What's On The Cards?
Now banish that dull, dog-eared deck of playing cards from your mind's eye and give your regular eyes a warm-up…
Blink, widen, flare, stretch. Wink suggestively if the fancy takes you.
Twin It! is, most strikingly, a visual treat. Those eyes will do some work before this game is over.
Don't dally too long over its delights though - your reactions will need to be whip-sharp as well…
Settle down, my slap-happy friend. Shuffle your deck and distribute the cards evenly between players.
Breaking from the timeless traditionality of a regular 52 card deck, Twin It! offers 135 cards and 119 colourful patterns. Flowers and stars, spirals and swirls, mandalas, pac-men and handprints. The range of designs fascinate and delight and I'll wager good money that you won't make it to the end of the first game without hearing, "I feel like I'm tripping", or some other name-check towards psychedelia.
Players take turns to reveal their cards and place them on the table, spreading them out so that each card is visible. When someone spots matching cards, they place a finger on each card, then claim the pair, leaving them in a stack beside themselves. To win, be the first to claim five pairs of cards.
As more cards hit the table, the visual information piles up and you're soon faced with a dizzying tableau of patterns and pictures. It's eye-boggling, it's mind-boggling, it's an edge-of-your-seat, tenterhooks table-whacker.
Above all, it's accessible. One of the real appeals here is that it's a game that works well across age ranges and tastes, and accommodates as many players as you can comfortably fit around a table. Arguably, it's gateway gaming.
Can't I Just Play Snap?
You could, but where's the giddy fun in that?
Also, you'd be missing out on a few mild innovations which lend some potentially interesting wrinkles to the formula.
Several of the cards not only pair, but also have a third duplicate of that design… This offers the opportunity of making a pair again: stealing pairs back by slapping the other player's cards along with the new design. Yes, that's as satisfying as it is diabolical.
As all cards are two-sided (with a different design on each side), you can also play a variant where you flip the cards back over - seeing if the flipped card matches what's already on the table.
There is also the ability to play the game in teams. When you spot twins, you place your finger on one of the cards and hope your teammate can finger the other before an opponent does, or else the opponent claims the twins instead of you!
Is This Not Just A Kids Game?
Honestly, no. Twin It! is a great warm-up game, it's a great end-of-the-night game. It's even good for people who "don't really play games". Its simplicity lends it immediacy and its speed amps up the adrenaline. The real win here might be that although it's essentially just "Snap", it lets you rediscover exactly why Snap used to be fun. It's a legitimate excuse to bring Snap back to the table.
It's hard not to be energised by the test of lightning reactions and the primal joy of slapping faster than your opponent.
If this sounds like it might be for you and your friends or family, it probably is.
It offers similar delights to Dobble, but also a chance to change it up if that's feeling a little familiar.
If you're playing with adults, it's also an excellent way of gauging the drunkenness of your friends, as the wild differences in reaction speeds (or aim) become immediately apparent.
Twin It! brings simple pleasures that are hard to argue with and it's a genuine joy to rediscover them. It's a way to re-remember a forgotten (easily dismissed) classic. The timeless update with some fancy-pants paint.