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Family Game Review: Googly Eyes – Draw While Wearing Some Wacky Glasses

GooglyEyes1ToysBulletin.com once again enters the craziness of Goliath Games.

The Toys Bulletin staff always looks forward to seeing what type of game will be released next by Goliath Games.  They have a solid history of creating some of the most innovative, wild and crazy games we see each year.  We fondly remember reviewing both “Gooey Louie” and “Doggie Doo” back in June 2013 and “Pop the Pig” in March 2013.

This time around, Goliath Games did not let us down.  Their latest release is called “Googly Eyes.”  The object of the game is to draw something on a tablet, and have your teammates guess what it is, all prior to a timer going off and ending the turn.  I know everyone has already played a game like that before, so what is the big deal.  Well, the catch is that the player doing the drawing must wear a pair of wild looking glasses, with lenses that completely distorts that player’s vision.  In fact, depending on the category and difficulty of the question, there are 3 different sets of lenses, each with its own set of problems for the player doing the drawing.  Goliath Games describes the glasses and lenses as “vision-altering.”

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A Girl’s Game Review: PrettyPro – A Complete Makeover Wins the Game

????????????ToysBulletin.com reviews a great game for young girls from the Decker Sisters LLC.

Toys Bulletin has been searching for the perfect game for pre-tween girls, and we think we may have found it.  The Decker Sisters have developed a board game called “PrettyPro,” and it really caught our eye while attending the recent New York Toy Fair.

The game is suggested for 2-4 players, ages 6 years old and up.  I joined our two doll reviewers, Mary Kay and Carol Ryan, along with Mary’s 8-year-old daughter and we played “PrettyPro” no less than 10 times over a two-day period.  We generally were able to complete a game in around 30 minutes or so.

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A Pair of Classic Games: Quarto & Quoridor – Think Fast or Lose

Quarto2

ToysBulletin.com looks at two thought provoking games from Gigamic and Back Alley Traders.

Let us begin this review by mentioning that we have not seen any game boards/playing pieces, that can match the superior quality found inside the game boxes of both “Quarto” & “Quoridor.”  Each game includes a superbly crafted wooden game board, and matching wooden playing pieces.  The rules for each game are short and concise and come in an amazing 33 languages.  Although we only needed the English rules, it was fun to see the various countries that might have an interest in these games.

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Educational Game Review: Ukloo – Solve the Riddle, Find the Treasure

????????????????????????????????????????????????ToysBulletin.com looks at game that makes kids think.

Ukloo is most famous for its flagship game, the “Ukloo Early Reader Treasure Hunt Game.”  In that game youngsters read and follow clues, which eventually lead them to a treasure.  This follow up game, the “Ukloo Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game,” follows much the same pattern.  This time around the kids are asked to solve simple riddles, where the answer contains an object or place where they can go for their next riddle.  Once all of the riddles are solved, the last hiding place contains the hidden treasure.

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Word Game Review: Snake Oil – Be the Customer, Find a Cure

ToysBulletin.com reviews a party game from Out of the Box Publishing Inc.

 SnakeOil1Snake Oil” is a new game release from Out of the Box Publishing Inc.  It is easy to learn, easy to play, and loads of fun.  It is a game for 3-10 players ages 10 years old and up, with a typical game lasting just 20-30 minutes.

The game includes 324 word cards, each containing a one-word noun, like paper, hammer, garden, bracelet, hat, animal or bacteria.  The words are common everyday things.  There are also 36 two-sided customer cards (a total of 72 customers).  These represent different identities that are assumed during game play.  For example, some of the customer cards include sorority girl, hitch hiker, pirate and zombie.

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Family Game Review: Freeze Up! – A Quick Thinking Challenge

ToysBulletin.com plays a game of words and speed from Educational Insights.

FreezeUp2Freeze Up!” is an entertaining and completely unique type of game designed for multiple players, providing an especially good fit for family and friends.  It is distributed by Educational Insights, whose reputation for innovative educational games is well known.  “Freeze Up!” is basically contained in a blue plastic oval shaped electronic device powered by 3 AA batteries (included).  It measures approximately 8”L x 6”W x 2”H.

