DALLAS -- The toy industry and big retailers recently met in Dallas for a huge trade show where they tried to figure out what kids want for Christmas - and just not this Christmas.

'We're selling for next year's Christmas already; so we're looking at the 2014 holiday season when we haven't experienced holiday 2013 yet,' said Brian Turtle, the owner of game maker Endless Games.

Turtle said even in this age of underage high-tech 'addicts,' there is still a lot of competition among manufacturers who create tactile, brain-challenging games many adults used to play when they were young.

'We compete, at some level, with all the electronic whistles and bells,' he said. 'But I think people understand that board games, with their old-school feel are charming and endearing. They are comfort food. This is meatloaf and mashed potatoes.'

Speaking of food, Turtle said if you want to get your kids to unplug and play in a more old fashioned and sociable way with the whole family, you should ignore that common advice that game night should be centered around snacks and goodies.

'You don't want to turn it into like 'Hey, if you play this game you can have cookies.' You don't want to turn it into a bribing factor, like, as though this is a punishment they can be rewarded for enduring.'

To that end, Turtle also counters the notion of even having a scheduled, regular game night because it might become more like a chore.

He said when his company unplugs kids to test new board games on them, they find children are very open to lower-tech offerings and that they are eager to open up and have actual conversations while playing.


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