Do you want to play a game?

There’s a lull in the conversation, my chin juts forward hopefully, like a tentative turtle seeking water, I raise my eyes and look around, ‘anyone want to play a game?’

There’s a beat. Silence… I guess that’s a no.

My friends have started to liken it almost to an addiction. I just can’t get enough of that rush of seeing everyone come together, laughing, bonding, sharing intimate secrets with strangers and forgetting about the weight of the day they may have just had. Rain, camping, visiting grandparents, car breakdowns, power cuts, you name it, they are an absolute delight because they mean only one thing in my world. Board game time.

My latest craze is the discovery of The Mind. Wow. It’s actually very similar to a drama/trust game I used to play only in card form. I adore it because it works across languages and cultures as numbers are universal and after the explanation, no speaking is required. This means that it is ideal for traveling – it’s compact, simple and it’s not complicated for people who don’t speak the same language. Actually it was almost too successful when I was travelling as we always had too many people wanting to get involved…

So, how to play?

The pack of cards comprise numbers 1-100. There are level cards from 1-12. Then there are life cards and shurikens. You are working as a team but you are not allowed to communicate, verbally or physically!

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For level 1, each player has one card, for level 2, two cards and so on. The group starts with the number of lives that there are people and one shuriken. Without giving away what is in your hand, the group has to throw down their cards face up in what they believe to be the order of the cards from lowest-highest between them. Clearly the more people you have, the harder this gets. Any card played out of turn (aka someone had a card lower than the one most recently placed) then one life is lost. What is the shuriken for I hear you scream? A shuriken can be used only if everyone is in agreement, once settled, it is used and everyone can safely discard their lowest card face up.

Lost all your lives? Back to the start. Two people should be able to reach level 12, 3 people level 10 and 4 people level 8. I challenge you to do any better with more people.

An intense, bizarrely erratic and almost hilarious game, you won’t know how to stop and will most definitely begrudge anyone else wanting to get involved.

A nominee for this year’s Spiel des Jahres, I strongly advise you get the most talked about game on your table top now 😀

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