Old Names, But New Games. One of the trends for the fall is familiar names (Monopoly, Scrabble, Twister, etc.) being used with all new game play.
The new U-Build Monopoly (Parker Brothers $19.99) looks like an interesting concept, you build the board – allowing you to control how long your game will take. But the traditional game board is completely gone.
Scrabble Flash Cubes (Hasbro $29.99), one of the coolest games we saw at Toy Fair, has electronic cubes that you use to build words, again no board, no little tiles…no double or triple word points. If you’re a purist about Twister and love the smell and feel of that mat, you may feel sad about Twister Hoopla (Hasbro $19.99) -where your body becomes the mat. We’ll have to see how these test with kids and their parents. All Available Fall 2010.
Brand new. We did find some new innovative games. Konexi (ZimZala Games $24.99) brings the fun of Jenga and word play together. Here you stack letters to create words-but watch out you don’t want the letters to come falling down. We loved the design and feel of this game – can’t wait to test with kids.
We suggested that they could make one of games younger so that the age range of 10 plus could come down considerably. Available Fall 2010.
An anti-technology theme. Appealing to parents that would like the playroom to be more “real” – we found even more organic and recycled products than last year. A new approach – classic toys that now require no batteries – saving money, another bonus. We all grew up with Spin Art – one of my all time personal favorites! Innovative for this year, Crayola will roll out Crayola Color Twister Spin Art (Crayola $14.99) which uses an air pump to make the platform spin. Watch our video.
We only got to to see the prototype–but look forward to testing the real toy later this season. Available July 2010.
The same “air” technology is now being used to propel certain LEGO RACERS ($12.99/ Available now).
Sing-a-ma-jigs (Mattel $12.99 each) may turn out to be one of the hottest toys of the season if the real things work as well as the prototypes. Be sure to watch my video. Each of the dolls will chatter, sing and even harmonize together. To me they look like claymation characters come to life. We look forward to testing these as soon as they are ready. First collection available May 2010/ more to come for the holidays.
Hexbug Nanos. You either loves these little bugs that come in test tubes…or they’ll creep you out. I love them. Rolling out right now are habitats that you can put them in. Our testers enjoyed the portability of these little bugs that go like crazy! The bugs are each $9.99, the habitat starter set is $19.99.
They are to me the tech answer to Zhu Zhu Hamsters. If you’re shopping for that hard to buy for tween, these will be an interesting novelty. Available Now.
May the Force be with you. As a complete Star Wars fan, it makes me so happy that there is a whole new generation falling in love with the saga– thanks to the Clone Wars cartoon. For my LEGO builders, the Star Wars sets are always the number one request.
LEGO has responded with many new models including the TIE Defender ($49.99). This is the Empire’s most advanced fighter, it comes with 304 pieces and includes two action figures. Available Now.
We also can’t wait to test, the Star Wars R/C Millennium Falcon (Hasbro $49.99/ Available Fall 2010) – watch our video; the Star Wars AT-AT (Hasbro $99.99/Available August 2010)- a pretty impressive play setting for your own battles against the Empire.
It’s more than 2′ tall and 28″ long, comes with LED lights, sounds and phrases from the movie; the Star Wars General Grievous Lightsaber (Hasbro $34.99/Available August 2010) is fun to spin–with double lightsabers that come apart. The lights and sound effects will appeal to Star Wars fans young and old. Watch our video.
All of these toys will be tested and full reviews will appear on www.toyportfolio.com