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Toyfair 2012 Overview

February 18, 2012

Toyfair is one of the largest Toy and Game conventions in the world, and certainly the leading edge in what’s going to be new in the marketplace. I was very fortunate this year that Eureka Puzzles sent me to check out what was going to be hot this year for board games. Games are only a subset of the larger fair, and while many companies I love were there, there were quite a few big names in board games that were missing. I was sad to find Steve Jackson Games, Days of Wonder, and Rio Grand absent, but they funnel their effort into more board game focused events, I’m sure I’ll see them at Pax East this year.

That being said, I was very impressed at the showings of Board Games at the show. Ravensburger, a very established puzzle company, is making a huge splash in the EuroStrategy Genre. Asmodee has some very interesting games coming out this summer, and have rebranded Dixit a little to make it more straight forward and appeal to a wider audience. There were many small publishers making their first showings at Toyfair, and a lot of interesting stories surrounding their formation. The little guys were  selling surprisingly good games, but many are still making the little mistakes that comes from inexperience.

Some of my biggest surprises came from games marketed for a younger audience. Game makers both big and small are finding ways to engage kids with simple mechanics without removing strategic play. Forbidden Island was a big step forward when it came out, putting elementary school kids on a path that could lead to Pandemic. A lot of kid games are designed in such a way that I would actually enjoy playing alongside a little cousin or friend’s kid. We’ve come a long way since Candyland, and I’m excited for what the future holds.

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