No longer just a sector for board games and traditional puzzles. the games and puzzles market is quickly adapting to embrace new technologies and trends. We find out what's new.
MATTEL 01628 500000
After a strong 2011, which saw Mattel finish the year with two out of the top five family games (NPD, December 2011) and several top spots including the number one card game with UNO and the top travel game for Travel Scrabble, there’s even more to play for in 2012.
Building on the sell-out success of action and memory game Red Rover, Mattel will unveil new games for pre-schoolers. Chameleon Crunch features a lizard character that walks, talks and eats bugs while Molehill Mania brings fast-paced fun for pre-schoolers as they smack and catch the moles.
UNO Roboto lets players personalise their play by recording their names and creating a house rule. The robot surprises players by calling out their names and changing the rules.
There’s big news from top five electronic item (NPD, December 2011) Loopz. New Loopz Shifter sees players take on a series of music-based memory challenges using the infrared motion sensors. There’s over 20 ways to play as they transform the loops into any shape.
Building on the Angry Birds Knock On Wood board game, Mattel will unveil a raft of app-based games. Fruit Ninja comes to life in 3D game Fruit Ninja Slice Of Life. With over 20 million sales of the app, there’s no shortage of established fruit-based fans for the game. Also new for autumn is a game based on Cut The Rope, plus Angry Birds On Thin Ice.
2012 will also see Mattel bring to market card game Phase 10. The rummy-based game already has a large and established UK fan base.
HASBRO 020 8569 1234
The new Monopoly Millionaire game challenges players to be the first to earn a million Monopoly dollars. As players accumulate wealth, they upgrade their mover – they may start with a paper aeroplane but could have a private jet before the end of the game.
New Bop It Smash tests skill and competitive nature as players attempt to time it right and catch the light. The fast action game asks players to trap a rapidly moving light in the centre by quickly smashing the ends together. The closer the light is to the centre, the more points they score.
With the help of pop icon Britney Spears, everyone will be dancing with the new Twister Dance. The game combines dance music with the Twister spots. The built-in beat detection system turns any song into a dance routine. In addition to having a custom remix of one of her songs featured in the game, Spears will be featured on the packaging, in a TV ad and in dance instruction videos released in autumn.
Connect 4 Dunk requires players to grab launchers and fire discs into the tower. The first to get four discs in wins the round. Win four rounds and they win the game. Play solo to see how fast you can score or challenge a friend. Connect 4 Launchers also returns with players taking part in head-to-head action as they aim, launch and connect their way to victory with an updated game unit that catches the launched discs.
For pre-schoolers there are new Elefun & Friends Games, including Snackin’ Safari, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Elefun and Gator Golf. With a new line look and packaging, as well as new product development, each game features a digital storybook.
DRUMOND PARK 01473 322000
Drumond Park, according to NPD, recorded a 23 per cent sales increase during 2011 (against total games industry growth of one per cent).
The company’s design and development team has been hard at work, with five new children’s games and another Logo series launch.
Foooz (age five plus) will be released to coincide with Euro 2012. The product will be TV advertised in late spring and in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a new take on the ‘foosball’ scenario, and can be played in many configurations from the conventional table football scenario to a shoot-it-out crossbar challenge. The games involve the player wearing different types of boot – for flicking, chipping, bending and the like.
Two new additions to the Logo big brands series are also on the cards. Family game Logo The Best of TV and Movies (12 to adult) covers a host of TV programmes, past and present and many films. Also in the pipeline is Logo What Am I? – a multi-activity picture and knowledge-based concept for children aged eight and over.
Pumpazing (age four plus) is an action game where players compete to shoot colourful ‘Zinger’ heads from the toothsome Zingy unit, by pumping his arms as fast as they can. Then there’s a simple-to-play numbers and colours dice and card game entitled Fibber (six plus), and an unusual time trial challenge called SpinMania (6+).
LEGO 01753 495000
In Kokoriko, kids gather the colourful chickens in order to collect the most eggs. Luck and speed will help kids get the rooster, grab the worm and get ahead, but watch out for egg thieves.
