The following is a guest post by my wife, Robin. Gamewright sent me a complimentary copy of Bingo Link and Robin, who is active in a mutual support group for mothers of children with special needs, thought the game’s developmental benefits deserved some special attention.
Finding a fun, short-play game that adults and kids can enjoy together, or that your six-year-old can play with your ten-year-old, can be a challenge. And what about a game that engages typical children and kids with special needs? Gamewright’s Bingo Link fills the bill. The images are drawn from Walter Wick’s charming Can You See What I See? series of books, but players do not have to be familiar with the books to enjoy the game.
Bingo Link is a game for two to four players ages six and up. It takes the basic make-a-straight-line bingo card concept onto a bright, colorful hexagonal board, with pictures of 61 eyecatching objects in die cut hexagonal spaces. To win the game, a player must cover a continuous—but not necessarily straight—line of objects from one side of the board to the other side of the same color (red, blue, or yellow). While each board has the same set of objects (including the iconic character, Seymour), they are arranged differently. Players can get further variety by orienting the boards differently each game. Spaces are covered with translucent plastic markers that feature a finger grip. On each turn, a player calls out the name of any object on his or her board and covers it with a marker. Each player covers the same object. The game can be played with boards hidden or revealed, which can add a strategic challenge if a player is trying not to call a particular object to prevent another player from completing a line.
In addition to being fun, Bingo Link lends itself to a variety of therapeutic applications. Placing the hexagonal markers into the die cut spaces is great for fine motor skills, pincer grasp practice and visual-spatial coordination. The colorful board encourages use of the full visual field, prereading scanning and visual discrimination. If a player doesn’t know the name of an object, the rules could easily be modified to allow a brief description instead, e.g. instead of “crab,” “green creature with eight legs and claws.” This small change in the rules could help players with a developmental or cognitive issue, without disrupting the mechanics of the game.
With all the great ways there are to play Bingo Link, and the wide variety of players that will enjoy it, it belongs in your game collection.