This weekend, hundreds of Mensans gathered in Herndon, Virginia, to decide which submitted games deserve the coveted Mensa Select Seal for 2017. Each year, game publishers large and small submit games to be evaluated by throngs of game-loving Mensa members who evaluate games based on a number of criteria, including fun, quality of instructions, replayability, and more. They also vote on their top choices among all the games, and the top five chosen games earn the right to display the Mensa Select seal on their game boxes (and websites, and PR materials, and…). The games that don’t win don’t go away empty handed, though. They receive hundreds of evaluations and comments from people who really love and know their games. So, win/win, as it were.
This morning, 2017’s winners were announced. They are, in alphabetic order:
Amalgam by Simply Fun
For 2-4 Players
Ages 10 and Up
Play Time 30 Minutes
Gather ingredients for making the strongest potions possible to take to market. Collect as many as you can of the same ingredients so that your potion is stronger than your opponents’. Only your memory will help you know what ingredients you’ve already put in your cauldron. Use spells to get what you need, but sometimes spells will remove ingredients as well. Whose amalgam is the the strongest at the end of the game?
Around the World in 80 Days by IELLO
For 2-6 Players
Ages 10 and Up
Play Time 45 Minutes
Reminiscent of an app I reviewed a few years ago, this game has players racing to make it around the world first, but be careful. Travel too fast and you’ll run out of money. Travel too slowly and you won’t make it to the end first. There are multiple layers to the backstory, including a bet against you making it in time and an accusation of you stealing money from the Bank of England! Pace yourself and remain above suspicion, and you’ll win the bet and prove your innocence.
Clank!: A Deck Building Adventure by Renegade Game Studios
For 2-4 Players
Ages 13 and Up
Play Time 60 Minutes
You are trying to be stealthy to quietly steal artifacts from a dragon’s mountain lair. Be quiet and develop your theiving skills and you can make it out alive (and win)! But make too much noise (“Clank!”), and the dragon will awaken, angry at your trespassing. There’s also a free companion app.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle by USAopoly
For 2-4 Players
Ages 11 and Up
Play Time Unknown
In this cooperative deck building game set in the world of Hogwarts, work together to defend the wizarding world from the usual evil. The game includes seven successive game adventures that get harder as you go. You’ll battle villains and unlock new abilities, secrets, and challenges. And, coming soon will be the expansion, The Monster Box of Monsters. This game is going on my wish list for sure.
Imagine by Gamewright
For 3-8 Players
Ages 12 and Up
Play Time 20 Minutes
Combine and overlap a series of transparent icon cards to convey the chosen subject without speaking. Use all of the creativity you can muster to get your point across with only shapes and colors at your disposal. This one looks great for families of mixed ages.
Check out our past Mensa Mind Games winner announcements.
4 thoughts on “2017 Mensa Mind Game Winners Have Been Chosen!”
The game “Around the World in 80 Days” is a reprint of a game called “Hare and Turtoise” by David Parlett, which has gone through multiple reprints by various publishers in the past. I wouldn’t be any of the least surprised if Mensa had made one of those editions of the game (Probably the most notibly an edition from Ravensburger) for Mensa’s Game of the Year in the past
Be surprised, Mr Pilot. The Hare and the Tortoise, by Ravensburger, won the very first Spiel de Jahres in 1979. There have been others by that name, most recently one of Iello’s storybook games, but that game is very different. Around the World in 80 Days is not a “reprint” of The Hare and the Tortoise, it is a re-imagining and re-working of the same game. And Mensa has not chosen any other knock-offs of The Hare and the Tortoise, either; you can check for yourself at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mensa_Select_recipients.
Indeed “Around the World in 80 Days” is a rework of the first winner of the Spiel des Jahres.
But there is more!
Amalgam is also a rework, albeit a lighter rework of a pre-existing game, currently known as Glastonbury (published by Franjos). It had an unpronounceable German name earlier. As far as I know the rules have not changed. The artwork still comes from Franz Vohwinkel but it has been slightly modified to appeal to kids a little bit more. I could also note that spell cards now have text on them to make it easier to remember what they do. Simple fun picked a nice game and has been quickly rewarded by the award.
You can learn (interactive tutorial) and play Glastonbury/Amalgam on the online platform Happy Meeple (http://www.happymeeple.com/).
I am not surprised by 3 choices of Mensa Select. Glastonbury has a clever mechanics at its core. And Around the World also has it. Imagine is great fun too, but it is a completely different category: party games. I can’t comment on the other 2. In any case, good modern board games made it this year.
Thank you all for your interesting and informative replies! I need to check out some of these other titles.
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