Category: Industry Chat

Our New 2018 Games: Blue Orange Team Members’ Picks

Our New 2018 Games: Blue Orange Team Members’ Picks

Last week, the Blue Orange Team spent a whirlwind few days in New York City at New York Toy Fair launching our new 2018 collection. We presented to and played with everyone and anyone in the industry who stopped by our booth, and all of their positive feedback makes us incredibly excited for our games to hit stores this spring. Want to know which games the members of the Blue Orange team are most excited about after four straight days of playing? Take a look below!

Happy Bunny (Corinne, Marketing)

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“I love Happy Bunny because of how adorable every part of the game is, from the artwork on the box to the realistic feeling of picking the carrots. It helps kids work on teamwork and counting, and the anticipation about what size the carrot you are going to pick will be makes it the perfect game for any three year old. As cooperative games are a new adventure for us, it was great to see that all of our retailers and industry friends loved this game as well.”

Where’s Mr. Wolf? (Xavier, Sales)

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“Every time I presented Where’s Mr. Wolf?, people immediately loved the game because of the artwork and cool 3D barns that players sort tokens into. I like that it is a cooperative, so everyone works together to beat the game, and it is also self-contained, so you play the entire game inside the box.”

Clouds (Alice, Management)

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“Clouds is my favorite out of this year’s collection because of the cute zippered pouch that makes it an easy game to take on the go. It also brings up the excitement and imagination that you get from cloud gazing, which I really like. As a mom, I’m always looking for easy ways to keep my kids entertained and they have loved this game since we received the original prototype!”

Who Did It? (Emile, Sales)

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“I have the most fun presenting and playing Who Did It? because while the funny emoji poop pouch catches people’s attention, the card game itself is what keeps them laughing. Everyone I played with got a kick out of pinning the blame of being ‘the pooper” on other people’s pets, and when you are saying things like ‘It wasn’t my fish that pooped in the living room, but I think it was someone else’s hamster!’, it’s almost impossible to not laugh!”

Maki Stack (Adrien, Sales)

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“I think Maki Stack is the most fun out of the entire 2018 collection. In the game, you’re racing to stack the sushi either blindfolded or using your fingers as chopsticks, while also playing in teams, so it has a lot of elements that are different that our other games. At Toy Fair, every person I presented to loved the wooden sushi pieces and asked to play another round during the demo, which is always a good thing!”

Pool Party (Kathryn, Marketing)

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“My personal favorite out of our new games is Pool Party. It’s fast, addicting fun that’s impossible to stop playing, and I think our fans will like it because it’s easy enough for the whole family to enjoy together. The coolest part about the game is the pool- it sits on top of a spring and every time you launch a diver it sways back and forth. It will eventually toss all the divers out if it gets too full, so you are racing against your opponents and the balance of the pool at the same time.”

Mindo Zen (Louis-Paul, Sales)

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I like Mindo Zen, and the rest of the Mindo collection, because we don’t have many one player puzzles. It’s perfect for people looking for entertainment without competition, and it doesn’t take up much space. I actually keep one on my desk at work so I have something to do when my brain needs a break.”

Introducing our New 2018 Games!

Introducing our New 2018 Games!

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It’s a new year, and you know what that means- new games! This year we are excited to be publishing a diverse lineup that includes high-energy dexterity races, adorable cooperative games (a Blue Orange first!), playfully packaged smaller games, and unique brain teasers. All-in-all we’re adding a whopping 16 new titles to our catalog! You’ll be glad to know they align with everything you’d expect from Blue Orange: easy to learn, fun to play, and engaging for a wide range of ages. We are launching all of these at New York Toy Fair on February 17th, and you will be able to find them in stores and online come early spring. Until then, check out the sneak preview below.

Family Games

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Pool Party ● 2-4 players 6 & up

Summer is here, and that means pool party season! It’s time to beat the heat and cool off in the topsy-turvy pool. Better yet, join in on the cannon ball contest and form a team with your fellow party-goers. But watch out! Too many swimmers and this wacky pool can easily spill over, tossing you and everyone else out. Make big splashes by propelling your teammates into the unsteady pool, and be the first to successfully land three divers in to win! Unique components and high energy game play make Pool Party perfect for all ages.

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Shaky Manor ● 2-4 players 7 & up

Local legend says the house on the corner contains hidden treasures…you find yourself taking a chance and entering to strike it rich, but it isn’t that easy to keep the treasures safe from the creatures that haunt the dusty rooms. To keep them safe, quickly race to position your character and treasure chests into the room indicated on the Challenge Card by shaking and tilting your box. Each time you succeed in protecting your treasure, the player to your right must add a new spooky creature into the mix to make the next round harder!

