Lego Fortnite is now live

Lego Fortnite, an all new survival crafting game within Fortnite, is the first play experience to come from the partnership between Epic Games and the Lego Group. 

Within the new Lego Fortnite game, players can explore vast, open worlds where the magic of Lego building and Fortnite collide. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB. All experiences in Fortnite, including Lego Fortnite, utilise the Epic Games parental controls and safety features.

Lego Fortnite is built inside Fortnite and powered by Unreal Engine 5, taking advantage of features such as Chaos physics and destruction to give players the ability to place, connect and break apart bricks just like they would in the real world.

The Lego Group is already using Unreal Engine across its broad portfolio of play and content experiences, including Lego Dreamzzz and Lego Ninjago. The two companies are also using Unreal Engine to build digital twins for thousands of physical Lego elements, and are working to make these available for creators across the Fortnite Ecosystem in both UEFN and Fortnite’s Creative tools in 2024, in order to bridge the worlds of physical and digital play like never before.

The Lego Group and Epic Games will unveil several more Lego themed games inside Fortnite starting early next year.

Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the Lego Group, said: “Our partnership with Epic Games is focused on developing digital play experiences that are designed to be fun and safe, and have the potential to bridge the worlds of physical and digital play to inspire kids. Together with Epic Games, we are building digital worlds designed with kids in mind from the outset – we hope other creators and brands are inspired to do the same.”

Tim Sweeney, CEO & founder, Epic Games, added: “Lego Fortnite offers players a new way to express themselves through worldbuilding and is an important step forward in the evolution of the Fortnite ecosystem. We look forward to continuing to partner with The Lego Group to build immersive digital play spaces that are fun for kids and all types of players.”

Players can:

  • Play as some of their favourite Fortnite characters, such as Brite Bomber, Cuddle Team Leader and Raven – but in Lego Style
  • Collect food and resources, craft items and battle enemies solo or with friends
  • Build shelter for defence and customise your ultimate home base, then recruit villagers to gather materials and help them survive the night
  • Gear up and drop into deep caves in search of rare resources, hidden areas and enemies

New world building, gameplay features, and more Lego Style Outfits will be arriving in updates starting early 2024. Fortnite is available to play for free on PlayStation4, PlayStation5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PC on Epic Games Store and cloud-based gaming streaming services.

Breaking News: Mattel and Amazon MGM Studios announce Wednesday licensing partnership

Mattel has announced a multi-year licensing deal with Amazon MGM Studios to create and sell co-branded dolls and collector sets inspired by MGM Television’s Wednesday.


Wednesday has been a hit on Netflix and will now come to the worlds of Little People and Monster High via a new licensing agreement. Image credit: MGM Television

In 2024, Mattel will release co-branded Wednesday dolls and collector sets through its Monster High and Fisher-Price Little People Collector properties respectively, fusing the iconic characters from the Netflix original series with Mattel’s cherished toy brands.

Mattel says its Monster High and Little People Collector brands have much in common with Wednesday, having ‘a finger on the pulse of social trends and a commitment to inclusivity’. Both Monster High and Wednesday centre on high schools full of monsters and the supernatural – not to mention the chicest of fashions – making the two an even more perfect match. While the immense popularity of The Addams Family spans generations, there has been a recent spike in fandom thanks to the hit series, Wednesday, which is available to watch now on the streaming platform Netflix.

Wednesday follows Wednesday Addams’ misadventures as a student at Nevermore Academy, a unique boarding school located in deepest New England. The series marked the first time fans got to see the character of Wednesday as a teenager, launching in November 2022 at No. 1 in 83 countries. Shortly after launch, Wednesday also became the No. 1 most watched English-language series of all time on Netflix.

With today’s news, fans around the globe will soon be able to purchase products honouring the beloved character and series.

Mattel’s co-branded Wednesday dolls and collector sets are expected to be available in 2024 through the Wednesday storefront on Amazon and other retailers.

