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No longer just a sector for board games and traditional puzzles, the games and puzzles market is quickly adapting to embrace new technologies and trends. Katie Roberts finds out what’s new…


After a strong 2011, which saw Mattel finish the year with two out of the top five family games (NPD, December 2011) and several top spots including the number one card game with UNO and the top travel game for Travel Scrabble, there’s even more to play for in 2012.

Building on the sell-out success of action and memory game Red Rover, Mattel will unveil new games for pre- schoolers. Chameleon Crunch features a lizard character that walks, talks and eats bugs while Molehill Mania brings fast-paced fun for pre-schoolers as they smack and catch the moles. UNO Roboto lets players personalise their play by recording their names and creating a house rule. The robot surprises players by calling out their names and changing the rules.


Drumond Park, according to NPD, recorded a 23 per cent sales increase during 2011 (against total games industry growth of one per cent). The company’s design and

development team has been hard at work, with five new children’s games and another Logo series launch. Foooz (age five plus) will be

released to coincide with Euro 2012. The product will be TV advertised in late spring and in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a new take on the ‘foosball’ scenario, and can be played in many configurations from the conventional table football scenario to a shoot-it-out crossbar challenge. The games involve the player wearing different types of boot – for flicking, chipping, bending and the like. Two new additions to the Logo big

brands series are also on the cards. Family game Logo The Best of TV and Movies (12 to adult) covers a host of TV programmes, past and present and many films. Also in the pipeline is Logo

What Am I? – a multi-activity picture and knowledge-based concept for children aged eight and over. Pumpazing (age four plus) is an action game where players compete to shoot colourful ‘Zinger’ heads from the toothsome Zingy unit, by pumping his arms as fast as they can. Then there’s a simple-to-play numbers and colours dice and card game entitled Fibber (six plus), and an unusual time trial challenge called SpinMania (6+).

In Kokoriko, kids gather the colourful chickens in order to collect the most eggs. Luck and speed will help kids get the rooster, grab the worm and get ahead, but watch out for egg thieves. The Lego City Alarm game sees the

thieves trying to get the money without setting off the alarm while the police try to catch up with them. Suitable for two to four players. Lego Games is also venturing into the Dark Side with the launch of Star Wars: The Battle of Hoth. The game of strategy and luck is for two or four players aged eight plus.

Summer sees the new Lego Games

Mini-Taurus – a mini-labyrinth version of Minotaurus where players must claim the mythical Sword of Aegeus. Suitable for two to four players aged seven and over. Lego will launch Heroica games in autumn. Castle Fortaan has fallen to the Goblin King and his monsters. The game includes four heroes and 11 monsters. Finally, Creationary is a family game. Roll the Lego dice to select one of four categories: vehicles, buildings, nature or things. There are three levels of difficulty.

APRIL 2012

01628 500000 There’s big

news from top five electronic item (NPD,

December 2011) Loopz. New Loopz Shifter sees players take on a series of music-

based memory challenges using the infrared motion sensors. There’s over 20 ways to play as they

transform the loops into any shape. Building on the Angry Birds Knock

On Wood board game, Mattel will unveil a raft of app-based games. Fruit Ninja comes to life in 3D game Fruit Ninja Slice Of Life. With over 20 million sales of the app, there’s no shortage of established fruit-based fans for the game. Also new for autumn is a game based on Cut The Rope, plus Angry Birds On Thin Ice.

2012 will also see Mattel bring to market card game Phase 10. The rummy-based game already has a large and established UK fan base.

01473 322000 HASBRO

The new Monopoly Millionaire game challenges players to be the first to earn a million Monopoly dollars. As players accumulate wealth, they upgrade their mover – they may start with a paper aeroplane but could have a private jet before the end of the game. New Bop It Smash tests skill and competitive nature as players attempt to time it right and catch the light. The fast action game asks players to trap a rapidly moving light in the centre by quickly smashing the ends together. The closer the light is to the centre, the more points they score. With the help of pop icon Britney Spears, everyone will be dancing with the new Twister Dance. The game combines dance music with the Twister spots. The built- in beat detection system turns any song into a dance routine. In addition to having a custom remix

LEGO 020 8569 1234

of one of her songs featured in the game, Spears will be featured on the packaging, in a TV ad and in dance instruction videos released in autumn. Connect 4 Dunk requires players to

grab launchers and fire discs into the tower. The first to get four discs in wins the round. Win four rounds and they win the game. Play solo to see how fast you can score or challenge a friend. Connect 4 Launchers also returns with players taking part in head-to-head action as they aim, launch and connect their way to victory with an updated game unit that catches the launched discs. For pre-schoolers there

are new Elefun & Friends Games, including Snackin’ Safari, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Elefun and Gator Golf.

With a new line look and packaging,

as well as new product development, each game features a digital storybook.

01753 495000

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