the Bloom Report

Toy & Game Industry's #1 News Summary Globally
Below is October 29 - Nov 4, 2021. Click Here for Last Week

Articles posted daily with the most recent at top of each section and previous week drops off on Friday when we email you highlights. 
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom

Welcome to your Weekly News Brief . . . 

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Happy Friday! 

This is one of my favorite photos from our Innovation Conferences. It was taken a few years ago on top of Navy Pier when it was 70 degrees in Chicago in mid-November. Such a happy moment! 

While our Conferences won't be back in-person November 15-19, we still have free extraordinary content for the entire industry: our POP Duos with Legends, Leaders and Celebs from different industries having great conversations about creativity, where ideas come from, and their favorite toys and games. When you think you've heard it all, trust me, you haven't! I’ve enjoyed reviewing these talks and I know you will, too. In addition, we've got easy and super fun networking in the evenings with dynamite co-hosts... some are even awarding prizes! 

 

We haven't forgotten you inventors! We still have our Professional Inventor, New Inventor, and Design Student tracks where you can meet with dozens of companies to pitch your ideas. 

The week winds up with the TAGIEs - The Toy & Game International Excellence Awards. We’ll celebrate excellence across our industry worldwide with entertainment, heartfelt stories, and memorable moments together.

Wait! Encore! Saturday the 20th, we host the Young Inventor Challenge! These kids are amazing... you will love their Awards Show!

Most of these events are totally free! What are you waiting for? Register HERE today and join the People of Play! 

Thank you for reading the Bloom Report,

Mary

tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin: Recent Call Transcript. This Really Happened. (OK, Well, Mostly.)

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Recent Call Transcript.  This Really Happened.  (OK, Well, Mostly.)

 

NP:  Hello, North Pole hotline.  How may I direct your jingle?

 

TK:  Oh, that’s cute.  Hi, could I speak with Santa, please?

 

NP:  May I ask who’s calling?

 

TK:  Tim Kilpin.  PlayMonster.  You know, toys…games.

 

NP:  Oh yes, Mr. Kilpin.  Please hold.

 

TK:  (tapping pen, feeling pretty good that he still has a little juice left with the old guy’s office…)

 

NP:  Mr. Kilpin, he’ll be right with you.  He’s VERY busy this time of year, I’m sure you understand.

 

TK:  Oh, trust me, I understand.  (Keeps tapping pen, waiting, thinking maybe that juice is running out.)

 

Santa:  Timmy?  That you?  Read More . . . 

TAGIE Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award Honoree: Jan-Maurits (JM) Duparc

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Congrats, JM, on being the TAGIE Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award Honoree this year! Can you tell us about the project you were involved in to help homeless people? 

 

Thank you so much Mary. I’m still overwhelmed and it’s still hard to believe. I really want to thank you, your whole organization and of course Alan and the Hassenfeld Family Initiatives for this huge honour.

But to answer your question, The Amsterdam Project was a documentary about 5 homeless people. Each had a different background story and a different reason for being on the street. The idea was to ask if we could interview them and follow them for a couple of days to raise awareness for the homeless. After a couple of days, we offered them $10.000 and a book with phone numbers with all different kinds of coaches they could reach out to. They were allowed to do whatever they wanted with the money and could call the coaches if they pleased. Luckily all of them decided to use the money to try and get their lives back on track. This, of course, was a very bumpy roller coaster ride with a lot of ups and downs.

When the host of the documentary gave them the money, they all seemed to get their sense of pride back and they felt responsible for the money. One of them even offered to give the money back when, after several months, he said he couldn’t solve the problems he had to get off the street. He hadn’t spent a dime! In the end, all of them made it off them made it off the streets. Read More . . . 

TAGIE Game Changer: Azhelle Wade

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What exactly do you do in the industry?

I’m a toy industry educator and coach! As The Toy Coach®, I work to teach, connect, inspire, and support mission-driven toy creators as they develop their toy ideas.


What is your claim to fame in the industry?
Creating, launching, and building The Toy Coach® as a reputable and relatable source of toy industry information and inspiration.


What has been your biggest achievement?
The Toy Coach Podcast and Toy Creators Academy because both resources have helped over 100 aspiring toy creators on their toy journey. Whenever I read a podcast review or listen to a story of how my course helped my student connect with a toy industry executive, I can’t help but get emotional. I’m proud to have made a positive impact on this industry by doing what I love.

Do you have a mantra that you live by?
I live by a mantra that my mom taught me, “Never say you can’t.”  Read More . . . 

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Financial & Legal News . . .

Eurofins Softlines & Leather – Toys & Hardlines has acquired MTS as part of its strategic expansion in consumer products industry. Eurofins S&L-T&H, comprised of a global network with a strong footprint in Europe, is an innovative and fast-growing services provider specialised in sustainability, quality and safety solutions for the textiles, leather, footwear, toys and hardgoods industry. MTS, having been...

(the above posted after November 5th)

Blackstone-backed media company acquires CoComelon owner MoonbugWhile the finer details of the deal aren’t known, Bloomberg estimated Moonbug’s value to be around $3b.  Moonbug, the studio behind hit properties CoComelon, Blippi, Little Baby Bum and more, has been acquired by Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, both former Disney executives, in a deal they say will bolster their new Blackstone-backed....

The U.S. Dept. of Justice has filed a civil suit to block the Penguin Random House acquisition of Simon & Schuster announced.  "If the world’s largest book publisher is permitted to acquire one of its biggest rivals, it will have unprecedented control over this important industry," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement accompanying the announcement.  "American authors and consumers will pay the price...

Report: No layoffs at Hangar 13 after game cancellation. According to Bloomberg games reporter Jason Schreier, Hangar 13 won't be laying off any employees after the cancellation of a project code-named "Volt" that was abruptly cancelled yesterday. Word of Volt's cancellation spread yesterday after Take-Two casually reported the cancellation of a $53 million project during its earnings call--and apparently came...

Google allows third party payment systems in South Korea. Google has pivoted to allow third party app payment options for devices in South Korea.The update comes with plans to comply with a new law in the country, which went into effect in September. In a blog post, the company said that its current 15% service fee for app distribution would drop to 11% if users choose to use an alternative payment system...

