Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Mind Space

Mind Space is one of the new Kickstarter Games that we received recently.

Mind Space belongs to a family of games called "Roll and Writes." While I tend to refer to all games in this category as "Roll and Write" games, it should be noted that the term "Roll" is open to interpretation. In this context "Roll" refers to any form of random value generator. "Roll" specifically refers to the rolling of dice to create a random value.

A very popular game in this genre, "Welcome To..." calls itself a "Flip and Write" because you flip over cards from a deck and no dice are involved. A new favorite in this category, "Joan of Arc" calls itself a "Draw and Write" because you draw tokens from a bag to produce the required random element. If we keep up with this "truth in advertising" approach to game terminology, Mind Space is a "Roll and Flip and Write because it uses a combination of cards and dice to generate its random results.

Anyway, before I go any further down this particular rabbit hole, just know that "Roll and Write" games are all games with a primary play mechanism involving the generation randomly of some value, aspect or resource, and the subsequent recording of this result on a sheet of paper (or dry erase board ... or whatever.) To my knowledge, the first (and arguably, still the most popular) game in this category is Yahtzee.

In Mind Space players have a couple of dry-erase boards to write on and some markers of different colors. At the start of the game a row of cards is flipped up showing 5 different polyomino shapes. One additional shape a 1x2 domino is also represented and always available. At the start of every turn, five dice are rolled and positioned based on their number beneath a card showing a different shape. Dice numbered one are placed under the first shape. Dice numbered two under the second and so on. Any dice numbered 6 are assigned to the 1x2 domino shape.

The numbers on the dice are used to match them to card shapes. After this, the numbers don't matter. Now, what you care about is the colors of the dice. By using a colored marker that matches the color of one of the dice, you draw the shape associated with that die on your dry-erase brain. (Yep, everyone has a dry-erase brain. Cool!)

After you draw your first shape, all new shapes have to be touching a shape already drawn, but two shapes of the same color can't touch each other. The placement rules are simple but create an interesting puzzle. After every turn, a new card is added to the beginning of the row of shapes and the last card in the row (at the "5" position) drops off. Then the dice are all rolled again and reassigned to new shapes.

Each color scores differently. So, there's a surprising amount of challenge hidden within this simple puzzle. Add to this special scoring objectives that will give you more points if you manage to complete them before anyone else, and Mind Space creates a really satisfying game play experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment