Twinkle Kickstarter Preview

Twinkle
Pattern Building
Verdes Innovations S.A. (V Games)
Theodore Karvounis
Thomas Kestis, Giorgos Vassos
2-4

Twinkle is a pleasant little abstract puzzle, with interlocking scoring mechanisms to track and dice rolling to add some randomness, that doesn't overstay its welcome.

Andrew
Andrew
I love a good abstract game.  While thematic gameplay mechanisms and a really cool setting can make a game incredible, at the end of the day, the mechanics of a game will either make or break the experience for me, and a good abstract delivers a lean dose of gameplay without anything extraneous.  Twinkle is just this sort of experience, bringing with it just a few simple rules, some equally austere components, and the sort of fun that only an abstract puzzle can manage.


Kickstarter Preview Reminder! – We were sent a near-finished version of Twinkle for our consideration and possible preview.  As per our standard preview policy, we reserve the right to request a finished copy of the game, but weren’t otherwise compensated.


From a thematic perspective, Twinkle has its players as ‘stellar creators’ who are building constellations in the night sky.  Or something.  Look, what we have here is a pure abstract, and that’s absolutely not a bad thing whatsoever.  The game in no way suffers for its lack of theme, and instead benefits from the brevity of its rules.

Each turn, players will add one die to their constellations, with the main restrictions being that, moving out from the center, each die added must be of a lower numerical value than the die it’s connected to, and that each die can only have 2 other dice directly connected to it.  When you are deciding what dice to add, you have 2 options – you can either form a pool of 3 dice of your choice, roll them, and add one to your constellations, or you can take a single 8-sided die from the center and add it without rolling it (anytime a d8 is rolled as part of a player’s turn, it gets returned to the center with its new value).

Jess
Jess
And as far as the rules go, that’s really it! You’ll add 7 dice over the course of the game, using these little connector bars to keep track of what’s attached to what.

Each color of polyhedral scores differently, and its trying to fit each die into your constellation in such a way as to set yourself up for points that is the delightful puzzle of Twinkle.  Blues want to be in pairs, while Yellow just want to be present.  Black cares about the sum total of its faces within a constellation, Purple wants to connect other dice together, Green scores more by being grouped with dice of the same size (not value), and Red will score based on how many odd or even dice it’s connected to.

Depending on player count, you will play with 4, 5, or all 6 of these scoring mechanisms and their associated dice.  But no matter the player count, you will also use the ‘Twinkle’ scoring rule.  This one is a welcome wrench in the gearworks of the rest, simply giving you bonus points every time you chain a smaller die to a bigger one, for example when you connect a d10 to a d8, or a d12 to a d4, etc.  These bonuses tantalize, but one must keep in mind that the value of your dice must always decrease, so using smaller dice earlier in your constellations will probably limit your ability to add subsequent dice, since smaller dice have higher maximum values…and you might not even roll those values when you’re looking to place regardless!

Jess
Jess
And that might or might not sound like a lot, but when you’re trying to plan out which colors and sizes of dice to grab, it’s easy to get caught up in it all!
Andrew
Andrew
Yeah, for sure! The randomness in Twinkle makes it impossible to perfectly plan, but it’s not so bad that you can’t form strategies. It’s just more about hoping you can snag the right dice *and* that they roll well for you.
Jess
Jess
Yeah, and I can see how that randomness might bug some people, but I actually like it because it makes the challenge all about ‘this turn’. That’s especially true in a 2-player game, when the dice don’t get snapped up as quickly.

But what if you look at those core scoring rules and think ‘bah, too easy.  I can spreadsheet that stuff out in my brain, no problem!’  Well, firstly, good for you, that’s an admirable trait.  But secondly, Twinkle has an answer for you – bronze and silver mission cards!

Mission cards add additional scoring opportunities to Twinkle, stacking on top of the existing scoring mechanisms.  These cards offer an even wider variety of ways to bump up your score, from the relatively simple (have at least one of each color die in your constellation) to the considerably more challenging to coordinate (score points every time the sum of two dice connected to the same third die equals the value of that die).  By adding or changing up mission cards, Twinkle will give you just enough to chew on each game so that, while its gameplay remains exactly the same, you’ve got a different challenge on the table.

Jess
Jess
So I have to say, I liked this one even though I’ve got to admit playing with 3 extra mission cards felt like a *lot* to keep track of. Maybe too much?
Andrew
Andrew
I can definitely see how at full player count, things might slow down a lot as people have to track all their different scoring opportunities. But at 2, I found the pace to be incredibly quick and I appreciated that.  But did you enjoy it?
Jess
Jess
I did! Even though sometimes it felt like one or two too many rules to track, Twinkle is a simple, light game and I can definitely see breaking it out as a quick warmup or cooldown game, given how quick it can be. I do wish the dice were nicer, though.
Andrew
Andrew
Same here – these are as generic as generic gets. But hey, Kickstarter Preview, right? Who knows how it will look in the end. And in the meantime, it’s already a solid abstract.

What we enjoyed about Twinkle is how it’s a jigsaw of small pieces that snap together to make a tight little game that feels just perfect for its weight. The multiple scoring options and the randomness of the dice make every turn a tiny puzzle of its own, and the length feels perfectly suited for its complexity.  Check out Twinkle on Kickstarter now!

One thought on “Twinkle Kickstarter Preview

  • December 1, 2020 at 4:13 am
    Permalink

    Really enjoyed the preview, glad you enjoyed the game. Also, comedy gold line here: “But what if you look at those core scoring rules and think ‘bah, too easy. I can spreadsheet that stuff out in my brain, no problem!’ Well, firstly, good for you, that’s an admirable trait. But secondly, Twinkle has an answer for you – bronze and silver mission cards!” XD

    Reply

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