Review: The Mind --- The Board Geeks Store
Alan: WELCOME! To our first ever Board Geeks review, where we will break down board games that we have played and tell you which games are ...fine(?), good, or excellent. We aim to release these on a weekly basis, and if you like these reviews, leave a comment, send us a message, or just *smile* at your screen.
First up, we have The Mind, a co-operative card game published in 2018 by Wolfgang Wursch, and can be played by 2-4 players within 15 minutes.
--- TLDR: Our verdict? It's so good. ---
So, how do you play? The mind contains a deck, which contains numbers 1-100, and during the game you co-operatively complete levels, and there are different numbers of levels to complete which scales down with the increase in the number of players. Before the start of a level, each player gets dealt a number of cards facedown equal to the level, and once you are ready to start, players place their hand on the table. Then, the game begins and players just need to play the cards in ascending order, but without talking or gesturing.
"How do you communicate with each other?" you ask.
"I don't know, eye contact", I answer.
The team starts the game with a collective, set number of lives and shurikens. Every time someone has broken order in a level, the team loses a life and play continues. When the team agrees to use a Shuriken, each player discards their lowest card face up, giving everyone much-needed information about their hand strength. More lives and shurikens are rewarded after completed certain levels.
The first thing we will say about this game, is that it is so much more than just a game. It is an experience, a mind-bending exercise with you and the other players, turning simple cooperation and teamwork into… primordial soup? Let us explain.
The game elements might sound simple and straightforward: “just play all the cards in ascending order”, right? And at first glance, this just boils down to guesswork, statistics, or pure feel depending on the individual but we stress that this is not the case. After spending three hours straight playing the Mind with my best friends that I have known since high school, we had reached a completely new level of understanding and cohesion with each other.
It got to a point where we did not use any lives or shurikens to get to and complete the final level because we were so in-sync with one another and if you’re wondering: no we did not develop gestures or signals to cheat the game.
For the record, you are not really playing The Mind if you ever think to implore some system of communication other than pure eye contact. However, slight facial and body expressions at times are only human, and cannot be helped.
The Mind is absolutely beautiful and bold in that it forces players to really look at everyone around them, and there is always that strong sense of connection with each other. You might be sitting there during the deafening silence trying to figure out whether you should play your 43 when the most recent card played was only a 13.
…And you learn, you will fail, but each time you do you will all start to re-calibrate closer and closer to each other: committing to memory how fast each person accelerates through counting numbers in their head, and that feeling when two players lock eyes because they think their card is potentially next.
For a game that takes under a minute to explain but can be played over and over again, we absolutely recommend that you should buy The Mind… unless eye contact and connectedness is not your cup of tea?