SNAP Review – Mind Space

Mind Space

[Andrew] Anitra, sometimes it feels like there’s too many things that I want to do, and not enough time to do them all!

[Anitra] Wait, are you talking about life, or boardgames?

[Andrew] Yes? Maybe both?


[Anitra] That’s the idea behind Mind Space, a game for 1-5 players by Nao Shimamura and published by AllPlay.

The box says it’s for ages 11 and up and takes about 30 minutes to play.


[Anitra] So let’s talk about the art in this little tiny box.

[Andrew] There are two kinds of cards, these Pursuit cards that show simple shapes made up of four or five blocks, and Goal cards with really cool illustrations by Julianne Griepp.

[Anitra] There are also five vibrantly colored dry erase markers (plus black), and a bunch of these little player boards. They’re oddly square brains and scoreboards.

[Andrew] Oh, don’t forget the dice! This is a roll-and-write game. The dice colors match the markers.

3 rows of goal cards. First row: Sympathy, Overachiever, Stressed Out, Empathy, Achiever. Second row: Therapy, Passion Project, The Perfect Day, Serenity, Soulmate. Third row: Security, A Life of Peace, Minimalism, Balance, Adventure.
Goal Cards


So, now we know Mind Space is a roll-and-write game. What are the mechanics, and how do we play?

To start the game, every player gets a brain board and a scoreboard. Set out three goal cards (A, B, and C) for everyone to see. Then set out six Pursuit cards in a line: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6! That sixth card goes face-down, so that the simple two-block shape is showing.

One player rolls the dice, and then places them on the corresponding spots in the Pursuit line – any 1s on the first card, 6s on the last card, etc.

Every player can choose one shape and draw it on their board in a color matching a die that’s assigned to that shape. You can mirror or rotate your chosen shape to fit on your board. Everyone can choose any of the five dice they want for this step – you’re not limited by what other players choose.

When everyone has drawn their shape, flip the number five card over onto the number six pile, shift all the cards down by one, and place a new card in the number one spot. Roll the dice and play another round.

After the first round, you must place your chosen shape touching another shape on the board – and it can’t touch a shape of the same color.

After 12 rounds, the deck runs out and it’s time to score. You’ll earn points for every section of the brain you’ve managed to fill in completely.

Colors and Scoring

[Anitra] But let’s talk about the colors! Each one has a different significance, and not all of them actually score for you.

Green is MONEY. When you draw a green shape, you get to fill in a coin at the bottom of your scoresheet. Coins can be spent to fill in extra squares, choose a different color for a shape, or even draw an extra shape. You’ll also earn a coin every time you completely fill one of the five brain sections.

Pink is ROMANCE. At the end of the game, you’ll score points for every non-pink shape that matches a pink shape.

Orange is FRIENDSHIP . Every time you draw an orange shape, cross off the next box in the friends section of your scoreboard to get more points.

Purple is HOBBIES. Since hobbies are better when you share them with your friends, purple earns points when it’s adjacent to orange squares.

Blue is SELF IMPROVEMENT. You’ll want at least one blue square in each of the five brain sections, otherwise you’re going to lose some points.

At the end of the game, you’ll also lose points for the section of your brain board that has the most empty spaces.

We also mentioned that there are three goals in the game. Each one is related to colors, shapes, or sections, like “Achiever” (fill a row or column completely) or “Soulmate” (at least one pink square in each of the five sections). The first player to complete a goal gets a higher point value, and flips the card. Anyone who completes the goal later gets the lower point value.

Compare scores at the end of the game and see who made the best use of their “mind space”!

You can also play Mind Space solo, trying to get the highest score you can while slowly flipping over the goals, whether you’ve achieved them or not.

Mind Space game after 5 turns


[Anitra] So that’s how to play the game. What did we expect from this little box?

[Andrew] AllPlay has been doing a good job cramming a lot of game into a small box. I was interested to see what this box would hold. The front of the box is… weird. And it has this weird ’70s feeling art on it, I don’t know, that’s what I got from it. So I was definitely curious about this one.

[Anitra] I usually like roll-and-write games, and although this is a weird theme – fitting shapes into your mind? – I was excited to try it.


[Andrew] And what surprised us about it?

[Anitra] My first surprise was to realize that I had actually played this game before! It was originally a Japanese game, with a very similar theme about fitting everything into your life, except it was themed as a tiny apartment and mats on the floor. AllPlay did a really good job keeping most of the theme intact, but changing it just enough to make sense for a Western audience.

The dry erase markers work really, really well, although the erasers themselves are not great. It is a little awkward during the game to sometimes have to wait your turn for a marker, but it’s one of the ways that the game creates a little bit of player interaction.

Speaking of player interaction, when I tried the solo mode, I did enjoy the puzzle, but I missed the way we would cheer for certain shapes to come up and match with the dice, or being able to look over and appreciate the elegance of someone else’s strategy that might look very different from my own.

[Andrew] I found the game a little weird to learn. It took a few plays, but I really did end up liking the dynamic of how the various colors worked to reward you as the player, and then you could use those rewards for other things.

There is a lot of strategy in this little tiny box. I really love it when a theme interacts with the mechanics. With that part, I thought they did an all right job. But I can also see how this theme could be changed, just like you said, into something similar but different, like an apartment. That part, I wasn’t crazy about.


[Andrew] So, what do you think? Do we recommend Mind Space?

[Anitra] It’s an interesting theme, and for anyone who enjoys polyomino puzzles, there’s plenty to do in this game. Because of the theme, this game will mostly appeal to adults, who are used to trying to fit everything into their lives, but kids definitely can play.

[Andrew] We’re going to give Mind Space 3½ squares out of 5.

And that’s Mind Space, in a SNAP!

Find it on Amazon or direct from AllPlay.

Mind Space

The Family Gamers received a copy of Mind Space from AllPlay for this review.

This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

SNAP review music is Avalanche, provided courtesy of You Bred Raptors?

Mind Space - Fitting it all in
  • Squares


Age Range: 11+
Number of Players: 1-5
Playtime: 20-30 minutes