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Maki Stack ● 2, 4, or 6 players 7 & up

Order’s up- it’s time for a sushi showdown! Balance and arrange the sushi, plates, and soy sauce bottles, and make sure to execute the order exactly as it is shown on the card. The catch? You need to use your fingers as chopsticks or stack wearing a mask, depending on the challenge card. But be careful, one wrong move and everything might tumble over!  Be the fastest solo chef or culinary team to master the art of sushi stacking, and win! High quality wooden pieces and crazy stacking combinations make this game a must-add to any game night collection.

Preschool Games

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Happy Bunny ● 1-4 players 3 & up

It’s harvest time on the carrot farm! Work together as a team to help the bunny pick the best carrots to bring home to his family, plucking them from the box just like you would from the ground.  Select them carefully – all the bitten carrots are for the bunny, while the untouched ones the hardworking farmer keeps for himself. Compare their harvests at the end of the game to see who picked the tastiest bunch! This adorable cooperative game is a great way to teach teamwork and simple counting, and helps little hands develop fine motor skills.

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Where’s Mr. Wolf? ● 1-4 players 4 & up

In this cooperative game, everyone works together to help the farm animals get back to their barns before Mr. Wolf comes around. Keep an eye out for him as you flip over the animal tokens. Every time you find Mr. Wolf, he creeps one space closer, and every time you find a farm animal, try to remember which barn they belong to. Fill the barns before Mr. Wolf comes around to win! The cute animal tokens, 3D barns, and shared goal help children work on memory and teamwork at the same time.

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Kitty Bitty 2-4 players 4 & up

It’s nap time for the itty bitty kitties, but they just want to play! Help them jump, bat the yarn balls around, and race to the basket without catching a look from the watchful eyes of the mommy cats. Each turn, players need to remember which mommy cat eye will pause their kitten’s play time and prevent them from getting closer to the basket. The first kitten that makes it back wins! High quality wooden pieces and unique game play help kids develop color recognition and memory.

Fun-Sized Games

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Who Did It? ● 3-6 players 6 & up

Was it YOUR bird that pooped in the living room? Because it wasn’t my bunny! In this hilarious card game, players race to get rid of their cards so they can avoid the blame of owning the animal that pooped. Each game is as funny as it is fast; quickly find your card, be the first to throw it down, and then blame someone else! Who Did It? is sure to bring laughs and just the right amount of potty humor. The plush zippered pouch keeps all the cards and tokens safe, and is the perfect size for on-the-go fun.

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Clouds ● 2-5 players 4 & up

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a….bear? Clouds is a matching game that was made for the wildest of imaginations. Turn over a card and quickly search to find the halves that complete the picture. Be the first to find them, and win! Race your friends, or take on the challenges solo. A durable smiley-faced pouch, complete with a wrist strap, makes this this game both adorable and portable.

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Tofu Kingdom ● 3-8 players 10+

In this social deduction game, players take turns assuming the role of Prince Mochi, who is looking for his true love, Princess Tofu. He is allowed to ask one question to each player around the table (who have taken on their own roles) to try and find the princess, but must take into account that not everyone will tell the truth. This clever game is adjustable to different player counts, making it great for parties and social gatherings.

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Cubeez ● 2-4 players 6 & up

It’s time for a race! Can you make a face the fastest?  Quickly position the three cubes to match the face on the Challenge Card. Turn and flip them fast to finish first and wear the face of a champion! Colorful wooden cubes and wacky challenges make this speed game the perfect addition to a game night full of laughs.

Brain Teasers

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Mindo 1 player 5 & up

The Mindo collection consists of 4 clever logic puzzles…can you collect and master them all? The rules are simple: turn and flip the double-sided tiles to recreate the color pattern on the challenge card. They only fit one way, into a 3×3 or 4×4 grid, so make sure to think and plan carefully. 60 challenges will ensure hours of brain teasing fun, and the four different themes mean there is a little something for everyone! Play solo, or combine them and race your friends. Versions: Mindo Puppy, Mindo Robot, Mindo Unicorn, Mindo Kitten

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Mindo Zen ● 1 player 8 & up

The most sophisticated of our Mindo collection. In this game, you need to turn and flip the double-sided tiles until you have recreated the color pattern on the challenge card. They only fit one way into a 4×4 grid… can you figure it out? Serene game play, high quality tiles, and challenging puzzles to solve make this the perfect way to pass the time. Indulge in hours of peaceful brain teasing, or take it with you on the go; it’s small, compact box make it easy to stow and carry!

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Brain Connect ● 2-4 players 8 & up

Get your brain back on track! Quickly slide and connect your thoughts into the right order, then, be the first to complete the correct action to win. It’s a race to see who can think and act the fastest! These sliding puzzles have 16 different start and stop points, so creating a clear train of thought is always a new challenge. A clever twist on the childhood classic, this game is perfect for solo solving or racing against friends.

