Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fresh From Toy Fair: Westminster Toys!

Hey guys and gals, Snake here!  Today we have a real treat.  At Toy Fair 2012 in New York, I was lucky enough to get to meet the people at Westminster Toys.  Westminster is a distributor of novelty toys, plush animals, and so much more.  They were kind enough to give me samples of Basket Case and their best selling Electronic Sound Bites!

The Original Basket Case, headband hoop game and Electronic Sound bite
First up let's talk about The Original Basket Case.  Basket Case comes with the headband, the basket, the stilts to hold up the basket, and 20 balls (10 white and 10 red).  Assembly is a breeze, and the headband attaches with Velcro to perfectly fit anyone's head.  The best part is the novelty aspect.  How many times have you called, or been called crazy, aka, a basket case?  Being able to surprise someone with such a gift will get priceless reactions and memories to last forever!  The game itself is pretty fun, you can try to make the shots, or in the video later, have someone shoot to make the baskets. 

With a little practice, you too can become a pro!
Before we move on...How many times have you been out and about wondering, "Why can't my life have sound effects like on TV?"  Well thanks to Electronic Sound Bites, you can!  Hands down this was the coolest, most unique thing I saw at Toy Fair.  Many similar devices boast a few sounds.  Electronic Sound Bites has 20 different sounds.  From sirens, drumrolls, and soap opera dramas, to whistles, farts and applause, this toy can do it all.  Before writing this review I used it all the time, much to my fiancee's amusement and more often, chagrin.

Electronic Sound Bites gives your life the soundtrack it needs!
As a special bonus, here is the video demoing both the Original basket Case as well as the Electronic Sound Bites!  Big thanks to everyone at Westminster!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Marshmallow Shooters Galore!

Hey guys and gals, today I've got some more Toy Fair 2012 swag to show off and review!  Both are from the Marshmallow Fun Company.  Both of these blasters shoot marshmallows, which are fun and safe for all!

Marshmallows, the new weapon to stop the Zombie Horde!

First up let's go over the marshmallow blaster.  The blaster is a breech-loading, air tank powered blaster.  To use, you need to first open the breech and load a large marshmallow.  Then, pump it 10-15 times; in the video below I pump it a total of 15 times.  Then point in the direction you want to shoot and pull the trigger.  The blaster has a bit of recoil, but wow does it have range.  In the video the marshmallow lands on the far side of my pool, which is over 50 feet away!  Without further ado here's the video:

Now for the double shooter...WOW is my first reaction.  It's a true shotgun action shooter.  No other company on the market has the functionality of a shotgun spread style with every shot.  In humans vs. zombie games, this is the go to blaster when you need to put down a horde fast!  The shooter is manual powered and with each pump you unload anywhere from 2-5 marshmallows.  I've found the harder you pump, the more you shoot.  In the video below you'll be able to see the spread of the marshmallows and the range.  The majority of the marshmallows fell just short of swimming in the pool.

Overall both are very solidly made and amazing to use.  The Blaster is very accurate and has good range, but only has one shot.  Reloading is not much of a problem and can be done while running.   The shotgun (Double Shooter) can handle itself with range and spray potential.  However, the reload time is absolutely killer.  Having to individually load around 15 marshmallows in each tube, then snap the tubes back into the double shooter could get you tagged.  Barring someone covering your reload or having a safe place to reload, the shotgun is more of a "panic shooter" that can get you out of a big jam.

As requested, here is the video with how far the marshmallows flew:

Ready to show the horde who's really in charge with these launchers!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nerf Snapfire 8 and Firevision Sports Line

Hey guys, at Toy fair 2012, Vas (from Foam From Above) and I were able to get into Hasbro's private showroom and see the newest in the way of Nerf.  The highlight from the trip has to be the Snapfire 8, in the Dart Tag line.

Here's the official press release on it:

(HASBRO/Ages 8 & up/Approx. Retail Price: $14.99/Available: Fall 2012)
The NERF DART TAG SNAPFIRE 8 blaster features one-hand firing, an essential element when players are on the move during competition battle.  This semi-automatic blaster allows competitors to load darts into the front and then cock and fire darts as the front barrel revolves with each trigger pull.  The DART TAG SNAPFIRE 8 blaster also enables players to adjust the tension level for increased speed and distance.  Includes 8 Velcro tipped DART TAG darts.  Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and on HasbroToyShop.com."