Head of busiest U.S. port says imposing fines for lingering cargo was ‘a last resort’ but it’s starting to help. The Port of Los Angeles’ decision to impose fines for lingering cargo containers was “a last resort,” but it’s already showing signs of having the desired effect, Gene Seroka, the port’s executive director, told CNBC on Tuesday. 

Report: Hackers laundered $10 million on Twitch. After an investigation into last month’s leaked data, it has been alleged that a group of hackers laundered almost $10 million in illegally-obtained funds by making a ton of tiny donations to Twitch streamers. As MEE and Gamegar report, data related to the Turkish market revealed some funny stuff going on, with large donations being made in tiny amounts. 

Walmart will be closed on Thanksgiving this year — and so will Target, Home Goods and these other stores. It's considered to be the biggest shopping weekend of the year, but these stores will be going dark ahead of Black Friday. This year, various U.S. retailers and big-box stores are opting to close their businesses on Thanksgiving Day, despite their typical preparations for Black Friday's shopping madness...

The supply-chain crisis propelled the world's largest shipping company to its most profitable quarter in 117 years. Maersk, the world's largest shipping company, posted its most profitable quarter in its 117-year history on Tuesday. Shipping companies have been one of few players in the supply chain to benefit from the shipping crisis, as hundreds of ships wait weeks to dock and unload at key ports across the world. 

‘Squid Game’-inspired cryptocurrency that soared by 23 million percent now worthless after apparent scam. In the Netflix hit series “Squid Game,” characters gambled with their lives. The price of playing the game in the real world may not be as steep as a life, but for many people who piled their money into Squid, a once red-hot cryptocurrency named after the show, the financial loss has still been significant.

Ubisoft workers demand more than 'assurances' over harassment and misconduct allegations. Current and former Ubisoft employees are demanding the French publisher take meaningful action against misconduct after Activision Blizzard outlined plans to implement a "zero-tolerance" harassment policy. 

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Visit the York-Jersey Underwriters website at www.toy-insurance.com

Trends, Market Research Reports . . .

ToyWorld (UK) A fresh start - 2022 Q1 ranges . . . . . . October 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Author, Manga, Superhero Graphic Novels . . . . . . . Touching Base with leading licensors . . . . . . . ToyWorld: Fab-yule-ous! Here's Talking Shop . . . . . . October 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Kids Graphic Novels . . . . . . Total revenue of the world toy market was recorded at around 94.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and grown by over 13 percent since 2010.

(the above posted after November 5th)

Plush drives Q3 toy sales in the US . . . . . . UK advertising spend expected to reach a record £7.9bn in Q4 . . . . . . Top 20 Graphic Novels - October 2021 . . . . . . U.S. Toy Industry Sales Spiked 11% in Q3, NPD Says . . . . . . . Top 50 Comics - October 2021 . . . . . . DIAMOND TOP 400 COMICS--SEPTEMBER 2021 . . . . . .  Market analysis I Going one step further than play. Market intelligence experts The Insights Family on why expanding their toys’ ecosystems reaps rewards for brands . . . . . . .October 2021 NPD BookScan - Top 20 Adult Graphic Novels

Financial & Brokerage News . . .

Disney’s direct-to-consumer revenue is up 55% . . . . . . B&M results reveal supply chain challenges

(the above posted after November 5th)

Devolver Digital has gone public at a valuation of $939.8 million . . . . . . Roku missed its revenue estimates . . . . . . ViacomCBS surpassed US$1 billion in streaming revenue for Q3, but that was still below expectations . . . . . . PAW Patrol was top dog for Spin Master in Q3 . . . . . . . SPIN MASTER POSTS RECORD-BREAKING Q3 EARNINGS WHILE NAVIGATING SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES . . . . . . Alvin and the Chipmunks owner is looking to sell for about $300 million, sources say . . . . . . .  Amscan International secures £30m funding as record-breaking year continues . . . . . . . Electronic Arts Q2 Earnings Preview: FIFA 2021 Is Fueling Outperformance . . . . . . With over 38 million sales and counting, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the best-selling Switch title ever . . . . . . . Switch production to fall by 20 percent due to component shortages . . . . . . . Activision Blizzard is acquiring mobile developer Digital Legends . . . . . . . Fat Brain Toys opens new warehouse amid record-breaking holiday season . . . . . . Funko Q3 sales spike 40% as demand reignites for entertainment properties . . . . . .  Activision Blizzard net revenue passes $2 billion in Q3 . . . . . . . Take-Two's Q2 brings slight revenue gains, $53m game cancellation . . . . . . .  Nintendo Switch sales down 34% in H1, total units sold hit 92.8 million . . . . . . .  Activision Blizzard announces third-quarter 2021 financial results

Future Financial Reporting . . .

Toyjobs has been the dominant recruiting

Stories, Comments & Advice . . .

Could ‘Eternals’ Move the Needle in the Middle East By Putting an Openly Gay Character on Screen?  When “Eternals,” the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe featuring a gay superhero, rolls out in the Arab world on Thursday, the Disney-distributed blockbuster will, unsurprisingly, skip releases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, mainly due to its LGBTQ+ content.

The Most Over-the-Top Board Games In Existence.  Tabletop classics are going upscale, as more discover the charms of low-fi entertainment that doubles as home décor. Indoor-amusement trends have dovetailed with the expansion of global fashion brands into home décor, producing a new batch of luxurious, limited-edition and redesigned classics.

Ho, ho, no: For maker of wooden toys, the struggle ahead of Christmas isn’t finding supplies, but finding workers.  Unlike much of the toy industry, Maple Landmark isn’t suffering from a lack of imported materials as global supply lines buckle. The maker of wooden toys gets nearly all its lumber from nearby mills and has little trouble buying lacquer, paint and sandpaper from its Vermont suppliers.

“The Toys That Built America” New Four-Part Series Premieres Nov. 28 @ 9/8c. The HISTORY® Channel unboxes the next installment of its popular “That Built” franchise with the new four-part docuseries “The Toys That Built America” chronicling the toy titans whose imaginations soared to build billion-dollar empires, the rivalries that gave rise to the modern toy industry and the history of the visionaries behind iconic products like Monopoly® and G.I. Joe®.