A Game Fit for a….Queen?

A Game Fit for a….Queen?

Queendomino_PackagingIf you have been following board gaming news recently, you might have heard of a little tile-laying game called Kingdomino. It won the board game equivalent of an Oscar when it took home the Spiel des Jahres this past July, putting both its designer, Bruno Cathala, and publisher, Blue Orange Games, at the forefront of the gaming scene.

According to the Spiel des Jahres jury, Kingdomino was given the award because it “lifts the time-honored principle of dominoes to a new level – without losing any of the sleek elegance of its predecessor. On the contrary: the dual mechanics of planning the far-reaching lands surrounding the castle and the clever method of selecting tiles fit together extraordinarily well, they are expertly reduced to their essential components.”

For those unfamiliar with Kingdomino, first of all buy it – we promise you won’t regret it. Second of all, the jury’s praise of the game’s simple yet elegant mechanics is an opinion shared by many in the gaming world. During a turn in the game, you select a new tile and add a previously selected tile to your kingdom, making sure to match one side of the domino to a like terrain type already in play (just like how in dominoes two sides must match in order for you to place a domino). Each turn, players select a domino in an order determined by their previous selection. It is this mechanic, coupled with the planning and strategizing required to build a kingdom within the constraints of a 5×5 grid, which makes the game so clever.

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Queendomino for sale at Essen in October.

Less than a year after Kingdomino was released, Bruno Cathala announced the next in line to the throne: Queendomino. The announcement was understated in the US. It involved a little sly product placement at Blue Orange Games’ Gen Con Booth, and a quiet BoardGameGeek.com listing. Both piqued the interest of many in the gaming world ahead its release, which happened in October at the Internationale Spieltage in Essen, Germany.

Kingdomino was launched at that very same festival, in 2016, and according to the game designer himself Queendomino was thought of soon after that. “I started working on Queendomino right after coming back from Essen 2016, so just a few days after Kingdomino was released.” It was a game born from his desire for something more challenging, as he had been playing his crown jewel for over two years before it finally launched.

“Of course, after playing a game as simple as Kingdomino 200 times, I wanted something more challenging,” he said, continuing with, “ I wanted a game with the same mechanic of building a Kingdom through domino selection and placement, but with a little more complexity that required players to be more methodical in their gameplay.” Thus, the idea for Queendomino was born.

The largest difference that Kingdomino fans can expect to see between the two games is that in Queendomino there are many more options which make game play richer and more complex. The biggest addition is the inclusion of a 7th terrain, towns, on which players can construct buildings. Cathala highlights other differences saying, “Another one is money, because in order to build you need to pay. There are many different building you can put in your kingdom, each with their own way to score points, allowing many different strategies.  A fun twist is that in the towns there are no point-earning crowns, so to get points you need to build on them.” He continues with, “There are other fun additions like towers that help you host the queen, knights that help you collect tax, and a dragon who has the tendency to burn coveted buildings if bribed….” Needless to say, the additions definitely elevate the simplicity of the original game.

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Richer gameplay and heavier strategy require a few more game pieces than Kingdomino!

What is interesting is that during Queendomino’s development, Kingdomino’s Spiel des Jahres win was a nonfactor. Cathala elaborates on this saying, “At the time of the nomination, the prototype was already finished and validated. Then when the award was announced, Queendomino was already in production.”

While the development process for Kingdomino took over 2 years, Queendomino’s was much shorter, as details such as the basic rules, components, and illustrator were already set.  According to Cathala, “The main concern was making sure that all the additional elements made the game attractive and balanced, and not unpalatable or cluttered. In fact, the hardest part was to make it so that Kingdomino and Queendomino could be played both separately and together.”

Cathala’s work in making the game both an expansion and a standalone was well worth it, as it is this quality that intrigues a lot of Kingdomino fans. The game was designed so that you can combine a Queendomino with a Kingdomino in what is affectionately called “The Royal Wedding”. This allows for 4 players to play with more expansive 7×7 kingdoms, or for 6 players to play with the traditional 5×5 grid. Just like in the original game, Queendomino can be played by itself with 2, 3, or 4 player counts.

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Cathala states the reason behind this decision was because, “This type of game has rarely been done in the past, so the challenge of making a game that worked by itself but also in conjunction with another game was interesting to me. This also allows me to have a game on the market for the general public [Kingdomino], and another one completely independent for the more expert public [Queendomino], without the 2 games competing with each other for attention.” He continued with another motive saying, “A more personal reason was because I love playing the 2 player 7×7 variant in Kingdomino, and having both games allows for 4 players to play this way.”

Although Cathala himself, and reviewers who received advanced copies, praise the game for its complexities he still believes there is room in anyone’s game cabinet for both, as they serve different purposes.“I don’t prefer one over the other. It depends on who I am playing with and how much time I have in front of me, as Queendomino games are a little longer”.

