National Day 2020, Board Games with Mensans Cover Image

National Day 2020, Board Games with Mensans

| 6 min read

Had an enjoyable afternoon of board games with some Mensa friends on National Day holiday today. Just a small group, five of us, due to covid restrictions.

One is a seasoned board game enthusiast with his house full of games. Another is a psychology major, an inquisitive mind always with some quirky strategies up her sleeve. Not forgetting the dark horse, both literally and figuratively whom I have been playing more often with. Last but not least, is a new friend, an aspiring Mensan who is planning to take the Mensa Singapore Admissions Test (MSAT), but wasn't able to do so yet because tests have been postponed indefinitely due to due to the covid safety measures. (Update: Tests are now back, in smaller groups)

Shit Happens


We started off trying out this wacky party game Shit Happens. It's a pretty straightforward game with a very simple setup, just a deck of cards. Each card contains a shitty situation, a pictorial illustration, and a Misery Index number, ranging from 1 to 100.

The Misery Index is aggregated from the inputs of a panel of serious, highly qualified grown-ups, including marriage counsellors, therapists, career counsellors and social workers; collectively representing over 150 YEARS of clinical psychiatric experience.


The game starts with everyone drawing 3 cards and putting the cards face up in front of them, arranged by the Misery Index in ascending order, and will be referred to as the Lane of Pain.


The objective of the game is to be the first player to accumulate 10 cards in your own Lane of Pain. To win a card, players must guess correctly where the card belongs to, within their Lane of Pain.

For example, with the 3 starting cards in the Lane of Pain, there is only 4 possible options (A, B, C, D) where the card can fit into, as shown in the example image below.


Turn order

Next, I will explain the turn order. The starting player will draw a card and read out the shitty situation, without revealing the Misery Index number. The player to the left has to guess the proper place of the card in his own Lane of Pain. If he guesses correctly, he wins the card and the turn ends. If not, the next player to the left gets the chance to guess.

This continues on, until someone guesses correctly and wins the card. Or if the card went one round and returned back to the player who read the card, the card is discarded and the turn ends.

Once the turn of the starting player is over, the player to his left starts their turn, similarly by drawing a card and reading out the shitty situation. This cycle goes on, until someone accumulates 10 shitty cards and wins the game.

Short review

Overall, it's a pretty light and entertaining game, but it lacks replayability because the cards are fixed and can be recalled/memorised. Nonetheless, it's still a fun game to try out in board game cafes. As a party game just for shit and giggles, I would say it does it's job.

One thing to note, there could be some cultural differences for players living further away from the West, where the game is designed. I shall not elaborate on this, so as not to give any spoilers, just take note of the context and you will be fine. Also, the game is rated 18+, so might not be suitable for kids.



Another new game we tried is Bodyguard, designed locally by Mr Alvin Tan HG, founder of Mind Café. It is a really fun deduction game, quite similar to Bang! plus a tiny bit of Secret Hitler.


Can't find any information about the card sleeve size online, so will include it here.

There are 80 cards in total and they fit into Standard Card Game Size sleeves, 63.5mm x 88mm or 2 1/2" x 3 1/2". These sleeves from Fantasy Flight Supply fit them well.


There are 3 roles in this game, the President, his Bodyguard, and a bunch of Assassins.

In each round, there is one President, one (or zero) Bodyguard, and the remaining players are all assassins. The game supports 4 to 8 players, so more players, more assassins.

There are X rounds in each game, which is determined by the number of players. So for a 5 players game, there are 5 rounds. This is to allow every player to be the President exactly once.

The draw pile consists of 44 hit cards and 27 action cards, a total of 71 cards.


A round starts with the President issuing role cards. Since there is only one bodyguard card among all other assassin cards, the President is simply just choosing his bodyguard. The President can also choose not to have a bodyguard and issue everyone else the assassin role.

Role cards are issued face down, players shall only check their own role card, so only the President knows the roles of everyone else.

6 cards from the draw pile are dealt to each player as their starting hand.


The President starts his turn first, and passes on in a clockwise direction (leftwards). On their turn, that player must either play or discard a card (face down) from their hand, then draw a card from the deck.


As mentioned earlier, there are two kinds of cards that can be played, action cards and hit cards. For action cards, follow the ability stated on the card.

Here are some examples of action cards abilities

Hit cards are used for attacking other players. There are 4 different types, each in a different colour as shown in the image above, Location, Time, Weapon, Weather.

To attack another player, place the hit card face up in front of the targeted player. Note that a player cannot have more than 1 hit card of the same type/colour in front of him, so the attacking hit card has to be of a different type/colour.

A player gets eliminated once there are 4 different hit cards in front of him. Roles of eliminated players are not revealed until the round is over.

In addition to these, the President has a special ability which can be used once, per round of game. During his turn, the President can activate this ability to collect back all the role cards and reassign them to each player.

Win Conditions

Lastly, let's look at the win conditions.

Mensa Version

So far so good? Well... not if you are playing with Mensans. Identifying one bodyguard doesn't sound challenging enough, so two of us decided to make things a little more interesting by not looking at our own role cards and attempt to deduce everyone's role. This adds a totally new dimension to the game, Inception style multi-level thinking.

Are you playing with ???
An Assassin who knows he's an Assassin
An blind Assassin who correctly deduced he's an Assassin
An blind Assassin who incorrectly deduced he's the Bodyguard
A Bodyguard who knows he's the Bodyguard
A blind Bodyguard who incorrectly deduced he's an Assassin
A blind Bodyguard who correctly deduced he's the Bodyguard
An blind Assassin who incorrectly deduced he's the Bodyguard and pretending to be an Assassin
A blind Bodyguard who correctly deduced he's the Bodyguard and pretending to be an Assassin

It was a chaotic mess, strong air of suspicion and preemptive play. No one really has a grasp of what's going on, even the President isn't exactly sure whether the Bodyguard has correctly deduced his role. The whole situation was so perplexing, the President decided to activate his special ability and reassigned the role cards. The air of suspicion intensified, and there were speculations whether it was just a ruse and roles did not change.

While playing with reduced access to information is one way to make things more interesting without changing the rules, e.g. not looking at role cards, blindfold chess, etc. Once in a blue moon, we tweak the rules to make things more exciting, and affectionately call it the Mensa version.

The End (for now)

All good things must come to an end, and before we knew it, our time was up and we got to go. So that's all for the adventure today, we had a great time and really look forward to playing together again.