The more cards which are correctly played, the harder it is to correctly place new ones.
— In a February 2014 survey, Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, told TDmonthly that Timeline from Asmodee was a best-selling game at their store.
— David Stelzer, owner of Shananigans in Baltimore, Md., told TDmonthly in an October 2014 survey that Timeline was his store's best-selling tween item.
— In a February 2015 survey, two out of 11 retailers told TDmonthly that Timeline was their best-selling game.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34453 (added 6/21/2012)
The Scrambled States of America Game - Deluxe Edition by GAMEWRIGHT
Other products from GAMEWRIGHT
The Scrambled States of America Game is based on the book "The Scrambled States of America" by Laurie Keller. Kids learn learn the names, capitals, nicknames, shapes and positions of the states through a myriad of visual teasers, language riddles and geography challenges. Collect state cards by matching them to a Scramble challenge. Or “Go the Distance” and find a state’s closest neighbor. Collect the most cards to win. New deluxe edition features new art, new challenges, and a copy of The Scrambled States of America book.
Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy Best Classic Toys, 2012 Dr.Toy Best 20 for $20
— In a February 2014 survey, Mark Rosenblum from Hobbytown in Fairfield, C.T., told TDmonthly that Scrambled States was one of their best-selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33503 (added 1/20/2012)
Who knew that positioning a word in one continuous ring would make it so tricky to read? WordARound is a fast-paced, fun party game where players race to decipher the word in the ring. The game is addictively fun, yet also helps build focus, attention and vocabulary skills.
— In a February 2014 survey, Michelle Sahr, owner of My Little Red Wagon in Hudson, Ohio, told TDmonthly in a February 2014 survey that Word Around was one of their best-selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35800 (added 12/17/2012)
This fun game allows kids to build a cupcake of their choice. They spin to compile all the necessary ingredients. The first finished cupcake wins the game for its creator. With illustrations by children’s book illustrator Lizzy Rockwell. Launch date: 2010.
— “It’s classic just for families to get together and play,” said Devo Ihonde, explaining the appeal of this simple game that doesn’t even require reading ability. “That will always be contemporary.”
— In a February 2014 survey, Joe Novak, owner of Kazoo Toys of Buckhead in Buckhead, Ga., told TDmonthly that Eeboo's Cupcake Game was one of their stores top-3 best-selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 32220 (added 4/29/2011)
Suspend comes with 24 notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces to hang from a tabletop stand. Sound easy? Try adding another piece! Each time a bar is added, the balance shifts, the difficulty changes and the incredible midair sculpture transforms. Can players add all their game pieces without making it fall? This tricky game for 1-4 players is a test of steady nerves and steady hands.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval, 2012 Best Toys Guide Best Games
— In a February 2014 survey, Joe Novak, owner of Kazoo Toys of Buckhead in Buckhead, Ga., told TDmonthly that Suspend was one of their stores top-3 best-selling games.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34811 (added 8/8/2012)
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Writer's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author
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