Twice as Clever Review

By Chris / February 6, 2019
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The dice-rolling, point-chasing addiction is back with brand new scoring tracks!

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Platforms

Android & iOS

Game Length

5 Minutes

# of Players

1

Game Publisher

Schmidt Spiele

App Developer

@BrettSpielWelt

Our Rating

Overview

Twice as Clever is a solo roll-and-write game that is the successor to Ganz Schön Clever, which was released well under a year ago. Players in Twice as Clever roll their dice through six rounds, using them strategically to fill in five different scoring tracks, attempting to chase the highest score they can. The game ends at the end of the sixth round, this usually takes about five minutes.

Twice as Clever has the same basic rules as the original, experienced Clever players will understand the basics, although the five scoring tracks are all different so there will still be a learning curve.

Rounds in Twice as Clever are split into two phases; main and passive. The main phase begins by rolling six dice, five of which are colored to match the game’s five scoring tracks, with a sixth, white die acting as a wild. Players select one die to use after the roll and choose which appropriate place on a scoring track they will use it, the die must be used on the track matching its color. Whichever dice show a value less than the chosen die get placed into the silver tray and may not be rolled again this round. After three rolls are made, and three die placed, the main phase ends and the passive phase beings. The passive phase has the game automatically re-rolling all six die, placing the three with the lowest values in the silver tray. Players then choose one of those three to use as the last action of the turn.

The continues over six rounds, each with three rolls in the main phase followed by the passive phase. The game provides a bonus as the beginning of each of the first four rounds, which do things like provide re-rolls, allow you to use an extra die, take a free space, or even return die from the silver tray back to the rolling pile. There is a fifth bonus, the fox, which provides points equal to your lowest scoring track’s total at the end of the game.

The bonuses are more frequently earned by crossing off spaces on scoring tracks. There are also advanced bonuses which reward you for collecting all of the bonuses of a type. Bonuses on bonuses!

As briefly as possible, which isn’t that brief, the five scoring tracks explained:

  • Pink: You may place any die here and earn that many points, but most spaces have a number on them, the die you place there must be greater than, or equal to, that number in order to earn the bonus listed.
  • Blue: The blue track number comes from the total of the blue and white die. You may start with any number, but for the entire game the next number you mark must be less than or equal to the number preceding it. Points are scored on a scale based on the number of spaces you have crossed out.
  • Yellow: A grid, the first time you mark a number it gets circled on the grid. Circling any full row or column will earn you a bonus. However, circling does not earn you any points. To get points you must mark the same space a second time, this time adding a cross. Scoring occurs based on the total number of crosses you have on the grid.
  • Green: Green die are scored in pairs where the second of the pair is subtracted from the first and the difference is the score for that pair. All of the spaces have multipliers to allow for more points.
  • Silver: Silver has four rows (one for each color) and the numbers one through six as the columns of each row. Bonuses are earned for completing columns. The score of the silver track is counted by each row separately and added together, it is based on how many crosses a row has. The big twist of silver is that when you take a silver die from your roll, you get to cross out one of the rows of that number, but also any open spaces corresponding to any die that got placed in the silver tray as a result of you choosing the silver die.

Got all of that? Of course not, but I did my best. I debated not putting that explanation, we didn’t for the original, but as many players will come in with Clever experience, I felt it important to outline the tracks for comparison’s sake. Your tolerance for high word counts might disagree.

The fun of the game is deciding which die to use on any given turn, and it has implications beyond simply choosing the one that scores the most points. Most importantly, you must consider which dice it leaves for your next rolls, so very often it is not simply choosing the die which scores the most points. Checking which die might unlock a key bonus is also an import consideration, as you can often string together bonuses for a big turn. The game works because it forces difficult decisions on nearly every roll of the dice.

Foxes play a huge role in the game as you try to earn a high score. They are a genius bonus as they force you to balance the five scoring tracks so one doesn’t get left way behind. 300 points is commonly seen as a very good Clever score, and if you want to get anywhere near there, you will need multiple foxes to do so and you will need them to be multiplying a good score, not a dud well under 20.

The scoring tracks step up the complexity compared to the original. The way the silver die works, along with the introduction of the unlock bonus, really adds a new level to the game in potentially being able to cross off so many spaces with one die selection. Green and yellow both score only in sets of two, although both can unlock bonuses without the second die. In a game with small margins where you don’t want any wasted efforts, these two-die combo tracks add to the tension. And boy is there tension, Clever is the epitome of “I can’t do everything I want to!” You will always be one more die away from glory in this game, which is a big reason why you will keep coming back.

