In The Palm of Your Hand
- Designer: Timothee Decroix
- Publisher: La Boite de Jeu
- Players: 2-8
- Age: 10+
- Time: 30 minutes
- Played with review copy provided by distributor, Hachette Boardgames US
La Boite de Jeu is a French outfit which has been making varied and interesting games over the past few years – It’s a Wonderful World, Huns, and Ilos are some of their titles that I have enjoyed over the past few years.
In The Palm of Your Hand is a different sort of game; where players try to “mime” the identity of an art card to someone else; only using objects on the palm of that person’s hand. The game comes with a deck of 100 cards which tell the lifestory of the Grandfather character in the game. (It’s actually kind of a fascinating thing to put the cards in order from 1-100 and then try to reconstruct the events of the life through the images on the cards).
The players split up into teams of 2 players each. There can be up to 4 teams in the game. Each team gets a hand of 6 cards dealt to them. I’d highly recommend finding some card racks to place the cards on so that both team members can see all the cards at the same time. The active team chooses one player to be the Child and one player to be the Grandfather. (Don’t worry, you’ll play enough rounds for all players to be each role once).
The Grandfather closes his eyes and can only use his sense of touch on his hand for the round. It’s recommended that the Grandfather put his elbow on the table and then place his palm parallel to the table. All other players should be able to see what happens on the Grandfather’s palm.
Now the child draws a card from the deck (keeping it secret from everyone else), and then using the 11 objects, he can place, move, touch, press, etc these things on the palm of the grandfather. The child cannot touch his fingers to the Grandfather’s palm nor can he write a word or trace an object’s shape on the palm. No words are exchanged during this task.
When the first card is mimed, the card is placed face down on the table. All other teams choose one card from their current hand – which they think could be represented by what they saw mimed on the Grandfather’s hand – and also place it facedown. The whole process is repeated a second time. Finally, if needed, add random facedown cards from the deck until there are 8 cards facedown. Shuffle these cards and hand them to the Grandfather, who is now able to open his eyes.
The Grandfather now places these on the table and must now choose the two cards which his partner had mimed on his palm. They must be chosen in the correct order. The active team scores one point for each card correctly identified in the correct order. Each opposing team scores a point for each of their distraction cards which is chosen instead of a correct card.
The next team now gets to be the active team, and the whole rotation is done twice so that each player has the chance to be both the Child and the Grandfather. The team with the most points is the winner. There is no tiebreaker.
My thoughts on the game
There is something about these French games with lavishly illustrated cards that just grabs people’s interest. The art on the cards is amazing, and like I said above, it is really neat just to look at the cards in order to read the story of Grandfather’s life. There are so many details on the cards that sometimes it’s hard to pick out just the things you want to convey about the card.
You have 11 objects to work with: a shoelace, a ring, a metal coin, a top, a large wooden cube, a pawn, a dart, a microfiber cloth, four small cubes, and a male and female piece of velcro. You have to be pretty inventive to relay the meaning/concepts from the cards. I have yet to figure out how to be the Child and do things to throw off the other teams watching me – I just have to hope that they don’t have cards in their hands that show similar things!
There is no time limit, so you can be as specific or repetitive as you want; but if you take too long, you run the risk of overloading the Grandfather – who may not be able to remember all of the things that you’re trying to convey. Don’t forget that the Grandfather has to remember all the details of two different cards!
There are 100 cards in the game, and I think that this should lead to enough variety. Sure, a few of the cards seem to have simple mimes that could easily be repeated; but many of the cards are fairly complex, so you’d have to choose certain elements on the card to do. Furthermore, only a small portion of the cards are actually mimed, so repetition hasn’t been an issue for us yet.
We are still trying to figure out how to best mime the cards, and once we feel like we’re good enough at it, we could also play with the included Restriction cards which make the game more difficult by limiting how or where you are able to mime. These restrictions would also allay any fears of replayablility because some cards would need completely different methods of miming based on the restrictions (only use part of the hand, only able to use a single object, etc).
The game is easy to teach, and it should definitely appeal to anyone who likes some of the other “French Art Card Games” like Dixit or Mysterium. This game gives you a twist using the miming, and it has the benefit (for me) of being played rather quickly. I don’t know whether you’d be able to intermix the cards between the games, but at this point, that hasn’t been a necessary conversation as we’re still having no issues with replayability.
This looks to be a good filler/starter for our group, and I think it will see a lot of play this summer in that role.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
- I love it!
- I like it. Dale Y
- Not for me…