Designed by Timothée Decroix and published by La Boite de Jeu, In the Palm of Your Hand builds on the tradition begun with Dixit (Libellud) and which has since been developed and modified by games such as Bilder (Monkeyshine) and Pictures (PD-Verlag). If you've not yet played any of these games, think of them as pictorial variants on the parlour game Charades.
In this game, ideally played with 4-8 players divided into two, three or four-player teams, the premise is that a child is helping their elderly grandfather to recall a memory. Tho' not explicitly stated in the rules, we're assuming that the grandfather is suffering from Alzheimers and has impaired vision... Each team is dealt six facedown 'memory' cards. On your team's turn, the player designated as the child selects one of the memory cards and 'mimes' it by placing and moving some of the various supplied objectives in - as the game title suggests - the palm of their hand. This is done in silence, and the grandfather keeps their eyes closed throughout. When the 'mime' is complete, the 'child' places the card they mimed face down, and the other team(s) proffer face down a card from their deck as a 'decoy'. The other team(s) will have carefully watched the 'mime' so, as in Dixit, they'll be trying to choose a card that ties in plausibly with what was described by the 'child'. This process is then repeated with a second card, a second mime and a second set of 'decoys'. If there are fewer than eight players, so less than four teams, the 'child' puts in additional cards from their deck to make the total number of face down cards eight. These are then shuffled and the grandfather, now with eyes open, checks them out and has to correctly identify which were represented by the first and second mimes.
The active team only scores a point for a correctly identified memory card in the right order. If the grandfather picks a memory placed by another team as a decoy, then that team scores a point. That actually means there's an additional memory element in this game as you'll have to remember which team placed out which cards! The game continues until every player has had a go at being the 'grandfather'.
Tho' much of the game is played in silence, In the Palm of Your Hand works surprisingly well as a party game. The 'mimes' test players' ingenuity while often generating much amusement and/or bemusement among the player on the receiving end and the opponents who are carefully observing. The 100 large-format memory cards are varied and they sport some impressive art from Pauline Detraz, Gael Lannurien, Sabrina Miramon and Umeshu Lovers. The 'objects' used for the 'mimes' are varied and well-chosen, tho' it seems a little odd that rocket tokens are used for victory points. Given that the 'grandfather' has to keep their eyes closed during each 'mime', we were surprised that the game didn't include a blindfold. We'd certainly recommend adding one when playing.
Tho' intended primarily as a team game with at least four players, the rules include options for a three-player version where everyone plays individually and even a two-player variant, played as a fully cooperative game where players are trying to maximise their collective score. To add to the replay value, the game also incorporates a deck of 20 'constraint' cards that introduce limitations on what objectives can be used for a 'mime' or on how the 'mime' is completed.
All in all, In the Palm of Your Hand is a very welcome addition to this genre of Charadesesque party games.