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Playing it very smart: Mensa has picked its ‘Select’ award-winning board games for 2019

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High IQ-celebrating society Mensa has named the five clever-clogs board games awarded its coveted Mensa Select badge for 2019.

The award has been running almost 20 years, first being handed out to the likes of Taboo, Scattergories and Trivial Pursuit in 1990.

Since then, games such as Magic: The Gathering (1994), Apples to Apples (1999), Niagara (2005), Hive (2006), Dominion (2009), Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle (2017) and Azul (2018) have been among the five titles celebrated annually as being “original in concept, challenging and well designed”.

The winners are picked by 300 members of Mensa – which only accepts those who score in the top 2% of an intelligence test – during a 40-hour gaming marathon known as Mind Games.

This year’s Mensa Select inductees include Victorian Masterminds, the long-awaited collaboration between Blood Rage creator Eric Lang and 7 Wonders designer Antoine Bauza, and Planet, the intriguing world-building tile-layer from Photosynthesis (which won the Mensa Select last year) studio Blue Orange with actual magnetic planets.

There’s also Gizmos, the latest eye-popping game from Sushi Go! creator Phil Walker-Harding, and Gunkimono, the rethemed and revamped incarnation of tight tile-layer Heartland.

Returning to the line-up was designer Shem Phillips, who picked up his second consecutive Mensa Select for Architects of the West Kingdom, having been awarded one last year for Raiders of the North Sea. West Kingdom and North Sea publisher Renegade marked its fifth year in the shortlist, with past winners including 2017 deckbuilder Clank! and 2015’s Lanterns: The Harvest Festival.

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