(the above posted after November 5th)

John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Didn’t I blow your mind (this time) … it’s the Friday Blog!  We’re not even past Bonfire Night and retailers’ Christmas TV ads have already started appearing on screens – it is not just toy retailers that are trying to push the ‘shop early’ message. With the ongoing supply chain challenges (I heard this week that one of the largest 3PL providers to the toy market is facing major issues) and the ...

Flipping toys is an emerging industry, and if you get in on this trend early enough, you could be seeing big money for your old toys. Even if you don’t have a ton of action figures and dolls from your childhood, acquiring them can be pretty easy and inexpensive if you know where to look — so you could be turning a profit on every sale. All it takes is a little ingenuity and research.

In his latest Letter from America column, Rick Derr of Learning Express Toys reveals America’s top problem for indie toy retailers. This year, Rick is operating with a team he describes as “half the size for double the volume.” As sales ramp up for the business end of the year, the increased sales volume means more inventory to deal with, as well as stepped-up servicing to handle the crowds. “While the economics may....

Zoom is testing showing ads to free users.  They’ll appear in a browser page at the end of meetings.  Zoom says ads are being rolled out to free users in “certain countries,” though its blog post doesn’t detail exactly which these are. Users on the service’s Basic tier will only see ads if they join a meeting hosted by another Basic tier user.

Omdia analyst: How tech companies' revenue streams influence their video game strategies. AFA constituents (namely, Google, Amazon, Facebook ,and Apple) can broadly be split into two camps – those that are reliant on advertising, and those that aren’t. Most notably, Facebook is almost entirely reliant on ads. Its M.O. has typically been to first build an audience and then move to ad-based monetization...

In the Metaverse, it could be Meta vs. Tencent. Mark Zuckerberg has officially renamed his company Meta Platforms Inc. in his bid to offer the world an immersive digital realm. In China, Tencent Holdings Ltd. is prepping for a similar technological leap. Tencent is the local publisher of Roblox Corp.’s gaming platform, which allows users to create virtual worlds. 

The metaverse, the multiverse, and the end of your free time. In a decade, entertainment will try to be everythingIt’s impossible to predict what the biggest movie will be in a decade. The same goes for games and music, even sports and social networks. Given the speed at which culture moves, it’s really anyone’s guess. Maybe superheroes will continue to reign supreme. Maybe in 10 years, there is one thing that could...

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Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . . 

Bop the Beetle from Ideal (1962). If you’re looking to let off some steam, the Bop the Beetle game might be the release you need. Despite being touted as “more fun than a picnic” in its advertising, the game’s appeal lies in the fact that it allows players to channel their inner caveman and smash, err… bop things. Released in 1962 by Ideal, Bop the Beetle consists of five plastic pieces – two long, solid tubes (the boppers), two different coloured beetles, and a large, clam-shaped frog.

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Worldwide Licensing News . . .

Jada Toys Inks Deal with Fred Rogers Productions for Donkey Hodie Toys.  Jada Toys continues its expansion beyond die-cast and R/C. Following the launch of its B-Kind Dolls, its direct-to-consumer NEXT Level platform, and a range of Universal Monsters Action Figures this fall, the company inked a deal with Fred Rogers Productions to create a range of toys inspired by the PBS Kids series Donkey Hodie

the above posted after November 5th)

Ravensburger North America releases Paw Patrol Labyrinth Jr. Ravensburger North America has announced that PAW Patrol Labyrinth Jr. is now available on Amazon.com. Previously released in Europe, PAW Patrol Labyrinth Jr. combines two fan-favourite powerhouses. PAW Patrol, produced by Spin Master Entertainment and airing on Nickelodeon, is the number-one preschool show in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and ...

Kid Trax Toys Rolls in as Exclusive Licensee for the Ford Bronco.  The Ford Bronco is making a comeback this year, but now, it’s also available in a much smaller size. Kid Trax Toys and the Ford Motor Co. have partnered for a tot-sized version of the 4×4 SUV. This year marks the first time since 1996 that Ford’s vehicle is back on the market, and Kid Trax will serve as the exclusive Ford Bronco toy licensee in 2021. 

Nickelodeon and ViacomCBS Consumer Products have partnered with producer/musical artist Darryl McDaniels—a founding member of the hip hop group Run-DMC—to launch a cross-category licensing program. The agreement includes a publishing deal with Random House Children’s Books, as well as apparel and accessories inspired by McDaniels’ childhood. 

Super Impulse has introduced Micro Toy Box, a new line of miniature collectibles featuring toys that fit in the palm of your hand.  Micro Toy Box turns multi-generational toys into miniature collectibles. Consumers can unveil Toy Hall of Fame classics licensed from Hasbro, Mattel, Spin Master and more featuring brands including Nerf, Barbie, Monopoly, Hot Wheels, Transformers, Rubik's and more in series 1... 

The Lego Group has announced the latest addition to its popular Lego Super Mario universe, with three new expansion sets based on the iconic Nintendo series, Luigi’s Mansion. Fun new features have been designed to inspire creative play, featuring King Boo, Polterpup, Bogmire, Toad, Boo and many more characters from the series. 

Moose ramps up licensing and entertainment programs for Magic Mixies.  Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron becomes highest grossing SKU in Moose Toys’ history with stock selling through as soon as it hits shelves. Moose Toys has enjoyed a record-breaking launch of Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron, with sales of the new, interactive magic toy eclipsing those of the company’s smash-hit Shopkins. Magic Mixies Magic...

Squishmallows: love at first Squish. In just under five years, the Jazwares-owned Squishmallows plush line have grown into an international phenomenon. More than 1,000 Squishmallows plush characters, both original and licensed from other properties, have been created for the squishable line, and more than 86 million have been sold since 2017. 

Harry Potter Magical Capsules Series 3, Douglas Kaleidoscope Bunny, & more new products. YuMe announces the third series of the fan-favorite collectibles for Wizarding World fans – YuMe Harry Potter Magical Capsules. After a successful launch in 2020 and an overwhelming response to the series 2 expansion this past spring, series 3 will be available from October across the U.S. and Canada.

