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Is Catan one of the greatest playthings of all time? This year’s National Toy Hall of Fame nominations think it might be

Shortlisted alongside Phase 10, Rack-O, bingo and… the spinning top.

Board game classic Catan leads the tabletop nominations for this year’s National Toy Hall of Fame hopefuls, joining the likes of card game Phase 10, bingo - and the spinning top.

Founded in 1998 by ‘museum of play’ The Strong, located in Rochester, New York, the National Toy Hall of Fame inducts a handful of items each year that meet its criteria of being iconic, popular across multiple generations, innovative and that encourage learning, creativity or discovery when played. To date, 77 different toys have been inducted.

The annual nominations for the Toy Hall of Fame are typically eclectic, combining commercial toys and games - such as Barbie, Rubik’s Cube and the Nintendo Game Boy - with universal playthings such as “stick”, “cardboard box” and “sidewalk chalk”.

Image: The Strong

This year’s dozen contenders are no different, with the tabletop frontrunners being Klaus Teuber’s hugely influential 1990s board game Catan (originally known as The Settlers of Catan), eighties rummy-based card game Phase 10 and Rack-O, a card game about forming a sequence of consecutive numbers first released in the mid-1950s.

The games will go up against Masters of the Universe, Nerf Toys, Pound Puppies, Breyer Horses, Spirograph, bingo, piñata, Lite-Brite - with interest in the illuminated peg picture panel seemingly spurred by its recent appearance in the fourth season of Stranger Things - and, last but not least, the “top”. No, not like that - like a spinning top.

Haven't played Catan yet? Here's how to get started

The 12 finalists will be voted on via a public Player’s Choice ballot, which will serve as the 23rd member of a separate advisory committee that will determine the overall winners. This year’s winners will be announced and inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame on November 10th.

Previous hall of famers from the world of tabletop include Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Cluedo, The Game of Life, Jenga, Monopoly, Uno, Twister, Scrabble, chess, draughts, playing cards and Risk, which was finally inducted last year alongside sand - as in, the gritty stuff you find on beaches - and American Girl Dolls.

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About the Author
Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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