“ Brand: Mensa / Type: Travel Size Electronic Chess Game „
Mensa chess is a hand held electronic toy in which you can play chess against either the computer or against someone else. The toy comes in a hard plastic case with a flip down see through black shadow screen, the actual game is white plastic with a large screen in the middle. There is a switch on the right hand side in which a backlight can be turned on to allow the icons to be seen. The machine takes 2 x AAA batteries and has a small soft tipped pen which can be round in a little groove on the back right side of the tot. This little pencil is for touching the screen and picking your chess pieces and where to put them. The game can be played with a finger nail if that is preferable. The game The game is the standard 16 piece black v white chess set, I don't want to go into too many rules about the game of chess but hasten to say it uses the normal rules of the game in terms of piece movement, mate, check mate, stale mate etc. As with all chess matches white starts off and you can pick either colour. The toy is then a simple chess set, you can take as long as you want to play your move but the computer takes a maximum of 1 minute so the game never feels slow. In fact the longer the computer player takes to play the better the move you've just made so it's a nice indicator that your doing well. The game has a number of options, you can go back in time to undo a bad move, it lets you go back about 5 moves if desired. This is a useful option if your like me only an average player and want to see where its all gone wrong and was there anything you could have done to change the outcome. This aspect is of course cheating but it's helped me gain a larger perspecitive on the game and start to plan ahead as I play the game. There is also the option for the game to give you a hint if your in trouble, however, sometimes these hints aren't much use. You can also change the level of the game, level 2 is my level I guess that's a competent average player setting and to be honest it normally beats me though I have had a few successes. Level 1 is a little bit too easy for me. You can also start a new game if it's obvious your going to lose and you can change the darkness of the chess piece icons. The game also goes into hibernation if not played with for a few minutes but turning the toy on again returns you back to your previous game so nothing is lost. Overall I'm enjoying playing this game, the toy is about the right size as it fits comfotably in your hand and has about the right level of skill. The icons and chess board and well lit up and use of the pen stops the screen from becoming scratched also the shadowscreen helps protect the screen. All in all, for about £12 this has helped me in my chess playing and maybe I'm a little better at the game than I was. The MENSA part of the toy is a bit of a fudge because the instruction manual comes with a few typical MENSA questions other than that there is little to associate the game with the institution.