ZAG Games signs deal for ‘Miraculous Ladybug’ console game. On the heels of the debut of its first game for Roblox, ZAG Games, a division of the independent animation studio ZAG, has signed with U.S. game publisher GameMill Entertainment and French game developer Magic Pockets to create the first official “Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” console game. 

MasterChef releases ‘Let’s Cook!’ game“MasterChef: Let’s Cook!” is now available exclusively on Apple Arcade, Apple’s game subscription service that offers unlimited access to a growing collection of more than 200 games featuring new releases and favorites from the App Store, all without ads or in-app purchases. 

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People . . . 

President of Taste Beauty, Alex Fogelson, joins us for this episode of ShopTalk. Taste Beauty is a leading beauty brand for teens, tweens, and beyond creating innovative beauty products based on everyone’s favorite brands.

3D-printing company Toybox Labs has set up Malcolm Bird as its first-ever COO. The former Turner exec is already working to grow the company’s kid-focused business lines—including a new direct-to-consumer subscription service called Play Pack—and international expansion is a goal for 2022. Bird, who has served as an advisor to Toybox since October 2019, started in this new role on November 1 and plans to split....

Exclusive: Universally speaking with Paul Bufton. John Baulch caught up with NBC Universal Brand Development’s vice president EMEA to reflect on the events of the past 18 months and look ahead to 2022. Next year is going to be a ‘really significant’ one for NBCUniversal, according to Paul Bufton, with not one but two major movie launches lined up for summer 2022 – Jurassic World and Minions. 

U.S. Play Coalition and Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute are proud to announce the 2021  Youth Development Practitioner Award Winner: joyce Hemphill, PhD. First awarded in 2017, the Youth Learning Institute’s Youth Development Practitioner Award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. 

(the above posted after November 5th)

Schleich taps eight year old Marcello as its first Chief Storytelling Officer. Bosses are getting younger these days! Schleich announced its newest team member, eight-year-old Marcello from Queens, NY! Marcello will fill the role of the company’s very first Chief Storytelling Officer (CSO) after the brand conducted a live casting call at FAO Schwarz in New York City. 

Blizzard Entertainment co-lead Jen Oneal leaves companyJen Oneal, who has served as co-lead of embattled World of Warcraft house Blizzard Entertainment since this summer, will be leaving the company at the end of this year, she said in a statement on Blizzard's website. The past several months have been a tumultuous time to take the reins at Blizzard. 

Mike Brighty retires from University Games.  The toy industry stalwart started at Hasbro, eventually joining University Games where he served on the board of directors and built up international business. University Games has announced that Mike Brighty, senior vice president of international sales, retired from University Games and the toy industry in October.  Mike was a mainstay on the UK toy industry scene since joining Hasbro in 1989 and his career has taken him to international stints with Hasbro as well as Jakks and Toy Lobster. 

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Companies, Brands . . .  

UNO Championship Series Vegas Invitational Tournament Gets Wild.  Tonight, the 50th anniversary celebration of UNO enters a new phase as esports superstar Tyler “Ninja” Blevins gets wild as host of the special event that will crown the first-ever UNO World Champion. The event will stream live from the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas inside the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

YWOW Brands Officially Launches in the U.S.  Following early success and fast growth in international markets, YWOW Games has evolved into YWOW Brands for its official launch into the U.S. market. The company behind a large range of eco-friendly, officially licensed puzzles launched in 2018. Over the past year, YWOW Brands has grown to distribute its products in more than 50 markets around the world...

Big G Creative Launches 2 New Titles: Hangry and No Filter.  Families looking to revamp game night traditions can look for two new titles from Big G Creative that launched exclusively at Walgreens this week. Designed as an icebreaker game, No Filter is the ideal get-to-know-you game, while Hangry is an action-packed, food-themed card game

The History Channel Unboxes ‘The Toys That Built America’.  A new, four-part docuseries from the History Channel will delve into the stories behind some iconic, American toys and gamesThe Toys That Built America is a four-part docuseries that will premiere on Sunday, Nov. 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT with an episode that explores the history behind Slinky, Silly Putty, and Frisbee. 

Mattel Television and Nickelodeon start production on the Monster High movie musical in Vancouver this month.  Monster High (working title) is a live-action television movie — based on Mattel’s franchise of the same name — anticipated to premiere on Nickelodeon in 2022. Additionally, a Monster High animated series will debut on Nickelodeon next year. 

Hasbro to Debut Live Holiday Shopping Event.  Hasbro Holiday Shopping Live will be broadcast November 12, offering consumers a showcase of Hasbro’s toys and brands for the holiday season.Consumers will be able to browse and purchase toys and games directly on the Hasbro Microsite. “We’ve planned a dynamic shopping experience that combines the fun of live video and the convenience of mobile shopping....

YouTube has announced the creator lineup for its first live shopping event next week, as it lays out a larger vision for on-platform shopping, which is being shaped by new global managing director for YouTube Shopping Bridget Dolan. YouTube’s first event touting its ecommerce tools, the Holiday Stream & Shop, kicks off on Nov. 15. During the weeklong event, creators will be selling new products at special discounts ...

Exploding Kittens has announced the relaunch of popular, fast-paced card game, Happy Salmon, recently acquired from North Star Games.

Designed by Quentin Weir and game developer Ken Gruhl, who has since joined the Exploding Kittens team as a senior game designer, the company has re-released Happy Salmon with an Exploding Kittens twist, featuring completely new artwork and an updated look.

Over the Rainbow – 50 years of Rainbow Designs.  Rainbow Designs’ MD Anthony Temple chats to Sam Giltrow about the evergreen appeal of the company’s classic characters and what lies ahead.  It’s been a big year for Rainbow Designs as the company celebrates its half century. Looking back on his achievements since acquiring the company, Anthony says probably his biggest was transforming the business model...

Jada Toys and Kindness.org to spread kindness with new partnership. The partnership will kick off with an Instagram Live event all about the importance of kids and kindness on Thursday 11th November. Jada Toys’ B-Kind doll line. Jada Toys, a global toy manufacturer and maker of the B-Kind doll line, and Kindness.org, a research-led non-profit dedicated to educating and inspiring people to choose to be kind....

