I was just considering my game of the month. A thought process that regularly distracts me from what I ‘should’ be doing. It is a decision I don’t like to make lightly because that would seriously reduce my day-dreaming about board games. This month the decision is so obvious, it’s Ganz Schön Clever. However, spoiler alert – it may not be.
This preamble continues I’m afraid, as it could’ve easily been my game of the month for February too. You see, I hired it from Lazy Horse Games because I had heard great things about it from fellow bloggers. After a few plays the love affair had begun and I knew I was destined to own this roll and write. Without wanting to spoil my review, this could regularly be my game of the month, as I cannot envisage a time when it isn’t being played in my house. But read on to find out why…
Ganz Schön Clever is a roll and write for 1-4 players. Players are issued a matching printed sheet of paper and a pen and that’s the setup finished! The aim of the game is to have the most points, easy so far!
The first player rolls six coloured dice and chooses one to use on their board, either crossing through the relevant number (yellow, green and blue dice) or adding the number of the dice to their sheet (orange and purple). The white die can be added to the blue to fulfil the placement criteria, or can be used as any other colour as a wild die. As mentioned, there are placement requirements to meet, for example the green must equal or exceed the number that is about to be crossed through. The instructions do a good job of explaining these, so I won’t bore you with the details here.
When choosing a die however, any dice that are lower in number are placed to one side and cannot be rolled again. The active player then rolls the remaining dice again choosing another, They then roll one final time, again selecting a die. All non-active players then get to choose one of the three discarded dice to use themselves. Play then moves around and these steps are repeated.
When all players have had a turn of being an active player the round ends.
Throughout the game players will activate bonuses. These include being able to reuse a dice at the end of the round, re-rolling your dice, or filling in another square on your sheet of a specific colour. Fox heads are another bonus which allow you to add your lowest scoring zone onto your final score, a few of these can make a big difference. At the start of each of the first four rounds you will also get an additional bonus. Depending on player count you will play four, five or six rounds before reaching for the calculator and tallying your scores.
Ganz Schön Clever has an additional solo mode, this is very much beat your previous score, but still very entertaining. The only difference being that as a non-active player you roll the dice and can choose from the three lowest value dice. I don’t do a lot of solo gaming but I do play this! It can be a bit tricky to remember to mark off your rounds as a single player, because you don’t have the same punctuation mark that you do with more players.
What it’s like
Rolling dice is always a pleasure. Luck is often an issue with dice but Ganz Schön Clever has plenty of ways of mitigating that luck and giving you plenty of control. That is just one way this game is pretty clever.
Another way this game earns its name is with the choice of dice. The high numbers are very tempting but this has to be balanced with losing dice for future rolls and giving opponents too many good options at the end of your turn. As a result you will generally chose a low number on your first roll, another lowish number on your second roll, and on your last roll choose a high number. Rerolling when you can’t place a low number early on.
Working towards bonuses is vital. So too is not neglecting any zone so that your fox heads are worthwhile at the end of the game. There is often lovely moments in the game where these bonuses cascade down through one another really filling up the sheet.
The plus one dice bonus is also a fascinating mechanism. Early plays I tended to hold onto these like gold dust for the end of the game. Having been left with some unusable dross on the last few rolls, I am a little more gung-ho with them now.
Although interaction isn’t at its highest, you are invested in other player’s turns. Like vultures circling a fallen prey, you wait to see what might be left for you to utilise yourself.
There isn’t a lot to Ganz Schön Clever, a pad with oodles of sheets, four mini pens and six dice. So very little you can get excited about. The game is certainly the attraction here rather than the aesthetics. It’s lucky because Ganz Schon Clever has a face that only its mother could love!
It is entirely without theme and I don’t mind that. If it did have a theme we would be saying it was pasted on anyway so I admire its stance.
The rules are clear and concise and although it may seem daunting at first glance, once you have got a play under your belt it seems intuitive and the strategy can come to the fore.
I would jokingly say it should come with a calculator as there is a bit of adding up to do at the end – fortunately a mobile phone will come to the rescue nowadays!
Final thoughts on Ganz Schön Clever (That’s Pretty Clever)
If board games were motor cars, I would need a bigger garage. Regardless of storage issues, Ganz Schön Clever isn’t about the styling of your metaphorical sports car. This is the engine that powers it and makes it brilliant. Does it need the bright red paint job and sleek lines? Maybe, maybe not. The engine is not the best-looking bit of the car but you have to admire what it does. It’s pretty clever!
There really is plenty of thinky decision-making beneath this simple looking exterior. This is all parcelled up in a game that is ideal to play, over a morning cup of coffee or after dinner while your food is going down. It’s great at all player counts. A four player game will have a bit more down time, but the game has less rounds so it doesn’t linger too long. It’s the ease of pick up and play coupled with often crunchy decision-making that makes this a great option for the gamers looking for a quick game to play.
In two months I have played Ganz Schön Clever twenty-five times. I’m looking at legacy games and perhaps a couple of quick children’s games to get close to that. Those would also be an accumulation over a long period, I’m not sure any other game could even compete with that many plays in two months. Oh actually, there is one other game that might compete… Doppelt So Clever, the follow up game to this one!
There are plenty of reasons why Jim and I gave this game such glowing praise in Episode One of the Nick and Jim Show. It is quite simply brilliant, and deserves all the praise it gets.
This is a fabulous game that could be considered Yahtzee on steroids. Simple yet strategic. Accessible to newcomers and yet able to satisfy seasoned gamers alike. It really does offer exceptional value for money with the amount of plays you will get from the small box. Ganz Schön Clever really does live up to its name – it is indeed pretty clever!
Artwork and Components
Value for Money
- Quick to play but with plenty of strategy
- Exceptional value
- Simple, but engaging
- Transportable so great for holidays
- Not great looking and without any theme
- You may not feel like you get much for your money
- Some adding up at the end of the game
Need more games?
If you already own Ganz Schön Clever (That’s Pretty Clever!) and enjoy it, or are looking for other inspiration, you might also like these similar games:
- Doppelt So Clever
- Divvy Dice
- Kingdomino Duel
Buy Ganz Schön Clever (That’s Pretty Clever)
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