By Tom Squitieri
Red Snow News
WASHINGTON – The board game Battleship, a favorite at the Pentagon, will learn Thursday if it makes it to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
It is the third attempt for the game, where competitors each place five battleships on a grid marked with letters and numbers, then try to target the locations to score a hit.
Two years ago, when it failed to get in, then Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby remarked, “”I am shocked and outraged. I’m afraid I’m going to leave the briefing and write a letter – a really mean, nasty letter.”
There are 81 toys in the Hall of Fame, including Risk, the military strategy game that got in two years ago when it was a finalist with Battleship. Battleship was also a finalist in 2015.
Among the favorites to get in today: baseball cards and the Ken doll, the latter riding the pro-Barbie crest. “Battleship, for whatever reason, never goes into the competition as the clear favorite, but given its history and icon-status, it always has a fighting chance,” Shane Rhinewald, senior director of public relations, said in an interview.
Other finalists are bingo, Bob It, Cabbage Patch Kid, Choose Your Own Adventure game books, Connect 4, Little Tykes Cozy Coupe, Nerf Toys, Slime, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There is no cap on how many times something can be a finalist. The Magic 8 Ball was a finalist seven times before ultimately making the cut. Rhinewald said in an interview that elements that make a toy a finalist include it being iconic and easy to recognize; longevity; having a learning element to it, and innovation that changes the landscape of play.
The Toy Hall of Fame was established in 1998 to recognize “toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.” It is located in Rochester, N.Y.
In addition to the Hall of Fame, there are permanent and short-term exhibits. Scheduled to open on November 10 is the exhibit “War Toys: Ukraine”, an exhibit exploring the impact of armed conflict on children. The exhibit “showcases the power of children’s play, creativity, and resilience amid adversity,” and offers a wide range of artwork and creations by Ukrainian children, photographed by photographer Brian McCarthy, to learn more about their lives, dreams, and the impact of war on their communities.