When asked about his future plans for the Kingdomino universe Cathala teased an upcoming expansion saying, “I thought of Kingdomino fans playing with younger children, or not wanting too many more options during game play. This is the reason I am refining an expansion for Kingdomino. It will allow 5 players to play at once and will add a few elements, very simple but fun. All I can say right now is that it involves giants!”

Kingdomino and Queendomino are both currently available in stores and online.

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Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Meeple Monthly magazine.
An Interview with Bruno Cathala: How Kingdomino became his Crown Jewel

An Interview with Bruno Cathala: How Kingdomino became his Crown Jewel

Portions of this article were originally published in The Casual Game Insider Issue #21 and Meeple Monthly’s September 2017 Issue

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Cathala receiving the award.

Bruno Cathala: Passionate gamer, celebrated game designer, and as of recent, Spiel des Jahres 2017 recipient*. For a designer like Cathala, whose ludography includes popular games like 5 Tribes, 7 Wonders Duel, and Abyss, this award is a long time coming.

With the announcement of its win on July 17th, 2017, Kingdomino instantly joined the ranks of popular past award winners like The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Codenames. According the Spiel jury, Kingdomino was chosen because it, “lifts the time-honoured principle of dominoes to a new level – without losing any of the sleek elegance of its predecessor. On the contrary: the dual mechanics of planning the far-reaching lands surrounding the castle and the clever method of selecting tiles fit together extraordinarily well, they are expertly reduced to their essential components.”

Kingdomino plays like dominos with a kingdom-building twist. Each turn, players select and then add a new tile to their existing kingdom, matching one of the terrain types on the tile to another already in play. However, in this domino spinoff, the gameplay is elevated by the tile bidding mechanism. Players must decide how much they value certain tiles, as the selection of tiles during a round determines the draft order for the next round. The game ends when each player has attempted to complete a 5×5 grid, and then points are counted based on the number of connecting tiles and point-earning crowns.

While the finished product has impressed the public since its debut at Essen 2016, the story behind how a humble game of dominos turned into a crown jewel shows that much like building an entire kingdom, the creation of a board game is no easy feat. Amidst his busy schedule, Bruno Cathala was kind enough to answer a few questions about his game design process, the gaming world, and his crown jewel Kingdomino.

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Interviewer’s note: Answers were translated from Cathala’s native French and edited for the sake of clarity and length.

 

Kathryn Hill: To start off, what is the biggest challenge when it comes to inventing a game?
Bruno Cathala: When I have an idea, and I start developing it to create the game of my dreams, there is excitement, feelings of urgency, and a lot of hope about the playful experience I am hoping to generate among players. The biggest challenge is to keep this excitement up along the way, test after test, even when the prototype is completely done.

 

KH: During this process do you find inspiration in other people, or other games? 

BC: True creation without any external influence is completely impossible. This is true in literature, in painting, and in music. It’s also true for games. The author is influenced by his own life experience: the games he has played, the films he has watched, the books he has read, the conversations he has had. However, in my case, if all those influences do exist, they are not conscious. I never work on a project thinking ‘’Oh, I could do it as in this game… or I could do as this person did…’’ But even if the ideas coming to my mind seem very personal, I bet they are the result of a long and complex process that digests all the various influences I have experienced.

 

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Cathala signing games for fans at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis.

KH: From your experience as a French game designer, what are the main differences between the European market and American Market? 

BC: My experience of the US market and how it works is too limited to give a straight-out opinion about the differences between both markets. However, in the last few years I have been going to Gen Con in Indianapolis. And I have to say I am delighted by the welcome gamers are giving me. I have met playful, cheerful, curious people, with whom I have become friend with, and this summer event has become a real pleasure. Thank you all for this welcome!

 

KH: Do you take the market or previous experience into account when designing games?
BC: Actually, my creative process is quite selfish. I only work on the games I want to play myself; I am my first client. Then, once my creative job is done, I start a second phase trying to convince first the editors, then the players, that they need to follow me! I never think about the market when I create my games, and that’s better. To format a game to a specific market from the beginning of its creation is the best way to create a game that will surely be functional, but probably with no soul. It is my passion for games that I try to convey (probably clumsily) game after game.

 

KH: It seems you have spent a lot of time creating games…do you play a lot of games yourself as part of the designing process?

BC: Not often enough! Indeed, I know it does sound surprising, but my close ones I don’t really like to play. I only have one evening a week dedicated to playing games, and I mainly play my own prototypes. I try to play other inventors games as often as possible, when I get an opportunity to do so. However, I do stay connected to game industry news by reading websites (Tric-Trac, boardgamegeek, Dice Tower…), watching how-to-play videos, and reading rules on the internet.

 

KH: Currently, what are your favorite games on the market?