We even got to play with it a bit...Here's the teaser video of us using it before we had to stop filming :)

Here are some stills we were able to grab:

The Snapfire 8, the guy's hand is on the knob to adjust for more power/speed

The Box for the Snapfire 8
Here is the Firevision and Heatgear information! Press Release:


The NERF brand brings fans a completely new way to play with its sports gear in 2012 with the introduction of FIREVISION technology, an innovative enhancement featured in the debut FIREVISION SPORTS collection which allows for play in both daytime and dusk. To turn up the heat on throws, catches, and dunks, users simply put on the FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear and flip the switch on the bridge to see reflective graphics and skins on the FIREVISION SPORTS products. Only those wearing NERF FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear will be able to see the action once the lights are out, so whether fans want to enter into casual games with friends or test their skills in competitive challenges one thing is for certain: You don’t want to get left in the dark.
@vasthestampede looking menacing with the Firevision on!
(HASBRO/Ages 6 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $19.99/Available: August 1, 2012)
No sunlight? No problem. Put on the FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear and turn on the switch to see this awesome football soar. Set includes one FIREVISION SPORTS football and two pairs of FIRE FRAMES eyewear. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.

(HASBRO/Ages 6 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $14.99/Available: August 1, 2012)
Convert your room into the coolest court with the NERF FIREVISION SPORTS NERFOOP basketball set.  Hang the set’s oversized backboard over almost any door, put on the FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear, and turn down the lights. The darker the room, the brighter the reflective graphics on both the backboard and basketball glow, setting you up for a serious slam-dunk! Set includes one mini NERF FIREVISION SPORTS basketball and one pair of FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.

(HASBRO/Ages 6 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $9.99/Available: August 1, 2012)
The NERF FIREVISIONL SPORTS HYPER BOUNCE BALL ball shines new light on the game of catch. Wear the FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear to see the ball’s reflective skin glow in green or red and track how far and fast throws fly when the sun goes down. Includes one HYPER BOUNCE  ball and one set of FIRE FRAMES eyewear. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.

(HASBRO/Ages 6 years & up/Approximate Retail Price: $5.99/Available: August 1, 2012)
Give everyone a chance to get in your FIREVISION SPORTS game and stock up on FIREVISION SPORTS FRAMES eyewear. The new assortment includes one pair of FRAMES eyewear (choose from green or red). Players place on the FRAMES eyewear and flip the switch on the bridge to see FIREVISION gear in a whole new light. Each sold separately. Available at most major toy retailers nationwide and HasbroToyShop.com.

Red or Green, they both work beautifully!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gears of War - Board Game Review Part 1

Hello everyone!  While at Toy Fair 2012, I ran into Fantasy Flight Games, the leading publisher of board, card, and role playing games.  Most recently they released the Gears of War Board game.  They were super awesome at Toy Fair and let me have a copy of the Gears of War Board Game to review!  So let's get started:

Here's the box as it appears.  As with all FF products, it's sturdy, coated cardboard!
Here's all the contents of the box:

 Inside the box you get:
- 4 CoG figures w/ Character Cards
- 28 Grey Locust Figures w/ 10 Enemy Cards
- 35 Locust AI Cards
- 27 Mission Cards
- 54 Order Cards
- 38 Weapon Cards
- 34 Location Cards
- 4 Reference Cards
- 17 Double-Sided Map Tiles
- 2 Door Tokens w/ clear plastic stands
- 23 Wound/Dropped Weapon Tokens
- 8 Emergence Hole/Sealed Tokens
- 36 Ammo and 12 Grenade Tokens
- 1 Mission Reference Sheet
- 9 Dice: 5 Attack and 4 Defense
- 1 Line of Sight Ruler

The models are simply phenomenal!  Best I've seen in a board game!
All of the included cards are very sturdy and of the same material as their Anima card game (Also by FF).  Even though they recommend using sleeves, these cards are more than durable on their own.  The card art is beautiful and true to the GoW universe.

Additionally, the miniatures included are the best I've ever seen in a board game, and among the best of some companies who only make model miniatures.  The figures included in this game are highly detailed and made of what feels like a plastic-resin material.  The models are somewhat flexible, so no breakage will occur.  As a hobby gamer, I will be off to paint my GoW miniatures as soon as I get room on my painting table!

The Cole Train ready to crush some grubs!
The rulebook is highly detailed and covers all questions you can run into.  The rulebook is large, but it uses pictures and visuals to explain all the rules, making learning the game a breeze.  The game play system is based on "Doom"'s engine.  Game play basics work off playing cards in your hand and executing the actions on the cards.  Most cards involve moving and then attacking or some combination of the two.  Other cards allow you to explore areas to pickup dropped weapons or activate map features.  More on the game mechanics later...

