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Capt'n Clever
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Store:  Family Games, Kids Games
Edition:  Capt'n Clever
Theme:  Pirate, Nautical/Aquatic
Genre:  Racing
Format:  Board Games

Capt'n Clever

English language edition

List Price: $27.95
Your Price: $22.35
(20% savings!)
(Worth 2,235 Funagain Points!)

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Ages Play Time Players
6+ 30 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Liesbeth Bos

Manufacturer(s): Zoch, Rio Grande Games

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Product Description

There are nine treasures to be discovered! Capt'n Clevers simple rules will take 2-4 fearless mariners on an exciting, action-packed adventure. The goal is to plot the best course and bring back a ship filled with a booty of gold and jewelry. Unfortunately, your neighbor is the one who controls your itinerary. Each player has to use their pirate talents to send the others on the longest route possible!

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Liesbeth Bos

  • Manufacturer(s): Zoch, Rio Grande Games

  • Artist(s): Czarne

  • Year: 2003

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 30 minutes

  • Ages: 6 and up

  • Weight: 418 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in multiple languages (including English).


  • 1 game board
  • 4 captains
  • 4 wooden vessels
  • 36 cards
  • rules

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.7 in 3 reviews

by Tony S
Not too sure about kids...
August 01, 2003

But a great game for adults. Everytime played so far has been great.

Decent components, though the gameboard is smaller than expected. Game is about 20-30 min, less than 2 minutes to teach.

Play is quick and easy. Every person playing (3-4 people) is given the cards of the opponent who comes after them. You decide which objective this player goes after next. You gain this object by ending your move on this island.

The boats in the game act as moving bridges. You can move them before or after your move. No distance/placement restrictions other than you cannot occupy any space where there is presently a boat. You can move over opponents boats without restriction. You MUST move your captain if possible, but it is permitted to 'strand' your captain. Captains can move through other captains, but 2 captains may not occupy the same island.

Winner is the player that first collects all of your treasures.

Play is quick, easy and simple. And highly antagonizing. Can be mean and vicious depending on players. Don't know about replaying yet, but looks OK after 5 plays, though I wouldn't play it more than once a week.

Reccomended for those seeking a quick simple game that kids and adults can enjoy, though not neccessarily at the same time.

by Dr Jay
Help Me Bridge the Island!
August 01, 2003

After finishing _Mammoth Hunters_, our group of four decided to try Capt'n Clever. I explained to the group that others control what treasures (nine in all) we have to find.

Each player dutifully placed his ship and captain. We had two yellow captains instead of one green captain, but that is a problem in packaging. Your right-hand neighbor gives you the treasure you are to find. Treasures range from parrots to scimitars and the proverbial Dead Man's chest.

Immediately, two of our players started an argument. One player had forgotten what treasure he had given to his left-hand neighbor. Therefore, he placed his red ship in such a way that blocked the other player from getting to the island for a possible treasure.

In this easy start-up game it is important to remember to place the sailing ships on two bridges of the same color. Otherwise, one can lose turns trying to place the sailing ship just right to quickly find the intended treasure.

Naturally, players in passing to their partners tend to give treasures for out-of-the way islands. That makes the game even more enjoyable. The rules say the game can be played in 30 minutes; that makes a good final game when players are tired after a full evening of thinking. The partnering and passing of treasures to another player adds to the enjoyment of the game.

Just as I was obtaining the first treasure (scimitar) two other players became upset with the game. We did not give the game a fair chance. Captains can be stranded if they don't have that bridge of that sailing ship connecting two islands.

Would I play the game again? Absolutely. It is not a children's game; it is a game of strategy and beer and pretzels. One hungers for obtaining those nine treasures before the other opponents finish their hunts. The islands are then bridged.

Not for serious gamers...
December 10, 2003

When I first opened the box for Captn Clever (Rio Grande Games, Gigamic, 2003 Liesbeth Bas), I wondered where the game was, since each player had only two pieces and nine cards. The game looked very much like a kids game which wasnt entirely a bad thing, as I thought it might be just the thing for my schools board game club. After a good success there, I then tried it with some gaming friends.

