Monday, July 23, 2007

Mensa Select Board Game Session

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Playing at the Mensa Choice Select was interesting. To say it was challenging is putting it mildly. (Mensa Choice Select is a board game session to rate different board games and to award the highest rated board game with the award of "Mensa Select")

When I play with "normal folk"... I wouldn't say that I always win, but I do win often.

But when you play against people with the top 2% of IQ in the population, it's a different matter all together. Now, it must be mentioned that I'm a member of this organization as well. But, the thing is, it's my first time playing at Mensa and I'm not accustomed to the speed of thinking.

(Okay, I admit, I lost all of my games.)

I was totally amazed at how some could grasp the properties of a game very quickly and could devise strategies almost off the cuff to take advantage of situations.

And when you lose, there can be very clear winners. Winning not just by a point or two or merely beating you by 5% of the total score. There can be winners winning by a margin of 100% or even 200%!

Again, game playing isn't just having fun. It's also a learning experience in a safe environment where the consequences are limited till the end of the session. I learnt from a remark that I "cut off my nose to spite my face" in making a game decision. Reflecting back, yes, sometimes I do that in real life. I'd rather forsake some of my own interests not to give an advantage to another. I like that kind of feedback. I should remember what are my own interests are, despite temporarily giving advantage to another.

I'm also pretty good at reading rules and explaining it simply. Perhaps not just because of my intelligence, but also because of my ambition to be a game designer and my experience in playing board games and public speaking skills. But I have to learn to be quicker in devising a strategy to win.

Playing at a Mensa session, you are really humbled. But also, you know that you still have certain skills and gifts that others don't have, despite their intelligence. This was my second time at Mensa, and I really enjoyed the level of conversation, and talking to people ranging in profession from engineers to teachers to non-profit organization workers to students. They're not diabolical evil geniuses with designs to dominate the world. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I heard Bill Gates is reported to have an IQ of 165.)

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