Updated: Jan 27
On a day when emotions traditionally run high, it seems appropriate to focus in on a game that is geared around emotions and players’ emotional responses to various scenarios and dilemmas.
In Feelinks (published by Act In Games and distributed by Blackrock), players are all presented with the same premise selected from a card. They each select the number representing one of the eight emotional responses on the table and place their card with that number face down in front of them. Players are randomly assigned partners for each round and the partners try to guess each other’s emotional responses. They score a point for correctly matching one pair of responses and three points if they both match each other’s responses.
This game may remind you of Vlaada Chvatil’s It’s a Question! (CGE) which also appeared at the end of last year. There, however, the choices are always binary (do you prefer A or B?). In Feelinks, players are presented with eight possible responses to each hypothetical – and the emotional responses on offer will not be the same in every game: Feelinks comes with 24 emotion cards in the box, so each game involves perming a selection of 8 from 24.
Feelinks is designed actively to encourage reflection, debate and discussion. It comes with three discrete sets of situation cards: ‘family life’, ‘friends/social’ and ‘school and home’ – the latter obviously aimed at children.
Feelinks originates from France (it was designed by Vincent Bidault and Jean-Louis Roubira, with charmingly quirky art by Franck Chalard) but it will have a particular resonance for UK teachers and families with primary school age children. It is common in British primary schools for a slot to be allocated each week for ‘Circle Time’, where children sit in a circle and take turns to discuss and respond to a shared issue (bullying, for example). Feelinks would especially lend itself to use in schools as part of Circle Time. Its notable strength is in the game element which encourages participants to think about other people’s responses as well as their own and so to empathise with them. Perhaps the creators should think about bringing out an edition designed to be played by a primary school class (typically 30) rather than the 8 players currently catered for in the box.
Of course, the ‘school’ deck is just one of the three supplied, so this is a game that isn’t limited to childsplay. The game serves equally as a fun icebreaker in adult groups, especially as players have to think about the responses of different partners each round. The only question remains, if the game proves as successful as it deserves to be, will the designers be able to resist the temptation to come up with an ‘After Dark’ Cards Against Humanity-style adults-only expansion? :-)