Einfach Genial

Another review I wrote: Einfach Genial aka Ingenious aka Mensa Connections.

Einfach Genial is a clever game by master Knizia. It’s an abstract game, a rare thing from Knizia whose games are often fairly thinly themed, but still have at least some theme. Some have questioned if Einfach Genial would’ve won the Spiel des Jahres if it had a theme. Don’t know, but it’s a pretty good game nonetheless. Even Reiner Knizia himself has cited it as one of his favourites (in a Gamewire interview).

Einfach Genial is about laying hexagonal tiles on a board. The tiles look neat, but the board is grey and boring. Each tile consists of two hexagons, which both have one of the six colours (colours have also unique symbols, so colourblind players don’t have a problem). Points are scored, when hexagons are placed near other hexagons of the same colour. Each colour scores separately. The final result is determined by the weakest colour, as in Tigris & Euphrates.

Einfach Genial — Simply ingenious — is a simple and a clever game. The rules are easy to learn, the most complicated bit being the scoring of points. That’s easy to teach by giving some concrete examples, explanation alone is probably not enough. Newbies will probably lose few games because they fail to see the value of defensive play — often if you place a high-scoring tile, you’ll only create an even higher-scoring position for the next player. It’s a subtle game.

The game also scales well. Outer rings of the hexagonal board aren’t used with fewer players and there’s also a solitaire variant included. According to my limited experience the game is equally fun with different numbers of players. It should also work well with different age groups and both with gamers and non-gamers. All in all, I think Reiner Knizia has created a game with lots of hit potential. Einfach Genial has loads of mass-market appeal and it should please the gamers as well. I can certainly recommend the game to just about anyone.

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