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Mensa Mind Games

Mensa Mind Games

I’m very proud of being 2016’s “Mr. Mensa.” You can see that it’s one of the things I’ve mentioned in my profile. I’ve even put it on my resume. Until our upcoming Annual Gathering this year, I’m the reigning “King of the Nerds.” I’m both proud to be part of the organization and proud to have won this award. My hope is that my supposed intellect has helped Slightly Twisted Games to design a great product in Glory.

Today, I’m off to a local event called Penguicon. It’s a fun event I’ve attended a few times and cos-played for (the first time, I was Superman. Last year I did Spiderman and Jedi Cowboy). I’m hoping to meet up with some friends, attend some talks, try out some new shoulder-pads for my Sith outfit, and maybe even tell a few more folks about “Glory.” It should be a great time, but it won’t be anything quite like what I did last weekend: Mensa Mind Games.

Mind Games allows members of Mensa to be judges who will determine what games will receive the coveted “Mensa Select” seal. I remember sitting in a seminar at GenCon last year and they were talking about the Mensa seal. I thought to myself: “I’m in Mensa. I wonder how that does work?” So I managed to sign up for Mind Games.

Last weekend I got to DC early Friday morning, and basically played games until Sunday morning around 3 am. I was one of the rare people who actually went to bed during the weekend (I need sleep to function), but I played around 40 games last weekend, and still didn’t scratch the surface. There were 75 games there! SEVENTY-FIVE of them.

Each member of Mensa in attendance is considered a judge. I received a list of 30 games that I had to play over the weekend. I also had to rate them in 5 categories: Aesthetics, Instructions, Originality, Play Appeal, and Play Value. The first three should be pretty self-explanatory. Play appeal has to do with how much fun and excitement you have and feeling challenged. Play value is about both the price of the game and its replay value. Another 50 points can be added for overall feel of the game. The approximately 300 Mensa judges in attendance did this for all 30 games…and many of them just kept going. I know I stopped to play a few games not on my list to help out or just spend time with friends old and new.

Mind Games is one of only two events (along with the aforementioned Annual Gathering) that attract a national audience. I hadn’t gone before because I didn’t really know what it was and I also had conflicts with other events, but I definitely plan to go again. It was pretty cool to be part of selecting the Mensa Select winners. A lot of the games were a little underwhelming, but I had fun. I also learned a lot and realized how much originality and fun play into how I rate a game overall.

My favorite game of the convention that was on my list was called “7 Ronin” by Grey Fox games. It’s a very fun game that pits ninja versus samurai (or I guess, master-less samurai). It’s simple, but I am sad to say it was one of the only games I played that I truly wanted to play again. I wouldn’t play it again at Mind Games, but I’m actually playing it with Mark Rivett as of this writing. You see, at the end of the conference, all the games are given away to the judges. Everyone’s name is called out in randomized order, and you shout out which game you want to take home. Seeing as Clank! was already gone, I was definitely going with what I knew to be a fun game. Most of all, it was just fun to play a lot of games with nerds from all over the country. Who knows? If things go well, maybe next year people will be voting on “Glory.”

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