The partnership is the latest in a line of Little People licensing collaborations that have taken iconic properties from screens to playrooms across the globe. In July, Fisher-Price announced the launch of the highly anticipated Little People Collector Friends ‘The Television Series’ set. Created in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery Global Consumer Products, this collection captures the essence of the iconic TV show Friends and brings the beloved characters into the hands of fans of all ages.

Breaking News: Disney Lorcana unveils Into the Inklands

Disney Lorcana: Into the Inklands debuts location card types, new Disney characters and much more, and will arrive at retail from February 2024.

Ravensburger has today revealed the next expansion to the Disney Lorcana Trading Card Game (TCG), named Into the Inklands.

The third instalment of the wildly popular Disney Lorcana TCG, Into the Inklands introduces location cards that feature beloved Disney story settings and offer players special abilities and interactions. The set also debuts new in-game mini-stories and expands featured characters. Into the Inklands will be released first at local game stores on 23rd February 2024, followed by mass market retailers on 8th March 2024.

“With each new release, enthusiasm and excitement for the Disney Lorcana TCG grows in magnitude,” said Filip Francke, global head of Games at Ravensburger. “Watching this community consistently grow and become more diverse tells us that we are getting it just right with Disney fans who are completely charmed by the art and stories, TCG die-hards who appreciate the strategic gameplay, and even new players who have tried their very first TCG and now play every weekend.”

For the first time since the game’s launch, players – known as Illumineers – will be able to have their character glimmers visit locations from popular Disney stories, such as Motonui from Disney’s Moana or the Jolly Roger from Disney’s Peter Pan. Locations are a new card type that opens up new strategies: some offer bonuses when characters visit them, while others provide benefits just by being in play. These new location cards will be included among more than 200 totally new cards when Into the Inklands launches. This new set also introduces additional narrative across cards as stories unfold through quotes and descriptive text (flavour text), allowing players to discover even more links between cards.

A bevy of beloved Disney stories and characters will be making their Disney Lorcana TCG debut in Into the Inklands. Players will now be able to quest for lore alongside fan-favourite good dogs such as Disney’s Pluto and 101 Dalmatian’s Perdita, as well as characters like Scrooge McDuck from DuckTales, Kit Cloudkicker from TaleSpin and Jim Hawkins and the RLS Legacy crew from Treasure Planet, bringing late-90’s nostalgia to the game.

The Disney Lorcana TCG set Into the Inklands continues the story of the Illumineers, who were mysteriously transported to the realm of Lorcana (The First Chapter). After accidentally unleashing a flood of mixed ink (Rise of the Floodborn) that scattered precious lore throughout the realm, Illumineers are now tasked with finding the lore and returning it to the Hall of Lorcana. However, their quest may be more treacherous than they realise, as an ominous shadow storm has been spotted gathering at the edges of Lorcana, adding urgency and mystery to the path ahead.

The Disney Lorcana TC set Into the Inklands will include two Starter Decks featuring combinations of Amber/Emerald or Sapphire/Ruby cards (RRP £17.99) and booster packs (RRP £4.99). A new Illumineers Trove (RRP £49.99), a Gift Set (RRP £27.99) and play accessories including Card Sleeves (RRP £8.99), Deck Boxes (RRP £5.49), and Playmats (RRP £17.99) will also be available. All cards in this set can be played alongside the previously released sets, The First Chapter and Rise of the Floodborn, and used to update existing Disney Lorcana TCG decks.

Majority of Mastermind Toys stores saved by acquisition

The Canadian retailer Mastermind Toys is to sell the majority of its business to Unity Acquisitions, retaining hundreds of employees across 48 stores.

CBC News has reported that Mastermind Toys has reached an agreement to sell most of its business to Unity Acquisitions Inc., after the Canadian speciality toy retailer filed for creditor protection on 24th November.

The deal includes 48 stores, with only 18 set to shutter – good news for a ‘significant’ number of the approximately 800 Mastermind employees whose roles now look to be secured. It is currently unknown how many jobs will go as part of the slate of closures.

Unity Acquisitions has a strong foothold in the fashion industry, leading some to speculate that the move signifies diversification intentions. Collectively, owners Joe Mimran and Frank Rocchetti and David Lui are involved with brands including Kit and Ace, Casca Footwear, Tilley Endurables and more.