The Lego City Alarm game sees the thieves trying to get the money without setting off the alarm while the police try to catch up with them. Suitable for two to four players.
Lego Games is also venturing into the Dark Side with the launch of Star Wars: The Battle of Hoth. The game of strategy and luck is for two or four players aged eight plus.
Summer sees the new Lego Games Mini-Taurus – a mini-labyrinth version of Minotaurus where players must claim the mythical Sword of Aegeus. Suitable for two to four players aged seven and over.
Lego will launch Heroica games in autumn. Castle Fortaan has fallen to the Goblin King and his monsters. The game includes four heroes and 11 monsters. Finally, Creationary is a family game. Roll the Lego dice to select one of four categories: vehicles, buildings, nature or things. There are three levels of difficulty.
MEGA BRANDS 01844 350033
Mega Puzzles is building on the 3D Breakthrough Puzzles range in 2012.
For level one – kids aged six plus can bring to life SpongeBob Skate, Hello Kitty and a Planets design. Amazing Spider-man, Hello Kitty, Sun & Moon themes will also be available for children aged eight and over in the level two range. While level three will include Marvel Avengers, Three Wolfs design and a Lion design.
3D Breakthrough combines a traditional 2D background with a unique 3D format including specially-designed clips to construct the 3D components.
In autumn/winter, Mega Puzzles will create its own category with new 3D Breakthrough Wall Puzzles. The sets contain two to three separate 3D builds, including clips and wall mounting adhesive. New Breakthrough 3D XL Puzzles are also a first for the puzzle category. The puzzles stand at almost 19-inches tall and come in designs including panda, lion and elephant.
Mega Puzzles is also launching 3D Breakthrough Wall Décor so kids can hang finished puzzles on the wall. Finally, 3D Breakthrough Puzzle Dioramas now mean puzzles can be built and displayed on any horizontal surface.
IMAGINATION GAMES 01270 619100
The Deadly 60 board game had a strong launch for spring/summer. The game allows kids to go on the hunt for some of the deadliest creatures in the world. The game is for ages eight and over.
Ruckus is a card game where each round takes up to four minutes to play. The frantic game from the US is simple and engaging and a licensed range will extend into card games with collectables for autumn/winter.
Trivia Box is a new take on Trivia Games. The box contains over 400 questions with each one relating to some of the UK’s biggest licences. Knock out gameplay brings a twist to the games. The line launched with over ten licences including The Simpsons and Top Gear, with more for 2012 and beyond. Range and game extensions are due in 2013.
Imagination Games is also distributing Educa Borras puzzles and games. So far the firm says sales have been very strong, with a great deal of interest for autumn/winter.
RAVENSBURGER 01869 363800
Using new technology with interlocking puzzle pieces, puzzlers can now build famous landmarks with Ravensburger’s new 3D puzzle range. The 216 uniquely curved, hinged and flat plastic pieces mean no glue is required.
The initial launch collection has four designs including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and a red and white Lighthouse. Later in the year, it will expand to include larger monuments like Tower Bridge.
Whether already keen puzzlers, or receiving their first jigsaw, children can enjoy Ravensburger’s versatile range of puzzles from as early as three years old. Younger children love characters, which is where Ravensburger’s licensed collections fit the bill. New for later this year are; Mike the Knight, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Club Penguin, Victorious, Moshi Monsters, The Amazing Spider-man, The Hobbit and Disney’s Brave.
PAUL LAMOND 0207 254 0100
Paul Lamond started the year on a high when it launched Subbuteo at Toy Fair with ex-England and Liverpool star, John Barnes. Improvements to the classic version include a luxury playing pitch, more detailed and flexible players, newly shaped bases and an extended range of generic colour strips, along with a strong range of fully licensed Premiership teams. The England, Ireland and Scottish national teams are also available.
