BACKSTAB – You Gotta Love the Nastiness in this Card Game

Backstab reviews a new card game from U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

“Backstab” is a card game full of twists and turns that really lives up to its name. The object of the game is to be the first player to accumulate 25¢ in coin tokens. That sounds fairly easy since you begin the game with 5¢ in coin tokens, but let me tell you that winning players will have to pick their moments and backstab their opponents for the extra money needed to win the game.

Let’s start at the beginning…”Backstab” can be played by 2-4 players ages 8 years old and up. It includes 119 game cards, featuring 61 Action cards, 34 Encounter cards, 12 Zone cards and 12 Trump cards. There is also an assortment of coin tokens, 12 backstab tokens and a large black Trap die. To set things up, each player receives 5 Action cards for a starting hand, with the remaining Action cards forming a draw pile. Next, 5 of the Encounter cards are placed face down in the center of the table, 1 of the Zone cards is placed face up next to the row of Encounter cards and the stack of Trump cards are placed face down just below the row of Encounter cards. Lastly, each player receives 1 of the 5¢ coin tokens and 3 of the backstab tokens (black side up). The Trap die, along with the rest of the Encounter and Zone cards, is kept nearby along with the remaining coin tokens.


Posted in Card Games

Qwixx – A Dice Game Full of Surprises

Qwixx reviews a dice game from Gamewright.

Our readers really love dice games as they are generally easy to set up, and quick to play. “Qwixx,” a 2-5 player game for ages 8 years old and up, fits that description perfectly.

“Qwixx” is also advertised as a fast family dice game, and it did not disappoint. The game contents include just 6 dice (2 white, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 green and 1 blue), an all important score pad and a very nicely written set of rules. The object of the game is to score the most points by crossing off as many dice rolls in the 4 colored die categories shown on the score pad as possible. Here is how it works. The score pad has 4 rows of numbers in each of the colors, red, yellow, green and blue. The numbers in the red and yellow rows go from 2 to 12 left to right, while the green and blue rows go from 12 to 2 left to right. Each player receives a score pad of their own, and then take turns rolling all six dice. The player calls out the sum of the two white dice to begin a turn, and all players can then cross off that number on their score pads in any color of their choosing if they so desire. That same active player (but no other players) is then allowed to add one of the white dice together with any one of the other four colored dice, and cross off a number of that color from their score pad.


Posted in Games

Tumblin Buddies + Frankie Frog and his Flying Machine is looking at two toys for the younger set both distributed by International Playthings LLC.

Tumblin Buddies 1First up is “Tumblin Buddies,” which is a interactive plush cube geared for kids 18 months old and up. It measures approximately 7″ x 7″, and features colorful pictures of different animals on each of the six sides. The animals include a duck, dog, cat, elephant, lion and monkey. To get things started a parent rolls the cube, and asks the child to name the animal that came up on the top side of the cube. Next, the child is given one of the cards (there are 4 cards for each animal) that matches the background color and type of animal shown by the cube. The parent then reads aloud the question displayed on the Tumblin Buddies 2back of the card, with the child acting out the answer. For example, if the duck is rolled by the cube, one of the duck cards reads, “How does a duck walk?” The child would then try to walk like a duck in response to the question. Anyway, I think you get the idea. We read all of the questions available on the animal cards, and found this to be a highly educational interactive experience for young children and a great teaching tool for the parents. Plus it will surely garner lots of laughter from the kids and parents alike. “Tumblin Buddies” retails for $19.95 and can be ordered directly from the International Playthings website.


Posted in Baby and Toddler, Learning

Mancala and Make 7 – Games for Kids

mancala is excited to review two games made especially for youngsters from Pressman Toy Corporation.

“Mancala” is a type of board game that may date back as far as the 6th century. The actual word mancala means “to move,” which is a very good way to describe the basics of our game. Pressman has even released a special kid’s version of the game using animal shaped playing pieces to make things a bit more interesting for the younger crowd. Although the game is played with the same number of playing pieces, and on the same board as the adult version of the game, there is a slight rules variation to makes things go a bit quicker.


Posted in Board Games

Build & Bloom – A Moving Garden

build & bloom looks at a grand building set from Learning Resources, Inc.

“Build & Bloom” is a very creative way for youngsters to create their own garden, filled with flowers that all move at the same time, thanks to a unique system of gears. The complete set comes with 116 plastic parts including base units, flowers, brackets, stems, cranks, butterflies, ladybugs, bees, stickers and lots more. The instructions contain no wording, just colorful pictures of the step by step process needed to assemble what is referred to as the “Spinning Fun Flower Garden.” The flower pieces form the basis for the gears, as each turns and moves the flower near by. This set is just one of many gear related sets marketed under the “Gears! Gears! Gears!” platform of Learning Resources.


Posted in Building

Flea Market – Not Your Average Shopping Experience

flea market reviews a new dice game from Mayfair Games.

It is always nice to find a nice light fun game in our review queue. “Flea Market” is a new release from Mayfair Games, and it fits that description perfectly. The object of the game is to buy and sell items, be the first player to accumulate $45 and win the game.

The game includes a small game board measuring just 6″ x 8″, 5 pairs of dice (each set a different color), 3 white item dice, 16 item tokens, 5 player tiles, 60 money tiles, 1 active agent tile and a very short easy to understand set of rules. “Flea Market” is suggested for 3-5 players and for ages 8 years old and up.


Posted in Board Games

Compose Yourself – Quickly Create Your Own Musical Compositions

compose yourself reviews an amazing new product from Thinkfun.

Wow! will be the first word out of your mouth when you first try “Compose Yourself,” maybe the most original way to write music ever conceived. Toys Bulletin was first introduced to an early version of “Compose Yourself” at the New York Toy Fair this past February, and we felt something special was coming. Now we have the final boxed product, and it is really something to see and hear.

compose yourself 2Originally designed by Maestro Philip Sheppard, “Compose Yourself” provides 60 transparent music cards (2 each of 30 different cards). On each card, there are a series of notes that can be used to create your masterpiece. Better yet, each of the music cards can be flipped or rotated producing 4 different possibilities from each card. Each of those 4 possibilities is identified by a different 4 digit number in the upper left corner of the music card. Generally, the number of notes shown on each card ranges from 3-6 notes, some intended to be played faster and others held longer.


Posted in Learning

Homeland: The Game – Sound the Terrorism Alert

Homeland looks at a game of deception and intrigue from Gale Force Nine.

The staff at Toys Bulletin are great fans of Showtime’s hit TV show, “Homeland,” and we were eager to play the board game of the same title. We have previously reviewed two other board games from Gale Force Nine with tie ins to hit TV shows, that being “Spartacus” (see our review from 21 January 2013) and “Sons of Anarchy” (see our review from 9 March 2015). Both were very impressive for sure.


Posted in Board Games

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