W. Eric MartinUnited States
Hasbro extravaganza, is there anything else to talk about regarding NY Toy Fair 2019? Yes, oh my goodness, so much more, starting with this delightful title:
In Quirky Circuits from @valens116 & @PlaidHatGames, players collectively program their robo-friends in order to clean their house. Think of it as RoboRally crossed with The Mind as players lay down program cards secretly each round. BGG game page: https://t.co/7kmNG5l6eH —WEM pic.twitter.com/pPLEfi7Akx— BoardGameGeek (@BoardGameGeek) February 28, 2019
I first got a look at Quirky Circuits during Spielwarenmesse 2019 at a press event, and I was smitten from the word "go". Bryan Bornmueller from Asmodee North America, who was showing the game at NY Toy Fair, describes Quirky Circuits as the lovechild of Robo Rally and The Mind, so you can possibly imagine why I was so taken with the game.
The gist of the game is that you need to clean house. Dust bunnies are everywhere! Remove them! Thankfully you have a cat, Gizmo, riding an automated vacuum device to guide around the room and suck everything up. The problem, though, is that every player is controlling this device at the same time, and you don't know what they're doing when.
In game terms, everyone has a hand of cards, and these cards show directions or speeds: turn left, turn right, go ahead 1-3 spaces, reverse 1 space, etc. Gizmo starts in one corner of the room, and at the start of a round players start playing cards face down in a row without saying which cards they played. Once you've played at least five cards — with each player contributing at least one card if I remember correctly — you can decide to stop playing cards, reveal them, then move Gizmo. Turn, move, turn, move, move! If Gizmo hits a wall, it automatically turns left. Sometimes you want this to happen since you don't have a turn card in hand; sometimes you guess that someone turned instead of moving and you guess wrong, so Gizmo heads off in an unexpected direction. At the end of the movement, you drop the battery one level, refill your hand, then play another round. If you suck up all the dust bunnies before the battery goes dead, you win.
In later rounds, you start adding complications, such as small vases on tables. Hit the table, and the vase falls on the floor and breaks, giving you more to clean up in order to claim victory. You have different room layouts to contend with, special movement cards that must be the first card you play in a round, and different cleaning robots with varied abilities, such as this guy who can hold things in its claw:
Quirky Circuits has the spiral-bound storybook format of Stuffed Fables, with the new room layouts on different pages and rules specific to those rooms on the opposite pages. This Nikki Valens and Plaid Hat Games release should be available at retailers in May 2019.
To add children's games to its offerings, @AsmodeeNA will start distributing titles from French publisher @Djeco_toys, such as the adorable Woolfy in which you must keep the wolf from creating a ham-based soup filled with cuteness. BGG game page: https://t.co/DSBf8heC5n —WEM pic.twitter.com/aIGUzG80Nq— BoardGameGeek (@BoardGameGeek) February 28, 2019
These components are adorable, and it's amazing to realize that I don't think I'd even heard of Djeco a year ago, while it started more than sixty years ago (albeit with some fallow time between then and now). HABA has always been the first company to come to mind when I thin kof quality children's games, yet Djeco's are just as pleasing to look at and touch as those of HABA. Check out Chop! Chop!, for example:
The cat and mice figures are great — if not quite as cute as the little piggie head sticking out of the pot in Woolfy — and what's really amazing is that the wooden legs screw into the table. That's the highest quality miniature table you'll likely ever see!
Asmodee NA isn't bringing in the entire Djeco game line at once as it's vast. No, ANA is bringing in "only" about twenty titles to start with, then it will re-assess and see where to go from there. By chance, we recorded overviews of Niwa and Cubissimo (see on the top shelf) during our livestream from the FIJ game fair in Cannes, France, so you can find out more about those items soon.
Wordsmith from Bill Eberle, Peter Olotka, and Greg Olotka is effectively a new version of Runes from their Eon days, with players trying to build words from letters — but first they have to build letters from the four types of bits available to them. Here's an overview of the game that BGG recorded with publisher HeidelBÄR Games at Spielwarenmesse 2019:
My interaction with publisher Brain Games covers my February as a whole. We saw Brain Games at the Spielwarenmesse 2019 fair at the start of the month, but their new games were stuck in customs, so they had nothing to show. Two weeks later, I took pics of these upcoming 2019 games at NY Toy Fair 2019, such as Urtis Šulinskas' Pigasus in which you're given an animal hybrid such as a crocoilla and must quickly spot the goridile. Just a few days after that show, we recorded an overview of Pigasus at the FIJ game fair in Cannes, France. Busy days...
In Snowman Dice (@Elliott_Games & @BrainGames_int), you roll repeatedly, racing to create a snowman w/ bottom, middle & top, then you need an arrow to push it to the North Pole before s/o flicks a snowball at it to destroy your work. BGG game page: https://t.co/U8owxWocQI —WEM pic.twitter.com/iFqtlXHeu6— BoardGameGeek (@BoardGameGeek) February 27, 2019
The gameplay of Snowman Dice might be clear from the pic and description above, but a video would really make the gameplay evident. I recorded short videos (10-15 seconds) of a couple of games at NY Toy Fair, then tweeted those videos, and I need to do more of that in the future as those videos convey the impact or nature of a game far more quickly than anything else — at least for some games, this being one of them.
We did record an overview of Snowman Dice at FIJ 2019, and we did so thanks to me bringing the sole copy with production-quality dice from NY Toy Fair to FIJ. Publishers ask weird favors sometimes, but I could fit the game in my carryon, so it made the trip with me.
While at FIJ 2019, we also recorded overviews of Brain Games' co-operative memory game Farm Rescue, a design for ages 4+ from Harris Tsagas, and TEAM3, a sort of co-operative game from Alex Cutler and Matt Fantastic in which players build in teams of three, with one person (the monkey who can't speak) miming directions to another person who interprets those motions and explains to a third person (the monkey who can't see) who assembles components into a structure to match a target card. You can do all this against a timer or against another team who's trying to do the same thing with a separate set of components. The video shows off this activity more clearly than anything else.
Whoa, all my recent conventions are mixing together in this one post! Let me end it here for now and wrap up NY Toy Fair 2019 in one final post tomorrow...