The firm is also introducing a new pre-school range of Dr Seuss products including a classic matching game, a Cat in the Hat card game, a 24-piece floor puzzle and a 4 in 1 puzzle. Meanwhile, It’s a Chicken is a drawing game for kids. Each word card contains three options, one with a picture to copy to help younger children play. The ‘chicken’ timer ‘clucks’ to let the drawer know they are running out of time and if the word is guessed within the time limit, it announces the number of points won.
DKL 01604 678780
Children will learn about the effects of ice caps melting while playing the Penguin Rescuer Game. The game features penguins living in their natural habitat, with players having to rescue them from their melting surroundings.
Eco Town is from Wonderworld. Small wooden models are included so children can build a mini eco town, with bicycles, trees, a rainwater tank and recycle bin. The game helps educate on the importance of recycling. Village 3D Domino allows kids to create a fantasy village using the wooden pieces provided. It can also be used as a jigsaw puzzle. Transport 3D Domino is an additional game involving cars being paired together on a road map board.
Finally, the Safari Puzzle is made of chunky wood with an animal face (18-months plus).
GREEN BOARD GAMES 01494 538999
Attracting attention at the recent toy shows was the continued expansion of Green Board Games’ multi-award winning BrainBox range. Generic BrainBoxes based on fables – BrainBox Once upon a Time – and BrainBox Senior Moments for the over 55 age group have been introduced.
Green Board Games’ partnership with Scholastic has seen the introduction of BrainBox Vile Villains. The partnership also sees the launch of the first BrainBox in conjunction with Horrible Science – BrainBox Blood & Guts. The third strand of the BrainBox offering is the introduction of Travel BrainBoxes retailing at £8 and covering individual counties/cities. Devon and Cornwall are the first two counties to be covered.
Green Board Games has also grown its book offering. Extreme Dot to Dots with 1,400 dots retails at £4. The firm’s partnership with Dr. Maths – the Guinness World Record holder for teaching maths outside the classroom – has produced the Logical Learning range of books covering code breaking, magic numbers and times tables.
JUMBO 01707 289289
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Wasgij, Jumbo is introducing a limited edition two x 1,000-piece puzzle. Celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the puzzle concept will be available in a special limited edition collector’s tin from May.
Wasgij challenges puzzlers to use their imagination to complete an image that is different to that shown on the box. During its 15 years, Wasgij has introduced over 50 different illustrations across its Original, Mystery, Destiny, Christmas and licensed ranges – all developed from the brand’s original concept. The limited edition (Destiny concept) Diamond Jubilee-themed anniversary puzzle also features a competition and Jumbo is giving away over £45,000 worth of diamonds through its in-pack and online promotion to six puzzlers. The activity will take place from May and the winners will be announced in February 2013.
JOHN ADAMS 01480 414261
John Adams has two new offerings from the Rubik’s range; Rubik’s Code – the code breaking game for two players and the Rubik’s 2x2, now 13 per cent bigger – with new mechanical design.
Dragon Chase challenges children to escape with their treasure and avoid the Dragon’s swooping head. Rolit is a strategy game with a twist: find it, block it, roll it and win. Players must block opponents’ pieces and turn them into their own colour to win.
Telestrations is a party game which has players drawing what they see, then guessing what they saw, to reveal unpredictable outcomes from a choice of 2,400 words.
The Chase challenges players to make it through two rounds to the Final Chase and beat The Chaser. The game is suitable for three to six players. The London Game (£19.99) allows players to enjoy a race through the city’s classic underground, passing through iconic stations and London landmarks.
Finally, The Great Game of Britain takes players aged seven plus back to the age of steam.
ESDEVIUM GAMES 01420 593500
Fly Trap marks an expansion for Esdevium into the kids’ action games category. The game is set for a Q3 launch, complete with PR support and TV advertising.
Esdevium’s trademark family games, Jungle Speed and Dobble, achieved strong growth last year and will continue into 2012 with widespread targeted marketing and hundreds of product demonstrations.
Licensed games such as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld and ITV’s Take Me Out will continue to be exclusive properties of Esdevium, with the latter currently midway through its third series. In addition to Take Me Out, the new game for 2012 is the Would I Lie to You TV licensed board game.
