At its very core, an ideal game should always contest and compete with a player’s cognitive skills. This is true for all games, no matter what genre they may fall in. From the high-action first-person shooters to the atmospheric modern puzzle games today, and even traditional parlor games, the best games will demand focus and concentration to make victories much sweeter. With that said, here are a few games that will test your mettle and intuition at its peak.

Texas Hold ‘Em Poker

A few card games can be quite the showcase of one’s intellectual prowess when it comes to games. They can be deceptively simple, such as baccarat or blackjack. But if employing a few strategies against the competition sounds exciting, a player should definitely start playing Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.

It can be difficult to understand at first! But as a player progresses through the game, they will eventually learn which paths to take when spending or saving their chips. Should a beginner want to test out how games would go, playing a few hands at trusted online poker platforms would go a long way. After developing enough confidence, they can try actual poker tables, where their skills will be pushed to their limits.

From calling and raising bets to folding at the right time (and at the right amount) and most especially reading the faces of other players across you, strategy must be used to its limits. While winning and remembering hands are part of the game, the bigger goal in Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is the chips. If luck is not on your side, then it would be brilliant to mitigate a poker player’s losses instead, which is all a part of effective strategy employment, of course.


Another classic game that requires intense brainwork is chess. For such a simple game, the focus behind its design is quite elaborate compared to the average board game, just look at the knight with its horse head! Apart from their visual distinctions, every piece can only be moved in certain ways, making chess a game that demands foresight and exploiting the tiniest mistake an opponent makes.

This ancient game, dating back to the 6th century, still holds up today and is a testament to how timeless effectively employed strategies can still win. In Ancient India, it was once used to educate kings and generals to move armies across the battlefield. Fortunately, it has proved engaging enough that the game crossed over from military education to a casual pastime.

Today, this classic game sees many uses across many sectors, not just games and sports. Academics have broken down how phases of a usual chess match would run and what advantages would work in certain situations. So there are a number of ways and situations to consider and be mindful of when approaching that coveted checkmate!

Sid Meier’s Civilization

A popular modern definition of games, comes from a game developer, at least, from what most pundits would say. Sid Meier famously created Civilization, a video game that popularized the 4X genre. The acronym stands for explore, expand, exploit, exterminate. These objectives are taken into an interesting premise. The strongest civilizations throughout history are pitted against each other so that they can rewrite their fate, proving that they should be the world leaders and role models that will carry the entire human race in the future.

As anyone could imagine, deciding which direction an entire civilization would move is difficult and is often meticulous. Sid Meier’s Civilization takes everything into account, but to simplify, a civilization should forge its path in one or, ideally, all victories that the game provides. As of the sixth iteration of the franchise, it is possible to win the game through military, religious, diplomatic, cultural, and scientific victories.

For players to satisfy these victory conditions, civilizations should focus on gathering resources that would lead to the next stages. Skilled players tend to invest early into upgrades and buildings that would exponentially help their civilization reach their goals faster. In addition to the basic upgrades to augment resource production, these civilizations also have their own traits that would help them thrive and survive. For example, India has the ability to cultivate religious gains substantially through upgrades that are only available to them.

People versed in video games who want to test their skills in employing their strategies and perhaps, improve, could find a welcome challenge in Sid Meier’s Civilization. For an even more competitive experience, crafting and testing relationships in multiplayer will also test. It is a demanding but rewarding game that will test a player’s patience, but most importantly, their creativity.


There are a few video games that can weave creative puzzles paired with captivating visuals that tell some of the most impressive and modern narratives told in the medium today. Some of the best out there are the Portal series or The Witness but one particular game has been gathering attention for its ingenuity. Cocoon is the latest game designed by Jeppe Carlsen, notable for creating games such as Limbo and Inside. While Limbo and Inside has been well-reviewed for their emotional pull and creative puzzles, Cocoon might be Carlsen’s most compelling work.

Its premise alone could be amazing for players since Cocoon takes place in a mysterious but exciting setting. Players get to explore the remnants of an ancient alien civilization that the main character carries on his back through an orb. These orbs are seemingly keys to unlocking a cosmic mystery that left the world in an intriguing state. It is wonderfully strange to explore, especially since the civilization has left ancient alien machinery that is a joy to learn how it works.

The game has been highly reviewed by both players and critics, citing that the challenging puzzles are an incredible way to tell the stories behind the ancient alien race. Combat is also a high point, which could be considered an outlier in most games in the genre. Overall, Cocoon is an intense but beautiful game that should be considered by players who want to experience a challenge that pushes the video game medium to its limits.

From the classics to modern video games, there are always challenges that will help shape the mind. Much like in real life, decisions should be given thought in video games. Mistakes will be made, of course, but the great thing about these decisions is that learning is not far behind. By remembering these decisions in video games, it has an incredible potential to sharpen a person’s decision-making skills, and with a much quicker response too.