Board games getting messy to keep kids’ attention

Katie Cogliano has learned to keep the Toilet Trouble game her kids love on top of her fridge, out of their sight. Her 6-year-old and 8-year-old love to play with the potty-shaped toy — but for Cogliano, it can be a pain.

As part of the game, players take turns flushing a nearly 11-inch plastic toilet before water spits out, which is supposed to hit a player’s face. But Cogliano’s kids tend to dodge it, and water ends up on the floors or chairs. Cogliano likes that Toilet Trouble keeps her kids off their screens, so they’re allowed to play it as long as there’s a tablecloth over the dining room table. But when friends come over, it definitely does not come down from the fridge.

“They’re not going to clean it up,” said Cogliano, who works in corporate education and lives in New York. “That, I can tell you.”

It’s not just Toilet Trouble: Board games are getting messier as toy makers try to match the popularity of Pie Face, a game than flings whipped cream at faces. The latest entries, such as Toilet Trouble and Soggy Doggy, splash, spray or shake water onto players. Videos of players getting wet or smashed with whipped cream are popular on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram and help fuel sales.

“Kids like to get messy,” said Richard Gottlieb, a consultant at Global Toy Experts. He said the games “gives them permission to act out a little bit.”

Some parents say they don’t mind wiping off whipped cream or water spills so much because the games are entertaining enough to pull kids away from their iPads or video games.

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“It’s just pure, basic fun,” said Brandi Reimers, who plays Pie Face with her family of four. They can go through half a tub of Cool Whip in an hour, said the stay-at-home mom from Nebraska City, Neb. But Pie Face is not that sloppy, she said, just some stickiness on their skin and dribbles of Cool Whip if it starts to melt.

What she likes about the game is that it requires no skill…

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