BC: Over the past few months I have fallen in love with a few games. Captain Sonar is amazing because it gives an incredible, different and unique gaming experience to players. I like Flamme Rouge, because it’s easy, clever, end so elegant. I love Santorini, because for a fan of pure and beautiful abstract games like me, it’s a must have. I also really like Jaipur. You absolutely have to download the app, it’s one of the best ever!

 

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KH: Now moving on to your pièce de résistance; where did you get your inspiration for Kingdomino? What is the story behind it?

BC: Kingdomino’s story is different from my other games. Indeed, at the very beginning, it was a game specifically developed for a ski resort! On top of my job as a game designer for the conventional board game industry, I create games for private clients, following their specifications, for them to use for internal or external communications purposes, or as a training tool. I had already created tile, dice, and card games for this ski resort to give to people who bought week long family passes, and so when 2015 arrived I wanted another playful object that I could possibly use, and twist, to make a very simple game. Almost right away I thought of dominos. This is what led me to K’dominoz! The size of the box only allowed each player to play with 8 dominos, small in size and thickness. I had so much pleasure in playing and playing again, that I told myself it would be a shame to not try to enrich it a bit and give it a chance in the board game world.

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The inspiration for Kingdomino, K-domino’z.

I created Kingdomino on that basis and incorporated a theme, hesitating a long time between the building of a Kingdom as you know it, or some kind of farm with fields containing different animals in place of crowns. I also increased the number of tiles, added domino types, and introduced the system of numbers underneath each domino to bring an interesting dilemma for savvy players. Then came the different game play variations, of which the 2 player 7×7 is my favorite. In regards to the timing…the first little game was wrapped up within one afternoon. However, for this draft to become Kingdomino, there was about 6 months of work and dozens of tests to validate a final distribution that met my satisfaction.

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The game tiles, which center around the “kingdom” theme, featuring different terrain types and unique details.

 

KH: After the initial development period you just mentioned, are there any interesting changes or improvements that were made before production?

BC: The path from a prototype to an edited version is not always easy. One essential element to the success of this operation is the artistic direction. With good artistic direction, a complex game can seem easy, and a simple game can seem complicated.

When it comes to Kingdomino, the work started with an illustrator, who was told to draw everything from a top point of view, in contrary to my prototype which was based on buildings seen from the side in an isometric view.  At the end, to my biggest disappointment, the final result was difficult to play and the aesthetic was questionable and not very attractive. The work was completely done, the illustrator had been paid, and the game was ready for production. However, I shared my doubts and sadness with Blue Orange and they were incredibly responsive to my disappointment. They changed the illustrator and paid for the cost of the re-done illustrations. This is when Cyril Bouquet became the illustrator, drawing the buildings from the side, and adding crowns, just like my prototype, to visualize important squares.

Today I am entirely satisfied with the final result. I am sure that without this last minute change, Kingdomino wouldn’t know the success it is having today. I want to thank my editor for making this decision, I do not know too many people able to say ‘’I was wrong’’ and double the costs to correct a problem.

 

KH: It seems you and Blue Orange Games have a good relationship, how did you start working with them?

BC: The story is kind of surprising actually. Before becoming a designer I was a gamer for a very long time, mostly passionate about 2 player abstract games. In the mid-80s I completely fell in love with a game that was produced one at a time by its author, Claude Leroy, called Gyges. In 2002 I discovered that Claude Leroy, whom I admired, lived a few miles from my parents in South of France. I took advantage of a Christmas visit to my parents and contacted Claude Leroy to simply tell him all the good I thought about his work, and he invited me to his home. There I met his son Timothee Leroy.

A few years later Timothee, who had just finished his business studies, decided to create a publishing company called Jactalea with the main goal of highlighting his father’s work, and abstract 2-player games. In brief, we had met before and we have a common passion for abstract games and Claude Leroy’s work. Naturally, I immediately connected to Jactalea and a year or two later I offered them a 2-player game, Kamon. It was then our partnership was born. (Interviewer’s note: Jactalea and Blue Orange Games combined in 2013 to create Blue Orange Europe, connecting Cathala with the Blue Orange brand).

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Bruno Cathala and the Blue Orange Europe team at the Spiel des Jahres ceremony, post announcement.

 

KH: How did it feel when you found out about the Spiel des Jahres nomination?

BC: When one of my games is nominated for a prize, and even better, is awarded the final prize, it’s always for me a surprise, a joy, and a big honor. But this is more than that. In our little world of board games, I think it is the equivalent to winning an Oscar. Being part of the 3 finalists is just huge, especially because it is my first nomination after 15 years of designing games, and maybe my last.  I was happy, honored, and also a little stressed.

 

Cathala post-announcement.
KH: What was your reaction and thought process when Kingdomino was announced the winner? What does this win mean for you today?

