StaRGazing 2012 Games

Games in our dedicated Game Room

Once again, Michael Wong will stock our dedicated Game Room with over 200 games showcasing a variety of party games, strategy games, role playing games, word games, trivia style games, and almost any other style of game you can think of! If you are gamer, this is a room you will enjoy indulging in. If you are not, then this will be a wonderful opportunity to be introduced to the many different styles of games and meet other Mensans who enjoy playing them as well!

We are organizing the games this year primarily by the awards they have won:

  • The games that have won the Mensa Select® seal at Mind Games®
  • The games that have won the German Spiel des Jahres award
  • The top 50 games voted by gamers on the website BoardGameGeek
  • and miscellaneous games that are good and worth playing.

The games will also be sorted into different genres, such as word games, abstract games, trivia games, etc.

Game Tournaments

Carnelli: The classic Mensa word-association game consisting of movies, music, books, and whatever else the capricious and arbitrary host will allow. More details are on Wikipedia's Carnelli page. Host: Jonathan Elliott, Sat 4:30pm, Ventura III Room. Host: Jay Friedlander, Sun 1:00pm, Warner Center Room.

Cranium: Be a star performer, word worm, creative cat, or data head in this always enjoyable team party game. Host: Jay Friedlander, Sat 7:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Bananagrams: The “anagram game that will drive you bananas!” wherein lettered tiles are used to spell words. The game is similar to the older Scrabble variant Take Two. Game play involves arranging one's tiles into a grid of connected words faster than one's opponents. The object of the game is to be the first to complete a word grid after the pool of tiles has been exhausted. Host: Jay Friedlander, Sun 9:45am, Beverly Hills Room.

Time's Up/Colander: The first round you can say or do virtually anything to give a clue. Second round is one word plus gestures and humming. Final round is strictly humming and pantomime. Host: Jay Friedlander, Sun 7:00pm, Ventura III Room.

Classic/Introductory Game Track

This mix of word games, classic strategy games, and light party games is a wonderful way to enjoy some long-time favorites of Mensans. Some will be hosted, while others will be played on an informal, pick-up basis depending on interest.

Apples to Apples is a party game designed for four to ten players and played for 30-60 minutes. Each player is dealt seven “red apple” cards; on each card is printed a noun or noun phrase, or possibly a gerund. The judge (a chosen player) draws a “green apple” card on which is printed an adjective (“scary,” “frivolous,” “patriotic,” etc.), and places it face-up on the table for everybody to see. Then each player (except the judge) chooses a card that they think is the best match for the green apple card, and places it face-down. The judge shuffles the red apple cards, reads them (often aloud), and decides which noun is the best match for the adjective. This decision is subjective; the official rules encourage the judge to pick the match that is “most creative, humorous or interesting.” No host: Fri 5:00pm and Sun 3:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Palabra: Cards with color-coded letters create crafty new ways to score. Make words from cards — all the same color scores double. Make “straights” of three or more consecutive letters. Starred cards double or triple the value. Make “flushes” (five or more cards all the same color, no word necessary). And other shrewd and wily ways to score. Host: Ed You, Fri 7:30pm and Mon 10:00am, Beverly Hills Room.

Scrabble is a word game in which two to four players score points by forming words from individual lettered tiles on a game board marked with a 15-by-15 grid. The words are formed across and down in crossword fashion and must appear in a standard dictionary. No host: Sat 9:30am, Beverly Hills Room.

Taboo is a word guessing party game in which a player tries to get his or her teammates to guess words without using the word itself or five additional words listed on the card. The object of the game is for a player to have his/her partner(s) guess the word on his/her card without using gestures and verbal cues. Host: Jay Friedlander, Sat 11:00am, Beverly Hills Room.

Monopoly is a board game named after the economic concept of monopoly, the domination of a market by a single entity. The Monopoly game board consists of forty spaces containing twenty-eight properties (twenty-two colored streets, four railroads and two utilities), three Chance spaces, three Community Chest spaces, a Luxury Tax space, an Income Tax space, and the four corner squares: GO, (In) Jail/Just Visiting, Free Parking, and Go to Jail. Players take turns in order, with the initial player determined by chance before the game. A typical turn begins with the rolling of the dice and advancing their piece clockwise around the board the corresponding number of squares. Host: Jonathan Elliott, Sat 3:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Boggle is a played using a plastic grid of lettered dice, in which players attempt to find words in sequences of adjacent letters. Each player searches for words that can be constructed from the letters of sequentially adjacent cubes, where “adjacent” cubes are those horizontally, vertically or diagonally neighboring. Words must be at least three letters long, may include singular and plural (or other derived forms) separately, but may not use the same letter cube more than once per word. Each player records all the words he or she finds by writing on a private sheet of paper. After three minutes have elapsed, all players must immediately stop writing and the game enters the scoring phase. In the scoring phase, each player reads off his or her list of discovered words. If two or more players wrote the same word, it is removed from all players' lists. No host: Sat 8:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments. Each player begins the game with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns, each of these types of pieces moving differently. Pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under threat of capture (“check”) which cannot be avoided. Host: Jonathan Elliott, Sun 10:15am, Ventura III Room.