Other new offerings include the award-winning Ingenious board game and new Star Wars titles, including an X-Wing game. International multi award-winning titles, Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne, have seen sales rise every year they have been supplied by Esdevium and this trend is expected to continue. Esdevium will also exclusively supply Hasbro’s wooden box nostalgia titles.
FLAIR 0208 633 0320
Flair has a new challenging board game based on the hit Nickelodeon TV show. It is the first House of Anubis product in the toy category in the UK.
The game board echoes the English boarding school from the series. Each of the rooms and corridors is pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle so the game is different every time.
The aim of the game is to collect the hieroglyph tokens, while avoiding the caretaker and other pitfalls along the way. The first player to collect six tokens and get back to their bed is the winner.
It’s not that easy though, draw an action card on each turn and use it to help yourself or obstruct your opponent.
The complexity of the game and level of strategy can be varied.
HORNBY 01843 233500
Corgi is releasing a selection of new ranges this spring to develop playtime and creativity for little ones.
The new Corgi Toys Play Mat allows kids to race Corgi vehicles around the detailed map. Children can also choose from a range of themes including military, construction, emergency services and agriculture. Each set includes a selection of two themed vehicles, a plastic building and a mat.
Additionally, Hornby Hobbies has expanded its portfolio by acquiring master toy rights for Olly the Little White Van. Introducing a selection of Olly puzzles, the licence introduces children to all of the vehicles and characters featured in the series. The collection comprises three puzzle products; the Mini Jigsaw 54-piece, a two jigsaw pack and a four jigsaw pack
UNIVERSITY GAMES 03334 050120
Following the success of the re-introduction of Poppin’ Hoppies at Toy Fair 2012, University Games is investing in a TV ad campaign.
Pointless board game sales continue to grow, and the addition of a travel version later this year will contain 120 new questions. The Gruffalo range also remains strong. The Gruffalo Word Rhyming Game is a high volume seller, and the Hide and Seek Mini Game will be introduced for autumn/winter. The Gruffalo Felt Play Board and Magnetic Adventures will also join the range.
The Hidden Force will launch within the family games sector. The strategy game is played on a magnetic board.
Color On is a unique colouring experience, while 1,000-piece puzzles of Madalene’s Hearts feature photography of unique heart-shaped collages created from everyday objects. Murder Mystery Party Games and glow in the dark Great Explorations continue to grow.
VIVID 01483 449944
The worldwide master toy and game partnership between Vivid Group and The Bridge Direct is unveiling an array of products for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The range includes board games inspired by the two films and launches before the December 14th release of the first film.
New Pocket Games launch this year. And for the One Directioners out there, there is also a new One Direction Game. The first person to complete their game card and get the backstage pass wins.
Players of Where’s Moshi have to ask questions to eliminate different Moshlings until they find the one they want to win. Autumn/winter sees the launch of the Monstro City Game where players race around Monstro City collecting various items and answering questions to win the Golden IGGY trophy.
In the Race to Space game, Baby Jake’s friends race through outer space to join him in Captain Spacey’s rocket.
Vivid’s puzzle collection includes a range of formats from three in a box to interactive puzzles. Autumn/winter will see the launch of new Moshi puzzles. Moshi Mania Puzzle is a collection of every monster you can think of in one puzzle with 250 pieces. Secret Reveal Puzzle is a 200-piece puzzle with a surprise.
The Cloudbabies line includes three jigsaw packs, while Smasha-Ballz monsters launch in autumn/winter.
HTI 01253 778888
HTI’s Wood Works range of traditionally crafted wooden toys includes many pre-school wooden puzzles for 12 and 18-months upwards.
All Wood Works pre-school puzzles have been designed to help develop recognition of numbers, letters, shapes and colours, as well as enhance hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities and stimulate visual development. Peg Puzzles include three assorted colourful cartoon scenes of adult and baby farm animals, jungle animals and vehicles.
The Traditional Games range provides an extensive range of products from classic board games, bingo, towering blocks and educational games to travel games and magnetic compendiums.
