It has been said that scent ties strongest of all physical senses to our memories, but new board game In the Palm of Your Hand makes the case for touch. It uses small props and illustrations to guide players through a team-based competition where they link sightless sensation with images.
The upcoming board game, set to release on May 24th, is the creation of first-time designer Timothée Decroix, with Hachette Boardgames as publisher. Players split into teams of two and will take turns filling the roles of Grandfather and Child, each with its own unique responsibilities. Like Pictionary, each team will need to communicate information indirectly in order to score points - instead of the clue giver not being able to talk, though, Grandfather receives the clue with closed eyes and palm outstretched.
On each turn, the Child will play out two of Grandfather’s memories that coincide with an illustrated card. There’s no text, action or other information - just a halcyon scene of nature, comfort or adventure. Child can only use the knick-knacks to simulate information about the memory card they have selected, and the game rules provide examples for crudely recreating the scene or miming the use of some item depicted on the card, such as strumming the strings of the guitar.
Afterwards, the other teams will add red herring cards from their own hand that they think cleave close to the little show Child put on for Grandfather. Much like the Dixit series of games, teams who are able to confuse the Grandfather player into picking their false card will earn points. Play continues until every player has filled Grandfather’s shoes, and whoever amassed the most points is declared the winner.
The box of toys the Child has at their disposal certainly looks like a woefully inadequate collection of junk from some musty desk drawer - string, a coin, a microfiber cloth and little cubes from some other board game box, among others. Clever use of these items will be the key to speaking directly into the mind of your teammate. While you cannot touch their hand directly, nor draw shapes or letters, they can use multiple items together to create some interesting effects. As mentioned above, the coin and string become guitar strings and a pick, while the velcro strips may be tapped to simulate the clacking of a typewriter.
In the Palm of Your Hand is an intriguing pitch that seems to take advantage of the physical proximity of players sitting around a shared table. Whether the novelty has the strength to carry past its 30 minutes sessions or not remains to be seen, but fans of Mysterium and other hidden information games could find an enjoyable new arrangement of old ideas.