‘Are You a Mastermind?’ is the slogan that is so casually stamped front and centre of Mensa: Riddles and Conundrums’ box. And SPOILER: I definitely am not. If you open it up and manage to take the cards out with no struggle, then you are already a step ahead of me. I did not even realise that the box was designed to allow you to take the cards out one at a time, and like a complete neanderthal, I brutishly decided ‘ah, you must have to rip it open’.
Do Not be a Neanderthal, Do Not be a Me!
So, you were clever enough to realise the cards are supposed to be slid out one at a time. You passed the test! If only the Mensa: Riddles and Conundrums criteria was actually as easy to hit, everyone would be masterminds. Well, everyone besides me.
Riddle Me This!
In the Mensa: Riddles and Conundrums box, you will find 100 challenges of various types across 49 cards. You will also find 1 very poorly written ‘introduction’ card. The puzzles in question range from Mensa visual puzzles, logic and deduction riddles and a couple of number puzzles. The challenges themselves are printed on large-format cards (roughly twice the size of a playing card). The cards are plastic and seem to be of decent quality.
The cards are waterproof and feel like you could write on them in marker and easily wipe them clean. However, there is no information with this puzzle pack, so I was wary to try. I could only find a purple felt tip pen but can inform you that it wiped clean pretty well.
A Prudent Question is One Half of Wisdom
Francis Bacon – Worlds’ tastiest name.
I had a great little evening smashing through all these challenges. I went in with confidence, with gusto, with steely determination! Despite the aforementioned box incident. Which we shall speak no more of!
Each card has between 1 and 4 challenges on them, depending on the size of course, and on the reverse is the answers. So, there is no flicking to the end to check answers, or a need to wait until you are finished to see your results.
I did not get all the challenges correct, nor did I get a lot of them correct. Nor did I even get half of them correct. What I can say however is even though I did not hurdle over them with ease, the answers are mostly well explained. This means that for the most part, the questions did not feel cheap, they were simply out of my cognitive abilities to answer.
There were a few challenges in Mensa: Riddles and Conundrums that seemed to deviate from the logical assessment, and just flat-out pokes fun of your lack of common knowledge. For example, take the following letters, and arrange them to spell out the name of a work of literature:
And just for your information, there are THREE of these anagrams to work out in order to complete this ONE challenge.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention, one of them is a French piece of literature, one is middle eastern, and one is American. Good luck trying to figure out which is which. There is no possible way of solving this challenge unless you know of ‘A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu’. You know, that massively famous French book we have all read? Oh, you have not read it? Pfft! Peasant!
Evolution of the Neanderthal…
Do not let a couple of pokes at general knowledge put you off though. I did enjoy putting myself to the challenge of a good 90% of the puzzles here. Even the questions that shone a light on my ignorance of the world gave me a little breathing room between the mental turbulence between the cards.
I appreciate that this was probably not designed to be finished in one sitting, but it is easily done within a couple of hours. Unless you are some sort of born prodigy, in which case just apply straight to Mensa. The box is designed so that you can slip one card out, and when you're finished with it, slide it into the back. This keeps all the cards nicely in order too.
Replayability is a bit lacking for obvious reasons. It is the perfect little thing to regift though or to buy as a little gift for someone.
The Test Results…
I bet you are all dying to know what I scored in total in Riddles and Conundrums. Mental drum roll, please…
37/100 was my overall score. Is this average? Below average? I could not tell you. This brings me to my biggest gripe. There is nothing to explain the results. No info sheet to compare yourself to, no contact info for Mensa in case you magnificently score highly, not even a card to tell you not to feel bad for failing to evolve from a primitive state.
All in all, I still enjoyed going through this little box of challenges. Riddles and Conundrums are cheap, snappy, and provided my brain with the workout it was so desperately in need of. Now to do something about my body…