COILEDSPRING 0870 446 1515
Coiledspring Games has introduced Wrebbit 3D jigsaw puzzles to its offering. Invented over 20 years ago, the range includes a number of iconic buildings from the Taj Mahal to Big Ben.
All Wrebbit jigsaws are made in Canada, and are billed as the sturdiest 3D jigsaw puzzles on the market. With each including 750+ pieces, they have the highest piece count and are the largest of their kind. Apart from being super strong, the pieces are thick and easy to handle and are made from non-toxic polyethylene foam.
Roger Martin, director of Coiledspring, commented: “We are thrilled to launch Wrebbit’s 3D jigsaws, adding a contemporary twist to a much-loved product. We are sure these will be a great success. It’s a great way to get the whole family together and encourage children to get excited about traditional games.”
Wrebbit’s 3D jigsaws are sure to have all families puzzling for hours as they build impressive creations and bond over the delights of a traditional puzzle turned life-like.
CULICA 07889 181790
Culica is a cube with a grid of nine slots on each face, together with 84 pegs of four colours. The game challenges players to place pegs on the cube to achieve various goals and has over 55 trillion trillion trillion possible combinations. There are 30+ competitive games and solo puzzles published to date.
A Culica puzzle example is CuColours, where pegs of the same colour must not touch, even diagonally. There are more puzzles online, such as the fiendish CuNitrogen, where every peg must have exactly three side-by-side neighbours.
Culica games can be played by two to 12 players. CuCombat is one such game. Be the first to place three pegs of the same colour diagonally on a face, or four in a straight line side-by-side. Other competitive games are CuColours, CuSol, CuMolecula, CuBar, CuSnakes CuThello etc. There are even specialist Culica games: CuPoker, CuChess and CuFootball.
MUMBOJUMBO 020 8563 2888
MumboJumbo Toys is expanding its Janod range this year. Janod is best known for its in-house designed wooden toys, but the range also offers a choice of products from pure fun to educational with a wide range of wooden and sturdy cardboard puzzles and games now available.
WINNING MOVES 020 7298 9500
Winning Moves UK has produced its biggest-ever product range for a single licensor with its London 2012 collection of games and puzzles. The games have been produced to span a broad price range.
Pocket-money items such as Top Trumps and playing cards retail at just £3.99, with mid-price items such as the three souvenir jigsaws starting at £7.99. Higher priced items such as the London 2012 Monopoly game or the Top Trumps Tournament game make lasting souvenirs for fans of the London 2012 Olympic Games. For the first time, Winning Moves has also produced a bite-size Trivial Pursuit for London 2012 and limited edition Bananagrams.
GIBSONS GAMES 020 8661 8866
Gibsons is offering the new Queen’s Diamond Jubilee jigsaw puzzle, which scooped Toy Fair Best New Toy 2012 in the Games and Puzzles category. The 1,000-piece puzzle is a collage of royal memorabilia. Gibsons’ Downton Abbey 500 and 1,000-piece licensed puzzles are presented as a montage and offer a sense of nostalgia. Made in the UK, the puzzle joins other British licensed classics including, Hovis, Cadbury, Corgi, and Scalextric, along with London and Quirky Britain playing cards.
The My World range was designed in conjunction with child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer and sees three new additions this year.
UNDERGROUND TOYS 020 7801 6325
Underground Toys is extending its Lalaloopsy licence to include puzzles and games.
Where is Lalaloopsy? allows children to ask questions, follow clues and go find their Lalaloopsy doll. Memory Match Game includes a bonus pencil topper. Ups and Downs is a new twist on the classic game with a 3D game board which brings the traditional Snakes and Ladders gameplay to life.
Other games in the range include Pop Up Game, Find and Seek and Tea Party Game.
GOLDEN BEAR 01952 608308
Golden Bear’s dominoes and jigsaw puzzles combine traditional favourites with children’s licences.
The company offers a collection of high quality wooden dominoes which are designed to last for years to come. Each set contains 28 chunky wooden pieces that are ideal for small hands.