BC: When I heard the announcement I was paralyzed. I couldn’t breathe. My heart was beating at 180 beats per minute, and the tears were not far. I sat there speechless, while everybody was jumping and crying around me, shaking me in all directions. It took me a good 30 seconds to get my thoughts back together. This is because it is the greatest recognition that exists for a game author. The holy grail. An Everest.  It is an absolutely fantastic reward, and the biggest gift the gaming world could offer to me.

 

KH: Do you have any advice for someone who has ideas about games or would like to start inventing games?

BC: First, I would say that having a game idea doesn’t make you a game designer. Having an idea is just the beginning… it’s the visible part of the iceberg. Transforming this part into a real game requires a lot of work, and the first thing you have to learn is patience. You will need to build your prototype, playtest it, modify it, playtest it, modify it again, again, and again with a lot of different people (not your family or friends who always think that what you do is incredible). You will feel excited, disappointed, excited, and disappointed, again and again…and at the end, you will have to really work a lot to write an understandable and clear rules booklet. Only then it will be time to try to contact a publisher.

 

KH: Looking towards the future, do you have any upcoming projects you are excited about?

BC: Yes, always! Regarding projects with Blue Orange, I am right now working on different avenues to develop the universe and concept of Kingdomino. And for the end of next year, I also have lots of hopes for a cool game that can be played solo, or one on one. It’s a common project with Ludovic Maublanc and I believe in it. I am quite excited about it actually!

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Bruno Cathala’s latest release with Blue Orange Games, Queendomino.

 

Check out our website to learn more about Kingdomino and Queendomino.

 

To learn more about the Spiel des Jahres, check out their website.

 

* The Spiel des Jahres is internationally acclaimed as the reigning authority on deciding the best and most accessible family board game of the year, although its contenders are games that are new only to the German market. It evaluates three finalists looking for the best design, rules, layout, and overall gaming concept. More complex games fall under the Kennerspiel des Jahres category, and children’s games fall under the Kinderspiel des Jahres category.

Toy Fair and ToyFest West 2017 Wrap-Up: The Top 5!

Toy Fair and ToyFest West 2017 Wrap-Up: The Top 5!

Toy Fair and ToyFest West 2017, our two most important trade shows this time of the year are over, and the 13 new games that were unveiled at our booths will be in stores and online in the coming weeks. This year we debuted an expanded “Doctor Collection”, as two of our newest games, Dr. Beaker and Dr. Microbe, have joined our 2016 bestseller, Dr. Eureka. These science-themed games fell in perfectly with the STEM trend that was seen all over Toy Fair. We also introduced games with unique play patterns that would entertain a wide variety of ages, like Tumble Tree and Dice Stack. They are a little different but stay true to Blue Orange’s simple-to-learn and easy-to-play mission. Read below to learn about these and the other stand outs that the attendees raved about at the show!

Top 5 New Games

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Dr. Microbe
Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

What our customers loved:
• STEM themed speed logic race
• Gummy microbes make for easy pick-up!
• Tweezer components promote fine motor skill and dexterity development

Dr. Microbe has important research to do and she needs help! Using a pair of tweezers, players race to grab the correct colorful microbes and place them into their petri dish to solve an incomplete challenge card. Make sure to follow the research rules and finish first to impress Dr. Microbe and win the card as a point. The unique concept and components will make this your new go-to!

 

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Dr. Beaker
Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

What our customers loved:
• Unique mechanism means the beaker really rotates!
• Colorful components
• High quality materials so you can play again and again without worry!

Stir up excitement in the third installment to the Dr. Collection! In this logic race, players move molecules around the compartments of their beaker to try and match solutions on flipped challenge cards. Players must think quickly and work fast as they rearrange the molecules with their stirring rods. The first to finish wins the card as a point! A special rotating platform at the bottom of the beaker makes this race unlike one you’ve ever tried!

 

GoGo-Gelato_Pkg_Game_Flat

Go Go Gelato
Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

What our customers loved:

• Cute, kid-sized gelato stand display
• Colorful gelato theme
• Large components and simplified logic for little hands and minds
• Easy to explain rules and quick game play

 

Become a gelato mixing master in GoGo Gelato! Players fill their customer’s orders armed with 4 scoops, 3 cones, 2 hands, and 1 challenge card in this delicious game of rearrangement. Happy customers are the ones whose orders are filled quickly and efficiently, so speed and thinking ahead are a must. This logic race has the perfect recipe for a good time!

 

tumble
Tumble Tree
Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

What our customers loved:

• Original, eye-catching package
• Unique gameplay, each card is added to the treetop in a different way
• It’s self-contained, you play on top of the tin that stores the cards!

