Introducing Trifoil—Blinks Sakura Strategy Preview

Introducing Trifoil—Blinks Sakura Strategy Preview

Meet Game Designers Spencer Kee and Aaron Santiago and hear about their game,Trifoil

Trifoil is part of the brand new Sakura Strategy Game Pack, three amazing strategy games new for the Blinks Game System in 2021. 

  1. Describe your game/gameplay/why people would enjoy this game?

Aaron - Trifoil is a longform abstract strategy game, inspired by Tak and Chess. What we wanted when we were developing the game was to pack a robust and complex strategy game into a 6 Blink roll--something you could play over the course of a coffee or a lunch. A great side effect of the game is: once you get the basic rules, you can adjust the starting board into as many ways as you can come up with, changing available rotations or the positions of the blinks, meaning that there’s always more Trifoil to play.

  1. What is the Origin Story of your game? How did it come to be?

Spencer - I came up with the basic idea for Trifoil while playing around with different blinks configurations during Global Game Jam 2020. Arranging 12 blinks in a sort of triangle felt the most pleasant so brainstormed different games that would work on a board. I’d recently played Tak and liked it a lot so I came up with the basic placing and rotating moves plus win conditions, but shelved the game in favor of making Reactor. For GGJ 2021 I hacked up a rough version to jog my blinks developing memory and realized it was an ideal game to make remotely since it was turn-based and used minimal logic. We were able to playtest the full functionality using shapes in google slides before ever writing a line of code.

Flow Diagram--Game Design Under the Hood


  1. What do you like best about Blinks? about developing games on Blinks?

Aaron - As a game developer, usually there are two parts of game development: creating the core mechanics, and the rest. On Blinks, development is 80% mechanics and 20% the rest, whereas on computers it’s 20% mechanics and 80% the rest. It’s super fun for the bulk of the process to be playing the game, and not having to worry about menus, saving, graphics, and in the end lets us have something that we can have fun of and be proud of more quickly.

  1. Fun Facts, Strategy, or Easter Eggs in the game.

Spencer - Originally it took up to 8 button presses to place a single move! 1 click to start the move, 1-5 clicks to rotate the spinner, and double click to confirm the move. Aaron rightfully put his foot down on fixing that pretty fast and suggested the source to sink input method.

Aaron - throughout the entire development even we were always double checking to see if placing on the outside of the board is necessary for game balance, adding and removing that capability every time we made a change to the design. “Do we need outside placement?” was my catch phrase for Trifoil.




Trifoil is the 2nd collaboration of Aaron and Spencer. Their first game, Reactor, was prototyped at the Global Game Jam 2020, and was initially an adaptation of a simple card game. But both Spencer and Aaron, as fighting game enthusiasts, pushed the design more into the realm of competitive gaming. For Spencer, Reactor was his first completed software project in the gaming space, and benefits from of years of jamming and development experience.

Aaron has a history as a game designer, developer, and prototyper, but Reactor is his first foray into tabletop. Both Spencer and Aaron were drawn to the challenge of developing for smart tabletop at the jam, and their game shows how developers can apply simple mechanics to the complex Blinks system to create unique gameplay experiences.

They reunited at Global Game Jam and created Trifoil which we are excited to release in the Sakura Strategy Pack.


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