The Lego Group launches new podcast with celebrity guests. At Your Leisure, Lego’s new podcast, asks which hobbies keep the stars entertained, what pastimes they’ve nurtured since childhood, and what they’ve picked up over lockdown. A new podcast from The Lego Group, aimed specifically at adults looking to explore the world of celebrity hobbies, pastimes and passions, is now available to stream from...

Mattel and Spain’s Mondo Toys have signed a multi-year partnership to launch a line of “clean” makeup products for Barbie, including a lipstick, three eyeshadows, a lip gloss, a makeup case and several bags. There was no information at press time on when the line would hit shelves, but Mattel said in a press release that additional products will follow in 2022. The toy giant said that the makeup is vegan, cruelty-free...

Bed Bath & Beyond launched a digital marketplace, where third-party sellers can now list a curated assortment of products in the baby and home categories. The marketplace will be integrated into the retailer’s digital platform. “Marketplace is yet another example of how we continue to redefine our business model,” said Bed Bath and Beyond pres/CEO Mark Tritton. “We are developing new avenues of L-T profitable...

(the above sent after release of tBR report morning of Nov. 15th)

A dynamic virtual experience: the Barbie Dreamhouse Come On In! Party, will take place on Saturday on Facebook. Following the success of Barbie’s virtual premiere party to celebrate Barbie: Big City Big Dreams, Barbie is back this Saturday, 6th November at 10am on Barbie UK Facebook with another dynamic virtual experience; the Barbie Dreamhouse Come On In! Party.

Roll into the Holidays with Jakks Pacific’s RC Rock N’ Rollerskate Dolls.  Jakks Pacific is getting into one of the biggest TikTok trends with the RC Rock N’ Rollerskate Dolls, rolling into retailers in time for the holiday shopping season. There are two 10.5-inch, fashion-forward dolls for kids to choose from that perform a variety of tricks with the included, boombox-shaped remote control.

Play-Doh Expands Adult Compound Line with ’90s Edition. This Play-Doh is for the adults. While kids can technically play with Hasbro’s new Play-Doh Grown Up Scents ‘90s Edition, the compound is designed for adults to destress with memories of a simpler era. Each of the 4-ounce cans of compound features black packaging and a nostalgic smell. The scents are called Eau de Boy Band, VHS Rental ‘n Chill, Pump up the Jamz...

Netflix launches games worldwide.  Five new titles are now available globally to Android users—and the streamer plans to eventually build a library that appeals to all gamers. Available now on Android devices, the latest additions include Shooting Hoops and Teeter Up (puzzle) from Frosty Pop; Card Blast (puzzle) from Amuzo and Rogue Games; and Bonus XP’s Stranger Things: 1984 and Stranger Things 3: The Game ...

New PAW Patrol movie & spinoff in the works.  Spin Master is producing a second movie that's set for a 2023 release, as well as a new series focused on one of the main pups. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, CG-animated film PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie will hit theaters October 2023, exploring what happens when the pups get superpowers after a magical meteor crashes into Adventure City.

DreamToys Top 12 unveiled as countdown to Christmas begins. The Toy Retailers Association says this year’s picks ‘capture the magic of Christmas’, as The NPD Group reveals a 9% uplift on sales versus 2019.  The Toy Retailers Association has announced that the biggest licences from film and TV are the driving force behind this year’s must-have Christmas toys, with Star Wars, Pokémon, Jurassic World and Paw Patrol ...

Nelvana & Keith Chapman prep new series. The creator behind Bob the Builder and PAW Patrol has lined up Bella's Bro-Bots, inspired by his daughter.  In 2020, he teamed up with UK-based Studio Liddell and China’s Alpha Group on Camp Furly, as well as with Toonz Media Group to create Paddypaws & Pals. And Netflix has been airing his Spin Master-produced Mighty Express series globally since Sept 2020.

Sega partners with Microsoft to develop "large-scale, global games" on Azure cloud. Partnership does not mention Xbox. Video game developer and publisher Sega said that it had entered into a strategic alliance with Microsoft to use Azure cloud technology. The company said that the partnership was a key part of its 'Super Game' initiative to develop large online games.

OnBuy adds Lego to product portfolio. Mark Lister, CCO of OnBuy, described the move as “a very exciting time for OnBuy,” adding: “This year has really seen OnBuy grow its network of retailers and brands to an impressive level, with quality and trust remaining at the heart of the business. Working with the team to bring Lego products to OnBuy will help us serve more consumers than ever before, with the products...

New Toys R Us UK operation sets up web page for suppliers to register interest in becoming a partner.  In order to record and respond to the immense number of enquires from toy and nursery suppliers,  as well as 3PL and other service providers, Toys R Us ANZ, the company behind the return of Toys R Us to the UK market, has set up a dedicated expression of interest page. According to CEO Dr Louis Mittoni, who spoke...

French board game company IELLO is severing ties with IELLO USA and its COO, Stephan Brissaud, the company announced.  The company "…has decided to rethink the distribution of its products IELLO and LOKI in the United States and in Canada," it said in its announcement.  "Consequently, IELLO, through its legal advisor, terminated the distribution agreement, effective Dec. 31, 2021, which authorized IELLO USA...

2021 HOT WHEELS LEGENDS TOUR NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS REVEALED.  The 4th annual Hot Wheels Legends Tour is nearing the end of its search for the next real-life ride to become a 1:64-scale die-cast Hot Wheels vehicle. This year, 5 N.A.  finalists will join the Nov. 4 Int'l finalists to face off at the Global Grand Finale on Nov. 13.  Last night, Mattel popped the virtual garage door to reveal the five “built, not bought” finalists...

Hasbro’s Monopoly Cash Decoder tipped to be Christmas hitAs families gather to enjoy board game fun together this Christmas, Hasbro is acknowledging that things aren’t always what they seem, whether that be in a deceiving game of Cluedo, a challenging answer in Trivial Pursuit or a (not-so) friendly game of Monopoly. 

The LEGO Carousel of Creativity set to launch in London and online. This festive season, the LEGO Group is inviting families across the UK to unleash their imagination with the LEGO Carousel of Creativity. From 1 December 2021 until 2 January 2022, fans will be able to visit the LEGO Carousel of Creativity art installation in Covent Garden and experience a world where anything is possible. 