Build your own baobab tree in this card placement game. Each animal card has its own way to be added to the ever-growing canopy, but place them carefully! If the branches are overburdened the tree will fall. Avoid penalties and be the player with the least amount of cards at the end to win, but most importantly… don’t let the tree-top topple!

 

eyenseek
Eye ‘N Seek
Ages 6 & Up | 2-6 Players

What our customers loved:
• It’s size and gameplay make it a great travel and card game
• Different levels means all ages can play!
• With 6 wheels, everyone can join in on the fun!

Spin to win! Flip a card and then rotate the wheel to find its matching icon in the windows. Hurry, it’s a race! Spot the match before your opponents to win the round and a point. With 6 double-sided wheels, 100 icons, 3 levels, and 6 games to play the searching fun is endless!

 

Honorable Mention

These unique dice games were very well received for their portability, high-replay value, and quick to explain rules!

 

dicestack

Dice Stack
Ages 7 & Up | 1-6 Players

Pile up your points in this stacking dice game. Roll the tilted dice and then carefully stack them up in numerical order. Stop at any time to win the number of points in the stack, or take a chance and try to stack all 6. Once you have stacked all 6, do you dare to try and double your points with the Golden Die? Just make sure to not let them fall or you’ll lose it all!

 

rallyroll

Rally Roll
Ages 8 & Up | 2-6 Players

Will you risk it all? Roll all 6 dice and win the number of points that match the big colored die. Decide to bank your points, or take a risk and roll again. Keep scoring as long as you have numbered dice that match the colored die. If nothing matches, forfeit all points won that round and try again next time! Take big risks with this fast and fun dice game!
View the entire Blue Orange 2017 catalog online here 

For more information about Blue Orange, visit: http://toyfair.vporoom.com/BlueOrangeGames

Introducing our 2017 Lineup!

Introducing our 2017 Lineup!

NewYearNewGAmes_2017-01

With a New Year comes new games from Blue Orange! Keep reading to get a preview of the 13 new games we added to our catalog. We have everything from logic games, to family fun games, to games with a classic-cool feel. As always, they are all simple to learn, easy to play, and pack major fun. They are set to be in stores and online in March- we are just as excited as you are! In the meantime get your logic, strategy, and thinking brains ready, you are going to need them. With so many to choose from we dare you to pick your new favorite!

 

Logic: Stretch your brain and think fast to win!

Dr-Microbe_Pkg_Left_FlatDr. Microbe

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Dr. Microbe has important research to do and she needs help! Using a pair of tweezers, players race to grab the correct colorful microbes and place them into their petri dish to solve an incomplete challenge card. Make sure to follow the research rules and finish first to impress Dr. Microbe and win the card as a point. The unique concept and components will make this your new go-to!

 

Dr. BeakerDrBeaker_Pkg_3D_Flat

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Stir up excitement in the third installment to the Dr. Collection! In this logic race, players move molecules around the compartments of their beaker to try and match solutions on flipped challenge cards. Players must think quickly and work fast as they rearrange the molecules with their stirring rods. The first to finish wins the card as a point! A special rotating platform at the bottom of the beaker makes this race unlike one you’ve ever tried!

 

GoGo-Gelato_Pkg_Game_Flat

GoGo Gelato

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

Become a gelato mixing master in GoGo Gelato! Players fill their customer’s orders armed with 4 scoops, 3 cones, 2 hands, and 1 challenge card in this delicious game of rearrangement. Happy customers are the ones whose orders are filled quickly and efficiently, so speed and thinking ahead are a must. This logic race has the perfect recipe for a good time!

 

 

Family Fun: Perfect for when everyone wants to join in!

FlyingKiwis_Pkg_Game_Flat

Flying Kiwis

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

The kiwis want to go on vacation, but they can’t fly! Players help the kiwi birds sneak into a fruit crate by launching them with ramps. The kiwis are picky and like to sit with their friends, so make sure to line up 4 of the same color in a row or a square to win! Launch into fun with this tic-tac-toe style family game.

 

 

Tricky TrunksTrickyTrunks_Pkg_Left_Flat

Ages 5 & Up | 2-4 Players

The elephants are out and they want to play! Race to pick up the balls with the elephant toys, following the rules of the challenge cards. Work quickly but be careful, the rolling balls can sometimes be tricky to pick-up. Tricky Trunks promotes dexterity and motor skill development, and is sure to provide elephant-sized excitement!

TumbleTree_GameOpen_Flat

Tumble Tree

Ages 6 & Up | 2-4 Players

Build your own baobab tree in this card placement game. Each animal card has its own way to be added to the ever-growing canopy, but place them carefully! If the branches are overburdened the tree will fall. Avoid penalties and be the player with the least amount of cards at the end to win, but most importantly…don’t let the tree-top topple!