As with any dice-based game, the key for the design is to make players feel as though they aren’t at the mercy of those six-sided beasts that the evil programmers definitely designed to land on the worst possible numbers at the most important times. Twice as Clever shines in this area, as did the original, which is why it is such an addicting game to play and try to chase a better score. It’s not a case of “I would have broken 300 if the dice had rolled better!” It’s “if I play a little bit smarter this time I know I can break 300!” That’s a key difference and results in a game with longevity instead of one you will get tired of quickly.

twice as clever - game

Playing a game

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Main menu

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Achievements

Barrier to Entry

Twice as Clever uses a text rulebook to explain how to play, there is no tutorial. It may be because I was familiar with the basic rules from the original, but I feel like the rulebook is better written this time around. It’s far from perfect, but if you read it closely you will get the basics down. Players who skipped the original will need some extra learning curve time. For me, I needed to play a few games to see which of the scoring tracks I didn’t understand, then going back to the rulebook cleared things up. Overall, it’s not the most elegant solution to teaching the game, but a read of the rulebook and a few games should be enough for many players.

Look and Feel 

Twice as Clever does not contain any online or local multiplayer. However, you can log in online to see where you stand in the weekly leaderboards. For most of us, it will be a sad reminder of how bad we are at this game, but the gifted few will enjoy trying to climb to the top.

Multiplayer

Twice as Clever does not contain any online or local multiplayer. However, you can log in online to see where you stand in the weekly leaderboards. For most of us, it will be a sad reminder of how bad we are at this game, but the gifted few will enjoy trying to climb to the top.

Single Player

Everything we’ve discussed is single player. The only oddity here is that the game requires you to log in online in order to even track local stats and achievements. I had some issues logging in initially so my first handful of plays I wasn’t connected. When I finally did connect, my stats from those games hadn’t been kept. I’ve also played games offline since and those stats weren’t kept.

The game features a local leaderboard of your best games, along with the number of games played, average score, and the last ten scores you achieved. The achievements are a bit scattered, but do give you some goals to chase, there are 18 of them in the game. Some of them aren’t really achievements but rather record keeping of some specific stats, like your best score in each color, for example. It’s a nice feature to have, but it probably could have been laid out a bit better.

twice as clever - leaderboard

Weekly leaderboard

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Checking the rules

twice as clever - victory

Not my best, but a respectable score

What Else?

Like it’s predecessor, Twice as Clever hits your mobile devices before it actually hits store shelves in physical form. In fact, Ganz Schön Clever (renamed That’s Pretty Clever for English release) was just starting to take US pre-orders when the Twice as Clever app launched. Seeing apps come out before physical games is a rarity, but it sure seems like it would do a lot to drum up interest in the physical game, especially since the physical version of Twice as Clever plays up to four players, so the digital solo version is only a taste of the full game.

The Wrap Up

Twice as Clever is a very good progression from the original game. The downsides are similar in that the app doesn’t do the best job of teaching the game and some of the visuals are dated, specifically in the menus. The requirement to be logged into their online server to keep local stats is a bit annoying, but not a deal breaker.

So, the big question, is it actually twice as clever as the original? I’d say it’s probably about 1.5 times as clever. Calling it twice as clever is selling the original short, I believe. The scoring tracks in Twice are very good. The way the green and yellow tracks need two dice to score is a nice touch, and the silver track being able to use multiple dice at once is a major shift. The pink track is kind of a throwaway, but it is full of bonuses if you can hit them. I have a love/hate relationship with the blue track; it demands large rolls early but doesn’t reward you with points for doing so. That I frequently dislike it probably means the designer did a good job.

All in all, this is more Clever. It steps the basic game up in some interesting ways while maintaining the quick playing, point chaser’s dream core that made the original such a great game. If you didn’t like Clever, Twice as Clever won’t change your mind, but if you were a fan, then you should have stopped reading a long time ago and downloaded this app.

Twice as Clever adds to the original in interesting ways, creating another great roll-and-write that will satisfy all of the point-chasers out there.

What we like


- Takes a great game and makes it better through interesting rule twists

- App works smoothly, easy to jump in and play games very quickly

-Nice collection of local stats

What we don't like



- No stats are kept if you aren't logged in


- No undo button


- The game could use a tutorial to speed up the learning curve


Our Rating

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