The 114th New York Toy Fair was this past weekend, and I joined several fellow puzzlers from Penny Dell Puzzles on an excursion to the Javits Center to check out everything the toy, puzzle, and game industries are bringing to the table in the coming year.
In short, it was fantastic. Dozens and dozens of companies, from the titans of the industry to small outfits utilizing the crowdfunding model to get their feet in the door, were there to show off their creations.
Although it’s a four-day event and we were only attending that Saturday, I suspect you could spend all four days exploring the complex and still miss out on some incredible stuff.
Like a giant singing LEGO Batman made of LEGOs.
But I digress.
My chums and I were on a mission: to check out what puzzle and game companies were bringing to market in 2017. After picking up our ID badges, maps, and guides to the Fair, we dove right in.
We started off in the Launchpad section, a place where first-time and developing exhibitors from all over the world could introduce themselves to press, buyers, and other reps in the toy industry.
I’m a huge fan of seeing what newcomers have cooked up — hence how often I’m on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites — and the Launchpad was loaded with intriguing puzzles and games.
For instance, the team at Floss & Rock focused on puzzling for kids, with balance, pattern matching, and memory games, while the crew at Brixies put their own spin on the LEGO model with specialized pieces designed for making intricate models of animals, famous landmarks, and more.
From there, we ventured into the Puzzles and Games section, and we were immediately awash in every style of puzzling and gaming imaginable.
Vintage puzzles were represented, with deluxe versions of Clue and Scrabble on display, as well as retro metal brain teasers and mazes from Meridian Point.
The folks at Orbet International were pushing the boundaries of what you can do with Rubik’s-style Twisty puzzles, and the team at Twizmo! Games put a Boggle-inspired spin on Rubik with their letter-filled take on the classic cube.
From dice games to deduction games, from puzzles that fit in your pocket to ones that require the entire dining room table, seemingly every form of puzzling and gaming you can think of was under one roof.
3-D jigsaw puzzles were well-represented by models like this one of Hogwarts in all its glory by Wrebbet 3D Puzzles…
… as well as wooden models like this Eiffel Tower from IncrediBuilds…
… not to mention this elaborate display celebrating 25 years of building fun with K’nex.
And, naturally, you couldn’t help but run into some familiar faces at the Toy Fair.
Looney Labs was out in force, with their Loonacy, Mad Libs, and Looney Pyramids brands on display.
And not only were they touting their latest edition of Fluxx — Math Fluxx, review coming soon! — but they’ll be celebrating 21 years of Fluxx games with Drinking Fluxx later this year!
(Plus, when I inquired about the Better With Bacon expansion pack to their Just Desserts game, an actual doctor told me to eat all the bacon I want. Now THAT’S how you hook someone.)
The team from Bananagrams also had a strong showing at Toy Fair, with the company’s line having grown to letter-tile sets in seven different languages! Between that, their inflatable Bananagrams banana balloon, and their terrific tote bags, the Bananagrams brand was everywhere!
All in all, the event was an absolute blast. The future of puzzles and games has never been brighter, and we here at PuzzleNation look forward to being a big part of that promising future.
[A LEGO model of the Javits Center.]
You can check out our full gallery of photos from the event on Facebook by clicking here, and be sure to come back Thursday for a closer look at some of the puzzles and games that really caught our attention at this year’s New York Toy Fair!
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