Dale Yu: Giveaway for Blinks – Core and Expansion Set! A modular electronic tabletop gaming system!

It’s been awhile since we’ve had a big giveaway here on the Opinionated Gamers. I will give a full review/explanation of the Blinks below, but let’s start with the details on how to enter our giveaway.

PRIZE: A Core and Expansion Blinks set.  This is 12 total Blinks, with 2 carrying cases.  Combined Value: $198.00.  Move38.com has graciously offered to dropship the set to the winner.  For more details on the Blinks: https://move38.com/products/blinks-core-set-6-blinks , https://move38.com/products/blinks-expansion-set-6-blinks

WHO IS ELIGIBLE:  Everyone*.   (if someone outside of the US wins the contest, we may have to work together on the shipping costs in excess of domestic US shipping.  If it turns out to be too expensive, we’ll work out an alternate prize and then choose someone else for the Blinks)

HOW TO ENTER:  You can get up to five entries into the contest – through this Google Form:

  1. Fill out the Google Form – https://forms.gle/ubzt69yWVxCK1yEZ8.   By entering, you also are signing up for email updates from our blog.
  2. Follow us on Instagram.  @opinionatedgamersblog
  3. Tag 2 of your friends on the Instagram contest entry post: https://www.instagram.com/p/CGkxInbB3iP/
  4. Follow us on Twitter @OpinionatedGmrs
  5. Tag 2 of your friends on the Twitter contest entry post: https://twitter.com/OpinionatedGmrs/status/1318615767139667969?s=19

CONTEST ENDS: 9:00 PM Eastern US Daylight Time on Wednesday, October 28, 2020.

Winners will be notified via their email entered on the Google Form.  If there is no response within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.  

I was approached by the great folks at Move38 to try out Blinks, a modular electronic game system that was successfully funded on Kickstarter. I have had a really good time experimenting with the games included in the two sets, and they are going to make a great travel game kit – for both solo and group entertainment!  Blinks are an amazing electronic game system – it has something to offer almost every level of gamer.  The system has grown since its invention, and a new second Kickstarter Campaign has just launched for a new set of games!

LINK: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/move38/blinks-smart-board-game-system-epic-adventure-expansion

These hexagonal widgets each come with a game built into each one.  There is a sticker on the underside of each to tell you what game is found on it.  One of the neatest things about the Blinks system is that once you activate a game, you connect it to a group of other Blinks, and the activated game TEACHES the game to the rest of the group so that they all function as they need to play the particular game.

The hexagons are also magnetic, so they click together nicely (and they also hold their shape well).  The other side of the Blink has a LED light built into it. There is a 6 segment LED light (i.e. one for each wedge) which can each display up to 32,768 colors.  The light also allows for 30fps animation.  Each blink also has a push button which can be used to activate the piece.

They are eminently portable as they magnetically stick to each other and roll up in a little sushi roll case.  For travel, I already have picked out the six games that work best for 1 and 2 players, and I actually currently drive them around in my glove box, so that I’m always at the ready.  The whole thing weighs about half a pound, so you could easily travel with them in your pocket as well.

In the Core and Expansion sets (which happens to be the prize offered in our contest) – there are 12 Blinks, and each come with its own game.  The games vary in capability from 1 to 6 players.  Some of them require exactly 6 Blinks, most require at least 6 Blinks, and there is one game in the Core set which needs all 12 Blinks. 

If you didn’t watch the video above, let me describe how to get a game started.  First, find the Blink which has the game you want to play.  Isolate it from the other Blinks (which you should group together).  Long click the chosen blink (at least 3 seconds) until it turns blue with a dancing dot circling the Blink.  Then connect it to the rest of the Blinks, and watch them all turn blue with the circling pattern.  When the game has been taught to the group, all of the Blinks will turn green.  Now you know they all understand the rules of chosen game.  Now you are ready to play the game!

A few of the game highlights for me from the Base and Core sets…

BERRY is a great 2 player strategy game.  Each player starts with 3 Blinks, all colored blue.  Over the course of the game, if you click on a Blink, it will cycle to the next color:  Blue à Red à Yellow à Blue…  Players take turn adding a Blink to the table, always connecting it to a previously placed Blink.  When you place it, if the placed Blink is adjacent to only one or two other tiles, click the adjacent Blinks to advance their color.  If the placed Blink is adjacent to 3 or more tiles, click all the adjacent Blinks AS WELL as the placed Blink.  At the end of each turn, look to see if you have made a scoring shape in a singular color.  Once all 6 Blinks are on the board, players now take a free Blink from the board and place it in a new location, clicking to appropriate tiles based on the number of adjacent tiles.  The game continues until a player scores 10 points.  If a player ends the turn with all 6 Blinks being the same color, that player wins automatically.  This is a surprisingly thinky strategy game, where you have to look at your moves in both the offensive sense (trying to score points) while also keeping a close eye on what situation you are going to leave your opponent (so that he cannot make a big play on his next turn). 