Mastermind stores slated for closure include nine locations in Ontario, four in Alberta, two in New Brunswick and one each in B.C., Nova Scotia and Manitoba, according to CBC News. However, the retailer has told its customers that its holiday sales and promotions will continue for the time being and that it is to introduce an extended holiday return and exchange policy for purchases made online and in those stores remaining open.

“The acquisition aligns with Unity’s strategy to enhance and grow extraordinary Canadian brands,” Joe Mimran said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the team at Mastermind Toys and take the brand and the business to the next level.”

The Toymaster 2024 May show is officially sold out

Toymaster, the independent buying group, has announced that its hugely popular Toymaster May show is sold out for 2024 when it once again returns to Harrogate.

In a press release circulated to the trade, Toymaster said: “All the stands for the May Show have been filled and we thank our suppliers for their continued support. We have over 100 suppliers exhibiting, offering all independent retailers attending a wide range of options to select the best ranges and products for their stores.”

The group also said it ‘looks forward to welcoming everyone back to Harrogate for another fantastic show’ when it returns to the DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa dates from Tuesday 21st – Thursday 23rd May 2024.

The three-day Toymaster May Show attracts independent retailers from across the country, regardless of whether or not they are members of the Toymaster buying group, and is very popular within the trade thanks to its laid back, yet professional, atmosphere and evening entertainment. Last year’s show included a fabulous Irish Night as well as the traditional awards evening, when top members and suppliers are recognised for their contributions to the toy industry.

As always, the Toymaster team will be on hand at the show to discuss the many benefits of membership with interested retailers. Ahead of the May show, the team will also be hosting its traditional Toymaster Lounge at London Toy Fair (Upper Level 149) where visitors will be able to discuss Toymaster’s free window display programme, catalogues, central invoicing system and much more.

To book an appointment, contact Brian McLaughlin, development manager:

Tickets now available for Spielwarenmesse 2024

Day tickets and event tickets are now available online and will include travel on local public transport in the Nuremberg, Fürth and Stein city area.


From today, buyers and retailers can secure their tickets to the Spielwarenmesse, which opens its doors from 30th January to 3rd February 2024. These tickets include travel on local public transport in the Nuremberg, Fürth and Stein city area. For the entire duration of the fair, retailers and buyers will therefore be able to travel quickly and easily to the exhibition centre. The day tickets and event tickets for the Spielwarenmesse are available online only, and no tickets will be sold on site. A wide range of services are available to help trade fair guests plan their ideal visit to the industry event.

Two new offers are available for those travelling by air. Visitors coming to Nuremberg for the Spielwarenmesse via Turkish Airlines can receive a 15% discount on their air ticket, for economy and business class. For convenient onward travel from Munich airport, the organiser is also offering a bus shuttle service for the first time from the Tuesday to the Saturday. Bus tickets can be purchased in advance via the Spielwarenmesse Ticketshop. Information on departure times and locations is available here.

To ensure an efficient visit right from the start, the organiser has various helpful services available. Tips on staying in the ToyCity of Nuremberg and information on travel and accommodation can be found both on the website and in the Spielwarenmesse app. This turns a smartphone into the ideal travelling companion: as well as finding the latest industry news, users can call up a database of exhibitors with filtering options and the interactive hall plan. Synchronisation with the Spielwarenmesse Digital business platform is also available, allowing participants to arrange appointments with exhibitors in advance and fill out their trade fair diaries. Various communication tools offer the best means of networking with others.

Information on preparing for a visit to the fair can be accessed on the website. The Spielwarenmesse Digital networking platform is available all year round here.

Further information on downloading the app for iOS and Android can be accessed here.

It’s the back of the net for Golden Bear’s Soccer Bot

Global distributors are being urged to partner with Golden Bear on worldwide distribution now, ready for when the next wave of Soccer Bot mania kicks in.

Golden Bear Toys is celebrating the unprecedented success of its 2023 launch Smart Ball Indoor Soccer Bot, which has become a sell-out line weeks ahead of the peak festive season.

