System Name: Blinks
New Games: Party Park: Tangle and Mimic
Published By: Move 38
Released: Coming to Kickstarter February 22, 2022
Player Count: Tangle - 2-6, Mimic - 1+
Time to Play: 1-10 Minutes
Think the only kind of electronic games involve a screen? Think again! Tabletop gaming meets electronic gaming in this fantastic new game system called Blinks.
What are Blinks? Hexagon light-up devices that use color and light movement to play games. Each Blink has 6 lights within it that are programmable to a wide-variety of colors (think like a smart light-bulb). Each cartridge is loaded with one game, and can be connected via the magnets surrounding it to any other number of cartridges. The Blink containing the game you want to play, can teach all of the other connected blinks the game that is contains. The amount of Blinks needed to play varies by game and player count. Blinks has a catalogue of over 30 games already available and is now launching their latest Kickstarter campaign to produce their newest genre of games: party games. Move 38 sent us two of their new party games to play, so we will talk about those first, but keep reading for some other cool stuff about the Blinks system!
How to Play:
If you have ever played with a bop-it as a kid, Mimic is going to make you smile. Mimic is a one to essentially infinite number (pending you have a whole lot of blinks) game where you try to follow a sequence of commands based on flashing lights. In it's simplest form, there are three connected blinks for one player. Your top blink will be a purplish color. That is the controller. The middle blink will start blank but will track your health as you go along, every time you mess up a section of it will fill in red. Lastly, your bottom Blink will be green.
Tap the controller to start. You green blink will now begin to display different colors or have the lights blink. Depending on what happens, you must do a certain action. For example, if it flashes yellow you must rotate your blink 180 degrees. If it lights up blue on half the Blink, you must tap twice.
Every time you mess up you will lose a life. The total amount of lives you have depends on the number of Blinks between your controller and the Blink you are playing with. This is super helpful because if you are playing with new players or kids you can just add in more Blinks to give them extra life.
You can even set up Mimic to play double-handed for an extra challenge. Want to play head to head or on teams, yup you can do that, just configure the Blinks in a layout of your choice all connecting to the a single controller blink in the center.
Tangle is a fast, less than one minute game where each player gets a color (or for hard mode a color or a number) and their goal is to have the least amount of their color remaining on the board when time runs out. To get started, grab at least 3 Blinks per hand in use (we recommend playing one handed for added challenge), and set your mode and player count. Each player will pick their color (or number) and then the Blinks will go dark briefly before lighting up again. When they do, players have a short amount of time in which to try and tap all Blinks of their color (or number) to make them change. When time runs out the player with the least amount of Blinks lit up with their color (or number) wins! You can play it elimination style or single games.
What's purr-ty cool:
To say it simply, Blinks are awesome! They make for great quick games that are easy to bring with you to play just about anywhere. You could even bring them to a bar or dimly lit restaurant. Blinks look amazing in the dark, so it made for a cool gaming experience to play with the lights down low. We were really surprised about how many different types of games could be played using just light up hexagons.
Mimic is actually way more challenging that you would guess at first look at the rules. The rules are really easy to follow, but for people who lack hand eye coordination like me, it is definitely hard! I like that you can increase or decrease the difficulty by adding extra Blinks for more lives. This means that players of differing skill levels can still enjoy playing together.
Tangle is good old-fashioned chaotic fun. It is super simple to understand and play and is guaranteed to make you laugh. Pro tip, cut your finger nails first!
In addition to the party games, we also have had the option to check out the developer kit from Blinks. The developer kit actually let's you code your own Blinks games using Arduino. It is a neat way to learn about coding and I could see this being a really cool stem project for gameschooling. You can even open the source code for a lot of the games and study that to learn how the code works. Something you all may or may not know is that currently I am working on a second masters degree; this one is on the design and development of digital games. This is one thing that drew me to Blinks. I love understanding how technology can be incorporated into play. I am most impressed that the Blinks do not require any screens to play, no app is needed, so in my world they really are a tabletop game, they just use cool technology as a component. It is a neat way to learn about coding and I could see this being a really cool stem project for gameschooling. You can even open the source code for a lot of the games and study that to learn how the code works. Something you all may or may not know is that currently I am working on a second masters degree; this one is on the design and development of digital games. This is one thing that drew me to Blinks. I love understanding how technology can be incorporated into play. I am most impressed that the Blinks do not require any screens to play, no app is needed, so in my world they really are a tabletop game, they just use cool technology as a component.
While we were learning how to put programs on the Blinks, we checked out a few other popular Blinks games and wanted to give you a brief description of some of our favorites.
Puzzle 101 - this was actually the first game I ever demoed on a Blink. We tried it at PAX Unplugged last year and it intrigued me. In this game, you use 6 Blinks and they will randomly generate a puzzle that you need to solve by getting lights of the same color to touch. Each puzzle only has one answer. It's a great mind workout!
FlicFlop- this might be my favorite of all the games I have tried so far. It's basically tabletop shuffleboard. I can't wait until I am out somewhere and whip this out to play and everyone looks on jealous that they are not playing. The Blinks slide surprisingly well (especially on a neoprene play mat).
WHAM - whack a mole! The more Blinks you add the harder it gets.
ZenFlow - I would not actually call this one a game, but it is super relaxing and pretty. You put a bunch of Blinks together and make them light up pretty colors. It's very stress-relieving.
All in all, we are super impressed with the Blinks system. There are a wide-variety of games to choose from to fit a bunch of gaming styles. They can be stored in these cute sushi role wrappers, to make taking them on the go a breeze. We have enjoyed every Blinks game we have tried so far, and are super curious to see the rest of the new games in the party park!
The cat's meow:
"I just want to play with the hardware from the Blinks Developer Kit, but Mama keeps stopping me saying that we don't play with them by whacking them off the desk. I think she is wrong though." - Pudgy Cat
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.