Context of the review: I have played The Mind 5+ times at the 4 player count. The copy of the game is the author’s own.
Every so often a game comes up that, when described, I’m left with an ‘Oh OK’ kind of feeling. That is what I initially thought when I heard about The Mind, that it sounded too simple to be fun or enjoyable and that it would quickly lose it’s lustre. But boardgames always have a way of surprising me. The way that I have seen The Mind sell really makes me wonder why I couldn’t have that idea, but I have to say that this is one of those where the genius lay in it’s simplicity.
The Mind consists of 100 cards numbered 1 to, you guessed it, 100. There are a few Life cards in there and some Throwing Stars for good measure. And that’s it, the totality of the box contents, outside of a rule sheet.
The Mind consists of levels, depending on how many people are playing. Your goal is to play you cards in order of smallest to largest in a stack without any errors. But here is the interesting part – you are not allowed to communicate with other players at all.
I have been playing with the family over the past week and it has been a joy. Initially there was some frustration from the younger players but when we eventualy hit the groove The Mind seems to work really well. After a few rounds you will find that players can start to read the intentions of others and will then act accordingly. The people who are leaning forward most definitely will have a card soon, but the people sitting back and holding their cards close will probably need to go later…
The game isn’t one trick either, each round consists of adding cards to each players hand which equates to the current level. Level 1 everyone gets one card and so on, with the ability to earn back ‘lives’ that are lost during moves of the wrong numerical order. There is also the option of players agreeing to play a Ninja Star, which allows the whole team to throw away their lowest card, but be careful with this as you may need it later in the game.
Up until the whole COVID issue I travelled quite a bit with family and one of the hard things to do is find games that are small enough and hit the right mental load to be playing while travelling. I have to say that The Mind isn’t too difficult to grasp and is easy enough to play at a table or hotel room to slow down for the day, it will definitely be coming with me when I travel next.
Overall, a great and simple game that brings that family together on a physical and psychological level. At the going rate of around $20, I would highly recommend to pick this one up if you haven’t already tried it out.