Author: Nicole Colindres

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

2020 was a difficult year that brought on unthinkable challenges and hardships for many of us. Throughout this year we have been extremely grateful for the simple pleasures in life. In these uncertain times, playing board games has allowed us to escape the world for just a minute. Board games have provided reliable smiles and laughs and has kept us occupied when we have been stuck indoors. We have loved seeing our Blue Orange family using our games during this time and the cheer and joy that it has brought to so many of you!

With the holidays right around the corner we know that many of you are looking for meaningful gifts this year. Our holiday gift guide is the perfect tool to get the most amazing games for everyone on your list. 

Fish Club

Invented by David Wexler, the son of the inventor of Connect 4. Fish Club is the winner of several prestigious awards including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award. Fish Club is a classic strategy game with a twist! Two families of fish go head to head for the best spot in the new aquarium! Players choose one of their fish pieces to drop in the tank with the goal of keeping their fish together. The game has a randomized floor which causes the fish to scatter and move when new pieces are added. The first player to connect 5 of their fish together is the winner!

Bye Bye Mr. Fox!

In this adorable cooperative game, help the hens keep their chicks safe from the cunning little fox! Move wisely and make sure the fox doesn’t steal the eggs from the chickens before they can bring them home. Players must work together to move three eggs into each hen’s house to win the game.

Save the Dragon

It’s time to use your royal powers! Do you have the strength and cunning to rescue the helpless dragon from the mean guards? Climb the stairs to the dragons tower…but watch out for falling boulders! The guard will try to knock you off and send you back to the start! 

Slam Cup

Match the cups then slam then down fast! Slam cup is a fast paced matching game. Match the color on the inside of your cup to the color on the outside of the top cup on the stack. Then slam your cup on top as fast as you can before someone beats you to it! The first player to stack all their cups is the winner!

Gobblet Gobblers

Gobble up, line up, and win! This easy to learn strategy game has an irresistible cast of characters. Just like in Tic-Tac-Toe, players have to line up 3 of their Gobblers in a row to win. But here’s the catch: you can gobble up your opponent’s smaller pieces to steal their spot!

Starlink

Starlink is a drawing party game that takes inspiration from the stars in the sky! Draw a secret word on your turn by connecting the stars together and hope the other plays can guess what you drew. Be careful you can only connect the stars with straight lines! You win the game by creating the best constellation.

Cupcake Academy

Work together with your fellow pastry chefs to organize your kitchen in this cooperative game of logic and speed! Each assignment wants your cupcake cups to be arranged in a  specific layout. Move quickly, before time runs out!

Talent Show

In this silly party game players take on a variety of challenges to win the Talent Show! Players roll the dice to complete the challenge for the round which include; drawing, singing, miming and combining words together. You’ll be laughing in no time!

Cross Clues

Work together to interpret the clues in this cooperative party game! Consider your clues carefully and think as a team to find 2 words the clues connect, in order to fill in as much of the grid as possible! Thousand of different combinations and guaranteed endless fun!

Detective Club

Detective club has  won many awards including the Actual Best Party Game of 2018. In this social deduction party game players work to figure out who the conspirator is. Each round, one player secretly writes a word in all but one of the other players’ notebooks. The player who does not know the word is the Conspirator this round. All players then take turns playing cards they feel best represent the word. When the word is revealed at the end of the round, each player explains why their cards make sense with the word. The player who didn’t know the word will have to quickly come up with an explanation in order to not be detected!

Piece of Pie

In this tasty pastry strategy game player’s piece together the perfect pie! Piece of pie is a deliciously themed drafting game. Each turn players pick one of the available pieces of pies and add it to their personal pies. Players have unique objectives to gain more points. 

Battle Sheep

Opposing sheep herds go head to head in this quick-moving strategy game.The goal is to have your herd occupy the most pastures. Each turn, split your herd and move your stack to a greener pasture, as far as you can on a straight line on the board. This easy to learn game of strategy is fun for the whole family.

Kingdomino

Kingdomino was voted “Game of the Year” in many European countries and won the coveted ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award. In this domino reminiscent strategy game players work to multiply the worth of their kingdom by adding valuable crowns to their grid. Each turn players pick a domino to connect it to their grid, and determine their position in the next round based on the domino they have chosen. The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid.

