What Mind Games is and isn't
What Mind Games is
It is... an intensive weekend of play. Judges often play for almost 40 straight hours, breaking only to snack and sleep. While Hospitality may be available for extended hours during each event, it is intended only for quick noshing between games.
It is... an event with responsibilities. Sure, it's all about fun and games — but judges also agree to take on a set of responsibilities when they register. In summary, they agree to help ensure the Mensa Select® seal means something.
It is... a chance to get the latest games for free. If they critique their allotment of games over the course of the weekend, Mensa judges often get to take home a game or two.
It is... addictive. That's why Mensa Local Groups across the country have volunteered to host this event annually for almost 20 years.
What Mind Games isn't
It isn't... a Regional or Annual Gathering. For Mind Games judges, the play is the thing — game play, that is. Judges don't particularly attend to catch up with old friends or to participate in other Mensa standbys like attending lectures or seeing the local sights. Formal meals are usually not served.
It isn't... an online gaming site. If you're interested in playing games online, please visit the American Mensa games room.
It isn't... restricted only to educational or kids' games. While many of the games entered could be considered to fit these descriptions, the event is open to all board and card games as long as they have been released within the set time frame.
It isn't... designed to favor "smart" games like chess. Sure, Mensan judges like games that they find challenging, but their votes clearly show that they also love a well-designed game that makes them laugh. There's no guarantee that the "smartest" game — or chess variation — will do well in the voting. We think it's a safe bet that everyone can find at least one game they love to play among the Mensa Select winners.
It isn't... open to prototypes, video or electronic games, or games that take an inordinately long time to set up. As far as the video and electronic games, it's simple — setting up logistics for 300 people to each be able to play 30 of these types of games in 40 hours is prohibitive.
As far as prototypes, American Mensa does a marketing campaign for the Mensa Select winners every year, and it's too frustrating for our audiences not to be able to immediately buy their favorites. Further, a detailed listing of all entries is made available on this site after every Mind Games competition. Each game entry needs to be already available on the market in order to take advantage of the Mensa Select buzz.
As far as the setup time, well — each judge is required to play at least 30 of more than 50 games over the course of the weekend; if any one game takes too long to set up, players won't have the opportunity to fairly evaluate all the games.