'Fluxx Remixx' offers new uses for classic keepers.  Looney Labs will be offering a new twist on its flagship card game called Fluxx Remixx with a street date of March 3. Fluxx Remixx keeps the same “Keeper” cards as the original Fluxx, and changes most everything else, offering new Goals, Actions, and Rules to create more challenging and chaotic play. 

Square Enix drops 'Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood' board game. Square Enix dropped Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood: The Promised Day, a new board game, scheduled to release in April 2022. This new board game commemorates the 20th anniversary of Fullmetal Alchemist. It is a cooperative game based on Fullmetal Alchemist Bbrotherhood where players take on the roles of iconic characters fromt he series ...

Super Impulse introduces Micro Toy Box collectibles range. Following the popularity and success of its World’s Smallest, World’s Coolest, and Wacky Packages Minis lines, Super Impulse is cracking open a new toy box: Micro Toy Box. The new line of micro collectibles was previewed in February during what would’ve been Toy Fair New York and has officially launched this month at Target. 

Build a theme park in 'Tenpenny Parks'. In March, Thunderworks Games will release Tenpenny Parks, a game about building theme parks. Over five rounds of play, Tenpenny Parks challenges players to construct the most attractive theme parks they can.  Each round, they deploy their workers to a variety of tasks, from clearing land to constructing rides and other attractions, drawing from themes like...

Save seals and whales from 'Ice Floes & Foes'. Dutch publisher Keep Exploring Games has announced Ice Floes & Foes, releasing in January. The goal of Ice Floes & Foes is to rescue seals and whales from hunters and fishermen in an ice-choked sea.  Players push the ice floes around the game board in a manner similar to carnival "coin pusher" games, trying to force hunters and fishing boats off the edge of the board...

Osmo launches ‘Fantastic Food Truck,’ the fifth game in its Math Wizard series. Kids can build up an appetite for learning! Osmo is adding a fifth title to its curriculum-based Math Wizard series of learning toys: Fantastic Food Truck. In this game, kids can learn geometry through cooking with shapes. Players become chefs who customize dishes using the available kitchen appliances. 

Funrise partners with Psyonix for launch of Rocket League range. Funrise is to create a range of customisable and remote controlled Rocket League replica cars in new partnership with video game developer Psyonix. The deal, which has been brokered by IMG will see the collection include mini-RCs and full-size RCs that allow players to bring the video game Rocket League to life. 

tonies collaborates with Steiff for new Soft Cuddly Friends Tonies. tonies is excited to announce the arrival of the Soft Cuddly Friends Tonies, in collaboration with German plush toy brand Steiff. Combining the magical power of storytelling with the beautiful, soft plushes, the new Steiff collection is sure to surprise and delight little ones and introduce them to a love of stories. 

'2022 Ghosts from the Past' haunt 'Yu-Gi-Oh!'. Konami Digital Entertainment will release the 2022 Ghosts From the Past booster set on April 24. Similar to this year’s Ghosts From the Past set (see “‘Ghosts From the Past’ Return to ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!  TCG’”), the 2022 Ghosts From the Past will be a full-foil Ultra Rare set.  The cards will be packaged in five-card packs.  

Games Workshop respawns 'Dungeon Bowl'. Games Workshop used its Warhammer Day Preview to announce the upcoming relaunch of its underground fantasy football game Dungeon Bowl. Originally published in 1989, Elves, Dwarves, & Dungeonbowl  was part fantasy football game and part dungeon crawler.  

From concept to shelf in 17 weeks: Simplay3, Walmart unleash Monster City Extreme Wheels Track. Amid the ongoing global shipping crisis, one point that keeps being discussed is a move toward making more toys in the U.S. again. While that’s a nice thought, the reality is a lot more complex which means you can’t just flip a switch and have the ability to make things domestically again. 

Asmodee USA announces nine new distribution deals. Three of the new deals, with Level 99 Games and Re-Marks Puzzles for their full lines, and with Jasco Games for the second My Hero Academia CCG set, were for exclusive worldwide distribution rights. Level 99 Games that will be available in November include Pixel Tactics, Exceed Fighting System, Millennium Blades, and BattleCON titles.  

'Beware Of Bears: The Card Game'. Boss Dog Games will be releasing Beware of Bears:  The Card Game in December. Created by the Naqvi family (Farting Frenchies), Beware of Bears imagines players walking through the paths of a forest inhabited by unusually aggressive bears. Each player begins with a “forest” of five cards, each of which may or may not depict a hungry bear. 

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Video Games, Gaming Hardware & Game Development News . . .

Here are the Nintendo Switch's ten best-selling gamesNintendo has just updated its list of the Nintendo Switch’s all-time top selling games. Which is, let’s face it, a two-horse race between Mario Kart and Animal Crossing. But which one crosses the finish line first? Let’s find out. The list is for worldwide life-to-date numbers, as of September 30, 2021. 

Niantic is shutting down Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Niantic is shutting down Harry Potter: Wizards Unite after less than three years. The AR title, which asks players to explore the real-world in a bid to keep the wizarding world safe, will be removed from app stores on December 6, 2021, and shuttered on January 31, 2022. 

Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 delayed into 2023Activision Blizzard announced during an investor call today that Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 won’t be arriving as soon as originally planned, but didn’t provide a new timeframe for when the two big sequels will eventually come out. “While we are still planning to deliver a substantial amount of content from Blizzard next year, we are now planning for a later launch for Overwatch 2...

Video gamers have spent equivalent of 78 days playing online over the last 18 months. Individuals spent an average of 17 hours and 48 minutes on their console between Monday and Friday, and another six hours and 52 minutes at weekends – a total of more than 24 hours a week. But despite the increase in gaming, 48 percent like to stick to the same games, with the average gamer rotating through just three ...

Sega partners with Microsoft to create games using the Azure cloud platform. Sega has partnered with Microsoft in a bid to produce "large-scale, global games" using the Xbox maker's Azure cloud platform. The Japanese studio explained the strategic alliance will be integral to its mid to long-term strategy, allowing it to develop titles around philosophies like "community," "global," "online," and "IP utilization."