 

Eye ‘N SeekEyeNSeek_Pkg_GameOpen_Flat

Ages 6 & Up | 2-6 Players

Spin to win! Flip a card and then rotate the wheel to find its matching icon in the windows. Hurry, it’s a race! Spot the match before your opponents to win the round and a point. With 6 double-sided wheels, 100 icons, 3 levels, and 6 games to play the searching fun is endless!

Quizoo_Pkg_FlatQuizoo

Ages 6 & Up | 2-8 Players

Who’s faster? Slower? Bigger? Smalller? Compare and learn about animals’ average weights, sizes, speeds, and lifespans in this quick-thinking card game. Flip a card and race to be the first to shout out the right answer! Collect the most cards to win and rule the animal kingdom!

 

Classic Feel: New games that already feel like old favorites!

Zero_Pkg_Game_FlatZero

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Less is more in this subtle card game. Group the cards in your hand by number and color to try cancelling out their point values. Multiples of cards are scored as zero, so each number is only counted once. Trade cards while keeping a watchful eye on your opponents. Mind your strategy as you all reach for the goal of cancelling out your hand and achieving the ultimate combo: ZERO!

Clear for TakeoffClearforTakeOff_Pkg_Game_Flat

Ages 7 & Up | 2-4 Players

In this aviation-themed card game, collect enough cards in your hand to send your fleet through the different stages of takeoff, and then high into the sky! Navigate weather problems, mechanical failures and your opponents’ strategies in order to successfully launch your whole fleet. Get all your planes off the ground before your opponents’ to win. Clear for takeoff was invented by a real pilot!

DiceStack_Pkg_FlatDice Stack

Ages 7 & Up | 1-6 Players

Pile up your points in this stacking dice game. Roll the tilted dice and then carefully stack them up in numerical order. Stop at any time to win the number of points in the stack, or take a chance and try to stack all 6. Once you have stacked all 6, do you dare to try and double your points with the Golden Die? Just make sure to not let them fall or you’ll lose it all!

 

RalllyRoll_Pkg_FlatRally Roll

Ages 8 & Up | 2-6 Players

Will you risk it all? Roll all 6 dice and win the number of points that match the big colored die. Decide to bank your points, or take a risk and roll again. Keep scoring as long as you have numbered dice that match the colored die. If nothing matches, forfeit all points won that round and try again next time! Take big risks with this fast and fun dice game!

Kingdomino_Pkg_Flat

 

Kingdomino

Ages 8 & Up | 2-4 Players

Explore the lands and expand your kingdom! Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure that at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. Don’t forget to include dominoes with crowns on them, these royal treasures double the worth of your kingdom! Build up your 5×5 grid as best you can, as the player with the richest lands takes it all!

 

Kingdomino had a small prerelease at the end of 2016, but it will now be available in specialty toy stores and online.

Rocking Horse Toy Company is our October Store of the Month!

Rocking Horse Toy Company is our October Store of the Month!

At Blue Orange Games, we can’t take all the credit for our hot games! We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our fabulous retailers who give us feedback and put energy, passion, and time into their businesses every day. This space is dedicated to a very special retailer each month in order to highlight the stores and individuals that bring Blue Orange games from shelves into homes and that do us the honor of introducing us to families in their area. We are pleased to announce that our Retailer of the Month for October is none other than Rocking Horse Toy Co in Petoskey, MI!

rocking horse toy

Rocking Horse Toy Co started with…you guessed it…a rocking horse!

Owners, Andy and Kathleen Bultman, were originally elementary school teachers. They were on the quest to find their daughter, Sara, the perfect rocking horse for her 1st birthday. No rocking horse on the market fit the requirement. Thus Kathleen asked Andy to make one instead. Andy’s rocking horse creation created a stir and requests were made by the community for other wooden crafts. Andy later added homemade wooden toys to the inventory. The business expanded to other things such as toys and games and Andy eventually stopped making the wooden toys. 34 years later, there are 3 locations throughout Northern Michigan.

The Petoskey Location!
The Petoskey Location!

The buying season at Rocking Horse Toy Co is different from most stores. Whereas most stores experience huge sales in the 4th quarter holiday season, they have Christmas in July! Their store locations are primarily in resort areas so they experience a huge influx of vacationers looking for toys and games during the summer months.

Andy and Kathleen credit their success to their backgrounds as educators. They purchase toys and games they felt their customers could really benefit from and not just what is the most popular. They also take the time to train their employees. Arielle, is the buyer and general manager for Rocking Horse Toy Co and really makes sure their employees are well-trained to talk with the customers.

After 34 years, Andy still loves coming to work. He loves the change of seasons, the change of environments, and even the ups and downs. He still looks forward each year to attending the annual NYC Toy Fair and searching for new trends in toys and games. This love of toys and games definitely translate into their success!

Thank you  Rocking Horse Toy Co for all that you do for your community and for Blue Orange Games!