Hasbro knows games. In fact, the company has been around since 1940’s (starting with doctor and nurse toy kits during WWII) and is the third largest toy maker in the world, with revenues of over $4 billion. The company’s best known products include Monopoly, G.I. Joe, Furby, and My Little Pony. Want more? How about The Game of Life, Twister, Clue, Battleship, Trouble, Hungry Hippos, Operation and Scrabble. All told, it’s unlikely that you haven’t played at least a few Hasbro games in your life and I bet you own at least one or two. And more to come too, thanks to the ingenious Hasbro Gaming Labs.
The problem is, the company has a laser focus on family games, but how do they appeal to a more modern online audience? Their fun answer: Hasbro Gaming Crates. A subscription service, the company sends you three games every three month, delivered straight to your door. The price: $49.99 plus shipping. The two options for now are party and family crate, so when I had a chance to check one out, I opted for a Hasbro Party Crate.
A few weeks later a huge blue box showed up, containing three games: Judgmental, Box of Rocks and Speak Out. It’s an interesting choice because two of the games aren’t yet on the market, so if you look at Judgmental and think it sounds fun, or want to try this special Joe Santagato edition of Speak Out, you’ll have to pop by during my next party (or get a Gaming Crate of your own, of course).
Amusingly called the FOMO Party Crate (you know that “FOMO” is “fear of missing out”, right?) the games are categorized for ages 16+ (Judgmental), ages 12+ (Box of Rocks) and adult (Speak Out). So far, we’ve tried Box of Rocks and found it surprisingly fun and perfect for families looking for a super lightweight trivia game for boring moments, like waiting for food at a restaurant. I reviewed it separately: Box of Rocks Trivia Game Review.
The box also comes with slome slick cardboard coasters I particularly liked, question from yet another Hasbro property: Trivial Pursuit:
Since you probably can’t actually read the questions, left to right, they’re:
- What informative undergarments did Victorians wear to keep warm – newspapers, teabags or curtains?
- A Japanese game show includes a segment where contestants are thrown into what – poison ivy, soy sauce or coffins?
- What’s a fartlek – running exercise, incontinence garment or wind instrument?
- To identify a human we use fingerprints, but what should we use to identify a cat – its paw, its nose or its butt?
I won’t tell you the answers but you can see, from a “let’s get this party started” perspective, these are a fun addition to the box!
Judgmental has famous people go head-to-head in crazy tournament challenges. Players choose the contenders, reveal the bizarre contests and then argue about who would actually win the challenge:
Looks fun but we haven’t had a chance to play it yet. Still, a game that has Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Bill Murray and Brad Pitt can’t be all bad, right? Heck, that’s probably the cast to Expendables 4 on the board!
On the more bizarre side, Speak Out is just plain peculiar. You pop the plastic mouthpiece in, which forces your lips to stay wide open, and then try to speak a specified phrase so that your teammates understand what you’re desperately trying to say:
This type of game I would definitely categorize as “wait until everyone’s getting drunk to pull this one out of the gaming cupboard” but I expect with the right group it would be quite hilarious.
The third game, my favorite so far, is Box of Rocks with its trivia question and wacky “roll the rocks then compare your answer” concept:
There are two things that make any gaming crate a winner in my book: interesting selection of games that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about, and good value for the money. Hasbro looks like it meets both of these criteria with the Hasbro Gaming Crate: Box of Rocks is $14.99, standard Speak Out is $15.99 and while I can’t find Judgmental anywhere (yet), I’m assuming $19.99. Total = $50.97.
Other indie companies are offering gaming crates too, aimed more at traditional board gamers, strategy gamers, or role playing fans. Those are obviously more specialized. What Hasbro has added to the market is something that’s a really fun way for families to have a good time. As an example, the FOMO Party Crate would be a fantastic subscription to send to a young man or woman who’s in college. Every few months a box of crazy new party games shows up from home? What’s not to like about that?
Learn more: Hasbro Gaming Crate.com. Subscription: $49.99/crate + shipping (though the Web site is currently offering free shipping!)
Disclosure: Hasbro sent me the Hasbro Gaming Crate for the purposes of this review.