Tag: Games

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!

Indoor Games And Activities!

Indoor Games And Activities!

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19, we want to provide support and advice to the families and children staying home during this time of uncertainty. We’ve put together some tips to help keep the little ones entertained and keep families safe. We encourage all of you to listen to healthcare providers and officials regarding best practices and procedures to ensure your safety and well-being.

“Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.”

World Health Organization

Staying Safe

How to wash and dry hands with liquid soap and water

Keeping The Kids Entertained (And Safe)!

ARTS N CRAFTS!

Arts n crafts are the perfect way to keep kids entertained, and safe! Whether it’s painting, drawing, or creating homemade crafts, kids are having fun while stimulating their creative side!

GAMES!

Board games are always fun for kids! At BlueOrange, we have educational, strategy, speed, and party games that are perfect for staying in and testing your gaming skills. Want to learn how to play the games? Visit our Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlueOrangeUSA

  • Kitty Bitty: It’s nap time for the itty bitty kitties, but they just want to play!
  • Super Genius: This matching game will propel your child into ABC fun as they sound out the letters while matching them with familiar and vibrant illustrations.
  • Sumoku: Sumoku is a unique crossword-style game with numbers.
  • Double Shutter: Roll the dice, add up the dots and find the best combination of numbered tiles to shut down.

APPRECIATE NATURE!

Although it’s important to practice social distancing and stay six feet apart, we can take this time to appreciate nature. Go on a walk, a run, plant a garden, take your dog out! As long as we remember health guidelines, it can serve us well to enjoy the outdoors.

Want to order games?

It’s still possible! Visit our online store here, order your favorite games, and a local retailer will be able to ship them to you!

Our Very Own Holiday Gift Guide!

Our Very Own Holiday Gift Guide!

Let us help you find the perfect game for everyone on your list!

Our 2018 Collection is full of very good games, so we picked our favorites, broke them down by age and highlighted their theme to help you find the perfect presents!

For 3 Years Old who love bunnies!

BO_NewGames2018_Happy Bunny

Blue Orange launched a collection of cooperative games this year and Happy Bunny is a favorite!

Everyone helps the bunny pick the best carrots to bring home to his family, plucking them from the box just like you would from the ground. The trick with carrots? You need to test them first to find the most delicious ones! Make sure to pick carefully- all the bitten carrots are for the bunny, while the untouched ones are for the farmer who is also working in the fields. Line up the bunny’s carrots at the end of the day and compare them with the farmer’s harvest to see who picked the tastiest bunch!

This adorable game is perfect to teach teamwork and counting.

Check out our Happy Bunny video

 

For 4 & 5 Years Old 

BO_NewGames2018_Kitty Bitty

Kitty Bitty is our new adorable, all wooden memory game.

The game is set-up with all the mommy cats in the middle of the table, and all the yarn balls forming a circle around them. Each turn, roll the dice, look for the mommy cat matching their colors, and lift one of her eye. If there is a kitten underneath the eye, it means the mommy saw you, you have to stay where you are, and it’s the next player’s turn! But if there is nothing underneath the eye, your kitten advances one yarn ball. The first kitten to go all around the circle and back to the basket wins!

Players must correctly identify colors, and remember which mommy cat eyes will catch the kittens so that the fun never stops in this colorful game.

 

For 6 Years Old who like active play!

SlingBall_Freestyle_Pkg_Flat

Djubi is the ultimate game of catch that allows you to send the ball sailing over 100 feet! It relies on a unique launching system that creates maximum distance and maximum fun! The balls come with a rubber loop attached, allowing players to launch them from a hook on the racket frame.

The Djubi collection also includes Djubi Classic, Djubi Jr., and Dartball.

Check out our Djubi video

 

 

 

For 7 Years Old who like team play!

BO_NewGames2018_Maki Stack

Maki Stack is perfect for an afternoon full of fun and laughs!

Put on your mask and grab your teammate, or prepare to use your fingers as chopsticks. Balance and arrange the sushi, plates, and soy sauce bottles, and make sure to execute the order exactly as shown on the card. But be careful, one wrong move and everything might tumble over! Race a friend or challenge as a team in this sushi stacking extravaganza. High-quality wooden pieces and crazy stacking combinations make Maki Stack a beautiful gift for lasting fun.

Check out our Maki Stack video

 

For 8 Years Old who are into logic puzzles…

BO_NewGames2018_BrainConnect

 

Brain Connect is a clever twist on classic sliding puzzles, this game is perfect for solo solving or racing against friends!

Quickly slide and connect your thoughts into the right order (by connecting 2 points with a red line), then, be the first to complete the action illustrated on the card at play to win!

These sliding puzzles have 16 different start and stop points, so creating a clear train of thought is always a new and exciting challenge.

 

 

 

For all board games lovers…

BO_NewGames2018_RoyalCollection

You cannot go wrong when offering Kingdomino. Our Spiel Des Jahres winner is one of the best board game on the market. Children 6 & Up will understand the easy rules, but the truth is, this game is enjoyed and appreciated for its game mechanic (and fun graphics) at any age.