Fortnite Is Shutting Down Its Service In China [Update]. The official site for Fortnite China has announced that on November 15 of this year, the game’s service will end for the country. As Denfaminico Gamer points out, a concrete reason for why the game is shutting down hasn’t been given, but there is speculation that it’s related to the country’s stricter gaming regulations for children. 

Luigi’s Mansion expansion sets join Lego’s Super Mario World collection. Just months after Luigi joined Lego’s interactive Super Mario World collection, Lego has announced three Luigi’s Mansion expansion sets that give the green-clad plumber the attention he deserves (via Engadget). With the $30 Lab and Poltergust set, you can equip Luigi with a Poltergust and use it to capture the Gold Ghost. 

U.S. senator heartbroken men watch porn and play video games. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, took the stage at the National Conservatism Conference yesterday to decry the war on men. In a long and meandering speech, he sounded the alarm about falling marriage rates and college attendance, and argued that more and more men are dropping out of the workforce and retreating into porn and video...

L.O.L. Surprise! Movie Night debuts on Nintendo SwitchThe latest videogame instalment based on the award-winning L.O.L. Surprise! toy franchise is making its debut exclusively on Nintendo Switch. A collaboration between publisher Nighthawk Interactive and MGA Entertainment, the world’s largest privately held toy company in the US, the game is available for $39.99 digitally on the Nintendo eShop...

Toy Safety & Counterfeit Related Articles . . .

Toy Association issues warning about counterfeit toys this holiday season. It’s that time of year again, and while ’tis the season to be jolly, ’tis the season to be fighting fakes as well. This month, The Toy Association issued its annual reminder that no matter what you call them — counterfeits, bootlegs, knockoffs, imitations, or fakes — the fugazis are everywhere, and what was once a back alley operation has gone high tech as fakes are hiding in plain sight on digital marketplaces. This year, the problem is so widespread that The Toy Association has launched …

Arrest in Texas in a string of midwest game store burglaries as suspect was trying to sell the cards. Police in Bedford, Texas have arrested a suspect in at least six Midwest game store burglaries, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  At least three of the burglaries were in the St. Louis area, including at Realms of Gaming in Troy, Illinois; Game Night in Marlborough, Missouri; and Yeti Gaming in Crestwood, Missouri. Nicholas R. Garrison, who was arrested as he was trying to sell stolen TCG cards.

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Highlighted Press Releases . . . 

WE HAVE YOUR WOW GIFT FOR EVERY CHILD: XMAS ARRIVES AGAIN & AGAIN WITH SUBSCRIPTION STEM KITS. Plus Keep Preschoolers Busy On Thanksgiving Day Concocting Turkey Windchimes Or Beaded Corn With New Sensory Art Kits. Is there an expression for an irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze something or someone that is unbearably cute? Yes! Entrepreneur Michelle Davis discovered GIGIL, a Tagalog word, was exactly the right name for her subscription STEM and Creative Kits where everything (and we mean everything!) is delivered to your mailbox each month. It’s like Christmas or a birthday present arriving every few weeks instead of once a year. And the incredible benefits of exploring new concepts in childhood last a lifetime! Holiday shopping for every child on your list can be done with one click at www.GIGILSTEMKits.com.

(the above posted after Nov 5th)

SANTA SAYS: EMPOWER CHILDREN THROUGH PLAY WITH FIVE PRESCHOOL GAMES THAT ARE REALLY FUN!  .Over 75 National & International Awards Commend Adventerra Games’ Swiss-based Company For Its Ecological Themes In Every (Recycled) Box. Boston, MA (November 4, 2021) – Imagine gifting a game where tots can play, learn, AND save the planet before they enter kindergarten! Saving Water: Ecologic Puzzle ($14.99) created for ages 2+ and Hungry Bins Memory Game: Learn to Recycle ($19.99) for ages 3+ do exactly that, along with a toybox full of memory games and board games to delight the eyes and inspire young minds.

News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards, Events & Festivals . . . 

The 2022 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards announced 114 finalists in 16 categories this week. Consumers can vote on their favorites now through January 4, 2022.  The TOTY Awards introduced a new category this year, ‘Grown-Up Toy of the Year,’ which highlights party games, board games, collectibles, arts and crafts, and other play products geared towards grown-ups and “kidults.” 

Applications now open for 2021 Toy Retailer of the Year awards. The winners of the awards, which this year welcome a new category for omnichannel retailers, will be announced at the Toy Industry Awards Evening at London Toy Fair. The British Toy & Hobby Association, organisers of the Toy Retailer of the Year Awards, has announced that the 2021 retailer application process is now open.

(the above posted after Nov 5th)

People of Play (POP) announced their official schedule for the Virtual POP Week, running from November 15 - 20, 2021.  The week includes The Toy & Game International Innovation Summit, POP Duo Keynotes Legends & Leaders, Networking in the POP Pub Rooms, Entertainment on the Fair Stages, TAGIE Awards, and Young Inventors Challenge.  “Our 2021 program is turning out to be one of the most innovative  we’ve ever had,” said Mary Couzin, CEO and founder of the Chicago Toy & Game Week (CHITAG). “We’re bringing our  industry and other entertainment industries together in new and exciting ways to share ideas and cross pollinate.  We’re creating network opportunities, bringing in the highest caliber of diverse speakers we’ve ever had and awarding deserving companies and kids with both the TAGIE awards  and Young Inventor’s Challenge as well as stages of entertainment at the Fair.  There’s something for everyone.”

The Rainbow Awards 2021 reveals winners.  The awards are designed to reward the very best new toys, helping consumers to make smart choices in the run-up to Christmas and beyond. Each toy entered is tested by children along with their carers or parents, carefully selected by the organisers for the correct age, gender and setting. 

American Girl dolls, Risk and sand were inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. Yes, sand. American Girl dolls and the strategy board game Risk were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame on Thursday in recognition of their influence on the toy industry. Sand, which the group called perhaps the most universal and oldest toy in the world, was also inducted. 

