kids game

With the new year comes new game announcements, and AbacusSpiele isn’t holding back on theirs.

First on the list is the next game in the 3 Secrets line, this time called Crime Time.  In the 3 Secrets game there is one person who is the informant and knows the truth behind the crime, and it’s up to the rest of the players to question them to get clues.  Get enough clues and you can reveal the 3 secrets and solve the case!  Not much has changed with this new one except for the setting, which this time has you playing time traveling cops, going back in time to solve the mysteries of the time.  This game will be available in February of 2019.

Pearls is a new hand management style game where you are divers trying to dive for the most valuable pearls.  But the more valuable the pearl is, the fewer there are, and when you surface you only score the cards showing the same number and color.  But don’t just chuck the lower value pearls, those can be combined into necklaces for bonus points, helping you getting closer to victory.  Do all this within a 10 card hand limit and you just might win the game.  This game will be available in March of this year.

Next we have the latest in the Deckscape line, and that is Deckscape: Behind the Curtain.  In this version of the game you are the recipient of tickets to see the final magic show the great Lance Oldman.  As the show goes on you start to figure out the tricks behind his magic, but then the show takes a surprising twist!  Now you have to uncover all the magician’s secrets if you want to escape.  Look for this to be available in February of 2019.

Next we have a re-implementation of the game Dancing Eggs, called Crazy Eggz.  This is a fun kids game where you will be grabbing and trying to hold on to a bunch of eggs, but where you have to hold them is determined by the roll of a die.  Will you they be between your knees?  In the crook of your elbow?  Will you have to cluck or be silent?  You will have to roll the dice and do what they say until you can hold 5 eggs and be crowned the winner.  This is the latest release they announced so far with it coming out in May of this year.

And finally we have a trio of Sherlock games called Death on the 4th of July, Last Call, and The Curse of the Qhaqya.  These are deduction games similar to 3 Secrets, but this time no one knows the truth and so you will all have to figure it out together.  Everyone will have a hand of clue cards and on your turn you will decide if you want to play it out on the table, or discard it.  Played out cards are clues that you have collected and can help you solve the case or, if they end up being irrelevant, lose you points at the end.  You are free to talk about any of the cards you have in your hand, but while they are in your hand the information you can give out is incomplete and may not give the full picture.  Solve the case and catch the killer before he gets away!  Look for all three of these to be available in February of 2019.

Quoridor is the classic abstract strategy game where you are trying to get your piece across the board to the other side.  Sounds simple, but on your turn you have two options, move your piece, or place a wall onto the board.  This ratchets up the strategy quickly because now you have to weigh the options between throwing an obstacle into the path of your opponent, and moving yourself closer to victory.  Whoever manages to make it to the other side is the winner.

Quoridor Junior does little to change the game, but does give it an aesthetic upgrade and attempts to give it a bit of theme.  In Quoridor Junior you are different animals aiming for a goal, like a rabbit trying to get to the carrot buffet, or a cat trying to get to some warm milk.  No matter who you play as, the goal and gameplay are the same but with a kinder, gentler coat of paint.  Look for it on store shelves in October of this year.

The Spiel des Jahres awards are the premier awards for board gaming each year, with awards for Family Game of the Year, Strategy Game of the Year, and Kid’s Game of the Year.  Each year the Kid’s Games of the Year is announced in June while the rest are announced later in July, and today we have found out who the winner of the Kid’s Game of the Year is.  That game is Dragon’s Breath by HABA Games.

Dragon’s Breath is a cute little game for ages 5 and up, and in it you will have four young dragons and one dragon dad, trying to get the most gems out of a ice column filled with them.  That ice column in the game is represented by a stack of rings filled with plastic gems.  Each round the young dragons will pick a gem color that they think will come out of the ice when the dad melts it.  Once they have all picked the dad will pick up the top most ring, allowing some gems to fall off the tower to be collected by the young ones.  There is also some holes in the board that if a gem falls in there, it goes to the dad and he may win.  After all the gems that fell have been collected, the young dragons pick again what color they will collect and the next ring comes off.  This will continue until all the rings are gone and then whoever has the most gems is the winner.

As you can tell the game is simple, but with the fun theme and unpredictability of the gems in the ice, means everything isn’t always going to go as you think.  This is definitely a game for kids as it’s mostly luck with what gems will fall, but still has a element of strategy as they have to evaluate what gems they think will fall.  Dragon’s Breath is available now so if you are looking for a good kids game, go check it out.

Bananagrams, the company behind Bananagrams, has announced a new kids game called Cobra Paw.  This is a speed recognition game in that on your turn you roll two dice, when the stop there will be two symbols showing.  You then have to search the tiles on the board for the one bearing the same combination and grab it.  First person to successfully grab six tiles will be the winner.

