You know those wonderful Can You See What I See, I Spy games by Walter Wick? You know – “can you find a key?” “can you find a fairy?” – can you find any of a minor myriad of tiny images in an apparently endless variety of scenes and themes.
Bingo Link is the second game based on Walter Wick’s wonderful concept to win a Major Fun award. The other, the Finders Keepers game, also happens to be published by Gamewright. Even though they share the same concept, each is a refreshingly different experience.
In Bingo Link, the goal is to connect (link) images so that you create an unbroken path from side to side of the hexagonal board. Players take turns calling out images from those they find on their board. Since each of the 4 boards is different, it’s likely that the image that is so attractively adjacent on your board will be somewhere totally different on the other boards. On the other hand, maybe not.
Created by Theora Design, Bingo Link is wonderfully easy to learn. Designed for 20-4 players, t’s a slightly different depending on how many other people you play with, especially if you play the “advanced” version in which you get to see each other’s boards. In that version, you can attempt to play somewhat strategically, scanning the other boards to make sure that the image you select is not where anyone else would particularly want it to be. Of course, with more boards to look at, the task becomes more challenging. And you can always play the recommended version, where you kind of hide your boards from each other. Then all you have to worry about is finding the images your friends call out.
Yes, it’s like Bingo, but it’s not. You do call out things for other people to find, but everyone plays and everybody gets to be the caller. Unlike looking for a matching number, finding images is the visual and conceptual challenge that makes the whole “Can You See What I See” concept so much fun. Unlike Bingo, what gets called out is not random, at all. And you’re not trying to get a straight line or fill all the corners or cover the entire board, and you don’t need a large collection of additional pieces to determine what gets called. And yet, like Bingo, it invites variation and exploration, and makes you want to play it over and over again.
Like most Gamewright games, it is exceptionally well designed for repeated play. The boards are satisfyingly hefty, and, of course, clearly and colorfully illustrated. The pieces used to mark the images are transparent (so that you can see what you covered) and have a handle so that little, and even big fingers can easily place and lift them. The box is sturdy enough to withstand years of enthusiastic unpacking and less than enthusiastic repacking. (For more efficient piece storage, you might consider using a zip-lock baggie).
Recommended for kids 6 and up.