This past weekend, American Mensa held their annual Mind Games, a gathering of board game lovers who are also Mensa members. They spend all weekend playing games, quickly and furiously, and rating the games based on a variety of criteria. At the end of the weekend, the ratings are tallied, and five winners are announced who have earned the privilege to be able to put the Mensa Select seal on their games. It’s an intense but enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this year.
This year’s Mensa Select winners are:
InStructures by Jane’s Games
This construction-themed game is truly good for the whole family, with different levels for different abilities. First split up into building crews. Each crew has to build a structure with the game’s wooden blocks, but only the crew’s foreman gets to look at the blueprints. The crew has to build it from the foreman’s verbal instructions only! The first crew to build the structure, and to pass inspection by the other crew, wins the round.
Pastiche by Gryphon Games
In this game, you compete with the other players to mix primary colors to recreate the palettes used to paint famous European masterpieces from the past six centuries. There are 34 different possible paintings to be commissioned. By learning to mix colors and to recognize famous works of art, whole families will learn something together.
Pirate versus Pirate by Out of the Box Publishing
With awesome artwork from GeekDad friend John Kovalic, this game has been a hit recently. Each of two or three players has a band of (scurvy?) pirates who are all competing to capture the booty and take charge of the island. Fight off your rivals while you try to get the gold first! Arrr!
Stomple by GaZima Games
Use strategy to stomp on your opponents’ marbles before they stomp on yours, and outmaneuver them so they have nowhere to go! It’s easy to learn, but there is much strategy to devise.
Uncle Chestnut’s Table Gype by Eternal Revolution
This unusual game adds a significant random element to something that is very much like the game of Traverse. Players move their pieces across the board, jumping over their own or others’ pieces. But each piece that gets jumped over will then get randomized.
One nice thing about Mensa Select games is that there are always an interesting variety of winners, including some that aren’t like other games you have played. The theme is different, or the playing method is very unusual, or the pieces are ingenious. And this year’s winners are no different. Check out these games, and let us know what you think! I hope to get the opportunity to play them all.