Ganz Schon Clever - Dastardly Review # 139
Ganz Schon Clever (That's Pretty Clever for those of us that don't speak German) was designed by Wolfgang Warsch and published in the US by Stronghold Games in 2018. It is for 1-4 players and takes about 20 minutes.
GSC is an abstract, roll-n-write game...at a time when everyone is creating roll-n-writes! We need to answer two questions with this review: how does this game play and how does it stack up in the overly crowded world of roll-n-writes?
Disclaimer - we are kinda burnt out on roll-n-writes but...let's talk about Ganz Schon Clever anyway!
The components are high quality as we have come to expect from Stronghold Games. The box is strong with bright artwork. It fits perfectly in a backpack.
The six wooden dice are each a different color: white, purple, yellow, blue, red and green. White dice are wild and can be used as any color. The five other colors have corresponding scoring areas on the scoresheet.
Ganz Schon Clever is an abstract game so it has no theme but...the scoresheet is freaking awesome. The design and colors are perfect. Easy to read and understand. Bright. Coordinates game play. The scoresheet was our first hint that Ganz Schon Clever was steps above the average roll-n-write.
Each player takes a score sheet and a marker and you are ready!
The back of the score sheet is cleverly designed for total end of game scoring. It really helps. A great idea!
There are five colored areas on the scorepad corresponding to the five non-white dice. Each area has different ways to check off boxes, score points and gain bonus actions.
One type of bonus action is the fox. For each fox you collect, you gain your lowest score again. Example: Deb collected 4 foxes. Her lowest score was 28. She collected 4*28 for 112 fox points! So...don't ignore a scoring area.
The player with the most points wins!
Ganz Schon Clever turns play quickly.
The active player normally gets 3 rolls. The first roll is all 6 dice. The player picks a die to place on their scoresheet then they mark the corresponding square.
And here is the first twist: any dice with numbers lower than the selected die are placed aside. They are not included in the player's next rolls. Example: You roll a 6, 6, 3, 2, 1 and a 1. You choose to play the 2. Both 1s are set excluded from your next rolls.
Same process occurs with the second roll and excluding dice from the third roll.
And now, the second twist: at the end of active player's turn the other players get to mark a square on their sheet. They must choose to use a die that was not used by the active player. This keeps all the players involved no matter who is the active player.
The white die is wild and can be used for any other color.
The scoresheet has 5 colored areas that correspond to each of the colored dice. Each area scores points differently.
Some areas are in grids and others just lines of scoring. There are many opportunities to trigger Bonus Actions like marking boxes in specific color areas, re-rolls and extra rolls.
Example: When the next Orange die is recorded there will be a Bonus Action triggered of making an X in any of the open Yellow boxes.
We've played Ganz Schon Clever seven days in a row...multiple times per day. This has become a solid addition to my travel backpack.
Tons of decisions help offset some of the luck of dice rolling. Plus you have the ability to use re-rolls and extra rolls to complete bonus actions.
Love how the game ramps up in the final turns. Completing a box can trigger a bonus action which can trigger a bonus action which can...well you get it! The game really accelerates towards its completion.
This game needs no theme! It is bright and beautiful.
There is minimal downtime because the passive players are watching and hoping to get good dice passed to them.
Ganz Schon Clever might actually translate to Kick Butt-iest Roll N Write game. It is that darn good.
The scorepad has at least 50 pages but we highly recommend laminating some so you don't run out...and that is the worst thing about Ganz Schon Clever...you will want to keep playing it!
Don't save up all your re-rolls and bonus rolls until your last turn...it is terrible when you don't get to use them.