Game Review: Mindtrap

Mindtrap… now this is a blast from the past. I inherited this game from my cousin when his mom was throwing away things from their basement. I leapt upon the opportunity to own a game my cool older cousin had once shown me, this thinking game that was equal parts awesome and foreboding forbidden knowledge. A game that requires no friends to play. A game that focuses on the power of abstract thinking. A game that often has no real answers. A game that simply cannot be beat by modern competitors because there are no modern competitors. As unique a game as one could ever play. Lets talk about it.


Amazing package design too. This game has pizzazz.

Mindtrap is not unlike a trivia game, where it often relies on esoteric knowledge for players to win. Sometimes knowledge doesn’t matter, like in cases where the card asks you to work something out, but normally it’s so reliant on sideways thinking that a base starting point is necessary. And I honestly have no idea how to play this game. My copy doesn’t have instructions. I don’t know if ANY box of Mindtrap came with instructions, but from what I can gather – there IS a real way to play the game. You simply split into teams and earn points by figuring out the questions. Going back and forth with yes and no answers until someone gets the right twisted response to the question. But fuck that, this game is more fun without teams or scores, I’m going to play it the way I used to when I was 10.

Personally, I love the game. It’s a pretty cool way to waste a few hours, just delving into the cards and attempting to work out the answers. The name Mindtrap is so suitable, because they attempt to trick you into ways of thinking that are constantly shifting. Some questions require you to add information to the question through outside knowledge (like oh, i get it, ice melts – that’s why that rag didn’t blow away and how it got wet). Some require you to take things literally (I guess I’m just supposed to take it at face value that this guy named Sam Shady is telling me the truth). And some just want to mess up your day and rely on ridiculously obscure trivia or facts (like… the reason that Franz Ferdinand died from the gunshot wound he received, was because he was sewn into his suit and his attendants were unable to staunch the blood flow due to the fabric and it’s inability to be removed – I didn’t know that the assassination impetus for the first world war had anything to do with fastidiousness and good tailors until reading it in Mindtrap!).


Who could blame him? That suit is pimp

Some questions in the game do piss me off though. Let’s check some of them out!

A card reads, “Can you translate the following into a sentence? 100204180” one, oh, zero, to, owe, for… ah fuck it, this is going no where. I’m just going to flip over the card. Answer, “I ought naught to owe for I ate nothing.” Now look, I get it. It’s a fine little trivia question except for one thing… NOONE pronounces 1 as I, nobody in the whole world has ever done that unless they’re doing some bullshit puzzle that has no real answer. This was copied verbatim, by the way. Had they instead written the I’s as “one” like “one ought naught to owe for one ate nothing.” it’s the same message but at least they didn’t need to rely on garbage that never ever happened ever to make it work.


^ Me trying to figure out this question ^

Another asks you to count the number of trains a woman will pass on her way to Montreal from Toronto. They give you times and how often a train leaves Toronto. Now look, I admit I got paranoid because this game is constantly trying to trick you into the wrong answers. I decided that, “this train engineer is fucking with this poor woman, he knows damn well that not every train leaving from Toronto is going to Montreal – that’s a ridiculous assumption! The game wants you to call this conductor on his shitty lack of understanding how train stations work.” Well, nope. It’s 100% literal. Apparently this station in Toronto only has trains that go east. Wow.

They also have questions that are just wrong. One reads, “How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?” That’s the exact question, well they say “once because after the first subtraction you’d be taking away 5 from 20. 5 from 15, so on.” well FUCK YOU GAME, watch this. 25-5 & 25-5 & 25-5. Want me to keep going? I didn’t think so… The answer is infinity. It’s semantics of the highest order, but they brought this upon themselves, they can’t just ask you to make assumptions that you no longer have 25s to work with after the first subtraction, we’re working with numbers not apples!

Despite those three examples, I feel like Mindtrap is one of those games that has something for everyone. Even when the game design is lazy (I went through about 50 cards while writing this up, and 2 of the 50 were solved by pushing a cork into a bottle??) it’s still a lot of fun and full of good idea. I love it, but also fuck this game because it’s impossible. But I love it. Buuuuut also fuck it.


Official Mindtrap Tattoo

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