High-IQ society Mensa reveals its top board games of 2024 after four-day judging marathon

Mensa, the membership society for people with exceptionally high IQ, has revealed the clutch of games receiving its Mensa Select seal this year.

The games were voted on by hundreds of Mensa members attending the society’s Mind Games competition in mid-April, across a four-day judging marathon covering board and card games released over the preceding year.

This year’s winners comprised In the Footsteps of Darwin, Wandering Towers, Abducktion, The Vale of Eternity and First in Flight: A Historical Aviation Board Game.

Games are judged on aesthetics, instructions, originality, play appeal and play value, Mensa says, with the award aiming to highlight games that are original in concept, challenging and well-designed.

Barnes & Noble and other major retailers have previously given special consideration to games bearing the Mensa Select seal, while winning games are also featured by American Mensa’s official online retailers and on its website.

In The Footsteps of Darwin
Photo Credit: Hachette Boardgames

Hive, Magic: The Gathering, and Azul have all been previous winners of the award, which has been awarded since 1990.

Renegade Game Studios has had a particularly impressive run with Mensa Select winners, having scooped an award again this year for The Vale of Eternity.

The publisher previously won in 2022 with Mystic Library, had two winners in 2021, 2019, 2018 and at least one winner every year since 2015. The award was cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s competition marks the second year in a row that Hachette Boardgames has picked up an award for one of its published games, with In the Footsteps of Darwin following the success of Akropolis in 2023.

Genius Games, which also won a Mensa Select in 2022 with Genotype, picked up an award again this year for First in Flight.

This year’s winners in full:

Very Special Games
A spatial logic-focused strategic duck kidnapping game which plays in 15 minutes.

First in Flight: A Historical Aviation Board Game
Genius Games
A fast-paced historical aviation game where players take on the role of a pioneer vying for heavier-than-air flight, balancing risks and rewards in the workshop and test flights.

In the Footsteps of Darwin
Hachette Boardgames
Tile drafting and set collection game in which players are junior naturalists, who have just arrived aboard the Beagle to help Charles Darwin finish his book On the Origin of Species.

The Vale of Eternity
Renegade Game Studios
Card game which sees players hunt and tame fantastical creatures.

Wandering Towers
Capstone Games
A magical race game of moving wizards and the towers they occupy.

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