The game is quick and easy so it can be played with a wide range of ages, and while the ninja cat theme is paper thin, it’s still cute and offers some nice art.  This game will be released this month so you will be able to find it on store shelves  soon.  Until then you can read the press release below for more information and a fun story.

August 2017 (Providence, RI)

6-year-old Sofia Stealthington from The Catskills NY, clawed her way to the top of the pride as she dominated her family in COBRA PAW, the all-new dice rolling, tile-snatching, challenge game from Bananagrams, Inc.

Derived from the ancient stone-snatching tournament of speed and mental fortitude called Clawfuku, COBRA PAW honors the legacy of the Grand Shidoshi Master Meow whose “cobra paw” technique made him the undefeated champion and most skillful player to saunter the earth…until now.

“It’s unreal to watch her play!”, said Sans Stealthington, Sofia’s dad. “Her laser focus and ninja-like reflexes just kept coming at us. Her mother, siblings, and I walk around the house on egg shells, waiting for her to pounce next! Whether it be the TV remote, the last piece of pie or little Mikey’s stuffed mouse—we don’t know what she’s going to ‘Cobra Paw’ next!”

“We are confident that Master Meow’s spirit lives within Sofia,” said Rena Nathanson, CEO, Bananagrams, Inc. “We hope that her strength, spirit and fearlessness will inspire COBRA PAW challenges amongst families and friends throughout the land.”

Ninja-like reflexes, sharp recognition skills, and mental fortitude steals the game in our new tile-snatching challenge known as Cobra Paw! Players take turns rolling the dice (featuring 6 unique symbols), spotting the tile with the matching pattern, then grabbing it before their opponents. The first player to snatch up 6 tiles wins the game and bestows great honor to the Grand Shidoshi, Master Meow!

Ages 5+, 2 to 6 Players, Available August 2017 at your at your favorite table top game retailer.
Visit for more info.

About Bananagrams, Inc.
Bananagrams, Inc. is a family-owned Rhode Island company behind a range of innovative table top games, including the international word tile game phenomenon BANANAGRAMS®. Currently available in more than 30 countries and in multiple languages, classic BANANAGRAMS—in it’s distinctive yellow cloth pouch—has garnered millions of fans worldwide, with new ones sprouting each year via the annual Bananagrams School Challenge. Bananagrams, Inc. strives to help people everywhere rediscover a love for games that stimulate and enrich the mind as well as bring a few laughs—games that make them think outside the crate, so to speak! The brand continues to introduce new titles that they’ve grown in-house, as well those from friends that they’ve met along the way.

Target is quickly seeing the benefit of offering better and more varied games on their shelves, and by benefit I mean they are making good money on them.  So in order to stay ahead of the game they are continuing their method of getting boat loads of exclusive games that will only appear on their shelves.  So this past weekend saw the addition of over 50 of those games ranging from 90’s themed games, party games, and rustic editions of classic games where they made games like Risk completely out of wood.  Some of the titles you will see now include:

  • Exploding Kittens Party Edition, an exclusive expansion pack to the mega-popular Exploding Kittens
  • Sunken Sailor, a Pictionary-type game from Finland with a distinctive Scandinavian design and a wooden box
  • Pling Pong, a Kickstarter game similar to beer pong in that you are bouncing balls into cups, but with no alcohol involved and is much more colorful
  • Deer Lord, a party game where players are challenged to do crazy things without being called out on them.
  • Coding games from Think Fun: On the Brink, Rover Control, and Robot Repair

And this is just a small selection of the games.  You can read more about these additions on the Forbes website, or just browse the game aisle of your local Target today.

Coming into this week I thought I wouldn’t have much to talk about, thankfully Kickstarter proved me wrong, lets look at this week’s highlights.

First up is a board game accessory, and that is the Hex Chest Remasters from Elder Wood.  These are essentially hand crafted dice carrying cases that allow you to carry 7 dice in a beautifully made wooden chest.  As per their previous projects, the craftsmanship of these are excellent, and they come in a variety of wood colors and an even larger variety of lid carvings to choose from.  Also available in an oblong octogon to hold 9 dice, and you can even opt for inlays over engraving to give it make it really stand out.  They are even offering a flat pack option where you build your hex chest yourself, saving some money and allowing you to customize it how you want.  So if you are looking for that next great dice accessory, check out this Kickstarter page.

