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Mensa Select

This year's Mensa Mind Games competition was held in San Diego, CA. There were 60 competing games, 325 judges, and 44 hours of gaming, which all culminated in five winners being chosen to win the Mensa Select award.

2015 Mensa Select Winners:

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival

Lanterns: The Harvest Festival (published by Renegade Game Studios and Foxtrot Games, designed by Christopher Chung) In this tile-laying game set in Imperial China, players are decorating the palace lake with beautiful and colorful lanterns before the Harvest Festival. The player who receives the most honor by the end of the game wins. Players try to make various pairings of colored lanterns and turn them in for honor. During the game, players place down lantern tiles — each tile has four sides and each displays a different color. When a tile is played, every player receives the color of lantern depicted on the side facing him or her, meaning when you play a tile you have to take into consideration not only what color lanterns you need but also which colors you don't want your opponents to have.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Castles of Mad King Ludwig (published by Bezier Games, designed by Ted Alspach) Players are all tasked with building the biggest and most extravagant castle ever for King Ludwig of Bavaria. Players take turns being the Master Builder, who sets the price on each of the available rooms for purchase. The catch is that the Master Builder has to wait until all the other payers have bought rooms and only then may choose from the leftovers. During the next round, a new player is the Master Builder. When you add a room to your castle, it scores points based on type, size and location. Each game is a little different, as King Ludwig has different special requests which award bonus points to the player who follows them the closest.

Letter Tycoon

Letter Tycoon (published by Breaking Games, designed by Brad Brooks) A unique word game in which players may choose to purchase stock in letters and earn money when other players use them. Each player has a seven card hand and may also use letters from a three card community pool to spell out words and earn money. After playing a word, you may choose to purchase one of the letters used in that word. Whenever someone uses that letter afterwards, you earn money from the bank. The game ends after a certain number of letters have been bought.

Trekking the National Parks

Trekking the National Parks (published by Bink Ink, LLC, designed by Charlie Bink) – Players are racing across the United States, attempting to collect park cards and colored stones, both of which are worth points. The colored stones are placed randomly on all the parks at the start of the game and you may pick one up from a park when you land on it at the end of your turn. Players also draw Trek Cards which are used to move between parks, but are also necessary for claiming a park card. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

Dragonwood

Dragonwood (published by Gamewright, designed by Darren Kisgen) – In this fantasy-themed game, players travel through Dragonwood, striking, stomping and screaming at monsters and dangerous creatures to defeat them. Players draw cards and create various combinations with them. The type of combination determines how they attack a creature. To discover whether or not an attack is successful, a player rolls a number of dice equal to the number of cards they've played. They compare their results with the number on the creature they're fighting. Each creature card displays the minimum number required for each type of attack. At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points wins.