The maps are truly unique.  The game comes with 5 missions and horde mode!  Each mission lists the map tiles needed for the game.  Then the map cards and shuffled and the map assembled in that order.  This allows the maps to always be different to create a different game and eliminate monotony in repeating missions.   The missions always have a primary objective, that when completed the second part of the mission is revealed.  This can include kicking down a door to clear a new area, new emergence holes opening or having to fight a boss!

Here's our map setup using the "Emergence" mission.  We move on to the board to start the first turn.
The mission reference sheet with all the cards setup, ready to see our CoG's beat some locust!
As our mission starts, our objective is to get to the last tile with the door and seal the emergence hole.  As we fight through the rooms and the locust unleash their fury on our beloved Gears, my partner gets attacked and takes wounds.  The attacks in this game work off of rolling attack dice as listed on the stat cards vs defense dice which are affected by cover.

This locust got the jump on the Cole Train, but you can't keep the Train down baby!
In this situation shown above, the locust moved up a few areas and attacks Cole Train, who is hanging out in the open.  To see if you have line-of-sight you would take the provided stick and connect the figures.  In this case Cole and Boomer are in the same area and there is no cover.  Therefore Cole, unable to dodge the attack, only gets 1 red defense dice.  The locust Boomer attacks with 4 attack dice.  The player who controls Cole rolls all the dice together and checks the results.  As shown above, Cole does not roll any shields on the defense dice.  However, the Boomer rolls a total of 4 bullets, meaning he causes 4 wounds.  You would take bullets - shields = wounds taken.  Since Cole didn't block any, he takes 4 wounds.  For each wound a CoG takes, the player must discard a card.  Since Cole's controlling player only has 3 cards, Cole is "bleeding out".  Just like the game Cole falls down and must wait for a fellow CoG to revive him.

Cole's controlling player, Crash, is distraught at the Cole Train bleeding out.
After Cole went down, we ran into a spat of trouble and were unable to complete the mission...However, being our first play through, it was a great game.  The dynamics of the board game truly capture the fast paced action of the video game.  The board games cover system is the difference between life and death, just like the games.  We ran into trouble when we were caught in the open.  But in the second review, we get a full team of 4 CoG's to eradicate the locust threat!

Here are the highlights:
- Awesome miniatures
- Tiles, counters, and cards are all top quality; sleeves are recommended
- Rules are well laid out, easy to follow and the rulebook uses pictures and diagrams to explain points
- True to GoW story and source material through in-game mechanics
- Easy, no argument Line of Sight and Cover System
- Total customizable missions and horde mode; always a new experience
- Game play is fast-paced and always changing through mission cards (changing objectives, adding new map tiles etc.)
- Single Player, Co-op, and horde never leaves you without a way to play
- Nobody has to be the "game master" or play the bad guy, since you roll all dice pertaining to your character (when attacking and being attacked)

- Occasionally enemy activation cards can chain together, giving tons of attacks to locust, to cripple a less than 4 player game
- Without a full game of 4 CoGs, some order cards are useless, but the rules give you a chance to discard them and re-draw new cards
- Sometimes "bleedout" and pickup of characters becomes cumbersome w/ crowding and LoS, but nothing gamebreaking

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nerf Hailfire Revealed!

Hey guys, Snake here!

At Toy Fair 2012, Vas and I saw the sizzle video from Nerf that featured the new N-Strike Elite Line, including the HAILFIRE.  At the time, we were unable to take pictures or video of it, but apparently that has changed.  Today Nerf posted the sizzle video to youtube.  Here's the link!  Enjoy!

The folks over at Neo Creations  sketched up a sample of what the Hailfire looks like given the stills taken from the video!  Check them out!

Still taken from the video of the Hailfire

Sketch courtesy of Neo Creations

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day One of the Toy Fair Adventure

Hey guys, Snake here! Vas and myself have arrived in NYC, and are ready to hit Nerf for the first appointment in the world tomorrow morning at 8am EST. Here is our road journal from today:

Working hard at Midway Airport pre-flight:

Arrived in NYC and checking out Times Square and a little sightseeing:

Enjoying a snack at Tim Hortons (send us free coffee!!!)

Stay tuned for more! Tomorrow morning we hit up the Nerf showroom, Razor and many more! Follow here and at Foam From Above!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Getting ready for Toy Fair 2012

Hey guys, Vas and I are headed out to NYC tomorrow for Toy Fair 2012. Be sure to follow us here and at Foam From Above!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Great game today!

Embed coming later tonight :)  See ya!  Great game and turnout today, everyone.  Way to take advantage of atypical Chicago weather!