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 100 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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Gemlok -- Mensa Select® Winner(search on Board Game Geek)
This game has rules that are easy to conceptualize but a bit hard to describe in words. I'll try anyway. You start with a bunch of tokens on one side of the board. The goal is to have them on the high-scoring spaces when the game ends. On each turn, you roll two dice, each of which has a 5/6 chance of prescribing a move, and a 1/6 chance of a "Gemlok." You must apply both dice, but may choose freely which pawn or pawn to apply them to. A "Gemlok" means that you flip the pawn over and it will stay there for the remainder of the game. You can move a pawn onto a space that is occupied by a (non-Gemlok'ed) pawn, in which case you can "bump" it onto any unoccupied space up to three spaces away. (It's often a good move to bump your own pawns when you can, since this is such a flexible move.)
I found the game pretty fun even though it seemed like most of the time the best move was pretty obvious. Clearly there was not that much deep strategy in the game (how can there be when every move is determined by a die roll?), but there is something viscerally satifying about executing moves or hoping for rolls and watching those plans work out. I suspect it's the same feeling I get when playing backgammon -- which means, perhaps, that after this game starts feeling old, all it takes is adding a doubling cube to give it more depths of strategy.
Overall, though, it seems to me that the truly innovative part of this game are the custom dice, that effectively have all the moves a piece can make within three spaces on a square grid. There's a lot of potential for different sorts of games in those dice (for instance, I bet Clue would be a lot more fun), and my hesitation to whole-heartedly endorse this game is because I feel like that full potential isn't quite realized.
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