The latest incarnation of the SmartBall range, the Soccer Bot is unique because it has been designed to play with indoors, using the latest smart sensor technology to move around a designated area whilst tracking the ball and trying to tackle. Equipped with three different skill levels, it is the ultimate test for any football fan.

Soaring to the top spot in Circana for Outdoor & Sports Toys across October and November, and becoming the No. 14 item in whole market (w/c 12th November), Barry Hughes, managing director at Golden Bear, says he’s been blown away by Soccer Bot’s sales figures – and that the company had to blow the whistle on its marketing activities mere weeks after the campaign for the range first started.

The innovative football training robot, which allows sporty kids (and grown-ups) to practise their footwork and dribbling skills without having to set foot outside during Britain’s dreary, wet winter, was showcased in Golden Bear’s Los Angeles showroom space back in September, where it generated huge excitement. It then arrived at independents and multiples, where sales almost immediately skyrocketed, thanks in part to a partnership with two of the world’s best football freestylers – Billy Wingrove and Isabel Watkins – who both created content and shared it across their respective social media channels.

However, it is popular independent toy store Fagan Toys that has had perhaps the biggest impact on sales: staff at the retailer made a video of Gary the security guard going up against Soccer Bot in the store. The video went viral and the comments under it – which can be seen below – are awash with consumers clamouring to get their hands on the toy in time for Christmas.

Carol Glennon, manager at Fagan Toymaster, told Toy World: “We first picked out the Soccerbot as a top toy at London Toy Fair in January: it immediately stood out as something that would appeal to all ages. It combines active play with fun and was not like anything we have seen out the market previously. We decided the best way to market the product was to demonstrate it on video. We then roped in our security guard, Gary, who stepped forward and showed off his skills.”

“After uploading the video to our social media platforms, we were inundated with queries and orders for the Soccerbot. Currently on our TikTok video alone we have over 4.3m views, 80k likes and 16k shares, and sales haven’t slowed down in the weeks since. It has driven sales in all departments on our website and brought footfall up in store, and is proof that with an excellent product, and the correct marketing, we can drive significant sales in our small independent toyshop.”

According to Barry, the idea behind Soccer Bot was to create a football toy parents would let their kids play indoors. With that in mind, Golden Bear then undertook thorough research into the Sports category before launching Soccer Bot, tweaking the speed the robot moves at to ensure play is accessible for younger players, and retaining the £50 RRP price tag (despite parents reporting they’d pay more for the product) due to the cost of living crisis. This, combined with the company’s marketing efforts and support from its retail partners, has created massive demand and incredibly strong sales that look set to continue long into 2024.

While Golden Bear is working hard to restock key retail partners ahead of Christmas, including Fagan’s, the next major shipment of product arrives in January. The company is urging all interested distributors to get in contact now if they want to secure a slice of the football action for themselves.

“Some of our more established distribution partners have jumped on Soccer Bot already, having seen it in LA earlier this year, but there is huge scope for distributors across most of the globe to get a foot in the game ready for the big New Year restock,” Barry explains. “Football is a year-round sport and Soccer Bot is therefore a year-round product with huge potential. We’re levelling the playing field by putting this out there and inviting any and all distributors to get in touch if they want to take this product. The goal is to see Soccer Bot’s success replicated in retailers around the world, because so far, we’re having a ball.”

To find out more, readers are advised to contact T: 01952 608 308 for UK Sales Enquiries or Claire Vernon for Potential International distribution:


One of our new favorite toys! Rate Garry’s skills in the comments 👀 #smartballsoccerbot #goldenbear #skills #instoresnow #fagantoys #mullingar #demo #fyp

♬ Live Is Life (Digitally Remastered) [Live] – Single Version – Opus

Deadline for free tickets to Istanbul Toy Fair fast approaching

Attendees can secure their free tickets until 6th December for the Istanbul Toy Fair, one of the largest toys and games fairs in Eurasia. 

Istanbul International Toy Fair is just around the corner, opening its doors from March 6th-9th 2024. Those who wish to attend are advised to secure their free ticker to the event now, as the deadline for applications is 6th December.

