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Escape the Room – Can You Find Your Way Out?

ToysBulletin.com takes an adventure with a new type of game from Thinkfun.

Escape the Room 1Escape rooms have created a world wide phenomena over the past few years. In fact, there are said to be over 3,000 Escape Room venues in existence throughout the world today. Just to make sure all of our readers understand this concept, there are thousands of people that are paying admission to be locked in a room with friends or even strangers, then having to decipher clues left in the room, which will lead the group to a key that will allow them to unlock the door and “Escape the Room.” This is totally a cooperative effort, and all of this must be accomplished within a prearranged time limit, or the group fails, and they go home as losers. Obviously, the participants must be keen observers and possess superior critical thinking skills to come out as winners.

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I Spy – Spooky Mansion

I Spy Spooky Mansion 1ToysBulletin.com reviews a new release in the “I Spy” series of games.

“I Spy-Spooky Mansion” is a game from the Briarpatch division of University Games. It is part of their Play’n Learn System, with this game emphasizing Literacy, Coordination and Social Skills. The object of the game is for players to move around the Spooky Mansion spotting unusual objects, allowing them to pick up valuable keys and quickly exit the Spooky Mansion before their opponents.

The game contents include 20 Picture cards, 80 Word cards, 18 Key tokens, 4 Player pieces, 4 Mansion maps, 1 Die, 1-15 second Sand timer and a 3D game board that is used in conjunction with the game box. The game is intended for 2-4 players.

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Memory Yoga, Cards and Spinner – All from Thinkfun

ToysBulletin.com gets some exercise, as we review the latest games from Thinkfun.

Thinkfun Yoga 1The staff had to get up off their chairs this week, as we tackled three new Yoga related games from Thinkfun. First of all, each of the games asks the participants to move around and loosen up a bit before beginning play. In fact, the rules provide a link to a specially designed Thinkfun site, where warm up suggestions are fully explained and illustrated.

We decided to start with “Memory Yoga,” a game for 2-4 players, ages 3 years old and up. The game includes 36 Yoga pose tiles (18 different pairs), with each of the sturdy tiles measuring just over 2″ square. The beginner game is very simple to play, as the tiles are shuffled and placed face down in a 6 x 6 grid. Players then alternate turns by turning over one tile and trying to find its matching tile. If there is a match, the player keeps the tiles. If not, the tiles are turned back over face down. Play continues until all matches are made. The player with the most tiles is declared the winner. But wait, why did we have to warm up for that? Well, there is an advanced set of rules for ages 6 years old and up, and it is still the basic match game, as just described, but in order to claim any two matched tiles, the player must first perform the illustrated yoga move and hold the position for 10 seconds. The poses may seem fairly simple, but we were still huffing and puffing after trying to stay in one place for 10 seconds. But, after playing numerous times, we had to admit it was a fun physical test for sure. “Memory Yoga” retails for $9.99.

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Posted in Games, Learning

Star Realms – Deckbuilding at its Best

Star Realms 1ToysBulletin.com reviews an exciting game from White Wizard Games.

“Star Realms” is a deckbuilding game, where each player, starting with an identical set of cards, tries to outmaneuver their opponent through clever play and a bit of luck until one of them is left with a score of zero.

The boxed game comes with 128 cards, including 80 Trade Deck cards, 16 Scout cards, 10 Explorer cards, 4 Viper cards, 18 double-sided Authority cards (used for scoring) and 2 sets of rules. The basic game is for two-players, but the second set of rules explains how to play with 3 or more players, and outlines the rules for several intriguing variants. We will stick with the two-player version in this review.

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Kabaleo – Careful Placement of Pyramids is the Key

Kabaleo 1ToysBulletin.com reviews a very fast strategic game from Gigamic and distributed by Back Alley Traders.

Here is an interesting game that arrived in our office recently. It is called “Kabaleo,” and the game requires players to discretely place a certain color of round pyramid pieces in the playing area. This needs to be done in such a way, that by the end of the game the majority of the colors still in play are your own. This is not as easy as it sounds.

“Kabaleo” is a game designed for 2-4 players ages 8 years old and up, and it includes 66 of the pyramid shaped pieces, along with a handy cloth storage bag. Among the 66 pieces, there are 6 pieces in 6 different colors that are only used to choose each players target color (color is only visible on these pieces by turning the pyramid upside down), 24 base pieces (4 in each of 6 colors) marked with a single color ring, and 36 pieces (6 in each of 6 colors) with two color rings. Depending on the number of players, the rules designate how many of the various pieces are used. For example, in a two-player game, only 4 colors are used. So, in that case, the game requires only 4 pieces for choosing a target color, 16 base pieces with a single color ring and 24 pieces with two color rings.

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Stratos Spheres & Math Dice Chase – Both from Thinkfun

Strotos Spheres 1ToysBulletin.com looks at two new games from Thinkfun Inc.

“Stratos Spheres” is a strategy game for two players ages 7 years old and up, with no game board or playing cards. Instead it includes 12 blue spheres, 12 gold spheres and 1 white sphere. Each of the spheres is approximately 1½” in diameter, containing 3 pegs and 3 holes. The object of the game is to connect 4 spheres of one color together in a row, before your opponent and win the game. To set things up, each player receives all of either the blue or gold spheres. To begin play, players alternate turns connecting one of their colored spheres to the ever growing three dimensional figure. The white sphere is considered the starting sphere and cannot be claimed as one of the “four in a row.”

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Dimension – Stack Your Spheres to Win

Dimension 1aToysBulletin.com reviews a unique game release from Thames & Kosmos.

“Dimension” is a new type of game that incorporates fast reactions and logical thinking, all using 5 sets of colored marble like spheres. The game requires 1-4 players, and is suggested for ages 8 years old and up. To get things started, all players receive 15 spheres, 3 in each of five different solid colors. The spheres are larger than a traditional marble, each measuring approximately 1″ in diameter and 3″ in circumference. The spheres are weighted, well-made and have a quality feel. Each player also receives a player tray to store their spheres, which includes a playing area where the spheres are positioned during game play. Additionally, players start the game with 10 points worth of tokens used for scoring purposes, and a player-aid card.

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Posted in Games

Tapple – Time for a Word Game

Tapple 1ToysBulletin.com looks at new game from USAOPOLY, Inc.

We had not reviewed a word game in some time, and suddenly “Tapple” appeared. The game is packaged in a brightly colored blue box with the game letters printed in a bold red across the front. When you first see the game box, you want to open it immediately, and we did just that.

“Tapple” is the kind of word game that can be played by anyone, because the key to the game is simply coming up with a word that begins with any one of the provided letters. “Tapple,” which stands for Touch Activated ress & lay Letter Eliminator is actually a very clever round wheel. There are 20 tabs surrounding the wheel, each representing a different letter of the alphabet. However, the letters q, u, v, x, y and z are not used, a decision that keeps the game moving faster for sure. In the very center of the wheel is a large round red button, which when pressed starts and resets a 10 second timer, Tapple 2complete with sounds and all. The wheel does require 2 AA batteries to run the timer, and the batteries are not included. The game includes 36 category cards, including 144 different categories. One side of the cards includes easier categories for younger players.

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