The Leisure Toy & Gift Fair 2021: everything you need to knowThe Leisure Toy & Gift Fair is finally opening its doors again in person, at the NEC Birmingham on the 10 and 11 November this year. With over 500 exhibitors, a wide range of educational seminars, and a packed schedule of keynote speakers and panel discussions, the show will tackle everything from boosting your offering to marketing and new business strategies. 

Exhibitor registration for INDX Toys & Nursery 2022 to open on 1 NovemberThe Independent Toy and Gift Show will return in 2022 under the INDX Home umbrella, as INDX Toys & Nursery. Curated by buying group Associated Independent Stores (AIS) and taking place on 6-7 April at Cranmore Park Exhibition Venue in Solihull, INDX Toys & Nursery will expand into the new ‘nursery’ category which will include gifts, accessories, and soft furnishings. INDX Toys & Nursery is open to all retailers and is free to attend.

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RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.

Jerry Houle passes at age 76.One of the pioneers of modern brand licensing and merchandising business, and one of eight founders of the world’s first professional licensing association which evolved into LIMA (now Licensing International), passed away on October 27 at age 76.

After stints at Fisher-Price and Milton Bradley, Jerry joined Jim Henson’s Muppets in March 1977 as its first marketing person and 25th employee. The MUPPET SHOW had launched the previous fall in 103 countries. Houle founded 7 divisions for the company, including worldwide licensing. In 1984, he founded his own agency, Bliss House, Inc., whose clients included Curious George, Chaplin, Monty Python, Princess Diana, General Motors, Survivor, Babar, among many others.

He also created and taught an MBA-level course on Licensing at Babson College, and spoke widely on licensing at events around the world.

He’s survived by his wife Margaret “Peggy” Houle;  sons Jerome L. Houle IV, William Fairfield Houle and James Lowther White Houle and their families, including six grandchildren; brothers Thomas Houle and Daniel Houle; and sisters Marybeth Donovan and Maureen Wiekert.

Malcolm Rose - He enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the toy trade.  His first role in toys was with Angel Toys, which he joined in the mid 60s. He then went on to hold several senior roles in the industry; as well as his tenure at Angel Toys, Malcolm lent his expertise to Illco, Tyco-Matchbox and Mookie Toys, among others.

His last full-time role was as sales director at Mookie Toys, where, over a 10-year period, he played an instrumental part in the growth of the business and its establishment as a pre-eminent force in the outdoor toy market, both in the UK and internationally. Malcolm formally retired from Mookie in 2005, but continued to work for a number of years on a consultancy basis, firstly for Top Banana Toys and then with Kelly Richardson at Kyria.

Remembering Malcolm, Andrew Moulsher of Top Banana Toys said: “Malcolm was hugely respected by both the buyers he dealt with and his co-workers. He had a reputation as a straight talker, always showing great integrity and was never afraid to give a retail buyer the benefit of his experience if he thought they were making a less than judicious buying decision. In the main, they appreciated this and respected him all the more for it. He certainly had a significant impact on my own career development, and I shall miss him enormously.”

Affectionately known as “Grumps” by his family and many of his colleagues, Malcolm is survived by his wife Sandra, children Simon and Jo and grandchildren Sophie and Sam.

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People and companies are registering and new features are being added by the minute... what are you waiting for? We've got the most powerful platform in our industry! Join here:  www.peopleofplay.com 
 

Weekly Top Stories from Toy and Game Trade Magazines Worldwide . . . 

 

Toy Trade Monthly Issues​​

Adventure Media & Events (US)

aNb Media (US)

ToyWorld (UK)

  1. Didn’t I blow your mind (this time) … it’s the Friday Blog!

  2. The November issue of Toy World is out now

  3. DreamToys Top 12 unveiled as countdown to Christmas begins

  4. Full list of 81 DreamToys revealed

  5. New Toys R Us UK operation sets up web page for suppliers to register interest in becoming a partner

  6. Take a first look at Smyths Toy’s 2021 Christmas advert

  7. New Paw Patrol movie announced by Nickelodeon and Spin Master Entertainment

  8. Exclusive: Character range supports Morphle launch on terrestrial TV

  9. Mike Brighty retires from University Games

  10. Lego Carousel of Creativity invites families to unleash their imagination

ICv2: The Business of Geek Culture's (US)

French Board Game Company IELLO Ends Ties with IELLO USA
Asmodee USA Announces Nine New Distribution Deals
Kidrobot 'Dungeons & Dragons' Minis from WizKids
Arrest in Texas in a String of Midwest Game Store Burglaries
Games Workshop Respawns 'Dungeon Bowl'
Bots Used by Resellers to Buy Out Hot Products from Online Retailers
Miniatures Gift Prospects for Retail Shelves
'Warhammer 40,000' Battles on Holy Terra
Wyrd Launches Large-Scale Iconic Minis
Stock the Gift of Collectible Cardboard

Nación Juguetes (Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Chile & Spain)

TOYS Magazine (Germany) - posted once a month

The Bugg Report (Australia)

Casual Game Revolution

News Flash: Zombie Princess and the Enchanted Maze, Next Exit Game Announced
Wizkids has a new game out, KOSMOS has announced the next game in their Exit line, and Level 99 Games has announced a new Bullet game.

 

Video of the Week! 

Hidden Role Podcast: Rory O'Connor Invented Rory's Story Cubes!

Rory O'Connor, game designer and creative, dives into the tale of Rory's Story Cubes, his creative process, making the world a better place through imagination and play, inclusivity in game design, and much more!

Meme of the Week!

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Introducing: Meme of the Week!

Let's have some fun! Send us your industry memes and we will showcase them here!

This one was created by Jason McCracken of advice Michael Kohner gave to new inventors at our First Thursday POP Pub night. 

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Thank you for being a reader of the Bloom Report. — Mary and Graeme

 

Founding Editor and Publisher (1998-2020, Retired): Philip Bloom

We are honored to carry on Phil's 22 year legacy and continue the Bloom Report. Phil has been a mensch

and we've loved working with him. Here is a fun and interesting interview with Phil.

If you would like to reach Phil: philip.bloom100@verizon.net   

Publisher: Mary Couzin, Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

Managing Editor: Graeme Thomson

Assistant Editor: Patrick Fisher

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