Twice as Clever board game: (kind of) expansion review

The Twice as Clever board game (Doppelt So Clever in German) is the close cousin of Kennerspiel des Jahres nominee roll-and-write dice game That’s Pretty Clever (AKA Ganz Schön Clever), released in 2018.

The original won an army of fans, taking the popular Yahtzee-style game mechanic and making it more gamery. It had simple dice choosing rules couched in a puzzley scoring system. All in a small box at a great price.

It also benefited greatly from an addictive solo mode, seeing it take the 2018 Golden Geek Award for Best Solo Game (alongside three other award nominations). This was helped by a popular app and online versions. So it was no surprise when a follow up, Twice as Clever, was released in 2019.

For how both games play, check out my review of That’s Pretty Clever. Below you’ll find discussions of the new features and how they compare to the original game.

What does the Twice as Clever board game bring to the party?

The main thing it brings is more of a challenge. While the original was popular, it didn’t take the addicts and super fans too long to suss out the best way to score points. When I say, ‘too long’, it’s all relative of course. People complaining they’d ‘solved’ a £15 game after 50-100 plays were kind of missing the point. But hey, that’s gamers.

The Twice as Clever board game steps things up, largely through new scoring methods. Yellow dice still give bonuses in a grid system; but must be crossed off a second time to then score points. The green dice track is made up of sums, often needing you to follow a high dice with a low one – with you scoring the difference. Blue dice still add with the wild white one, but now can only be used if equal to/lower than their previous total. The pink row offers a lot of bonuses, but most spaces have a number to equal or beat.

Silver dice can use dice discarded by them, marking off multiple spaces on your sheet in a single swipe. This silver route to points especially is helped by a new dice manipulations mechanic – the ‘return’ action. This lets you take discarded dice and add them back to your pool, giving you a second chance at those colours. This can be a big help, allowing you to pass over a low-scoring dice in the knowledge it won’t be condemned for the rest of your turn.

How much does it change the game?

The core game rules of That’s Pretty Clever are still in place, meaning anyone knowing the original will be on familiar ground. If you liked that, but either tired of it or found it a little simple, Twice as Clever nicely changes things up.

There’s a simplicity to the original that will keep it in my collection to play with non/new gamers. But I do prefer Twice as Clever. The silver dice/return action mechanism can give you some turns that feel more epic. While green can be interesting in multi-player games, often giving opponents a good chance to use a low dice to big advantage.

However, the slight mechanical changes are unlikely to win over those unconvinced by the original. It still feels like a largely solitary experience, with the four-player game especially lacking the interactivity games such as Dizzle do so well. If anything, the more complex decisions make it more vulnerable to AP problems. And while it does feel more clever, I can’t see it converting that many people who didn’t find the original complex or fulfilling enough.

A good score still depends on the luck of the roll. This sounds a ridiculous thing to say about a dice game. But a game that’s got ‘clever’ in the title is kind of asking to be called on it. Yes, there’s a little bit more dice manipulation available. But no, this is not the impossible no luck euro dice game someone is probably dreaming of.

Is the Twice as Clever board game value for money?

I thought the original was good value at around £15, so there’s no reason not to think the same again here. It has the same small box footprint, the same (very average) quality of dice/pens, and a similar pad of scoresheets. That said, scoresheets should be available pad-only which is clearly going to offer better value for money to those owning the original. Ethically uncool? Possibly. But who am I to judge?

Is it essential?

If you liked but tired of the original, I’d say yes. What you liked about the original is all here, along with a fresh challenge. What’s not to like? Customer reviews tend to concur, with a steady stream of positivity having followed its release. The original has a very slight advantage ratings wise at time of writing, but it’s miniscule – and negatively affected by having had less votes (it’s an algorithm thing).

However, if you’re still happy with the original – and maybe just play it occasionally – there’s probably not enough here to bother added investment. If you do tire of its challenge a little down the road though, come back and take a look. Or, if you regularly play with groups of gamers but also non-gamers, it may well be worth having both games in your arsenal.

… and does it fit in the original That’s Pretty Clever box?

Pretty much, yes. There’s enough room for the few extra dice and pens. As for the score sheets, it’s going to boil down to how many you’ve gone through. But everything is the same size, so it’s not an issue. The worst problem you’ll have is not being able to close the box lid properly. 

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