Go Mental

Which of these doesn’t belong?

guessing
challenge
knowledge
steal

Actually, if you’re playing Go Mental from HL Games, they all belong. So that was a trick question, is what it was.

Go Mental is a trivia game. Not to trivialize it in any way. Because, despite what you think you know about trivia games, this one’s unique. And it comes with 1000 questions. That’s one thousand. On 500 cards. And that’s a lot of cards. But it’s what’s on the cards, of course, that really counts.

Let me give you a better example. Not a trick question. A real one. From the actual game its veritable self. I begin:

?
Octopus
Squid
Scorpion
Spider

So, which of those things, as they frequently ask on Sesame Street, is not like the others? Did you say Octopus? Nope. Squid is the answer. Why? Because the other three have eight legs or tentacles. And the squid has, how many? That’s right – ten.

Harder than you thought. And maybe you learned something, even.

The game is a race, like so many games of the trivia-type. And there’s a race-track-like board. With 30 spaces. So you definitely get that race-like feeling – that sense of getting ahead and falling behind.

Then there are the Challenge Cards. Suppose you get a question, and you’re not sure what the answer is. Or better yet, you get a question and you’re pretty sure that a certain someone does not know the answer. So, you play a Challenge Card. If you’re right about the other person, and he doesn’t know the answer, he has to move backwards. Four spaces! O, the humanity! On the other hand, if he does in fact know the answer, he gets to move forward four spaces. Ha ha on you!

O, and the Steal Cards. Similar to the Challenge Cards in their card-likeness. But markedly different in drama and overall glee-potential. See, when it’s someone else’s turn, and you think you know the answer, and this someone else has not yet said anything answer-like, you may slap down one of your Steal cards, shout “Steal,” and get to answer the question yourself. Now, when you Steal, you have to get both parts of the question right. That is, you have to not only identify which of the four items doesn’t belong, but you also have to explain why. If you are correct on both counts, you get to move four spaces closer to the goal. Wrong? About either part? Guess what?

The Steal and Challenge cards are brilliant innovations in themselves, adding significantly to the excitement of the game, keeping everyone involved regardless of whose turn it is.

In theory, a game should last about a half-hour. The manufacturers even include a one-minute sand timer to use when people need the hint. There are enough pieces (little plastic brains, no less), to keep 6 players going, mentally speaking. You can also play in teams, which makes everything so much more party-like. Best thing about playing in teams, you don’t have to take your own ignorance so personally.

Should you be so motivated and wish to include those of the younger persuasion (as young as 8), HL Games offers a supplemental deck of “Fundamental” questions, making it possible for the kids to Go Mental, so to speak, with or without you. O, the fun of it all!

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