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Subject: Mensa Awards rss

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Julia Schiller
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Seeking information and advice about the following points:

1. Must your game(s) be on sale in the US to be eligible? Are there any other constraints on eligibility, such as when the game was first released?

2. How fierce is the competition? We are thinking, given the cost of entry ($200 US, 6 copies of the game + shipping costs) and given that we are a small self-funded Kiwi start-up, that it makes sense to enter either Komodo or Raid the Pantry but not both in the same year, since they'd have to compete against each other, as well as a horde of other contenders.

3. Even if you don't win one of the five prizes, is there a possibility of your game getting noticed by distributors?

4. Finally, if you have a feel for what sorts of games tend to win and if you have time to peruse our BGG entries, we'd be interested to have your opinion on which one we should enter.

Thanks for your input.

Julia Schiller
Co-Director of SchilMil Games of Auckland
 
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General Norris
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Why aren't you asking Mensa itself?
 
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Don't waste your money shake
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Julia Schiller
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Have done, that's how we know what we know, but they haven't exactly bombarded us with tons of information.
 
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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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Julia,

We entered Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype in 2011 and won.

Mindgames just changed their site, but there was a timing elegibility requirement... I *think* it was that the game had to have been published in the year you enter it... so to enter in 2011, the game had to have been put on the market between April 2010-December 2010.

The games MUST be for sale in the US, and available at retail - at the time ours was on Amazon and from our own site, and we qualified.

Note that if you win you need to send another 10 copies of the game (or was it an additional 3-4... can't remember) and that you MAY NOT use the fact you won the Mensa Select award in marketing outside the USA, since it is a US Mensa award, not an international Mensa award.

As for competition, you have no idea what you are up against and entries vary. One year you might win, another you might face an upcoming blockbuster like Dominion. It is a gamble - not all the players are the same, so there's some local impact. There is a contingent of people that attend every Mind Games everywhere, but it seems a LOT of people that go are local Mensans; thus your pool of judges is quite a bit different year to year.

2012 saw some weird picks over some great titles - even Knizia's entry did not win. I think he has won more Mensa Mind Games than any other designer.

However, despite its derision here on BGG, the Mensa award is the most commercially-recognized award in the US. IT will get you into big box stores if they like it... we were not prepared nor was our packaging suitable for shelves so we were not able to leverage that. As for the impact if you are not chosen, I don't know that impact.

Check out the BGG geeklists of entries/winners for the past few years. Also, get some input from Wei Hwa (a fellow BGGer and Regular attendee at Mind Games) in his write-ups here:

(note he did not finish his 2011 write up and there was no entry for 2012 or 2009)

2010
2008
2007
2006
2005
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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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Also, the Mensa Award is non-transferrable. If another company picks up your game they cannot use the Mensa Mind Games endorsement.

That is why Apples to Apples no longer has it (Mattel bought it from Out of the Box) and Blokus 3D does not have the endorsement, even though Rumis won the Mensa.
 
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Dan Neher
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Julia:

1) The game must be new to the US market or a substantial re-working of an older game. "New to the market" does not necessarily mean widely available. If someone in America can order the game off a website, that may be good enough. One winning game last year came from a one-person outfit in Europe and, as far as I know, still cannot be easily obtained in the US.

2) Your game probably will be up against at least 50 other games.

3) I see plenty of games from the Mensa competition available in specialty toy and hobby stores in the US. But, I suspect that distributors decide which games they like and how those games will be marketed before they submit those games to Mensa. They're hoping the Mensa results will boost sales. I wouldn't count on distributors noticing your game unless it wins.
However, if your game is good, you'll get plenty of word-of-mouth publicity (200+ attendees) and probably several sales, depending on the price. My guess is that the entry fee is worth it for a good game.

4) The games with brief, easily understood rules and, usually, a quick playing time do the best. No genre predominates. Trivia, party, abstract, and light family games all do well. Looking at your games ... geez, I'd love to try them both. Of course, it's easy for me to tell you to spend your $200.00 to submit one. If you do, I'd give the edge to Komodo.

Dan
 
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Ian Toltz
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FWIW, speaking as a self-proclaimed boardgame geek, the Mensa award is at best additional graphical pollution on your packaging, and if I'm on the fence about your game it will actually turn me off of it.

Most of the games I've seen with that award are not games that I would care to play, so I have a fairly low estimation of it.
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Paul Nowak
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The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. - GKC
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Asmor wrote:
FWIW, speaking as a self-proclaimed boardgame geek, the Mensa award is at best additional graphical pollution on your packaging, and if I'm on the fence about your game it will actually turn me off of it.

Most of the games I've seen with that award are not games that I would care to play, so I have a fairly low estimation of it.


The award has value to educators, distributors, and retailers. Since it is judged by a "mainstream" group, as opposed to the Games Magazine, Origins, or Golden Geek awards, it has more clout to retailers.

Its value to individual gamers is of course subjective, but if you call yourself a gamer generally it's not a factor. If a game like Dominion or Magic the Gathering wins, as they did, it generally sweeps several other geekier awards.

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