The Mind

The Mind

The game: The Mind by Wolfgang Warsch. The game is published by NSV in 2018. I do not actually have this game at all, yet. I’ve bought a copy now and will get it soon.

Elevator pitch: The much-hyped co-op game of playing cards in the correct order without speaking. The game that is so much more than its rules would suggest.

What’s in the box? The game is a deck of cards with numbers 1–100 and some additional cards. The cards look fine, and considering they’re from NSV, which is a publisher focused on card games, I have no doubts they are of decent quality.

That said, I haven’t actually seen the game yet. I’ve done like many others and have used a 6 Nimmt! deck to play this game. The exact components don’t really matter much in this game.

What do you do in the game? The goal is simple. Each player gets a number of cards equal to the current round number (one on round 1, two on round 2 and so on). The cards are kept hidden from the other players and the goal is to play them face up on the board, one by one, in the correct order.

No talking is allowed. Players are not allowed to signal which cards they have. Any secret signals are forbidden, but it’s legal to use your body language to give a general idea of your cards.

If somebody plays a card and someone else reveals a lower card from their hand, the team loses a life. Once the lives run out, it’s game over.

The teams has a limited number of throwing stars, which can be used at any point should the team agree to do so. If a throwing star is spent, everybody discards their lowest card and the game then continues.

The goal is to beat 8, 10, or 12 levels, depending on the number of players. The goal is difficult, but if it seems to easy, you can always play the blind version where the cards are played face down and checked only after the round.

Lucky or skillful? The game seems very random, but it isn’t. There’s an element of reading your opponents and being focused on the game. That helps. Of course, if the last card played on the table is 60, there’s two cards left, you’re holding 97 and the other player has 98, it’s really up to luck whether you get it right or not.

Also, I’ve seen hands that were practically lost in the deal: if the cards are really bunched up and there’s a run of five-six cards in row, it’s going to be really difficult to get it right. The card distribution makes a huge difference on how easy the deal is.

Abstract or thematic? Abstract. The cards have some pseudopsychological mumbo-jumbo, but fortunately it has nothing to do with the actual game.

Solitaire or interactive? Very interactive. You have to keep your focus sharp in the game and on the other players.

Players: 2–4. Works fine with any number of players, but the sessions have been more hilarious with more players.

Who can play? The age recommendation is 8+, and I think that’s correct. Even smaller kids can play, if they are good enough with the numbers and can focus on the game enough.

What’s to like: The game is just magic when everything works, and is hilarious when things break down. The game plays fast and requires and rewards constant focus and concentration. It’s compatible and easy to play, and looks interesting to outsiders.

What’s not to like: Some people simply do not get this game. Common complaint is that the game gets boring if you cheat and count seconds in your head to time your plays. That isn’t quite as easy as you might think, but if that’s what bugs you, this game is simply not for you.

My verdictThe Mind is really simple, but it’s somehow a lot more than the rules would suggest. I never expected to like it. For starters, I don’t really like co-ops at all, and I don’t like Hanabi, which has some similarities to The Mind.

However, The Mind was hyped enough that I decided I have to try it, since it’s so easy with just a deck of 6 Nimmt!, The Game or some other game that has cards 1–100 in it, and this player aid. It’s something you should do, too, if you have a suitable deck: there’s really no reason not to try this game if you can. Even if it sounds boring, give it a go. Play it couple of times, and you might be surprised.

For such a simple game, The Mind manages to spark up lots of emotion. Playing a tight run of cards right feels amazing, and failure can be fun as well. The game is fascinating to watch and draws attention from bystanders. I just introduced this game to my friends, who were sceptical at first, but everybody enjoyed the game, we played six games in a row and one of them rated The Mind a ten right away. It’s just that addictive. The Mind is one of the best games of 2018 and while I really like Azul, I wouldn’t be upset if The Mind won the Spiel des Jahres.

On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, The Mind gets Enthusiastic from me.

The Mind

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