Istanbul International Toy Fair is one of the largest toy fairs in Eurasia and offers a great opportunity to see the latest innovations in the industry. Next year’s fair will feature over 100 exhibitors, showcasing a wide range of toys for all ages.

A free online ticket will allow visitors to access to all four days of the fair, from 6th-9th March, 2024. They will also be able to take advantage of exclusive discounts and promotions from exhibitors.

To ensure you don’t miss out, secure your free ticket here.

The 2023 Creative Play Awards results have been announced

From big name brands and evergreen toy categories to products designed for children with special educational needs, this year’s awards celebrate the best in creative play.

Creative Steps magazine has announced that the results of the prestigious 2023 Creative Play Awards have now been collated. The Winners and Highly Commended entries have been published within the Winter issue of Creative Steps magazine, as well as on and across all its social media platforms.

Sponsored and organised by Creative Steps magazine, the Creative Play Awards promote creative play as a vital aspect of a child’s development. The results of these awards recognise the best products available for enhancing creative development in young children and those that are beneficial to the consumer when making purchasing decisions.

John Hopley, editor of Creative Steps, commented: “With more products than ever entered in this, the 16th year, the 2023 Creative Play Awards were more competitive than ever, so the Winners and Highly Commended entries should be very proud. These awards help recognise some of the best creative play toys, games, books and resources available in the UK. We continue to have the products assessed by independent testers in homes, schools, early years and childcare settings around the country, emphasising the importance of learning through creative play for children – and these awards help parents, teachers and carers find the latest quality products that allow them to do so.”

The 2023 Winners and Highly Commended entries are as follows:

Toys and Games – Indoor (0-3 years)
• Winner – Polydron: Translucent KinderMag
• Highly Commended – Plus-Plus: Plus-Plus BIG Bunny 15pc Tubes

Toys and Games – Indoor (4-7 years)
• Winner – Plus-Plus: Plus-Plus 100pc Basic Tube
• Highly Commended – Plus-Plus: Plus-Plus Puzzle by Number Rocket

Toys and Games – Indoor (8-11 years)
• Winner – Bandai: Shashibo
• Highly Commended – Asmodee: Dobble Connect

Toys and Games – Outdoor (0-3 years)
• Winner – Frog Bikes: Tadpole Plus Balance Bike

Toys and Games – Outdoor (4-7 years)
• Winner – Frog Bikes: Frog 44
• Highly Commended – Wilton Bradley: Xootz Quad Led Skates

Toys and Games – Outdoor (8-11 years)
• Winner – Ministry of Colour: Colour Powders

Painting/Colouring/Modelling Materials (4-7 years)
• Winner – Trends UK: Paint Pop Paint Sticks Bundle
• Highly Commended – Addo Play: Barbie Bobble It – Decorate Your Own Room Light
• Highly Commended – Playmonster UK: Spirograph Doodle Pad

Painting/Colouring/Modelling Materials (8-11 years)
• Winner – Playmonster: FabLab Soapy Sculpts

Boys Craft Kits (4-7 years)
• Winner – Epoch Making Toys: Aquabeads Deluxe Craft Backpack
• Highly Commended – Epoch Making Toys: Aquabeads Dinosaur World

Girls Craft Kits (4-7 years)
• Winner – Pat Avenue: Hama 10,000 Beads Bucket with 5 Pegboards
• Highly Commended – Pat Avenue: Hama Beads Pony Play

Girls Craft Kits (8-11 years)
• Winner – Bandai: Rainbow Loom Loomi-Pals Combo
• Highly Commended – Curious Universe: Crystalverse Deluxe Range

Imaginative Role Play (0-3 years)
• Winner – LittleMagicTrain: Dinosaurs on the Loose!
• Highly Commended – Playmonster UK: Playskool Glo Friends Wigglebug Wiggle, Hop, Stop!

