Mind Games
Tom Gannon

Mensans attending the annual Mind Games convention, this year in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, have picked five winners among the latest board games to hit the market. Winners get the coveted Mensa Select® seal, and are quick to brag about it in their advertising. Here’s a breakdown of the 2002 winners, prices and details as available.

Curses. Marketed by Play All Day Games, this one is described as a game of "wacky" rules that players give each other. Make slip-ups and lose the game. Couldn’t find much about this one on the Net because there are some other similar games, apparently based on computer coding. Nor could I find the web site: www.worldwisesports.com.

Muggins! One of a series of popular math games from Muggins Math, this game (for those "ages 4 to nuclear physicist") involves using math skills to build runs or block opponents. The game, which also has the approval of the Parents Council, is popular with elementary school teachers and is set up for different age groups, including adults. You’ll find me in one of the little chairs, matching skills with my four-year-old peers. Retails for $26.95-$39.95 depending on type of board. www.mugginsmath.com.

Dvonn. This is from Rio Grande Games, which won a Mensa Select® two years ago for Zertz. This is described as a challenging stacking game that is played with three red DVONN pieces, 23 white pieces, and 23 black pieces. Players try to control as many pieces as posssible, preferably by jumping on top of their opponent’s pieces. While doing so, pieces and stacks must remained linked to the red DVONN pieces. And so on. Two players, aged 9 and up. Retails for $29.95. www.riograndegames.com.

Smart Mouth. From Binary Arts, this one is described as a quick-thinking shout it out word game. A machine (the Letter Getter) produces two letters and players (either individuals or teams) have to quickly form a word beginning and ending with the two letters, respectively. Players can select categories, such as names or geography, or modify the rules in other ways. For example, for "H" and "Y" it makes sense that hortatory would outpoint honey (words must be at least five letters). www.puzzles.com. Suggested retail is $14.99.

Legend of Landlock. Couldn’t find anything about this at the maker’s own web site so it must be a very recent release. It’s described as "the mythical map strategy game" in which players place tiles next to each other and try to make a continuous path or stream around Landlock. www.gamewright.com.

For those who prefer creating their own games or puzzles, American Mensa is looking for entries which it can provide various media outlets. Contact marketing director Jim Blackmore at 817/607-0060, ext. 136 or jimb@americanmensa.org.