Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever Review

Released 2018
Designer Wolfgang Warsch
Publisher Schmidt Spiele (Website)
Stronghold Games (Website)
Players 1 – 4 (Have been solo playing a lot)
Playing Time Solo with App – 5 min
Physical Game – 8-10 min per player a good guide
Category Roll and Write
Combination Builder
Push your luck
Similar to Worker Placement
BoardGameGeek View on BGG

You just roll the dice and fill in numbers, where is the fun in that?  Wait, how did you score 4x my score?

Roll and Writes continue to come out at an amazing rate, and pretty much all of the publishers are now adding Roll and Writes to their lineups.

Last year, I kept hearing about this amazing one from Wolfgang Warsch (The Mind, The Quacks of Quedlinburg) called Ganz Schon Clever.

And of course, it sold out.  Then I heard Stephen Buonocore talking about it, and an English distribution via Stronghold Games. “Yay!” I think to myself, I can finally play it!

So I ordered it, and lo and behold the German edition lands on my doorstep just prior to moving.  But that didn’t stop me from playing it in the end.

You can play That’s Pretty Clever on almost anything it seems

Sadly putting the physical game in a box (and even sadder, as of this morning it’s still in there!), I thought I would not be playing Ganz Schon Clever until June.

But then on the Google Play store, up popped a recommendation based on apps I purchase.  Ganz Schon Clever! The universe decided I was going to play this game after all.

So I fired it up, started a new game, and was immediately lost.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

Wait, is this an app review or a board game review?

A little bit of everything to be honest. Once you are into a solo game, the digital versions (yep, versions – more on that soon) are a great implementation.

The confusion came simply because of an assumption on my part. I have gotten so used to the start of any digital game being the tutorial, I didn’t stop to read the rules, I just jumped in. The confusion was 100% my fault, and my problem.

The basics of Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever are really simple.  Roll six coloured dice, and select which die you want to use to cross of an area of your play board.

Yellow die are used in the top left corner.  If the pips on the die match the value on a square, cross it off.

In the blue square, you cross off the sum of the blue and white die that roll, but only lock one of them.  This will make sense as you play, but it is the most complicated placement rule in the game.

Fill out the sections to maximise your score. Simple in premise, not so much in execution
The app does make it easy to see your legal choices - and consequences. Sure I can use the 6, but look at all the dice I lose!

The final three sections are filled left to right.

The Green die face value must equal or exceed the value on the sheet.  Orange you can place any value, and Purple must go in ascending order, with a 6 resetting the count.

So as you can see, it looks pretty simple. Roll dice, mark off where you want it to go.  Basically, dice worker placement, right?

Well, sort of.  There are catches, and when first learning the game it’s these little quirks that can catch you out.

The first thing is the old ‘select which die to use’.  It’s true, you can pick any of the rolled die.  But any dice with a value lower than the one you selected get discarded for the rest of the round.

This adds a timing and luck element to the game. You really want to use green for that 5 places, but it’s the first roll of the round and everything else is ones and twos.  You will effectively end the round if you pick it!

It’s these kinds of little quirks that makes That’s Pretty Clever work so well, but it’s also not quite a game you can just roll and teach.

The other thing that takes a game or two to click is the positioning of the dice.  Each section has a different scoring method, and your final score is the total of all the sections.  But on top of that, there are also bonuses that can be utilised.

Some are instant use, like mark of any unmarked yellow square.  Some you can use when you want, like reroll the dice or reuse a die – possibly the most powerful move in the game.

If you ignore a section, you will get very heavily penalised as the fox head multiplies your lowest section score

So you enjoy it?

Solo – absolutely.  Once you know how to play, the digital versions let you belt out a game very quickly.

I will probably only pull out the physical version for a multiplayer game.  And there is the typical catch for a lot of these strategy heavy games – you only really want to play against people at around your experience level.

Because of that, That’s Pretty Clever is going to remain a solo or teaching game in my library I think.

So how can I enjoy it?

If you want to play with others, grab the board game.  Learn together, play together, and have a great time.

Only want to play solo?  Grab the app.  It handles all of the bookkeeping and rules for you and lets you focus solely on your technique.

Want to learn first and give it a try for free? First, go to Board Game Geek and get the English translated rules.  User nyfilmfest has a great easy to follow translation, and it will explain everything I have left out – and there is a fair bit.

Then, go to http://m.brettspielwelt.de/ganzschoenclever/ and give it a spin!