Mindblock

Like Rummy but with stacking blocks! Create Sets and Runs by combining blocks that range in height of 1 to 7. Sets are made with 3 or 4 blocks of the same size, but different colors. Runs are made up of 3 or more blocks of the same color in consecutive order. New opportunities come from the ability to stack blocks on the top of others to form new heights. Think ahead and make the right decisions, without losing track of what’s on the table as you disassemble runs and sets to reassemble them into new ones using your blocks! 

Strategy Games For Big Kids and Adults

Photosynthesis

Plant and shape the ever-changing forest as you cultivate your seeds, and your strategy. Take your trees through their lifecycle, from seedlings to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving suns rays. This game features realistic gameplay and beautiful graphics.

Photosynthesis Expansion- Under the Moonlight

Enhance the world of Photosynthesis with Under the Moonlight expansion! The moon turns the opposite direction of the sun and casts its moonlight into the woods. Players collect lunar points for their new forest animals to activate special powers. This expansion requires the base game Photosynthesis to play.

Meeple Land

Create your dream amusement park with Meeple Land! This game is an immersive resource management and tile placement strategy game that allows players to build their own amusement park by buying rides, offering services, buying advertising and welcoming as many visitors as possible.

Cloud City

Cloud city is a city building and planning 3D strategy game where players build their city model by strategically positioning buildings and walkways to optimize the amount of points they earn. The goal is to earn the most votes from the city council for each walkway you build. 

Maracas – 5 & Up

Shake those maracas! Maracas is a silly guessing game that is played with a single maraca. One player fills the maraca up with beads and the other players try to guess how many are inside by shaking it and listening closely.

Pig Puzzle – 5 & Up

In this single player logic puzzle game, the player helps the pigs get home safely while keeping an eye out for the hungry wolf and the flooded lake! This game is played over a series of challenges that increase in difficulty. 

Snip Snap – 7 & Up

Snip Snap is a high speed dice game where you need to be the fastest to find matches between your dice and the dice your opponent rolled. See two sharks? Call out “Shark Snap!” and snatch them fast to win.

Rip Off – 8 to Adults

Rip off is a game of making every dollar last as long as possible… by literally ripping the money into smaller and smaller pieces! Make sure the piece you rip off is just the right size to cover the objects you want to buy. The more you rip off now, the less you will have in the future!

Rose Ceremony – 8 to Adults

Love is in the air! Offer a rose to the player of your choice. If they refuse it, it’s yours. In  this bluffing game, you try to create the most beautiful bouquet of roses while watching out for thorns which count as negative points. Try to score the most points by trading in bouquets.

Animix – 8 to Adults

Animix is a set collection game with beautiful modern illustrations. Animals you collect score points based on the animals left in the center of the table at the end of play. Each animal scores points differently so plan ahead to collect the perfect mix to win!

Blue Orange games are distributed through toy stores, game and book stores, and online. If you have any question do not hesitate to e-mail info@bluerorangegames.com. Happy Holidays!
Interview with David Wexler, Inventor of Fish Club

Interview with David Wexler, Inventor of Fish Club

Toy Fair in New York

David Wexler is a toy inventor, film director and also happens to be the son of the inventor of Connect 4! He is the inventor of the award winning strategy game Fish Club, released by Blue Orange this year where two families of fish go head to head for the best spot in the aquarium. 

Here is our conversation:

Nicole: What interested you in the game industry and how did you get started? 

David: I grew up in and around the toy industry.  My father Howard, inventor of Connect 4, had an office in the apartment building where we lived. I would often head downstairs to his office, a converted apartment that was like Santa’s Workshop.  I was close with the artists, model makers and seamstresses that worked there, and loved setting up my own area where I could draw, work with clay, and paint.  A lot of that creativity seeped in, probably subconsciously, throughout my childhood.

When I graduated college with a degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis on film, I immediately began making movies, commercials, and television shows.  Soon I realized that a paper script was no different than a paper (or cardboard) model of a board game, and trying to sell both were equally as daunting!  The skill set was very similar for me, and I realized I could create a niche in the “entertainment” business – noticing that lines were being blurred between toys, games, film, and television.