Available in Banana in Pyjamas, Ben and Holly, Peppa Pig and Poppy Cat, there is something to appeal to all children.
Alternatively, My 1st JCB jigsaw puzzles are available as a Giant Floor Puzzle or as a Four Puzzle Gift Set. Both jigsaws feature all characters from the My 1st JCB team who are revealed once all the pieces are placed together correctly.
FIESTA CRAFTS 020 8804 0563
The Dr Baffler’s 24-piece large wooden jigsaws feature large chunky colourful wooden pieces in a bright picture.
The puzzles come with a wooden backing board with a recessed frame to help young puzzlers position the pieces more easily, and to make it easy to pick up and show off their achievement afterwards, boosting confidence and self-esteem.
Each of the four puzzles in the collection has a child-friendly design featuring animals and people, all with happy faces.
Themes include Princesses, Knights and Dragon, Farm and Wild Animals.
Fiesta Crafts also supplies a wooden puzzle display that holds up to eight puzzles from the Dr Baffler range and allows customers to easily browse through the selection.
RAINBOW DESIGNS 01329 227300
The Charlie and Lola ‘Lola Loves’ collection includes the Lola Loves ‘Playing Games’ Wooden Dominoes Set. The game will help kids learn numbers and improve their counting.
Rainbow’s new Abney & Teal collection features two games and puzzles for pre-schoolers. The Giant Floor Puzzle features an image of Abney & Teal and their friends on their island, against a backdrop of the city. The two-in-one puzzle also features a colouring-in image on the reverse.
Also included is the Mix and Match Card Game – a 20-piece matching numbers activity.
Also from Rainbow Designs are Wooden Peg Puzzles and Dominoes in The Very Hungry Caterpillar, My First Paddington, The World of Beatrix Potter, Elmer, Spot and The Gruffalo, plus a Wibbly Pig Peg Puzzle and Matching Card Game.
MARBEL 01208 873123
WWF Games and Puzzles is a new collection of FSC certified products themed around species and habitats which WWF works to safeguard. The result is a line of products that have a strong educational value and reach a broad audience from ages four and over. Each game teaches children about endangered species and their diverse habitats which are being threatened.
George Luck has been designing and making wooden puzzles for over 30 years. The range has won numerous good toy and design awards and has been widely acclaimed for being both fun and educational.
Jigsaw puzzles have long been recognised as helping develop children’s dexterity skills and shape recognition, as well as the most important coordination of hands and eyes. George Luck Puzzles are largely based upon recognisable shapes rather than just plain pieces, and the use of animals and vehicles in these shapes helps improve a child’s vocabulary and imagination.
BIGJIGS 01303 250 400
There are stacks of new lines being added to the expanding Bigjigs Toys range of games and puzzles in 2012.
From the Chunky Lift Out and My First Matching lines, to the different Vertical Magnetic puzzles, the range offers children new developmental opportunities as they explore and learn while solving the puzzle problem.
The firm also offers a range of games suitable for outdoor use.
Picking his favourite from the selection, Bigjigs Toys UK operations manager, Sam Ireland, has tipped the new Jungle Animal Skittles as top for summer: “It’s difficult to decide on a favourite as pretty much all of the products we stock are suitable for outdoor play in one way or another, but I find that the classic ones always provide the most fun and these skittles are a must have for any garden.”
CHEATWELL GAMES 02392 524098
Animate It was developed in association with Aardman. It comes with software suitable for Windows and Mac, flexible moulds and clay, a green screen background and a ‘get-you-started’ DVD featuring Ricky the Animator. Also included are 26 episodes of Morph animations.
App-Player marries the traditional board game to the smart phone market. The game comes with four titles and customers can visit the iTunes Store and download the apps. The Apps are also available for Android phones.
The firm also has more traditional puzzles including the Build It range of 3D Puzzles, plus Plop Trumps, the poo-tastic card game. The Pig Popper, the soft-ball popping game is now joined by Dino, Dog, Moo-Cow, Penguin plus a festive version. Other new lines include Mini Masters Jigsaw Puzzles, Coffee Table Trivia and new editions of the Murder Mystery Games.
