Someone walking into a room while a game of Wink is in progress would find a group of intense, mostly silent players, all with smiles or smirks on their faces, scanning the other players’ eyes, back and forth, back and forth until someone erupts in laughter or yells in accusation! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard playing a party game as I have when playing Wink.
Essentially, each player has several numbered cards in his or her hand. There is a grid on the table with each of those numbers (plus extras). On his turn, a player puts his colored peg on a number on the grid. Whoever has that number now has to wink at that player before his next turn. On his next turn, he states who he thinks has that number (based on who winked at him). If correct, both players get a point. Sound easy? Not so! Each player has several accusation cards. If you catch someone winking, you throw it down and accuse the winker with the corresponding number. If the accuser is correct, she gets to steal the cards (cards represent points at the end of the game). Depending on the participants, it can be really hard getting a wink across before the turn gets to that player again.
I found very quickly that players seem to naturally flow into one of several personas when playing Wink. There’s the bold and brazen who actively try to create distractions so others won’t notice them winking (I’ve seen fake sneezes, directed attention at something else in the room, faking that a child “needs help” with something, suddenly itchy faces, all sorts of attempts). There’s the guy who is a little “too cool” to wink at someone else who gets caught almost every time trying to be too “suave.” There’s the spy who focuses almost solely on catching other people winking (these ones are the most frustrating!). And then there’s the solid player (who usually wins!) who finds a great balance between simultaneously searching for incoming winks and delivering a smooth, undetectable wink to her target.
You’ll find that introverted players have a hard time looking at others in the eye (it’s kind of hilarious watching them in the beginning, especially if it’s their first time playing, and they’re trying to wink at my wife sitting right next to me!). As eye contact is an absolute requirement of Wink, they typically open up pretty quickly. The funniest moments are those where eye contact was made and both players maintain eye contact for longer than the acceptable norm would allow because they think, for some reason, that the other is going to wink at them. They stay locked for several seconds, flick their eyes away before coming back and laughing hysterically.
Oh, and don’t wear wide-brimmed glasses while playing Wink! Not having good peripheral vision is hard because you have to turn your head further to wink at the players next to you. It makes being sneaky more difficult. I learned this the hard way in our first game.
Overall, Wink is a fantastic party game that is quick to learn, quick to play, and really breaks the ice if ice-breaking is desired or needed. =-) This quickly became one of my top party games out there.
Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.