Next is another board game accessory and that is MOJO, the digital score keeper device.  This device boats an inexpensive price tag of $10 and while it’s main focus is keeping track of life and other counts in Magic game, it can be used as a score keeper for various other games for up to 4 players.  It also has a nifty option to flip the screen on one side so you can be playing across from someone and both have your personally score easily readable.  Is this device necessary considering the board game scoring apps out there?  The designers think so as this device is the size of a standard card, and is stand alone so you don’t have to mess with your phone or drain it’s battery.  Check out the Kickstarter page if you think you might want one, but be quick, the campaign ends on July 30th.

After that is the first offering from Spiel Press in their new premium roll and write series of games.  In this campaign you will be able to pledge for the Star Maps book and the Blood Royals book. Star Maps plays like the typical roll and write games you have played, where dice are rolled and you pick a die to fill in on your chart.  As you fill things in you will unlock bonus points and try to score the highest.  The big change however is that after that game, on the next page you will have more options to do things, and eventually even a tech tree of special abilities.  This gives the game a legacy feel as you advance through the game taking differing paths as you go.  The same goes for the Blood Royals game where you are battling your opponent for influence on the map, but as time goes on the geography changes, and alliances shift making for a different feel each time you play.  Needless to say I backed this immediatly as the concept intrigues me, if it intrigues you are well than head over to the Kickstarter page.

Following is a new version of Catacombs simply called Catacombs Conquest.  Catacombs is a highly rated dexterity, dungeon crawl type game where you are heroes flicking yourselves to victory, while the dungeon master tries to take you out.  What Catacombs Conquest aims to do is shrink down and simplify the game so that newer players can jump right into the game without having to learn more complex rules.  In this two to four player game and on your turn you simply do three things, draw a card, play a card, and then flick an obstacle.  This simple system means you will be up and running quickly, trying to flick your opponent into oblivion on an ever changing landscape.  Plus, with a price of $24 Canadian, this game has a low cost of entry as opposed to the larger game.  So if you want in on this flicking game, check out their Kickstarter page.

Next we have a trio of games for young children called Numeracy Legends, all aimed at helping them learn different math and game concepts.  In the first game, Numeracy Legends and The Rainbow Unicorn, players are route building in order to collect ingredients to help the rainbow unicorn make their famous cupcakes.  This is to teach children graph theory by determining the best route to collect all their ingredients.  The next game, Numeracy Legends and the Zerda Fox, has kids learning about probabilities as they decide what paths they want to take, when to get more cupcakes or ice cream, and more.  And finally there is Numeracy Legends and the Gluttony Dragon, this is the final game and turns into a once versus many game with the adult as the dragon, and the kids as the heroes.  The players will be drafting equipment cards and secretly choosing battle types in order to face off against the dragon.  This teaches game theory as the kids will be working together to try and defeat a common enemy.  So if you want to get your hands on this trio of games, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

Lastly we have the 2nd edition of the game Argent: the Consortium.  This is a highly confrontational worker placement game where you are all vying to be the next dean of the pretigous magic school.  To do that you need to get the most votes, but the tough part is, out of the 12 that will vote, you know how three are going to vote.  This means you will either have to use the shotgun approach and try to be good at everything, or spend time and energy learning their voting styles to tailor your strategy.  Either way you are going to be sending out your students to various tasks to get new spells, up various stats like wisdom and IQ, purchase new items, or make some money.  The confrontational part comes in with two aspects, first is that you only collect resources and such at the end of the round, not when you place your people.  Second, you can knock people out of their spots, meaning getting to a spot last may be better than getting to a spot first, and risking getting knocked out.  Either way, if you liked the first edition or are interested in this game now, check out the Kickstarter page.

Wizkids, publishers of the most popular RPG, Dungeons and Dragons, are releasing a pre-painted miniature line with a focus on bringing younger kids into the RPG world.  The line will feature younger characters with special abilities and animal companions that travel with them.  In the setting of the RPG they travel in, “fledgling adventurers gain their powers and abilities at a young age, allowing them to defeat the evil creatures in their world. Their powers, however, are fleeting. As the children grow, they begin to lose their powers over time. When they enter adulthood, most forget they ever adventured in the first place as everyday responsibilities take hold.”

The miniature line looks great, and the RPG setting sounds interesting, so look forward to this new line to launch in early 2018.  You can check out Wizkids’ website for more information and to see the figure designs.

Hoyle, a name synonymous with playing cards, is doing something a little different with cards and producing three cards game for young children.  The first being Sharks are Wild, a card game where you are putting together sequences of numbers in order to score points.  The cards feature a marine theme with different fish being on the cards, with the cards depicting sharks being wild, go figure.

Next is a counting style card game called Piggy Bank, where you will be counting in 5s and 10s to be able to get your money into the piggy bank.

