The Mind review
Score : 8
Huge sense of accomplishment when you succeed
Great for introducing to new gamers
Some people are uncomfortable with the amount of eye contact
Could get repetitive in the long-term
We locked eyes across the table. "Play" I screamed at her (in my mind). Of the six cards we had been dealt, two had been played, with the numbers 3 and 12 laying on the table. The third player was leaning back in his seat and clearly had only a high card left. Mine was one of those awkward cards. 44. Not low enough to play quickly, not high enough to delay too long. We stared at each other. "44" I tried to send her psychically. For some reason I felt confident that she had a lower card. But as the seconds passed, my belief started to wane. Maybe she had two high cards after all. I cracked and threw down my 44. This was immediately followed by her playing the 45 and the remainder successfully followed. Excitable high-fives followed, we had passed level 2!
The Mind has a very simple objective where all you have to do is play your cards face up on the table in ascending order. Easy! Except for the fact that not only must you keep your cards hidden from others, but you can't communicate in any way (except with your mind!).
Each of the twelve levels starts with everyone placing their hand on the table and staring at each other to attune your minds. Each player then receives one card per level, and players can play their cards as soon as they are ready. If a mistake is made, and a card is played that is higher than one that someone is holding, they discard that card but one of the lives is lost.
Lives are shared, with the starting number of lives equalling the number of players. Run out of lives and it's game over, although passing a level will occasionally give an extra life as a reward. The only other item you have to help is a shuriken. You start with one, but again can gain them as rewards. These allow you to each discard your lowest card. To suggest playing one, one player raises their hand. If everyone else follows, then the shuriken gets played. If not, the game continues.
The Mind is a really unique game. It starts with everyone thinking it sounds impossible, and the first game can often end quickly and badly. However, start to play a couple of games with the same people and suddenly everything clicks and it seems possible to get through all twelve levels. Achieving that though is no easy feat, despite the fact "one quick game" often leads to several. And if the game sounds too easy, there is also a hard mode where the cards get played face down instead of face up!
Due to the nature of the game, there is a lot of eye contact and some people can feel very uncomfortable with that, especially if playing with strangers. Some people take this quite seriously while others find it very amusing and giggle their way through it, so it helps to play with like-minded people.
The other concern we have is that the game may become repetitive over time when played to death, but as it's cheap, quick to play and great to introduce to non-gamers, this isn't a huge issue.
At the time of writing, only the German version is available, though English rules are easily found online and the cards are language independent.
If you haven't yet played The Mind, we would advise you to do so, it is a unique experience unlike anything else we have played and appeals to most we have played it with.
Number of players: 2-4
Play Time: 15 mins
RRP: Not currently available in UK