Doppelt so Clever (Game Review by Brandon Kempf)

  • Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
  • Artist: Leon Schiffer
  • Publishers: Schmidt Spiele & Stronghold Games
  • Players: 1-4
  • Time: 30
  • Times Played: 6 (face to face) 105 (app, Average score 193, highest score 312)

The roll and write trend is going to calm down sooner or later, right? I mean it has to, we can’t just keep creating games with dice, where you write things on a piece of paper or dry erase board, that would be ridiculous. Until that dreary day comes though, I just hope that Wolfgang Warsch continues to be the most clever roll and write designer.

Doppelt So Clever is the follow up to last year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres nominated Ganz Schön Clever. Doppelt uses the same premise as Ganz, six dice, six different colors, six different scoring areas. How you score points has changed dramatically though.

The quick lowdown on how to play both Doppelt and Ganz is like so. At the start of a player’s turn they are going to roll all six dice. At this point, the player may choose one of those dice and mark the appropriate space and place that die on the used portion of their score pad. If there are any dice that were rolled of a lesser value than the chosen die, those dice will then go to the silver platter. The player then will take the remaining dice, not the ones on the silver platter and roll them again to choose a second die, doing the same as they did with the first, marking the appropriate box on the scoresheet and placing that die on their scoresheet and anything lesser in value onto the silver platter. If they have any dice remaining to be rolled, the player will roll and do the same thing a third and final time. The object of both games is to score more points than your opponents through careful planning, usage of actions and a bit of good luck.

It would all be so simple, and honestly quite boring, if the scoring was the same for each segment on your score sheet, but thankfully, that’s not the case. Let’s start with the easiest first, the blue dice. The blue dice in Doppelt are used just like in Ganz. When you choose to mark something in the blue section, you choose either the blue die or the white die and you add the two together. Whatever that number is, you will write in the first available box on the far left. After that, each blue number you write in the blue section has to be less than or equal to the previous number. At the end of the game you score points based on how far down the line you get in blue.

The green section is a bit of a unique change in the game. The green section has boxes in pairs, on the left side, you want to put the high number, on the right side you want to put the low number. You do this because you are going to subtract and the difference between the two is what you are going to score. You do still have to mark from left to right though, so you can’t skip boxes to place them in better spots. Your total score in green will be the cumulative differences.

Pink, an exciting new color is an interesting scoring section. There are no requirements for writing numbers in the pink section, and you will score the cumulative points at the end of the game. The catch here is, in all but two boxes there is a requirement and if you don’t hit that requirement you do not get the action under that box. You will score every number at the end of the game, but the actions will not have been achieved.

The yellow section is a bit different. When you choose to take a yellow die, or a white die and call it yellow, you are going to mark the corresponding number in the yellow section. The first time you mark a number, you are going to circle it. The next time you mark that same number in yellow, you will mark it with an X. The X’s are what are going to score you points at the end of the game, not the circles. So in order to score in yellow, you are going to have to mark numbers twice. Circled numbers in yellow will unlock the actions that you can earn, but will not score points.

The grey section is the last section to cover and probably the most unique of the bunch as it necessitates a new action that we haven’t even discussed yet. When you choose to mark a grey, you take the grey and you will mark the color of your choice for the number of that grey die. In addition to that you will mark every die you rolled that is lower than that grey die in the grey section in their appropriate box, the white die is still a wild. Those dice that you just used, other than the grey, go directly to the silver platter and are unavailable to re-roll. Scoring in the grey section is done in rows, you score each row based on how many marks you have in that row.

The actions in Doppelt so Clever are mostly the same. You still have your re-roll action, along with your plus one action. There is one new action however, the unlock action. The unlock action allows you to return dice that are on the silver platter, back into your available pool of dice to re-roll before you roll the dice.

Another interesting new addition for Doppelt so Clever is that there are now bonuses at the ends of the action tracks. This means if you earn six of any of the different actions, you will gain another bonus, and bonuses are the key. A four player game lasts four rounds, a three player game goes five rounds, and a solo or two player game will go six rounds. The player with the highest total points is the most clever one of them all!

Being new over here at the Opinionated Gamers most folks won’t know just how obsessed I was with Ganz Schön Clever. Nearly forty plays with other people and almost one hundred plays on the app version. With that many plays you start developing a pattern, and then everyone else playing against you starts developing that same pattern and the game kind of loses its luster. It becomes more about who can roll the right dice versus finding the right scoring combinations.  Luckily for me, Doppelt so Clever has come around and now I have a completely new puzzle to solve.

