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Product Type: Toys

 


2005 Award
Castle of Morcia
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:) If all things medieval intrigue your builder, bring home this satisfying new castle from the new Knights' Kingdom series. Each component fits onto a plastic base, there are lots of moving pieces, and as our tester commented: "just a lot of pieces—but it wasn’t hard!" There’s also a new Hogwarts Castle ($89.99/928 pieces), "smaller than the original." "Neat, the way you build several towers that then connect." Experienced testers found it difficult to make the wind-up motor for the clock tower work, but gave overall high marks (they especially like the moving staircases). Also a hit, the Knight Bus ($29.99/242 pieces), straight out of the pages of Book 3. 8–12. (800) 233-8756.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Hogwarts Castle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:) Our testers wrote: "smaller than the original, but neat the way you build several towers that then connect." Experienced testers found it difficult to make the wind-up motor for the clock tower work, but gave overall high marks (they especially like the moving staircases). Also a hit, the Knight Bus ($29.99 ), straight out of the pages of Book 3. 8–12. (800) 233-8756.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Supermag
(Plastwood $24.99 Score:) We love these open-ended magnetic sets. Put one on the coffee table and everyone will take a turn. Testers enjoyed working with these magnetic rods and steel balls. The rods are thinner and more tapered at the ends than Geomag (although our testers judged them to be equally enjoyable to use.) We recommend the colorful 50-piece sets. New model sets sound promising but were not ready for testing.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Prehistoric Creatures and Titan XP
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:) The large red T-Rex that you can build with this set is "amazing looking." Our experienced builders warned: "It's very delicate and could break easily." Set comes with instructions for 10 creatures. Marked 7 & up, we’d say more like 9 & up. About Titan XP ($49.99/782 pieces ) from the same series, our tester wrote "wow, there are a lot of pieces!" Builds a 14"-tall creature that swivels at the waist—but he too is very fragile. (800) 223-8756.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Rumis
(Educational Insights $29.95 Score:) A three-dimensional strategy game where the object is to place your three-dimensional blocks on the board in such a way as to have the most showing from above. Of course your opponents are there to block you! More challenging to play than last year’s award-winning Blokus ($29.95), which is played with flat pieces. While even younger players enjoyed Blokus, Rumis will most likely appeal only to the 10 and up crowd. (800) 995-4436.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
I Spy Word Scramble
(Briarpatch $19.99 Score:) This has a big game board with sliding tiles. Players take turns drawing a card, choosing a letter or image on the card, and spelling that word by sliding letters before the timer runs out. Challenging fun for 7 & up. (800) 232-7427.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Operation Shrek
(Milton Bradley $16.99 Score:) If you were an "Operation" fan when you were a kid, you won’t be disappointed with the Shrek update. Instead of retrieving just your regular body parts, you’re after earwax and humongous fungus! As with the original, the player who collects the most money for successful operations, wins. 6 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Who? What? Where?
(Pazow $29.95 Score:) Each player takes a who, what, and where card, which asks that you draw a certain image—Abraham Lincoln, fishing, in Paris, for example. Players get points for guessing each other’s drawings. A fun family game. Marked 12 & up, but our 10-year-old testers had a great time.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
There's a Moose in the House
(Gamewright $9.99 Score:) One of the most innovative card games we've played in years. The cards have pictures of empty rooms, doors, and moose in the same rooms. The object is to place as many moose as possible in your opponents' house of cards. The player with the fewest moose at the end of the game, wins. Easy to learn and a lot of fun to play! 2–5 players. 15 mins. Still top rated, PDQ, short for Pretty Darn Quick, a great word game for travel. 8 & up.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Zigity
(Cranium $12.95 Score:) Our own family played many heated rounds of Zigity! The object is to be the first to get rid of your cards, but watch out—there are different activities that can change the course of the game dramatically. For example, just as you think you’re going to win, you may be forced to draw three additional cards. Visual discrimination and word and number play are all part of the fun. 8 & up. (877) 272-6486.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2005.

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