Blinks Bring High Tech to a Tabletop Game

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Key Takeaways

  • Blinks is an intriguing evolution of the old fashioned board game that involves both technology and simple, fun games. 
  • The Blinks set, starting at $129, is actually a whole gaming system tucked into “pucks” that look like dominos. 
  • You can also develop your own games by purchasing a kit that includes software and hardware.
A group of people play the Blinks game.
Jonathan Bobrow / Move38

Blinks is a new tabletop game that packs a lot of technology punch without being categorized as a video game. Think of it as an intriguing evolution of the old-fashioned board game. 

The Blinks set, starting at $129, is a whole gaming system tucked into "pucks" that look like dominos. The core set includes six hexagonal pieces, each one packed with lights that respond to touch. Each cube, called a Blink, has a game programmed into it. Here’s the twist: the Blinks can learn from each other. 

I started by choosing a game, one of the simplest of which was Astro, a simple game that involves collecting objects. I held down the Blinks puck to activate the processor inside. Then, I connected the puck to another, and they magnetically clicked together with a satisfying snap. The games work with glowing lights on top of the pieces, which can change colors. 

"It was nice to be able to hold something rather than simply looking at a screen. But the gadget lover in me also enjoyed all the electronic gizmos this game offers."

Many From One

Each Blink represents one game, and when you put them together it programs the other tiles. The result is, tiles can turn into multiple board games. You can buy more Blinks over time (the company continuously releases new ones) to expand your game library. 

I tried Astro, which posits there’s an asteroid field with rare space ore. The object of the game is to collect enough of the ore to fill up your your cargo hold before your competition does. This was a simple and satisfying game that works well for both kids and adults. 

Even simpler is Darkball, a kind of Pong for the Blinks. You race against other players to see if you can beat them to a disappearing ball. Lots of fun. 

For more multiplayer action, there’s Group Therapy. This game’s premise is that certain Blinks are extraverts and want neighbors, while introverts need their space. This game notches up the required brainpower, but it’s still simple enough to play while keeping an eye on The Great British Baking Show

Fast and Satisfying Games

Puzzle101 is a quick game that only takes about 10 minutes to play. This game supplies a never-ending stream of self-generating puzzle. Great for those who like to challenge themselves in a short time. 

Heist is a simple theft game for 2-4 players. The tiles start as gold-colored and display a glittering pattern. Each player gets a single gold Blink, then double-clicks it to change it into a "thief." Players can double click their thief blink to switch between the four team colors, and long press it to change it back to gold. 

You can also use Blinks as an accessory for other games. The Widgets game is an app that’s a dice roller, a coin flipper, a rainbow spinner, and a timer. To change widgets, long press a blink and wait for it to shine white, then release. That Blink, and any others attached to it, will switch to the next widget in the cycle.

The Blinks starter game set.
Sascha Brodsky / Lifewire

If these games don’t satisfy you there are others for purchase on the Blinks website. You can also develop your own games with a kit that includes software and hardware. 

Part of the pleasure of playing Blinks is the care and craftsmanship that went into the details. Every aspect of the game, from the pucks to the wrappings that come with them, is pleasing to the touch. Something is mesmerizing about the glowing lights that activate when you push them and the tactile feel of the pucks. 

I found Blinks to be a refreshing change of pace in a world dominated by video games. It was nice to be able to hold something rather than simply looking at a screen. But the gadget lover in me also enjoyed all the electronic gizmos this game offers.

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