Do genius and board games go together? American Mensa thinks they do, and every year they set out to prove it. For 20 years, Mensans from all over the country have been getting together to rate the newest games on the market.
American Mensa, as you may know, is the American branch of the international high IQ society. In order to qualify for membership, individuals either take the Mensa Qualifying Test or submit prior evidence in the form of results from one of over 200 standardized supervised tests of mental ability. Applicants must score in the top two percent of either in order to qualify. There are more than 50,000 members in the United States, and over 100,000 world wide.
One of the perks of membership is the opportunity to participate in events such as Mind Games, the Mensa gathering of games and good-fellowship. Game manufacturers are invited to submit their newest products to be evaluated, and games-minded Mensans from all over the United States meet to give them a try.
Over a 48-hour period, Mensans play and evaluate as many of the games as possible. (The goal is for every attendee to play every game, in order to keep the ratings as fair as possible.) The games are evaluated on the basis of originality, enjoyment, play value, aesthetics, and quality of instructions. The top five winners are awarded the Mensa Select seal, which the manufacturers are permitted to display on their packaging.
This year the 20th annual Mind Games competition was held at the Drawbridge Inn in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, hosted by Cincinnati Area Mensa, over the weekend of April 24 to 26. (The event moves around the country from year to year, as different local groups bid for the opportunity to hold the event.) More than 230 Mensans participated.
And the winners? This year the Mensa Select winners were:
Cornerstone, a 3-D strategy game where the players try to build towers without toppling them.
Dominion, where players try to create the best deck of cards by aquiring action, treasure, and victory cards.
Marrakech, a Monopoly-type game where the player takes on the role of a rug salesman trying to corner the market.
Stratum, a strategy game which involves covering up your opponents’ tiles and keeping your own free.
Tic-Tac-Ku, a 9-square Tic-Tac-Toe variation.
Mensa game-players have a pretty good record as far as picking games that we will all enjoy. Past winners include Taboo, Scattergories, Apples to Apples, Hit or Miss, Tribond, SET, Magic: the Gathering, and Trivial Pursuit.
More information on Mensa Select winners and where to purchase them, as well as information on how to join American Mensa, can be found on the national website, us.mensa.org.
Source: Press Release, American Mensa