Once “Freeze Up!” is turned on and the game begins, players are asked questions from 170 categories, with each answer beginning with different letters of the alphabet.

FreezeUp1The game chooses the category and letter for each player.  For example, “Name something found at an airport beginning with the letter-t?”  Maybe a good answer might be “ticket.”  “Freeze Up!” does not maintain a database of correct answers, instead the players must decide if an answer is acceptable.  The player whose turn it is must provide an answer as quickly as possible and then push the freeze/stop button as soon as he shouts it out.  This stops a 60-second timer, which is maintained for each player.  The “Freeze Up!” unit is then passed to the next player.  After several turns, the 60-second clock will begin to run out of time player by player, and when it does, each is eliminated from the game.  The winning player is the last one standing with time still remaining on his clock.

FreezeUp3There is a challenge button, which can be pushed if an answer seems wrong.  The players then discuss and vote on whether the answer is acceptable or not.  If acceptable, the challenging player is penalized 5 seconds.  If the answer is rejected, the guessing player is penalized 5 seconds.

Another clever feature is the option to change the category or the letter if a player so chooses.  It will cost a player a few seconds of valuable time, but a simple push of a category or letter button will force “Freeze Up!” to ask another question from a completely new category or provide a different beginning letter.  There is no penalty for a player doing this, other than it uses up several seconds from their timer.

There is also a volume control that can be turned to high or low, another button to choose the number of players from 2-8, and an auto/manual button that will allow the players to control the time between turns, or simply let “Freeze Up!” move things along at a faster pace.

Freezeup4The Toys Bulletin staff played “Freeze Up!” for several hours, using many different players and really putting this electronic device through its paces.  After everyone was comfortable with the game, we held a single elimination tournament with 8 players, including a couple of youngsters we had recruited to assist us.  I will be the first to tell you that the game has an appropriate name, as I really did “Freeze Up!,” blanking out completely, trying to think of an answer.  I had to change several categories to survive, and it just wasted away my time.  I was eliminated in the first round.

It was really nice to have a game keep track of everything for every player, so all we had to do was a push a button, provide an answer and pass “Freeze Up!” to the next player.  The device did all the work…it was great.

The only complaint related to the advantage that the last player competing had over the other players.  Players are eliminated as soon as their individual 60-second timer runs out, so players who have not yet taken the same number of turns have a definite advantage.  We rotated the turn order around to ease this problem.

“Freeze Up!” is suggested for ages 8 years old and up and retails for $24.99.  Look for it at Amazon.com.

— RJ Cullen

Posted in Games

Game Review for Little Ones: Elephant’s Trunk – Pack the Clothing to Win the Game

ToysBulletin.com looks at a great learning experience from Gamewright.

ElephantsTrunk3As most parents know, it is nearly impossible to find a good game for younger children.  Well, Gamewright has come up with a winner for youngsters 4 years old and up called “Elephant’s Trunk.”  The game features an elephant named Emmet who is packing his bags to go on a vacation trip.  He has four different colored trunks, each made of tin and measuring approximately 2 ½” x 3”.  The trunks even open and close like a real suitcase.  Emmet has 24 pieces of clothing to choose from, 6 each of matching caps, shirts, shorts and socks.  Each item of clothing is represented by a small circular flat token, measuring about 1 ½” in diameter.

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A Pair of Math Game Reviews: tri-FACTa – Basic Arithmetic for Youngsters

ToysBulletin.com looks at two educational games from Learning Resources.

tri_FACTa___3MWe recently came across two educational games that were not only fun to play, but also reinforced basic math skills for youngsters ages 6-8 years old and up.  The game is called “tri-FACTa” and it comes in two versions, one stresses addition and subtraction, and the other multiplication and division.

Each game is packaged in a distinctive triangular sized box with a matching game board.  There are 100 numbered cards in both versions, with higher numbers in the multiplication/division version ranging from 1-100, and lower numbers in the addition/subtraction version ranging from 0-20.  Both versions also include several wild cards that can be used as any number, along with 4 trays to conceal the numbered cards from the other players.

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