The game play and flow is exactly the same, but surprisingly with the changes, it manages to feel completely different. Sure you are still rolling dice and choosing one to use, but the new scoring and especially the new ways to score give it a fresh overhaul feel.

Doppelt so Clever is definitely more of a challenge than Ganz, at least it feels that way to me right now. The new ways of scoring points make you feel like you need to plan more than you did previously. Using the grey die at the right time is kind of tricky, especially early on in the game when you have no access to unlock actions in the game. This will lead to lots of greys being used with the ones, twos and threes, when that’s not always the best play.

Once again, just like in Ganz, the ability to combo bonuses is key, and even sometimes you may want to hold off on scoring or marking something just to set up a bigger combo later, especially when other good options are available.

I wish there were other options for how to make the score pads. Perhaps give a dry erase board for scoring and make the game sheets double sided to play on as there seems to be quite a bit of waste here. I am almost out of player sheets for Ganz Schön Clever, but I have plenty of sheets to score games on. The same is going to hold true for Doppelt so Clever I have a feeling.

The app that was released for Doppelt so Clever works just as well as the one for Ganz Schön Clever. No fancy bells or whistles, it just runs the solo game perfectly. One of these days I would love to see a multi-player app for these games, but until then, these work perfectly when you need to get a dice rolling fix.

Doppelt so Clever is going to be another hit for Wolfgang Warsch and Schmidt Spiele, and eventually here in the North American market from Stronghold Games, where is will simply be known as Twice As Clever. Doppelt requires a bit more thinking than its predecessor, and that’s a good thing. The choices have more weight and they can take you away from the fact that you are playing something that is ultimately quite familiar, in spite of being completely different.

Last year Wolfgang Warsch cleaned up at the Spiel des Jahres, garnering a nomination for The Mind in the Spiel des Jahres, and a nomination for Ganz Schön Clever in the Kennerspiel des Jahres before ultimately winning that award for Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg. This year is looking much the same for the relatively new designer, but we’ll see if the committee wants to reward him again so soon, and for a game that is seemingly so similar, but yet, twice as clever.

Thoughts from the Opinionated Gamers:

Chris Wray:  It’s a brilliant design.  I think it might actually be deeper than Ganz schön clever: there’s a much wider decision space, which I suspect will result in higher replayability for those who play the game frequently.  It sacrifices some simplicity to achieve it, so I’d recommend teaching new players the predecessor first, but this is a great next-step from Ganz.

Larry:  I agree with Chris:  Doppelt is less straightforward than Ganz, but might be the better and deeper game.  My favorite way of playing it (just as with Ganz) is solo on the very well designed app; while the multiplayer game has that nice decision about whether you should give your opponents good dice, the downtime is still a bit of an issue, particularly with 4.  But it’s still a very good 2 or 3 player game and yet another impressive achievement from Warsch. I consider the two games to be the best examples of the ever growing roll ‘n’ move genre and am always happy to play either one. Right now, I prefer Doppelt–I just find it more interesting.

Tery: I agree with what everyone has already said; it’s a well-designed roll-and-write that adds layers to Ganz Schon Clever, which was also very good but not quite as complicated. These layers add more to the game and for me has come at a time where I am just starting to get tired of Ganz, so I am happy to have a new challenge.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers:

I love it. Brandon, Chris Wray, Tery, Erik Arneson

I like it. Eric M., Craig M., Larry

Neutral.

Not for me…

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4 Responses to Doppelt so Clever (Game Review by Brandon Kempf)

  1. Erik Arneson says:

    I didn’t get my OG rating submitted in time, but add me to the “I love it” camp. Fantastic game.

  2. David Reed says:

    Ganz was certainly a surprise hit for me, too. I played it about fifty times last year before the app was released and probably played the app another hundred or so times. I have only had a chance to play the app for Doppelt, as the copy I ordered from Germany at the start of February has *still* not arrived. I know that I could make a proxy set using the scoresheets on BGG, but I have not done so yet. Not having the right colored dice handy has made this somehow harder for me to take on. I know it’s a minor thing, but it’s my twitch…

    Still, from playing it solo on the app, I find that Doppelt is a deeper game than Ganz, with the new mechanisms making for more meaningful decisions. I also have not been able to rack up as high a score as I have in Ganz. I really look forward to seeing how well it works for multiplayer. Thus far, I would give it a tentative “I love it” rating.

  3. Dean Smart says:

    Please help. Dont know where to go.
    Boardgamegeek is being taken over by gloomhaven cult.

    Was a fan.

    Check here if you think i was unreasonable?
    https://boardgamegeek.com/article/31524044#31524044

    Cant comment negatively in boardgamegeek, get moderatored, calling me a troll but its likely a fan not letting truth be seen.

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