Yes it's in German, but the game is almost 100% iconography. Just remember Wurfeln is basically Roll 😀

The rules are solid and will give you a solid background into the game.  The main difference between the web and app version is stat tracking, so if you want to just play for free and mark down your own high score, go for it!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD
Ganz Schon Clever/That's Pretty Clever

Final Thoughts

Ganz Schon Clever/That’s Pretty Clever is one of those games that scratches the logical pattern part of my brain really well.  My best game to date is 287, but I want to keep playing until I can break 300.

And that is the first part of what hurts That’s Pretty Clever’s score.  Longevity wise, I think I have cracked the strategy, so it’s a self-imposed goal that keeps me going.

Plus, there is already a follow-up – Twice as Clever – which would probably be the games killer.

Give the web version and/or the app a try, and if you like it, probably just grab Twice as Clever. If you do grab That’s Pretty Clever though, you will enjoy it – even if it might have a limited play span.

Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

Pros

  •  Very addictive gameplay. You always know you can do better.
  •  Free web browser game – limits to solo, but hey!
  •  Small footprint, easy to take with you

Cons

  •  Long term play I don’t think is there
  •  Already followed up by Doppelt So Clever/Twice as Clever
  •  Different scoring sections can be intimidating to new players

Whoosh: Bounty Hunters – you know it’s a fast game, it goes Whoosh!

Whoosh Bounty Hunters Feature

Sometimes you want a simple game that can challenge you

One thing that I always enjoy about gaming is all of the different types of gaming around.  Want to play Card Games, Board Games, Video Games, Role Playing Games?  No problem.  But what type?  Do you want a quick one-off light romp or a multi-session campaign where every choice matters?

There are a number of speed matching type games already around.  Jungle Speed is one that instantly comes to mind.  Snap is another.  Overall wildly different games, but they share one key mechanic – the first person to quickly recognise a matching pattern is rewarded.

So why am I talking about such a basic game?  Because at it’s heart, that’s exactly what Whoosh: Bounty Hunters is!

But it also isn’t.  For a simple and very quick pattern recognition game, Whoosh: Bounty Hunters adds a couple of unique twists.

The game’s narrative is simple.  All over the kingdom, creatures have begun to appear.  They look so cute and harmless, that people just naturally come over to give them a pet.

It’s at this point, the creatures reveal their true monstrous intentions, and the good meaning folk suddenly become the monsters meal.

To help put a stop to this, bounty hunters (the players) are engaged to capture these monsters and keep the people safe.

So the designers won’t get awards for originality, but to me, you really don’t want a lot of story for a game designed to play in ten or so minutes.

Whoosh Bounty Hunters Monster Cards
Whoosh Bounty Hunters Monster Cards 2

And the game is very simple.  You divide up the monster cards into three equal piles, and reveal the topmost of each pile.

Players then take it in turns revealing cards from their equipment stacks.  These cards will reveal either a weapon symbol or a magic symbol.  Once the card is revealed, players compare ALL players visible symbols to see if the cards in play match a monsters symbols.  If not, the next player reveals their card and play continues.

If there are matching symbols, the ‘snap’ mechanism kicks in and the first player to put their hand on the monster with the matching symbol puts the card in their play area face up.  A new monster is drawn, and all player cards are returned face down to the bottom of their player decks.

If a player claims a card when the right combination isn’t present, they still take the card but they put it face down in front of them.  This placement is very important.

Whoosh Bounty Hunters Weapon Cards
Whoosh Bounty Hunters Spell Cards

Once one of the monster piles has been emptied, the game ends.  Players add the score in the top left corner of the face-up monster cards and subtract a point for each face-down monster card.  Once the scores are tallied, the player with the highest score wins!

The only real twists in the game is there is a small number of combo cards and failed attack cards.  Combo cards show more than one symbol but act normally otherwise, failed attack cards show a symbol but it’s broken into pieces.  These don’t count to the monsters pattern and is a good way to trick others into prematurely claiming a card.

For me, Whoosh: Bounty Hunters is a cute, fun, easy to teach filler game that’s easy to take with you as it’s essentially just a pack of cards.  For gamers that play with small children, it’s a great alternative to a lot of other games like this I have played.  The three monster piles mean you have to concentrate on more than one combination at a time, but is still simple enough that younger players can play without assistance.

This may be a pass for a lot of players, but it’s a game I would love to try out especially with some younger players.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD