There is always THAT game. And this year the first one is The Mind by NSV.de (and Pandasaurus Games! )Every year something unexpected get’s so much wind in their sails, it looks to be everywhere. And eventually, it comes to a point where it cannot be ignored any longer in this household and we just happen to be looking for an extra thing on Amazon. In most cases when something is being overly hyped, we tone down our expectations a little. Why? Because it most often doesn’t live up to the expectations, but in this case, someone important was hyping this, Jess (boardgame_girl)!
In most cases when something is so (over)hyped, it sets us off a little and disappoints us in most cases. The hype and the buzz are everywhere and then it must be a good game right? No, it doesn’t have to be. It is often more marketing doing its magic, and that’s fine and we are part of that too, but too much is often a signal it is an unnatural high which is created. So, is this small little card game really that good? Is it really something worth buying? Or are we being tricked by mind games being played?
Let’s find out.
Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
Player count: 2 – 4 players
Playtime: 15 minutes
Theme: a floating bunny or abstract numbered card game
Mechanisms: Coop, hand management, card play
The Mind by NSV Games is one of these card games, which initially doesn’t look the part of a hype game. Now we haven’s played something like Strike, which had the same buzz a couple of years back, but it reminded us of that. Looking very simple, just above a social game, but still engaging on a level where people are experiencing more than just cardboard stuff. There was something special, something transcending through digital experiences. Those games, are still the lesser percentage in the current overload of games releasing every year, but we are always looking for the distinctive experience when playing a board game, rather than the mathematics behind it. Designers don’t have to invent the whole new wheel every time, but they at least could try and stand apart from the masses, right?
The Mind is from the line of card games called The Game, which already are in their own niche and are quite enjoyable, but none really excel in an unforgettable fashion. They don’t have that 1% extra, that extraordinary experience which sets itself apart from the masses. Things happening, which keeps you laughing, or crying, for days after finishing the game.
So what is The Mind all about, what are we doing?
Together with up to 4 players, you will try and concur 12 levels of agonizing silent card play. Every level you will get dealt the number of cards per player of the given level. The cards range from 1 to 100. Without any communication, besides staring each other in the eye intensely, you will have to play out the cards in ascending order. You will start the game with some lives, depending on the player count, and some deadly ninja stars! Why? Well, because those are awesome and wipe out the lowest card in everybody’s hand. One last thing to know. Before starting the round, you will put out your hand on to the table and try to focus everybody’s mind on what’s coming. (don’t ignore this seemingly unimportant step!)
Try to remain alive for 12 levels, and you will beat the game. It is really all there is to it. Nothing more, but also nothing less.
But, what gives it that extra 1% you were talking about? To put it simply, it’s that whole psychological metagame which is involved in trying to read each other and create that hive mind. It sounds like theoretic nonsense, but after playing it 20 times, we can say it really can happen. Sometimes it doesn’t, but when you can make those streak of cards happen, it is beautiful. It’s something special. People, even the those normally not that outspoken, will cheer these moments. Guaranteed!
In just a few rounds, people will connect and start reading other peoples behavior and try and act accordingly with their choices. Are you going to play fast? Are you willing to wait another 2.5 seconds, because maybe there is still a card in between the one on the table and one in someone else their hand? It is so much mind game going on with just 100 cards, the design is fantastic.
- The meta mind games in this one are fantastic.
- Heavy staring is taking to the next level here.
- Everybody can play this. From your mom to your smartest board game partner.
- My suggestion, when you can’t stand table talk, this is the perfect game for you!
- It’s of course still very abstract and you will need to put your mind into the game
- Not endlessly replayable, it does go quite far, but we can see this becoming stale after too many plays.
- Dark border cards? Those could have been avoided
The criteria on which we base most of our opinions, but isn’t the end all and be all.
Does it play well with 2?
It is great at two, just as much fun as with more people. You will never have looked your partner or friend deeper in the eyes then with The Mind.
Does it suit one of our game groups (D&D, Heavy games, thematic games, etc.) or can I bring nongamers in or take it to others? Everybody can play this and everybody can enjoy this. It is a perfect game between heavier games, between breaks at an RPG or just when you don’t want another imaginary creature doing x amount of damage to your poor hero.
Does it come with a solo variant? That would be tricky, challenging though and could suit the schizos?
How are theme and mechanics tied in together?
Yeah, that flying rabbit or bunny, we haven’t mentioned that yet. Well, let’s put it this way, that is also playing tricks with your mind. It doesn’t look in place, but it also does look very in place.
Does my collection need this? What stands out?
(New mechanics? better integration of x? new theme? etc.) We enjoy these simple, 5 – 30-minute games a lot. Between breaks with all the kid stuff going on, these are fun experiences which you bust out and play a.s.a.p. The whole coöp metagame is something we as a couple highly enjoy.
And how is the rsp?
Dirty cheap for the number of experiences and times you are going to play this game.
So what is our conclusion? GET THIS GAME a.s.a.p. Don’t think this is just that hype game and everybody is oversaturation their experiences, they ain’t. It is one of the most fun, yet crazy simple games, we have played in a long time. Is it everlasting? Maybe it gets stale after 175 plays, like our dear friend Jess mentioned herself about it, but almost every game will give you so much enjoyment (and hive mind fun!) that for us it is a keeper!
Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!