ASTRO is a realtime game for 2-4 players.  In this game, each player gets one blink which acts as their spaceship.  The winner is the player who is able to complete 6 filling missions.  All non-ship Blinks are asteroids, which are all separated on the table.  When the game starts, each player’s ship will pulse in a color – this is the color of ore you are looking to mine.  You must connect your ship to an asteroid which has that color ore showing, and the ore will transfer from the asteroid to your ship.  When this is complete, disconnect your ship and move it to another asteroid to gain more ore.   Over time, asteroids will refresh with new ore bits, so you need to be constantly watching them to see where you could go next!  When you have collected enough ore (6 pieces for your first mission, then 5 for your second mission, then 4 for your third mission, …), the ship will spin white to celebrate.  You then double click it to get your next mission, and you’re off in search of a new color.  The first person to complete all six of their missions will get a rainbow swirling celebration on their ship.    As you would expect, this is a frenzied game, and one that youngsters have definitely had a lot of fun with!  If you had enough Blinks, you honestly could even go higher than a four player count.  I think you would need to have at least 3 or 4 Blinks per player in order to ensure there were enough Asteroids around for people to mine.

FRACTURE is a multiplayer area control game.  Here, each player gets a set of Blinks which they all turn to the their team color.  Each game starts with the Blinks all connected, but segregated by player color.  ON a turn, the active player must make a Fracture – that is, separate the board into two distinct pieces.  The fracture must be made so that the pieces can slide out with the board remaining flat on the table.  Then, the two pieces are reconnected in a different arrangement.  The goal here is to make all of your pieces happy (and when they are happy, they will let you know by glowing a circular celebration pattern). A happy piece is one that is adjacent to at least two other Blinks AND not touching a Blink of its own color.  The pieces will automatically update as they are split apart and rearranged so the Blinks do all the hard work of scoring for you.  If two players win on the same turn, the player who has most recently taken a turn wins the game.  With three players, each player gets 4 Blinks (since I own 12 total), and there is a surprisingly complicated game involved with these twelve hex tiles.  As the pieces get mixed up, it is a challenging puzzle to try to find Fracture points that will allow you possibly make multiple Blinks of your color happy from a single move.

There are plenty more games available.  So far on the move38.com website, there are 23 games available, and a whole new bunch on the current Kickstarter.  And, there will surely be more coming.  The system is open source, so if you’re interested in programming, you can invent your own game by getting a Developer Kit.   If you’re just an end-user like me, the current plan is for 12 new games to be released each year.  The great thing about Blinks for me is that you can keep expanding them. Each Blink knows its own game, but each can also learn any other game that you connect to it – leading to plenty of possibilities for play!

The variety of games is pretty amazing, and while there are a few that aren’t really my style – there seems to be something for everyone in the set that I have – for both hard-core gamers to my elderly parents to my young niece and nephews.  And, again, the pieces are portable and durable, so you should be able to take them just about anywhere.  The only caveat I have at this point is that it’s hard to play them in full sunlight.  As the main method of communication is the light display on the pieces, you need to be able to see the lights, and the built-in LED is not quite strong enough to shine through in full sunlight.  Short of that, I can’t think of a situation where Blinks can’t hit the table (or blanket or whatever) and let you play a game or two!

The new games offered in the Kickstarter group look great as well.  Obviously, I haven’t had a chance to try them yet, but I am definitely looking forward to:

Tip Toe Volcano – Tip Toe Volcano is a game about betting, bluffing…and not stepping in any lava. Each round, you’ll secretly hide your traps before putting the map together. After that, it’s an all-out bidding war to see who can tip-toe the furthest around the volcano — without getting burned.

Ghost Hunters – a cooperative game where players hunt down ghosts and try to make them disappear

The Kickstarter runs through November 20, and according to their reward listing, Early Birds can still get holiday delivery!   Blinks are a great game system, and I would highly recommend them! 

Again – the giveaway continues until 9pm Weds October 28, 2020 – https://forms.gle/ubzt69yWVxCK1yEZ8

HOW TO ENTER:  You can get up to five entries into the contest – through this Google Form:

  1. Fill out the Google Form – https://forms.gle/ubzt69yWVxCK1yEZ8.   By entering, you also are signing up for email updates from our blog.
  2. Follow us on Instagram.  @opinionatedgamersblog
  3. Tag 2 of your friends on the Instagram contest entry post:
  4. Follow us on Twitter @OpinionatedGmrs
  5. Tag 2 of your friends on the Twitter contest entry post:

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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