And the verdict was unusual. At first glance, Captn Clever is a kids game, fun and simple. At second glance, Capt Clever is full of deeper strategy than one might suspect, and wholly appropriate for strategy gamers. At third glance, however (as the game goes on), it appears that the game is really not meant to be played other than lightly. This may not make a lot of sense, so let me explain

A picturesque board is placed in the middle of the table, with nine islands on it. Each island has a picture of a treasure identifying that island (map, parrot, coins, etc.), and bridges that lead to other islands (two or three). Each player takes their captain pawn and wooden ship of their color and then takes the nine cards that are the color of their left hand neighbor! Starting with the youngest player, and proceeding clockwise, all players place their captains on an island (only one captain per island), and their ship between two islands, making a connection (again, only one per spot). Each player now picks one of the cards in their hand (each card matches one of the islands, as they have a picture of each treasure on the board) and gives it secretly to the person whose color it is. Each player now has an island that they must get to the one which matches the treasure on their card. One player starts the game, and then turns proceed clockwise.

On a turn, a player first can move their ship moving it to any open spot on the board, as long as the spot between those two islands is free. After doing this (its optional), a player MUST move their captain, if they can. Using the ships that connect its island (ships of any color), the captain can move as far as he possibly can, stopping on any island on the way, as long as 1). No other captain is on that island, and 2). There must be ships connecting his island to the next, then the next, etc. If there is no legal place for the captain to move, then he doesnt. Once a captain reaches his destination island, he reveals the treasure card of that island, and the player holding his cards gives him a new destination. Once a player has found all nine treasures, theyve won the game!

Some comments on this (certainly simple) game:

1.) Components: For the few components in the game, I must say that they are certainly top-notch! The pawns for the captains look ridiculous, but are nice, sturdy plastic pieces. The ships, on the other hand, are really sharp looking wooden tokens, and are rather large. The card, board, and box artwork is mostly that of a strange looking Captn Clever (think Captn Weirdo), but it is nicely done, and the board certainly invokes the feeling of treasure islands. The small board and few pieces fit well in a small, square, sturdy box.

2.) Rules: The rules for the game are printed in both French and English, on a four page color booklet, with English running down one side, and French down the other. This allows them to use the same illustrations. The layout is really poor, though. They tried to cram so much text on a page that its a little hard to read. This isnt a big deal, since the rules are simple, but it was a slight pain to read them. The game is a breeze to teach, however, and folks (especially kids) pick it up quickly.

3.) Strategy: At first, the game seems rather simple. Move your ship to best allow you to move your captain quickly to his destination. But subtleties soon show themselves. If you know that someone is moving to a specific island, you can station your own captain there, and move your own ship away so that you cannot move. Its usually fairly easy to deduce where people are going (especially near the end of the game), and so if the players are more aggressive, they can prevent a person from going to an island, or force them to move to an island they dont want to go to. If someone is sitting on an island that you want to move to, and wont budge, you can place your own ship there, making them get off. In two spots on the board, some bridge ways between islands cross, so if a ship connects two islands, the other two cannot be connected. All this adds up to make the game much more strategic than meets the eye.

4.) Fun Factor: And therein lies the failing. Since players can stop one each other fairly easily, and they can quickly deduce where the opponent is going to go, the end of the game quickly deteriorates into a stop the leader game, and can drag out a bit longer than the game should take. (30 minutes or less). But if players dont take the game too seriously, it can be a lot of fun. Taken too seriously, the Fun Factor isnt there.

So, my recommendation is mixed. If you have a family, or plan to play the game often with youth, then this is a good game. Its simple for children to understand, and allows enough strategy for adults to enjoy themselves. But if you are planning to get it for your gaming group who plays Puerto Rico every week, and have all the strategies memorized, then I really think you should pass this one up. Its nice, cute, and fun, but also not to be taken too seriously. A clever game, to be sure, perhaps a little too clever for its own good.

Tom Vasel

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