Tuesday, 18 January 2011


The Game

A more non-gamer-friendly version of Barbarossa. That's how I'd describe Cluzzle. You make clay sculptures and try to guess what others have made, and when sculpting, you need to make your sculpture not too easy yet not too hard.

Cluzzle is played over 3 stages. At the start of a stage, everyone makes a sculpture. Then there are 3 rounds of guessing each preceded by a time-limited question round. During the question round you can ask anyone about his sculpture, but each player can only ask two questions. Once time is up, everyone writes guesses on paper.

When a sculpture is guessed correctly, both correct guessers and sculptor gain points depending on which round it is. This means if your sculpture is only guessed in the third round, you get three points. But if it is never guessed, you get nothing. Thus the incentive to make it hard, but not too hard.

The Play

I was green, and what I made was a comb. I thought that would be hard to guess, but it was guessed correctly by more than one opponent on the first attempt. Clockwise from brown and onwards - vegetables, hand, wedding cake, frying pan, Saturn. This was the first round and everyone's sculptures were quite easy to guess. They became harder as the game progressed.

We did a full six player game. I think the is best this way. With six, if your sculpture is too hard, you discourage others from even bothering to ask questions about it. The questions would be spent on other sculptures giving more hope. So it's tricky to balance the difficulty.

Also another tricky thing is the word guessed must be precise, e.g. in our game, "vegetable" vs "vegetables".

One way to make your sculpture harder but not too much so is to sculpt something related. Shan made the McDonald's arch (big M) for "fries". Aaron made the starship Enterprise for "Star Trek".

Asking, or not asking questions, is an important part of the game. Sometimes it's better not to ask because you'd be helping other players. When you need to ask a question, try to make it helpful to yourself but not to others. If you already have something in mind, ask something like whether it is usually brown in colour, as opposed to something like whether it is worn around the waist.

There were many times that we taunted each other saying we knew the answer and didn't need to ask any more questions, only to later find out the answer was wrong.

With more players, winning is probably more dependent on making good guesses, as opposed to making good sculptures. However good sculpting does help. Making your sculpture just hard enough means you get more points and also it doesn't get guessed correctly by too many other players.

The Thoughts

The game is light, easy to explain, and suitable for non-gamers. One thing I like more compared to Barbarossa is it comes with cards containing lists of words. You pick a word from the list, as opposed to trying to think of something yourself. This saves time and effort.

We had fun teasing one another about how ugly, or easy, or difficult our sculptures were.

A list of words to choose from.

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