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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Qwirkle -- Mensa Select® Winner(search on Board Game Geek)
This game feels a bit like a combination of Ingenious (from last year) and Scrabble. The large wooden tiles each have a symbol on it, and each symbol is one of six colors and one of six shapes. Play is similar to Scrabble, although there is no board to play on; on your turn, you try to play tiles along a square grid such that all touching tiles going across or down "spell a word", a "word" being defined here as two or more tiles that all have an attribute in common and are all different in the other attribute. Scoring is based on the number of tiles in the "word", with a hefty bonus for getting a complete "six-letter word".
The gameplay has a surprising amount of depth combined with a lot of luck, not unlike Scrabble. Since the "six-letter words" are so valuable, making a size 4 or size 5 sequence can be very risky. Discarding all your tiles to get new tiles is a viable strategy in Scrabble, and tends to be useful here too. Keeping track of the remaining tiles is also a viable and useful strategy. If you like the strategy behind Scrabble but feel like vocabulary has no place in a pure strategy game, this would definitely be on my recommended list.
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