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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Gheos -- Mensa Select® Winner(search on Board Game Geek)
This is a triangular-based tile-laying game with a basic Civilization element -- you form large connected regions, create little civilizations in them, "purchase stock" in these civilizations, and gain or lose points based on their decline and fall. There are mercantile ("cup") icons, which earn you points based on your control. There are pyramids, which earn you points at unexpected times. There are military ("sword") icons, which determine survival when civilizations clash. There are food icons, which determine how civilizations migrate. And there are temples, which provide a source of instant scores. These different dimensions all need to be considered to play the game well.
I find it hard to argue with Mensa's choice of choosing this game; out of all the games submitted, it clearly has both depth of strategy and production values. It seems to work well with different player counts. It can reward small micromanagement plays but can also provide occasional giant swings, something that I feel the frontrunner in tile-laying strategy games (Carcassonne) doesn't have enough of. Another plus on Carcassonne is that there's actually something to think about when it's not your turn (which is the main reason why Carcassonne is not one of my favorite games).
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