A Family Fare: ToyNews’ guide to the latest in the Games & Puzzles market

Sales surges of 240 per cent at the height of lockdown, reports of some manufacturers hitting Q4 levels of sales throughout June, and a nation that owes its sanity to the vast spectrum of board games and puzzles out there and the retailers and suppliers that have been keeping them in stock; the games and puzzles sector is having its moment in the sun.

ToyNews takes a look at some of the hottest new lines to be keeping the market inspired for the rest of 2020.

Gibsons – Quirk!
020 8661 8866 | www.gibsonsgames.co.uk | sales@gibsonsgames.co.uk

This Autumn, Gibsons will be launching a variety of contemporary puzzles and games, kicking off proceedings with the laugh-out-loud family card game, Quirk! Embrace your silly side and get your best impressions at the ready to gather characters and claim your quirky title by collecting the most ‘Quirks’. A game for children and adults, Quirk promotes interactive play with 26 characters through two decks of cards for players can mix and match.

Meanwhile, the firm has expanded its Transport for London licensed range following record sales of the card game, Mind the Gap. Race the Rails is a new card game for two to eight players aged eight and upwards. Race across London on the Underground and follow the routes of the famous lines, trying to make the connections on time and not get held up.

This Autumn it is adding a new 1000 piece Puzzle of Positivity to its White Logo collection. Packed full of pick-me-ups, along with a dash of sarcasm and a healthy portion of puns, this quirky puzzle has been illustrated by Katie Abey and provides bucket loads of happiness and motivation.

University Games – Grandpa’s Great Escape Board Game
020 7254 0100

Looking to a magical Christmas, University Games is building on the successful summer launch of its Harry Potter Puzzles with new additions including the Hogwarts Castle, Hogwarts Express and building from Diagon Alley such as Gringotts Bank, Olivander’s Wand Shop, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Bolstering the Wizarding line up is the new Harry Potter Head 2 Toe Ultimate 9 Card Puzzle Challenges, a game that house thousands of incorrect combinations and only one correct one.

Meanwhile, the new Murder Mystery Party Case Files arrives this autumn in time for the dinner party scene. The Cary Underwood cold case has been reopened and it is down to the team to solve the murder. With over 50 pieces of
evidence, and hints and conclusions online, the case will take a true detective mind.

The World of David Walliams is igniting the children’s portfolio with titles such as Gangsta Granny’s Stash the Swag, Grandpa’s Great Escape Twilight Towers Amazing Break Out, and the Mega-Tastic Challenges board game, as well as four educational games and 250-piece jigsaw puzzles. There’s also popular Horrible Histories board game, Tyrannosaurus Rex, What’s
Up, Charades for Kids and Yes!No!

 Asmodee – Dobble 360
01420 593 593

Following the successful launch of Dobble XXL this summer, the holiday period  will see a major focus on Dobble 360, which adds a 360-degree twist to the hit game. Featuring a mechanised display system that rotates two cards while players try to spot the matching image between them, Dobble 360 adds a memory challenge to the addictive family fun.

The UK’s number one game of 2018 and 2019 has launched an exciting new licensed edition in the form of The Gruffalo Dobble earlier this year, with another – Dobble L.O.L. Surprise, partnering with the huge-selling toy brand – about to make its
debut. The Dobble brand will continue to grow into 2021 with plans for more environmentally friendly packaging and new licensed editions.

Some of Asmodee’s Modern Classics have been making significant gains during lockdown, particularly titles Catan, Ticket to Ride and Pandemic. A wide reaching digital campaign will be put behind all these games in Q4 to support listings at retail.
New games have also made an impression, including recently released party game Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, a card game that sees players reciting silly words as they take turns playing cards and rushing to perform actions when a matching or special card is revealed.

Tomy – Fill Your Pants
01271 336 155

Harry Potter has cast a spell over the board game sector with the latest virtual game from TOMY, featuring over 1000 questions to test the knowledge of the franchise’s super fans, while the second edition of the LOGO Board Game hit shelves this July to much delight.

New to the Drumond Park family games category is the launch of Fill Your Pants – a unique take on a scavenger hunt – which is both easy to play and certain to guarantee a night of family fun. With 50 different possible categories, including “something spotty”, “something shiny” and “something squishy”, each game offers a new combination.

Another addition to the category is Drumond Park’s Sketchy. This drawing game requires one team member to draw pictures onto the screen provided which will then appear on the reverse side for the opposing team to guess, while autumn/winter 2020 also sees TOMY Games launch Screwball Scramble Level 2, a topsy-turvy crazy maze. Featuring ten new obstacles and fun new surprises, this game is certain to challenge kids’ skill patience and dexterity.

Ginger Fox – Carnovsky Jigsaw Puzzles
01242 241765

This autumn, Ginger Fox is launching its range of Carnovsky Jigsaw Puzzles, a series of  mind-bending 500-piece puzzles that explore the interaction between colour and light with three different images sitting on top of each other. The colours mix and the lines and shapes entwine as your eyes try to make sense of what they see. Make use of the digital app or look through the red, green and blue viewing glasses, included, to isolate each layer of the spectacular image. The 500-piece Animals, Ocean and Jungle puzzle illustrations have been created by the artistic duo Carnovsky and each includes an artwork print.

A new addition to the Ginger Fox line up this autumn is based on the hit BBC2 show House of Games, hosted by Richard Osman. The House of Games Board Game is the ultimate test of knowledge and skill as you team up to tackle some trivia or face off against each other in the iconic Answer Smash!

