Review: MindTrap II
MindTrap is a 'logic'/puzzle game made by some Canadians. It features several hundred cards intended to make you hate yourself, the creators of MindTrap, and humanity in general. Unlike the original MindTrap, however, MindTrap II provides a break from this self-flagellation in the form of visual/spatial puzzles and the relatively straightforward "Brain Cramp" mind teasers.
- Released: 1997
- Publisher: Pressman
- Played: March 2012
- Players: 2 Teams
- Recommended Age: 12 and up
- Website: mindtrapgames.com
- Price: $40 on Amazon.com, $2 at Goodwill (guess where we bought it)
The players are divided into two teams, blue and...teal? I think they were going for green, and didn't quite make it. In any case, the object of the game is to proceed along the game board by solving puzzles presented on the game's three colored (corresponding to the spaces on the board) decks of cards: purple, pink, and blue.
Purple cards are the core of MindTrap, and require the player to engage in deductive reasoning to solve a mystery of some kind, typically involving a murder or some other crime. As you will discover if you make the mistake of playing MindTrap, the Isle of Begile (MindTrap's fictional setting) is home to a motley assortment of deranged killers, sociopaths, and a single inept detective who rivals Sherlock Holmes himself in his ability to get cases thrown out for poor reasoning and lack of proper procedure. Somewhat mitigating the barely-restrained insanity of the purple deck is the presence of diamond symbols on most cards, indicating that the victim may ask simple yes/no questions about elements of the mystery.
Blue cards, or "Brain Cramp" cards, are (mostly) straightforward mindbenders, requiring standard mathematics and logic. As a result, they tend to be less frustrating than their obtuse purple counterparts. In a few cases, however, the blue cards venture into stranger territory, such as requiring you to rearrange lines within an equation to alter the result. Generally, however, the blue cards feel fair and interesting, and provide a welcome break from the core deck.
Pink cards are visual puzzles, divided into three categories: identify a picture (from a close-up portion); convert a stick puzzle from one form to another; and build a shape out of a selection of tangrams. There is very little room for complaint regarding the pink cards, the occasional ambiguous wording aside.
In an effort to mitigate the frustration of the purple deck, we implemented a single house rule, which we dubbed "The Bullshit Scale." In short, the victim may inquire at any time what number on the scale the current question corresponds to. They may ask this regardless of whether the card includes the diamond symbol. The scale runs from 1 (straightforward) to 5 (you are going to die a little inside when you inevitably give up and hear the answer).
MindTrap will make you regret playing MindTrap. The blue (mind teaser) and pink (visual) decks make the experience generally tolerable (especially compared to the first edition of MindTrap) but the primary deck is pure evil and has the ability to destroy minds, souls, and friendships. The experience bears a startling similarity to reading a book of puns in one sitting. You have been warned.
On a scale of 1 to 5, we give MindTrap II a very low score.
We were first introduced to MindTrap (the original version) a few years back by Shane "Captain Misc." Hosea. In its original form, MindTrap consisted solely of the purple deck, and as such was almost completely unplayable by mere mortals. MindTrap II is a major upgrade, but fails to entirely avoid the pitfalls of the original.