Imaginative Role Play (4-7 years)
• Winner – Addo Play: Early Learning Centre Wooden Pancake Playset
• Highly Commended – Epoch Making Toys: Sylvanian Families Baby Mermaid Castle

Electronic and Multimedia (4-7 years)
• Winner – Trends UK: Shop With Peppa

Electronic and Multimedia (8-11 years)
• Winner – HUE: Animation Studio
• Highly Commended – Bandai: Tamagotchi Uni

Teaching Resources (0-3 years)
• Winner – Bloomsbury: My First Five Years Baby
• Highly Commended – Bloomsbury: 50 Fantastic Ideas for Supporting Neurodiversity

Teaching Resources (4-7 years)
• Winner – Addo Play: Early Learning Centre Create a Story! Game
• Highly Commended – Trends UK: Science Mad Early Skills Science Lab

Teaching Resources (8-11 years)
• Winner – Connetix: Connetix 212 Piece Rainbow Mega
• Highly Commended – HUE: Animation Studio

Special Educational Needs Toys/Resources (0-3 years)
• Winner – Inspire My Play: PlayTray with removable compartments

Special Educational Needs Toys/Resources (4-7 years)
• Winner – Connetix: Connetix 50 Piece Rainbow Transport Pack
• Highly Commended – Halilit: Calm Down Bottle (Unicorn)

Books (Children 0-5 years)
• Winner – Nosy Crow: My Big Playbook
• Highly Commended – Nosy Crow: Make Tracks – Emergency

Books (Children 6+ years)
• Winner – Harper Collins: A Year of Nature Walks and Games

Books (Adult)
• Winner – More to… : More To Mealtimes

Sambro and Toikido join forces on Smashlings range

A new range of toys and stationery featuring characters from Toikido’s Piñata Smashlings property will launch in autumn/winter 2024 across EMEA.

Global toy and gaming studio Toikido has joined forces with Sambro International to roll out its latest Piñata Smashlings collectibles and toys collection.

Under the new three-year partnership, which was facilitated by Toikido’s licensing representative IMG, Sambro will deliver an extensive range of arts & crafts, stationery, bags and novelty toys. The products, priced between £1.99-£8.99, will be widely available across EMEA territories.

The new range will reflect the core brand DNA of the Smashlings universe and aim to excite children with hidden characters. Some of the key compound products include the Surprise Sand Eggs, Great Tree Crystal Growing Kit, Slurping Smashling, Bash Sand Eggs and Squelchum.

Sambro is also developing a range of stationery backpacks shaped like popular Smashlings characters, filled with a variety of collectible stationery products. Additionally, the company will also deliver an exclusive range of Smashlings Piñata Puzzle Palz, its IP range of collectible puzzle erasers, giving children a chance to build, play and erase while collecting their favourite characters.

With unrivalled expertise in the licensed arts & crafts and collectible novelty toy sector for more than 25 years, Sambro, enjoys longstanding relationships with many top licensors including Disney, Hasbro, Paramount, Mattel and, now, Toikido.

Developed by Toikido, Piñata Smashlings has become one of 2023’s most exciting children’s brands, with a unique and exciting Roblox game, a series of animated shorts, music and a suite of toys, collectibles, plush and play sets, all launching this year.

The success of the Piñataverse comes from integrating digital gaming with physical play, enabling players to collect Smashlings characters both on and off-screen in an ever-growing world.

Will Ochoa, chief commercial officer at Toikido, said: “Our studio’s success has been built on great ideas and talented partners who can bring them to life, which is why we’re so thrilled to be working with Sambro, a company internationally renowned for its award-winning licensed merchandise, and ability to make it accessible in stores globally.”

Will added: “Since its release, Piñata Smashlings is building a global fanbase and is generating much interest in the media, as well as across toy, retail and gaming industries. Today’s announcement will further build on this, and we can’t wait to see how fans of our loveable IP react to all the great products that Sambro has in store for them over the next three years.”

Clare Rix, Brand and Licensing director at Sambro, added: “The teams at IMG and Toikido have been brilliant to work with in getting this deal across the line, and I can’t wait to see our product launch alongside the master toys ranges. We are excited to start working on the franchise and see where team Toikido takes Smashlings, and the programming and marketing support is huge.”