Last is Catch’n Fish, an addition and subtraction game that will teach basic arithmetic.  Each turn you will spin the spinner, and then you have to play out cards to either add up to, or subtract down to the number you spun.  All three games will be out this year and aim to help improve kid’s math skills in a fun way.

A lot of new games are coming from Thames and Kosmos this year so lets run down the list, starting first with the undersea search game, Lagoonies.  In this game you are trying to find gloop spirits by diving into the water, but they change places as the octopus rotates so you have to pay attention.  The game comes with some nifty looking clear water pool type pieces and should only aid in the fun.  Look for this on store shelves in July.

Next is Monster Trap, a Labyrinth like game where you are trying to push the monsters in the mansion into the trap before they can scare your grandma.  The game is for two to four players and each player will control a different kind of movement for the monsters, and whoever collects the most monsters in the trap will be the winner.  Look for this on store shelves in June.

After that is Jungle Party, a memory type game where you are having to remember where certain animals are in order to advance.  The board has lanes you will push tiles of animals through that are partially covered and partially not, so as you push the animals through you have to remember where they are.  So those with a good memory should easily find their way to the goal and win!  Look for this game on store shelves in July.

Harry the Hopper is a simple dexterity game where you are playing as grasshoppers trying to knock down blades of grass.  Play is simple in that you just take aim, and launch your grasshopper, trying to knock over as many blocks as possible.  The game ends when someone knocks down the king’s red blade of grass, but you better have knocked over all your grass beforehand.  Look for this game in stores in June.

Up next is Thames and Kosmos entry into the room escape genre with their EXIT series of games.  Each set will present you with a different scenario where you have to escape, like a lab or an abandoned cabin.  In May you will see the release of the first three in the series; The Secret Lab, The Pharaoh’s Tomb, and The Abandoned Cabin.  Each set contains decks of cards and some other components you will need to escape each room.  Good luck.

Next is a word guessing game like Taboo called Word Slam.  How this game differentiates itself is that instead of coming up with the descriptor words, you have to use the cards in the box to describe the word.  So you will have to get a bit creative with the word associations, but leave a trail of clues for the guessers to follow and they just might get there.  This game should be arriving in June of this year.

Mag-O-Mag is a vertical magnetic game where you will have one player on one side watching the game pieces and giving instructions, with another player on the other side actually moving the piece.  You will have to communicate well in order to accomplish the objective which could be speed, accuracy, or being able to collect the most loot.  Look for this game on store shelves in August.

Previously we talked about Pillars of the Earth finally being reprinted, and now we have a new game in the book series being made, A Column of Fire.  Not much is known about the game yet, but the setting seems to be for a political type game as you try to position yourself to be the most powerful.  More information should come out as we get closer to it’s release in September.

Next is Kerala, a colorful looking tile placement game where you are trying to collect all the colors, but also linking all the colors together.  In the game you will pull tiles from the bag and then draft them, adding them to your display adjacent to your elepheeples (elephant meeples).  Plan wisely and draft well and you will come out on top.  Look for this game in stores in July.

And finally, the last game that was announced was Brutal Kingdom, a take that type card game where you are trying to be the one who survives to rule the country.  In the game the king, or queen, has just been killed and now the question of who will rule the country is being asked.  On each turn you will play a card and carry out the action, hopefully moving yourself one step closer to victory.  Whoever gains the most influence will be the new king or queen of the country.  Look for this game in stores in June.


Gamewright, makers of great games like Forbidden Desert, Sushi Go Party, and Qwixx, are rolling out with no less than nine games/reprints for 2017.  The games Gamewright usually put out are very family friendly and often include the younger kids as well, so no doubt their new releases will follow suit.  And they are:

  • Cha-Cha Chihuahua – A vibrant new “get up and dance” preschool game with some adorable doggies.
  • Go Nuts for Donuts! – Our next sure-fire hit family card game about picking the donuts that no one else will pick
  • Cardventures #3 and #4, Vanished & Time Raiders – Two new installments in this interactive story series.
  • Qwingo – A fast paced dice game that the whole family can enjoy.  Another in the line of roll a die and cross off something on a pad.
  • Rory’s Story Cubes Fantasia – A 9-cube fantasy themed version of our best-selling creativity tool.
  • Tiki Topple (reprint)  A revamped look and feel to this simple to learn game of getting your tiki’s to the top.
  • Loot (reprint) – Deluxe Tin – An old favorite sporting a new look, can you be the pirate with the most loot?
  • Think ‘n Sync – The new Port-a-Party game where great minds think alike, pick a category and a partner and see if you both are on the same wavelength.
  • PDQ (reprint) – An update of this “all-play” word-building game.

All these great games are coming out in spring of 2017, so look for them on store shelves then.