DigiPen instructor Jeremy Holcomb can add a new accolade to his resume. His board game The Duke recently won a Mensa Select seal at the 2014 Mensa Mind Games event.
Only five games each year have the honor of being named a Mensa Select title, a distinction that helps publishers to promote their winning product both to buyers and retail outlets. Past winners have included best-selling games like Trivial Pursuit Apples to Apples, and Magic: The Gathering.
Members of the Mensa high-IQ society select the winning games during a two-day event, in which they play and evaluate the submitted games on factors relating to challenge, fun, and originality. This year’s Mind Games event brought together 250 judges, who selected winners from a pool of 56 total games.
The Duke, published in 2013 by Catalyst Game Labs, is a two-player game that uses wooden tiles on a six-by-six grid. Players begin at opposite ends of the board and maneuver their pieces in an attempt to capture the opponent’s duke tile.
Holcomb, who co-designed the game, says it was built with quick and dynamic play sessions in mind.
“This is something I want to be able to throw in my backpack and take with me and play while I’m killing time,” he says. “It’s a good coffee shop game.”
The Duke has already received some expansion sets for bringing additional themes and gameplay functionality to the core product, and Holcomb says there are still more in development.
“It’s both enormously surprising and honoring to receive a Mensa Select,” Holcomb says. “I’m very pleased about that, and I’m also very pleased to be working with Catalyst.”
Holcomb teaches sophomore-level game mechanics classes at DigiPen. You can read more about his background in game design here.