Nicole: How did you come up with the idea of Fish Club?  What was your process of creating Fish club and how long did it take?

David: I came up with the idea for Fish Club some time in 2017.  I was clearing out a storage facility, and unearthed some clear, plastic “tanks” that my father and I had used for various projects in development years prior.  In my office I keep an area of assorted parts and tools (dice, pawns, etc.).  Things to create games.  I kept staring at this thing that looked like a tank, and immediately thought of a fish tank, or an aquarium.  I always keep foam core on hand and began to create shapes – I thought about fish, and buoys, and scuba divers – things you would find in a tank.  For my first model I used plastic rings (meant to look like life preservers), they were just on hand.

The very first Fish Club prototype

The very first Fish Club prototype

The idea would be to gather a group of your life preservers before your opponent as these various sea creatures got in the way. In the second model I decided to swap out fish for life preservers, and after play testing it a bunch it became clear that a curved bottom would add a nice randomizing sea floor to the game – giving it a bit of unpredictable action.  I called it Fishy Tank – it became Fish Club through the development process with Blue Orange.  Fish Club, from the first day I built the original prototype, felt like a special game.  It played clean, I loved the characters, it had great replayability.  I pictured it on shelves early on in the process – when that happens, you know you have something special.

Nicole: What makes Fish Club a unique game?

David: I think what makes Fish Club unique is that very young children, who might not even totally understand the gameplay, can enjoy dropping the characters and watching them bounce around their tank.  There is also a satisfying aspect that if you cannot cluster together five fish, there can still be a winner – the one who has the largest cluster.  This is a good way to prevent too many “ties,” which are ultimately unsatisfying.  I love that Fish Club looks like an aquarium when you are done playing!  No need to store it (I always hated putting games away in boxes!).  Just leave it on your shelf, it looks like you have a new pet.

Fish Club is a 2 player strategy game for 5 & up. The goal is to be the first to group 5 to win.

Nicole: What inspires you to invent?

David: The first seed of an idea, and my first drawing, as I begin to plan out the game – that’s the best part.  Selling it, and having it do well, that’s the cherry on top, but it’s such a tough industry.  If you don’t love the creating, you’re in trouble – there is a A LOT of rejection.  What inspires me to invent is coming up with a story (in this case, two families of fish, going head to head, to fight for a new spot in the aquarium).  I am a storyteller as a filmmaker, and that has translated naturally into working in the toy industry – even if the game doesn’t have great characters like Fish Club (currently we even have a Fish Club comic that is released weekly), I try to come up with a backstory (even if it’s just in my mind) for abstract strategy games.

Nicole: What advice would you give to new game creators?

David: It’s very important to love every aspect of the process.  As I mentioned, the turn down rate is about 90 (if not 95%)!  You need to have thick skin, and not take anything personally.  Every successful concept or sale I’ve had was a NO before it was a YES.  It takes a lot of perseverance and knowing that having a great product is only part of the battle.  Timing, good design, and knowing the marketplace is just as important.

Nicole: What was your favorite game growing up and why?

David: I was lucky to be surrounded by a ton of wonderful games and toys growing up.  Some of my favorite toys were products that my father invented that never even made it to market!  I have wonderful memories of play testing new creations with my brother, family, and friends, all the time.

Nicole: Do you have any new game projects coming up?

David: It’s important to ALWAYS have new games and projects on deck and in development.  I am constantly creating, pitching, and selling.  In Spring 2021 I am releasing a line of six games for a wonderful company called Galison.  The line is called Wexler Studios – three dice games, two card games, and a game called Paper Gravity.  All of them are sold in beautifully designed tins.  I am very excited about this line.

Fish Club has won several awards this year including The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, the Mom’s Choice Gold Seal Award and the Creative Child Magazine 2020 Game of the Year Award in the Strategy category. Fish Club is also a finalist for the prestigious TOTY  2021 Award (Toy of the Year) in the Game category. You can vote for Fish Club here: https://toyawards.org/toyaward/custom/GameToy.aspx…

Follow our social media pages to keep updated on Fish Club!