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Mindmatch Association Game: Review, Test and Criticism

Mindmatch Association Game: Review, Test and Criticism

You have the gift! The first sentence of the rules for Mindmatch, a party game for 3-6 people by Ralf zur Linde and Klaus-Jürgen Wrede (YIKES!) sets the bar high for my mind-reading ability. Do I have the gift? Does my mindset match up with my fellow players? I have my doubts after the first few games.

What is the MindMatch board game?

I'm a moderator who must run it over four rounds to get my fellow players – here called receivers – to guess the terms I'm relating as directly as possible.

How does that happen? MindMatch contains 50 double-sided term cards, each containing three terms, of which I choose one as an argument and write it on my splash pad. The upper term is always assumed to be the simplest while the lower term is the most difficult. Let's say I choose the term “cake” and place it in the middle of the table as a starting term for everyone to see. Then I secretly write a word I associate with cake on my board for the first round and place it in front of me. Each of my fellow players has their own round board and can write up to four words each round that they think are on my secret board. Everyone writes these terms on their board and then we reveal them all at the same time.

MindMatch helps us get to know each other

The better you know me, the more you know I associate cake with a cup of coffee. If someone has the word “Coffee” on their board, they can circle the result of the first round at the top of the board. If someone wrote down the only term “coffee” and left the remaining fields blank because they were 100% sure that was the only term that applied to me, the dots next to the empty lines could also be circled, up to a maximum of 3 more dots. So this would be the perfect match for the mind. The more conditions recipients type in, the fewer points they receive. As a moderator, I can circle 1 to 3 dots on my board for the first round, depending on how many players have the word “Coffee” on their cards.

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On to the next round

MindMatch - Article - Image by Huch

But it continues, because now in the second round I have to think about the association with the word “coffee”. This time I secretly write the word “Sugar” on Board 2. The recipients write down their guesses again. Then reveal it again and distribute the points. This time I have more points than in the previous round, which is 2 to 4 for me. In round 3 I chose “bonbon” and realized that no one had written that term. This doesn't score any points for me or the recipients. It's a shame, because I could have scored another 6 points here.

The last round brings a lot of points in MindMatch

In the final round it becomes clear to me why I should focus a little more on the big picture in the chain of connections, because I now have to think of a term that relates to all the terms I have written so far. I chose “birthday party” because, in my opinion, all the terms have something to do with that. If the receivers also see it this way, then as a mediator I can score points again, i.e. 5, 8 or even 12 for more than three games.

Then the next round the next player is average and I'm one of the receivers. This continues until everyone has become a moderator at once and whoever has achieved the most points overall wins.

MindMatch rewards simple association

In the first game, you carelessly associate terms as an intermediary and don't think about the fact that you will eventually have to find a general term that has something to do with everything. If you link too freely, the chances of the recipient typing the term you are looking for will disappear. You shouldn't make it too difficult for your fellow players because you want to get the points yourself. It's always amazing what ideas other players sometimes come up with. When you as a mediator think that a series of concepts is really easy to understand, the recipients are surprised by a completely strange train of thought.

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By the way, everything that is in Duden is allowed as a term. Also proper names, but no translations into foreign languages ​​and words with the same root. As a moderator, you are of course not allowed to use a word in the round that you have already used in one of the preliminary rounds.

Entertaining fun

MindMatch - Box - Image by Huch

The game is very fun in the right round. The panels are useful and the included erasable pens do what they are supposed to do. All you need to do is prepare extra towels. Whether the terms on the cards actually have different levels of difficulty is a matter of opinion. But there are enough to choose from. If you want, the rule also suggests setting conditions. Author Ralph Zur Linde is no stranger to communication games (Mnemonic bridge, Less is more), but co-author Klaus-Jürgen Friede was, first of all, surprising Carcassonne a favour. MindMatch is the third game the two have released together and I think they match up very well because the result is a very entertaining game.

Information about Mind Match

  • Title: Mind Match
  • Publisher: YIKES!
  • Author: Ralf Zur Linde, Klaus-Jürgen Friede
  • Number of players (from to): 3-6
  • Age (from or from to in years): 8
  • Duration in minutes: 30
  • Vintage: 2023