Gamewright, makers of the bestselling Rat-a-tat Cat game (among others), has recently released a new card game based on the explosively popular Uglydolls. I was dubious about a game that was designed around a gaggle of fleecy monstrosities, but after playing it, I think it’s probably Gamewright’s best new game for 2006. It’s a frenetic, fast-moving game that relies on reflexes and good hand-eye coordination. The cards are scattered over the playing surface, and players take turns flipping over the cards. As soon as three of a kind appear, players can start grabbing for sets. The object is to collect the most cards, but grabbing a card that isn’t part of a set has ramifications. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
And while we’re on the topic, how about those Uglydolls? If you aren’t already acquainted with them, take a moment. They aren’t cute. They aren’t furry. But they’ve got lots of personality and a good backstory. Designed by an illustrator, David Hovarth, and his girlfriend Sun-Min Kim, a designer, the Uglydolls were named the Specialty Toy of the Year in 2006. And why not? Kids of all ages are attracted to them, they’re cool enough for tweens and teens, college students love them, and I’m not ashamed to say that I have an Uglydoll keychain hanging from my messenger bag. There are plenty of people out there who are shaking their heads and calling it a silly fad, but I think the little guys actually have some staying power. Time will tell.