GREAT GIZMOS 01293 543221
Great Gizmos’ range of pre-school games and puzzles from Popular Playthings are ideal for educational game play for children aged from three to five.
Sums have never been simpler with Monkey Math, which uses bananas and a monkey scale to make learning simple addition more fun. Children hang an equal number of bananas onto the monkey’s hands and if the addition is correct the monkey will look straight ahead with his arms nicely level. If the numbers are not equal, his eyes will be crossed and his arms will be up and down.
To help introduce children to their multiplication tables there is Monkey Multiplier, a monkey character that helps put play into even the trickiest maths. Point his toes at the two numbers that are to be multiplied and the answer mysteriously appears in the ring between his hands.
Other monkey related games complete the Popular Playthings collection.
ORCHARD TOYS 01953 859525/30
Designed and manufactured in the UK, Orchard Toys’ games and jigsaws help children learn basic skills through play. The jigsaws teach a range of skills including hand-eye co-ordination, manual dexterity, observation skills and they stimulate imaginative discussion.
Animals Four in a Box contains four jigsaw puzzles in one box. This makes completing the puzzles more of a challenge as the pieces are muddled up. To help children sort out which piece goes where, each jigsaw has a different coloured border and backing.
Children can start off with the easy four-piece puzzle, then move onto the six, eight and finally the 12-piece one. It is designed to appeal to children of three years plus.
The top selling jigsaw puzzle for the company last year was Giant Road Jigsaw, which contains all of the colourful characters for which the company is known and, when assembled, provides a super track for play with model cars and trucks.
The challenge is that there is no set way to put the pieces together, as they are all designed to fit into one another, meaning any number of different tracks and roadways can be assembled.
QUBE GAMES 01542 463366
QBits is a mathematical board game based on strategy and tactical thinking. It incorporates addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
The game was developed by a group of sixth form students as part of the Young Enterprise programme, and it was decided to develop it into a commercially viable product.
QBits can be played from eight and up, with a minimum of two players. The aim is to score as many points as possible using the numbers on your Qube and any numbers on Qubes already placed on the board. Each player can use the board to gain more points or to trap opponents into losing points. Points are scored if adjoining Qubes are either multiples or factors of one another. The length of the game depends upon the amount of Qubes each player begins with.
HABA 0161 304 9555
The Orchard range offers an array of cards, puzzles and educational games to stimulate a child’s development.
Suitable for children from around two years, My First Orchard includes large fruit pieces and colourful trees, from which the fruit must be harvested before the crow steals them away. This stimulating game is perfect for solo play or as a co-operative activity for smaller groups of children. Available as either a Giant Floor Puzzle, card game or Discovery Puzzle, the Orchard collection caters for all types of game play.
Haba also has a range of puzzles from First Jigsaws for the very young to Giant Puzzles, which not only challenge children to complete a scene, but once finished can be played with using the wooden figures included.
INTERPLAY 01628 488944
The 4D Cityscape Jigsaw Puzzle range currently includes London and New York and guides puzzlers through history, allowing them to recreate each city in chronological order producing a replica of each defining era and delve into the fourth dimension – time.
With each puzzle including over 700 pieces and more than 70 buildings, they both boast close attention to detail, which will allow puzzlers to bring each city to life.
Since launch in 2010, the range was named as the overall Winner of Gift of the Year award 2010, and remains strong as a gift for all ages and an interesting recreation of some of the world’s most iconic cities.
JOHN CRANE 01604 774949
The new Safari Dominoes by Tidlo offer a traditional style domino games with a little John Crane twist. The 28-piece domino set is suitable for children from two. On one side of the domino is the classic number side, while the other side features safari animals from John Crane’s very own Emma Talbot.
Little Brown Rabbit company owner, Talbot has been working as a designer for over 14 years. Her passions include art, photography and of course little brown rabbits.
She said: “I love making people smile with my work which is effortless when working with such a great company like John Crane.”