Trivial Pursuit: The object of the game is to move around the board by correctly answering trivia questions. Questions are split into six categories, with each one having its own color to identify itself; in the classic version of Trivial Pursuit, the Genus edition, these are Geography (blue), Entertainment (pink), History (yellow), Arts & Literature (brown), Science & Nature (green), and Sports & Leisure (orange). Once a player has collected one wedge of each color (to fill up their playing piece), they make their way toward the hexagonal hub and answer a question in a category selected by the other players. If this question is answered correctly, that player wins the game. No host: Sun 1:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Backgammon is one of the oldest board games for two players. The playing pieces are moved according to the roll of dice, and players win by removing all of their pieces from the board. There are many variants of backgammon, most of which share common traits. Backgammon is a member of the tables family, one of the oldest classes of board games in the world. Although luck is involved and factors into the outcome, strategy plays a more important role in the long run. With each roll of the dice, players must choose from numerous options for moving their checkers and anticipate possible counter-moves by the opponent. No host: Sun 2:00pm, Beverly Hills Room.

Strategy Game Track

These games have some old classics and newer incarnations of resource management style games that will take some time to learn and play.

Settlers of Catan is a resource management game in which players build town and cities adjacent to areas that produce basic building materials every turn depending on a the roll of the dice. The most prolific builders will race to obtain the necessary victory points for the win. There are several variants for this game and final decision as to which will be played will be made during the RG. Host: TBA, Time TBA, Beverly Hills Room.

Puerto Rico takes us back to colonial periods where players build in individual play areas fields and buildings that will in turn allow them to earn money through trade and ship goods for victory points. In each round, players rotate special abilities and actions adjusting turn order and even altering what specific events can happen in each round. The most successful “Puerto Rico” at game end wins! Host: TBA, Time TBA, Beverly Hills Room.

Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is a humorous game in which players are architects working to complete the various parts of Cleopatra's palace. Utilizing resource cards obtained from “the Market,” players race to build the most expensive and valuable components of the Palace. Beware: faster building is possible if players are willing to use corrupt building practices … but that is a dangerous choice as the most corrupt is fed to the alligators before they can reap the rewards of their success! The richest architect left wins the game. Host: TBA, Time TBA, Beverly Hills Room.

Finca is lighter fare for those who enjoy colorful play and fruits! The gameboard of Finca shows the mediterranean island of Mallorca. Players try to crop and deliver the fruits of Mallorca (such as oranges, lemons, almonds, grapes etc.) by means of moving workers on a traditional windmill. Object of the game is to distribute your crop as effectively as possible in order to deliver faster than your opponents. Host: TBA, Time TBA, Beverly Hills Room.

Game Programs

The Big Bang Theory Trivia Game: Use your knowledge of trivia from the TV series to earn character cards for each of the five original characters. Or steal someone else's cards in a head on challenge of Rock/Paper/Scizzors/Lizard/Spock. It's that simple — and you don't have to be a genius! Hosts: Ed You and Viki Kind, Fri 8:00pm, Woodland Hills Room.

Name That Tune: This long-standing RG tradition will be played once more. How quickly can you associate a few notes with the title of a song you haven't heard in xxx years? Host: Alan Stillson, Fri 9:00pm, Warner Center Room.

Bunco is a silly little dice game that you learn in a minute, and you change partners every other minute. A good mixer and a fun time! Host: Madeline Walker, Fri 9:30pm, Ventura III Room.

Werewolves of the L.A. RG: By night, werewolves kill off villagers. By day, angry villagers kill off suspected werewolves. (But oops; sometimes they just kill off “innocent villagers.”) “Werewolf” requires observation, some deduction, and a lot of bold-faced lying. Who will prevail: the werewolves or the villagers? Since an average game take 15-20 minutes, new players can join quickly. (This game is similar to, but better than, “Mafia.”) Host: Ed You, Sat 1:00pm, Ventura III Room.

Lawyer Games: Myron used to run this game of questions and deductions and now Ed You will run it in his memory. Sample: “The music stopped. The woman died. How?” Ask a series of “Yes” and “No” questions to deduce the events of her death. Then start another riddle. Host: Ed You, Sat 2:45pm, Ventura III Room.

Kids' Werewolves and Villagers: See description above. Open to adults, and children age 9 and up. Host: Danila Oder, Sun 3:00pm, Woodland Hills Room.

Original Interactive Word Games: Here's a chance to enjoy some original interactive word games and bring out your inner word geek. These word games are fast moving and easy to play — no tiles, no boards. Host: Alan Stillson, Sun 4:00pm, Woodland Hills Room.