It's two years since we first reviewed Feelinks on Board's Eye View. That was very obviously a game aimed at primary school-age children to get them to consider their emotional responses to various scenarios and so how they and their classmates should react and respond to issues like bullying. We said at the time that the game would lend itself to an 'After Dark' version aimed more squarely at adults. It looks like publishers Act In Games took us at our word.
At its heart, Feelinks Revelations is Feelinks for grown ups. The scenarios are all geared towards an adult audience, tho' there's nothing here that's overly shocking and every card offers a choice of three scenarios to put to the players, so you never need to refer to any scenarios that players might consider unduly awkward or embarrassing. Six of 18 emotion cards are placed around the hexagonal playing board so that each of the displayed emotions is adjacent to a symbol. Players each have their own individual deck of cards corresponding to the six symbols. When a scenario is read out, you choose the symbol relating to the emotion that best corresponds to your response and you place your card with that symbol face down. A custom six-sided die is rolled to randomly point to one of the emotions. Players then each try to predict how many of them have picked a response that corresponds with the die roll.
Play is co-operative and the team score a point for every correct prediction. Bonus points can also be scored by playing an 'I know you' token on another player and correctly guessing exactly what emotion that player chose. For each possible player count (2–8), the rules suggest target 'empathy scores' for eight rounds of play; so players are, in effect, set a target to beat. The fun tho' is in the scenarios and in 'betting' how many will vote for a particular response. It makes Feelinks Revelations a great filler-length icebreaker party game.
A clever innovation is the tray onto which players place their betting tokens. When everyone has placed their face-down token, a lid is placed on the tray enabling it to be flipped to reveal players' 'bets'. By contrast, what lets the game down is the dice phase. Often, the die roll indicates an obviously irrelevant emotion so it's all too easy for the players to score maximum emotion points because it's immediately obvious that zero will be the correct prediction for the number of players who have chosen that option. You may well want instead to experiment with options for re-rolling when the die generates an obviously irrelevant response. That caveat aside, designer Vincent Bidault has done a good job in revising the game and developing it so that it appeals to adults. We thought the scenarios offered an excellent mix and we loved the new art by Mike McCain and Hollie Mengert.
Feelinks Revelations is published by Act In Games and distributed by Blackrock.