Information for First-time Attendees

Longtime Mind Games attendee Bill Zigo gives a quick rundown on how Mind Games works, including judging materials, scoring games and submitting comment cards, event etiquette, and more.

What Is Mind Games?

Mind Games is a four-day board-game-judging marathon. Judges tend to play around-the-clock, breaking only for food, drink, and sleep. Hospitality is open 24 hours, but unlike the Hospitality experienced at gatherings, it is intended only for quick refreshment between games.

Cool! How does it all work?

Each year, 300-400 Mensan participants, or “judges,” play and critique games released in the past year and award the coveted Mensa Select® seal to the top five vote-getters.

Game manufacturers pay a fee and submit several copies of their game for the valuable feedback from comment cards, as well as the chance to win one of the aforementioned Mensa Select seals.

Event attendees (judges and guests) are expected to give the games they have played a fair assessment based upon the judging criteria and submit honest, constructive comments via comment cards. Judges tend to play around-the-clock, breaking only for food, drink, and sleep.

Each judge is charged with:

  • Playing up to 30 games from start to finish;
  • Submitting a completed ballot;
  • Completing and submitting a comment card for each game played, each time it’s played.

The comment cards help judges score each game in five categories: aesthetics, originality, play value, play appeal, and quality of instructions.

After playing the allotted selection of games, judges are then welcome to play and judge any of the other games that have been entered the competition. When it comes to the Mensa Select voting, judges are expected to vote for the games they would buy for themselves or their friends.

How about kids… are they invited?

Mind Games welcomes any Mensa Member to register for the event. Please note, a parent/guardian must register for attendees under the age of 14. Additionally, all attendees under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian onsite during the event and attendees 14 and younger are required to have a parent/legal (also registered) guardian present in the games room with them at all times to ensure the safety and well-being of all of our guests.

I’m in! Where are we doing this thing?

Mind Games 2024 is scheduled for April 18 - 21 in Charlotte, N.C., at the Sonesta Charlotte Executive Park. Player/Judge registration opens fall 2023!