The New Touch is a multiple-award-winning game of sensory perception for all ages. Included are twenty themed playing cards, forty-nine playing pieces, and a domed container. The container has a timer on top, a light within, a small curtained door on one side, and a viewing window on the other. (One AAA battery is required for the light.) The object of the game is to gather the most pieces using only your sense of touch.
The New Touch is geared for ages five and up. Between two and six players can compete at once. Players should familiarize themselves with the pieces before play begins. Cards are placed around the container like the rays of the sun. Each play begins by spinning the arrow on the base of the container to select a card. Players have thirty seconds to pull out a corresponding piece. If an incorrect piece is drawn, that player’s turn is over. As play proceeds, players can gather from their current card or from previous cards; completed sets receive double points. There are other rules for bartering and trading, a chart for scoring, and other play options. If you follow the rules, the game will take about forty-five minutes to an hour.
Each card has two to three objects related to a theme. Here is a list of the objects in their categories (each bullet represents one card):
baseball: bat, ball, glove
skating: in-line skate, skateboard
camping: flashlight, canteen, binoculars
racing: formula one car, motorcycle
football: helmet, ball, cleat
bakery: pie, bread, muffins
vegetables: carrot, corn, garlic, radish
fast food: hamburger, soda, fries
African: giraffe, gorilla
Arctic/Antarctic: penguin, polar bear
exploration: Earth, astronaut, space shuttle
fiction: alien, flying saucer
sea turtle, hammerhead shark
sea star, crab
Paris: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe
Cairo: pyramid, sphinx
New York: Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty
San Francisco: cable car, Golden Gate Bridge
necklace, hand bag, dress shoe
The playing pieces are excellent quality. I was very impressed with their detail and sturdiness. I also liked the variety included. The pieces provided a lot of food for conversation. On the back of each card is a decent amount of information about each item. From the back of the French fries card, I learned that “Over 5 billion lbs. of French fries are eaten every year. Thomas Jefferson enjoyed French fries (pommes frites) in Paris in 1789 and soon began serving them at White House dinners. Potatoes are one of the four most important food crops in the world. Processing and peeling of potatoes greatly reduces their fiber and vitamin content.”
Expansion sets of cards and playing pieces are available. These are of the same high quality as the originals. The four sets are Dinosaurs, Farm Animals, Sea Creatures, and African Wildlife. The information on the back of the Dinosaur cards uses old-earth ages (70 to 280 million years ago) but I was pleasantly surprised to see the words “probably,” “may have,” and “it is believed” used repeatedly in the descriptions. Each set has six or seven cards and twelve to fourteen new pieces. Should you lose any of the playing pieces, Anthony Innovations offers free card and playing piece replacements. Just call their 800 number and tell them what you need.
All five of my children, aged five to thirteen, enjoy this game. Sometimes we mix up the rules so everyone can play together. Some of my children dislike racing against a timer, and my younger ones have a hard time searching for one specific piece among so many. So some of us use the timer, and others do not. Some of us search for one specific piece, and others grab any piece and look at all the pictures on the cards until they can say what it is. Sometimes a little one plays by himself while others are doing schoolwork. I love games that are enjoyable for all ages and can be adapted for a variety of situations.
I noticed that each of my children’s observational skills improved after playing this game only once. They started looking for the little details that would distinguish a pie from a hamburger (you have to feel for the little cherry bumps) or a carrot from a radish (the carrot is longer; the radish is fatter). How interesting that a game of touch actually requires a great deal of visual discrimination!
If you are looking for a break from Candyland® or Monopoly®, try The New Touch. My whole family enjoys this delightful game that is not only fun but also increases the power of observation.
-Product Review by Heather Jackowitz, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse, LLC, June, 2006