Children's playing card favourite trumps rivals to win game of the year

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The Independent Online

For those battle-scarred veterans who spent their childhood slugging it out between the relative top speeds, cylinder capacities and water displacement of everything from fighter jets to warships, it can come as no surprise.

For those battle-scarred veterans who spent their childhood slugging it out between the relative top speeds, cylinder capacities and water displacement of everything from fighter jets to warships, it can come as no surprise.

Almost three decades after it became a school playground phenomenon, the children's card game Top Trumps has been voted game of the year.

The British Association of Toy Retailers (BATR) said the 1970s invention – in which opponents compare the performance statistics and engineering details of hi-tech machinery – was unrivalled in terms of value for money and the simple thrill. The success owes much to the manufacturers' feel for fickle childhood fads as it does to the game's simplicity and £5 price tag.

Since its launch, the range has been extended to include The Lord of the Rings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons and a deck of cards based on the Beano cartoon character Dennis the Menace called "Top Thumps". A series to commemorate last summer's football World Cup is rated among aficionados as one of the best ever.

Val Stedham, chairman of the BATR, said: "Top Trumps have just been updated for a new generation. They are all very collectable and priced so kids can afford them with their pocket money."

In a message on the Top Trumps website, one of the original fans said: "It is great playing these card games again, especially being able to introduce the concept to my two boys. But when are they going to bring back the old favourites?"

In a further blow for devotees of traditional toys, the industry award for "Toy of the Year 2002" went to Beyblades, an updated version of the spinning top.

Many stores ran out of supplies of the toy, costing £10, in the run-up to Christmas, although many retailers and parents are still unable to explain their appeal to children. Mr Stedham said: "Beyblades were absolutely massive last year and still are. It's got 'play value' and is popular with girls and boys, but mostly boys."

Best new product for 2002 was Micro Pets, inch-high creatures that interact with each other and obey spoken commands.

The vote was decided by using the views of retailers, toymakers and the public.

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