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Ultimate Mind Games (PlayStation 2)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

Ultimate Mind Games is a collection of mini games that can either be played in story mode or individually.

In story mode the player takes the role of a child with special powers, because their parents can move between board game world, Brun, and another they too have this ability. On returning to the Brun one day the player is met by their friend Mana who informs them that the town is deserted because they have been invaded. The whole country has been invaded by the kingdom of Jejune and board games are banned!
Mana takes the player to resistance HQ and explains that, because the player is so good they must tour round all the towns on the world map, play games in each location improve morale and weaken the invaders grip. More money can be earned by gambling or by taking part in the Sunday matches at the coliseum.
Time in Brun is measured in weeks. Every Monday supporters of the resistance will pay in their money, on the same day the Jejune invaders will increase their hold in all regions by five percent. Money earned can be used to lobby citizens in a region to support the resistance, this is the game mechanic that allows players who are bad at one of the featured games, say Chess, to take control of that region without having to win at that game.

The games in the package are:
  • Kalah: an ancient African game, there's a good description of Kalah here
  • Crystals: (aka Pyramid) a strategy game played on a 5x5 board with fifty-five crystals. The objective is to capture space and build upwards, the player who plays the most pieces wins.
  • Capture the Flag: is, according to the game's description, a Kogun variant of Shōgi, Shōgi as we all know is a Japanese board game closely related to Western chess and Chinese xiangqi.
  • Fan Tan: (aka Seven's, Parliament or Domino) is a card game in which the seven of each suit is laid on the table and the players take turns to play cards in sequence down to the ace and up to the king.
  • Seven Bridge: is a mahjong game played with cards
  • Chinese Checkers: is a game like these.
  • Chess: the champion of both strategy and board games, one of those games that need not be described here.
  • Draughts: (aka Checkers), if chess is the champion of strategy games then this is the prince, it's another board game that needs no introduction.
  • Domination: is another variant of Shōgi, that uses just the pawn and promoted pawn pieces. These move like rooks in chess and the objective is to capture pieces by surrounding them, the first player with three of fewer pieces loses.
  • Backgammon: considered by some to be a game with the perfect balance of skill and luck Backgammon, of which there are many implementations is another board game that needs no description.
  • Four-In-A-Row: is a game of Connect Four.
  • Page One: (aka American Page One or Pagat) is a card game in which each player starts with six cards and attempts to play them all onto a central stack. Cards can be disposed of if they match by number or suit.
  • Ponnuki Go: a simplified version of Go that focuses on the number of pieces captured.
  • Pairs: is a Concentration type of game played with Mah Jong tiles instead of cards
  • Leap Frog: is a dice game played on a Shōgi board. Dice, actually gold pieces, are thrown in order to determine how many squares a player can move. For each circuit the player makes their piece advances in rank. A piece that is passed by another player loses one rank. The first player to achieve the rank of Emperor wins.
The menu carousel has a section which describes the rules for each game, another which describes the tactics to be employed, one each for the story mode and freeplay, and finally a section for game configuration options

Screenshots

Ultimate Mind Games PlayStation 2 Here we are at Resistance HQ. All the game controls are on the left
Ultimate Mind Games PlayStation 2 The game's title screen
Ultimate Mind Games PlayStation 2 This is the game selection screen. The same format is used for Rules, Tactics and Freeplay. In story Mode it's also used as the Practice menu
Ultimate Mind Games PlayStation 2 The game's Story Mode starts like this with a series of short pieces of text beneath a blank screen.
Unless the player's prepared it's easy to think the disc is faulty

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piltdown_man (70795) added Ultimate Mind Games (PlayStation 2) on May 28, 2014