Guaranteed to add to the festive fun this Christmas is Don’t be a Dik Dik, a hilarious card game for grown-ups who love nature and a little naughtiness. Titter at the tufted titmouse, chuckle at the large cockchafer, snigger at the sticky willy, but whatever you do, don’t get left holding the dik dik!

From September 2020 onwards, Ginger Fox is starting its journey towards making the brand truly environmentally and socially sustainable. Head to the website to find out about the firm’s sustainability promise.

Big Potato – Herd Mentality

London-based game creator, Big Potato, has just released two brand new board games for 2020. One fresh off the farm called Herd Mentality and another fresh out the oven called P for Pizza. Herd Mentality is an absolutely moo-velous party game where
players have to think like the herd and write down the exact same answers as each other. Meanwhile, P for Pizza is a quick-thinking, pizza-slice-grabbing category game, where you’re racing to shout out answers and build your pizza slice to victory.

Although they might be different, both games stick to Big Potato’s golden rule: easy to learn and quick to play. So, whether you’re staying in with family or going out with friends, both games should give you a quick and easy way to get the party going.
In Herd Mentality, the aim is to win eight Cow Tokens before anyone else. Each round, players will hear a random question, such as “What’s the worst day of the week?” Everyone writes down an answer, then reveals them one by one. If your answer is part of the majority, you get to collect a Cow Token from the Paddock in the middle and take one step closer to victory.

However, there’s one cow in the paddock that you won’t want to collect… and that’s the squishy pink cow. If your answer is the odd one out, you’ll have to add him to your herd. Whilst the pink cow is sitting in front of you, it’s impossible for you to win the game – so you had better hope someone else collects him before it’s too late.

Ravensburger – Villainous

Ravensburger continues to grow its immersive games portfolio with high profile partnerships seeing the company further making its mark in the category. Recent launch, Back to the Future: Dice Through Time, offers an authentic dive into the
world of the popular movie franchise in the form of a cooperative dice game. With half a million Villainous games sold to date, new launch, the much anticipated Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, is set to extend the franchise.

This game will see players take on the role of an iconic comic book villain. It features villains Thanos, Hela, Taskmaster, Killmonger and Ultron. Reaching out to a slightly younger audience, quick-to-play, cooperative game, Hocus Pocus, challenges players to beat the Sanderson Sisters before the sun rises and features favourite quotes and spells from the film.

Number one in adult puzzles, Ravensburger achieved impressive results in 2019 and 2020 is seeing continued strong growth in the category for the company. With the festive season fast-approaching, Ravensburger is set to launch the 24th in a series of limited edition 1000 piece Christmas puzzles, as well as the delightful We Wish Moo a Merry Christmas 500 piece animal selfie
puzzle. Joining a raft of launches in adult 2D puzzles, these jigsaws offer a perfect activity for holiday afternoons.

James Galt/Jumbo Games – Wasgij The Christmas Show
0161 428 9111

July saw the eagerly awaited release of the official Christmas puzzles from both Falcon de luxe and Wasgij, spreading festive cheer ahead of the fast-approaching holiday season. Featuring Falcon’s quintessentially British illustrations, ‘The Christmas Carousel’ 2 x 1000-piece puzzle set depicts a traditional Christmas market with quaint stalls, fairy lights, and a stunning carousel as its centrepiece. A further 10 Falcon de luxe releases are sure to delight fans of these beautiful, highquality puzzles throughout the second half of the year.

Wasgij, Jumbo’s leading puzzle brand, is the original brainteasing jigsaw and the number one adult puzzle brand in the UK (source: NPD Full Year 2019). The unique concept challenges puzzlers to use the humorous illustrations, and their imagination, to piece together the ‘solution’ to what’s on the box. In spectacular Wasgij style, Wasgij Christmas 16 ‘The Christmas Show!’ is a 2 x 1000-piece puzzle set with a hilarious twist, as a school Christmas play takes an unexpected turn. With this release there is also an extra 1,000-piece puzzle of the box image included absolutely free.

Jumbo’s popular Jan van Haasteren brand, the leading puzzle brand in The Netherlands with a rapidly growing UK fanbase, has five new and distinctive puzzles due for release, so be sure to stay up to date with all our latest news for details.

Rex London – Prehistoric 3D Wooden Puzzle
0208 746 1700

Rex London’s classic wooden toys are a nostalgia trip for parents – forget computer games and social media, we’re talking yoyos, boomerangs and dominoes. Think retro themes with a modern design twist. Also available are beautiful wooden pull toys, including a vintage racing car, retro racing car, hedgehog, sausage dog, circus horse and a whole duck family.

Keep young minds occupied for hours with colourful children’s puzzles – popular products include 150- and 300-piece jigsaw ‘puzzles in a tube’ in a variety of designs, and 3D wooden dinosaur skeleton puzzles. Or for younger kids there is a whole host of matching puzzles and memory games with cute characters, which provides a fun way to boost children’s cognitive development.

Bring families together this Christmas with charming games for all ages. Classic board games in travel sizes, traditional jacks and travel bingo are perfect for taking to visit friends and family over the festive period. For the budding storyteller, the fairytale dice game will let their imagination and creativity run wild, and enrapture their audience. Younger children will adore the Wild Wonders wooden balance game, ideal for improving their hand-eye coordination.


About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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