DISCLAIMER: The opinions, ratings, and reviews stated in this document and related webpages are the sole personal opinions of Wei-Hwa Huang and Wei-Hwa Huang alone. Wei-Hwa Huang does not speak for the more than 200 participants on the Mensa Mind Games selection panel. This is not an official site of Mensa Mind Games or Mensa Select, although the statements on which games are winners of Mensa Select are factually correct. Mensa Mind Games and Mensa Select are registered trademarks of American Mensa.
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IntroductionWei-Hwa's report and reviews of the games at Mensa Mind Games in Tampa, in the year 2005. I might have played the games at that event. Sometimes I played the games at other gatherings. Each game has some photos, followed by a paragraph of description, some ratings, and a paragraph of commentary.
I played most of these games in 35 hours, probably the same amount of time it took me to type all this out. I've rated each game with three values from 1 to 10: replay value (how often could I play it?), fun factor (how often do I want to play it?), and worth buying (how badly do I want to own my own copy? are there any cool bits?).
An asterisk (*) represents a winner of the Mensa Select Award.
Overall ImpressionsThis is most likely the first year in which two of the winners were by the same designer (Reiner Knizia, of course). Then again, with 5 of the submitted games being his, he probably had the best chances too. :-)
The "electorate" was not that much different from last year; we may very well have set the bar back then. I'm pretty satified with the 5 games chosen (although, as you can see, my top 5 weren't all picked).
There were no outstanding games, but the general bar seemed to be a bit higher -- I was a bit shocked to find myself admitting that Zendo, arguably a three-year-old game, was the best game there. I heard one off-the-wall theory that it has to do with the tsunami affecting the price of cheap printing, causing a ripple effect that made game companies less likely to take risks in 2004. Not completely implausible...or is it? Paul Sauberer points out that the tsunami was in December 2004, a bit late for it to have any major impact.