Each turn, connect a new domino to your existing kingdom, making sure at least one of its sides connects to a matching terrain type already in play. The order of who picks a tile first depends on which tile was previously chosen. Make sure to secure tiles with crowns- these royal treasures help to multiply the worth of your kingdom at the end of the game! The game ends when each player has completed a 5×5 grid, and then points are counted based on the number of connecting tiles and crowns.

Queendomino uses the same mechanic, at a more complex level, and Age of Giants is the expansion that was just added to the Collection. It allows for a 5th player to join in and adds interaction between players.The Giants meeples cancel crowns’ value so you do not want to end up with a Giant on your kingdom!

Winner_Photosynth_FB

Photosynthesis is a beautiful gift that will make a huge statement. In this game you take your trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun’s rays. Carefully pick where you sow and when you grow, as trees in the shadows are blocked from light, and from points.

This game features realistic game play and beautiful graphics. Photosynthesis won many Awards including the coveted MENSA Select, and the Toy of the Year Award in the Strategy category, delivered by the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.

Check out our Photosynthesis animation (viewed over 32,400 times!)

 

We didn’t forget the Stocking Stuffers!

BO_NewGames2018_WhoDidIt

This little game has been very popular: A poop game in a poop bag! Who did it?

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! Was it YOUR cat that pooped in the living room? Because it wasn’t my fish!

We recommend it as a Stocking Stuffer for 6 to 12 years old.

Check out our Who did it? video

 

 

 

BO_NewGames2018_Mindo (1)

BO_NewGames2018_MindoZen

Mindo is a collection of 5 clever puzzles: Kitten, Puppy, Robot, Unicorn for younger children, and Zen for older players.

Play solo, or combine them and race your friends. No matter which version you choose the rules are the same: 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 3×3 or 4×4 grid, so think and plan carefully. 60 different challenge cards and 4 levels of difficulty ensure hours of brain teasing fun!

We recommend the kids’ themes as a Stocking Stuffer for 5 to 8 years old, and the Zen theme for children 8 & Up and adults.

Check out our Mindo video

To take a look at all of our games, please visit our website: www.blueorangegames.com. Happy Holidays from all of us at Blue Orange!

DIY Spot it! Ice Breaker

DIY Spot it! Ice Breaker

Spot it! Ice Breaker

Hosting an event or party in the near future? Worried that conversation will be lacking early in the event? Blue Orange Games will take that worry away by sharing with you our favorite and most successful ice breaker!

Spot it! Ice Breaker Essentials

Your Checklist:

  • Your Favorite Spot it! Cards (Of Course!)
  • 2″ Cork-board DiscSemi Strong Adhesive Glue
  • 1″ Bar Pins
  • Laminating Machine (Optional)
  • Clothespins (Optional)

All of your crafting materials can be found at your local craft & hobby store and purchase Spot it! online or visit your local toy shop.

This simple craft will guarantee that your guests begin mingling from the beginning to the end of your party! Whether you are making Spot it! Ice Breaker tags for a kid or an adult party, your little ones will make great helpers.

Spot it! Ice Breaker Steps:

1. Pick your favorite Spot it! Edition

If you are having a themed event or party, choose from one of our many editions. This is an easy way to incorporate your theme into the event’s details. Spot it! MLB, NHL, and Halloween are just a few of our themed editions. However, you can never go wrong with our classic Spot it!

spotitnhl_gamer   spotitmlb_gamer   spotithalloween_gamer

          Check out our website to browse all of your options! 

2. Laminate your Spot it! Cards

This step is optional and depends on what type of look you are trying to achieve. If you choose NOT to laminate your Spot it! cards, this will not change your outcome of your Ice Breaker pins, lamination only increases the pin’s durability.

3. Time to Glue!

Blue Orange found that a strong adhesive was best for this project. Any type of rubber cement, Gorilla Glue, or a strong adhesive will work. Apply desired amount of glue to the cork board. Apply the cork board to the red side of the Spot it! card (shown in picture). Make sure you are not gluing to the side of the card with the matching symbols…

glue    spotitcard    finishedbackofpin

Our next gluing adventure consists of adding the wearable pins to the middle of the g symbols…cork board. Do not worry about the placement of the pin, some images will be upside down and some will be normal.

Press down for a few seconds and move on to the next Spot it! card.

4. Wait! Let your Spot it! Pins dry

5. Party Time!

samwearingpin
Invite your guests to wear your Spot it! pins around your party and find a match on other guests’ cards. Remember this is a great Ice Breaker since every single Spot it! card has a match!

Want to add even more competition to your Spot it! Ice Breaker? Purchase small clothespins of your choice and attach 5 around each guest’s Spot it! card. Whoever is the first to find their match, collects a pin from their opponent. Players can only face each opponent once and whoever has the most pins wins a prize!

spotitbin

Ice Breakers are always great, but are not limited to the first day of school, birthday party, company event, or a family reunion.

Be on the look out for new and exciting Spot it! editions coming soon!

Did you use Spot it! Ice Breakers at your party or event? If so, let us know on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook! @BlueOrangeGames