The Tidlo collection also includes the Lift and Match Jungle Animals, which features five familiar animals that fit in the flower shaped puzzle. The chunky peg pieces are easy to hold, which helps children develop their hand-eye coordination.
Sevi has also introduced a game which aids hand-eye coordination. The rocking Noah’s Ark provides a wobbly setting to try and balance all ten animals. The animals include snakes, crocodiles, elephants and rhinos.
IMC TOYS 01904 720908
Bum Face is a game for four players where you have to hit your opponent’s face and knock them out of the ring. Players can save their own bum by hitting it to prolong their continuation in the game.
The Bum Face Game offers two levels of difficulty, choose your colour and begin the action packed boxing game experience.
ROLLORS 001 478-501-2003
Rollors is a new outdoor game that offers an alternative to traditional lawn sports. Players roll wooden disks, similar to oversized hockey pucks, towards a colour-coded goal 25 feet away. Points are awarded to the player/team that positions the disks closest to the goal.
Matt Butler, inventor of Rollors came up with the concept for the game while serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his down time while serving in combat operations, he sketched the game pieces, created the rules and even brainstormed his business plan.
Rollors features hardwood pieces and a carrying case to protect the craftsmanship of the game.
CARTAMUNDI 01268 511522
Cartamundi has a strong new retail range being introduced for 2012.
New licences and products are rolling out through the year including Ice Age 4, Animal Planet and Spider-man. The company also says that it has products to commemorate a number of key anniversaries this year, such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Euro 2012 tournament and the 50th anniversary of James Bond.
HALILIT 01254 872454
The Edushape bath time games and puzzles either float on the bath water or stick to the tiles. The jar of Funny Mix contains pairs of wet and stick foam animals, while Floating Pairs is a floating memory game.
There are three sets in the range: the Deep-Sea Fishing Set has a fishing rod with a worm attached to fish for the sea creatures; the Fish ‘n’ Fun set helps children recognise the variety of different sea creatures as they catch them with the fishing rod, and Fish ‘n’ Spell helps language and spelling skills, as words are made with the letters as they are caught by the fishing rod. All the bath time games are suitable from the age of three, apart from the Deep-Sea Fishing Set which is recommended from the age of two.
Edushape offers two chunky foam puzzle sets that stick to any smooth flat surface when wet. Each set contains both an eight-piece as well as a 15-piece puzzle. The themes are Jungle and Park, and Sea Life and Traffic.
LEARNING RESOURCES 01268 478556
Two educational 56 card games for all the family teach facts about animals, past and present are Dinohistoria – evolution and the past, including Dinosaurs – and Wildcat – facts about wild cats from around the world.
The games are suitable for ages seven and over, but in order for younger children from age five to join in, additional games have now been added to the company’s website, www.educationallearning.co.uk.
The games help improve children’s numeracy, literacy, colour recognition, memory and social interaction assisting various parts of the national curriculum (as confirmed by Anglia Ruskin University’s evaluation and various reviews).
Wildcat has three levels of play and the Dinohistoria cards are differently numbered and feature special cards. The aim is to be the first player to play all your cards and score points for all the cards left in your hand.
REALISM GAMES 01428 651778
Realism is a new board game designed to appeal to all ages as players seek to build their own business empires. Investment decisions, purchases of luxuries and market events all conspire to challenge players in the new game. All the family can enjoy the many roles that Realism offers, as financial uncertainty chimes with the times.
GALT 0161 428911
Galt Toys is launching seven new board games.
Ants In Your Pants is a number and counting game, while The Cat’s Away is also a counting game. Children match the number on the spinner with the mice on their cards, while trying to avoid the big ginger cat. What’s In The Fridge is a memory game where kids have to find all the ingredients for a snack, making sure they avoid ‘mould food’ cards. All Aboard is two games in one, designed to help colour recognition and shape matching skills. The double-sided boards are in the shape of vehicles.
Gone Shopping is two games designed to develop memory skills and encourage language development.
Pirate Pursuit is designed to help children learn to count, while Whatever Next is an acting, singing, laughing, hopping, crawling, jumping game.