A while ago I got a review copy of Cluzzle, which I’ve now reviewed: review of Cluzzle. In Finnish, as usual.

Cluzzle is a party game, where players sculpt riddles of clay (they’re clay puzzles or cluzzles). An ideal riddle is not too hard and not too easy. Everybody creates a cluzzle to start with and then there are three rounds of guessing what the cluzzles represent.

Before each round of guessing there’s a round of questions. Questions must be answered yes or no, but some clarification is allowed in case the answers are misleading. There’s a bit of a leeway there, but it’s not a problem once everyone understand what’s allowed in answers and what’s not — the game comes with good examples.

A cluzzle guessed on the first round is worth one point both to its creator and the guessers. On the second round, it’s two points and on the last round, it’s three points. If nobody guesses your cluzzle, it’s zero points. Brutal, but necessary. Creating too easy or too hard sculptures is simply too easy.

Sculpting is fun. Clay is forgiving. I’m useless when it comes to drawing, but making clay sculptures is fun and requires less artistic skills, especially when you’re not trying to make it too good. What’s even better, asking good questions is as important as making good sculptures, if not more.

Cluzzle is a success. There’s excitement and tension (mostly in the form of nervous waiting: will they ask me the right question to get the hang of my cluzzle so I can score), fun and hilarity. The topics range from simple and concrete to abstract. How’d you sculpt Germany, really? Each card (and there’s plenty of them) has several topics to choose from and some cards even have spaces where you can add your own, if you’re not pleased with the topics on the card.

As a party game Cluzzle is highly recommended. I think every game collection should have something light and entertaining for bigger groups of non-gamers who want to play a game, and Cluzzle fits there quite well.

Oh, and the mandatory gamer note: yes, Cluzzle is a direct derivative of Teuber’s Barbarossa. I haven’t played it, but I’ve read the rules and some reviews. I can’t imagine why anybody would want to play Barbarossa as Cluzzle has everything necessary and nothing extra and Barbarossa just adds clutter.

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