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Cluzzle

second edition with new clay


List Price: $29.95
Your Price: $25.99
(13% savings!)
(Worth 2,599 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  
Major FUN
Award Winner, 2006

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 45-60 minutes 3-6

Designer(s): Dominic Crapuchettes

Manufacturer(s): Eagle Games, North Star Games

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Product Description

Cluzzle is a fun-filled game that combines creativity, communication, strategy, and self-expression. In Cluzzle, players outwit their opponents through obscure sculptures, tricky questions, and insightful guessing.

The game has two fun phases: sculpting and guessing. In the first phase, every player creates a Cluzzle, a clay puzzle, from one of the subjects on a random game card. Then comes the guessing. There are three rounds in which players ask yes/no questions to figure out what you have created.

A good Cluzzle is one that cannot be solved until several yes/no questions have been asked. In fact, you get more points the longer it takes others to figure out your sculpture. So why not make a horribly unrecognizable blob? The kicker is that if your Cluzzle is not correctly guessed by the end of the game, then you'll receive zero points for it! A perfect Cluzzle is one that is not immediately recognizable but also not too obscure.

Cluzzle is a fast-paced game filled with laughter and incredulous eye-rolls as players fumble their way to deciphering your clay puzzle!

Product Awards

Major FUN
Award Winner, 2006

Product Information

Contents:

  • 110 Cluzzle Cards
  • 6 Colors of Clay
  • 6 Sculpting Boards
  • 1 Centerboard
  • 24 Question Tokens
  • 60 Double-sided Guess Sheets
  • 6 Pencils
  • 2 Sand Timers
  • 1 Full Color Rules Booklet
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Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.6 in 22 reviews

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by Keith B.
It's not about art or art skill
December 03, 2007

Cluzzle is a great game, recommended for family nights and friends nights. It's very simple to learn and play. You don't have to have skill to make something out of the colorful clay that is provided - in fact, you are encouraged to push the boundaries of creating something that isn't recognizable. This game keeps everybody busy, plays fast and clean, brings on lots and lots of laughs and will give you lots and lots of fond memories. Also, customer service for Northstar games is first class.

 
 
 
 
 
I love this game!
November 29, 2007

If you like Cranium, you'll love this game! Its great at parties and it's for children of all ages. I know I am a kid at heart! Trying to figure out just what the heck your friends sculpted will have you in tears with laughter. The best part is that you don't need to have any artistic skills whatsoever. Its just plain 'ol fun. I'm so glad I came across this game. In fact, we're gonna play it again tonight!

 
 
 
 
 
Simple concept creating hours of fun
February 27, 2007

My girlfriend is a massive 'Cranium' fan - in particular the sculpting part of it - so it was a bit by chance that i did a search on the internet for a game that uses clay a lot to sculpt stuff and it came up with cluzzle. I gave it to her as a Christmas present and it was by far and away the best present I got her!!!! Ever since, it has been THE game that we play with all our mates whenever we feel like a bit of a game sesh.

Cluzzle is brilliant on many levels, not least because it is so easy to just get started on. It also can be adapted easily if you wish so you can just make up whatever you want to make out of clay, which is great because it allows lots of 'In Jokes' between you and your friends. The game requires a minimum amount of artistic ability (great for someone like me who was an art teacher's nightmare!) and can be played completely seriously or just for fun!

I can see that there could be problems at some stage with equipment (i.e. the clay) but it isn't difficult to find playdough to top up the reserves.

As far as value for money is concerned, I have no doubts that the game is well priced. I already feel that we have got our money's worth out of the game.

In short, this game is ideal for any boardgame fan, particularly those who like games like pictionary but don't feel as competent as your friends!

 
 
 
 
 
Our new game night favorite!
January 10, 2007

We played this game last night for the first time with two other couples that come over 2-3 times a month for a long game night. It was so fun. The sculptures prompted a lot of socializing and laughing, especially the ones that looked nothing like they were supposed to! The most amazing aspect of the game was that although I have absolutely no artistic ability, every one of my cluzzles was guessed on the first round. So now I guess I'm too GOOD of an artist! I really like how you can choose what you want to sculpt; having those choices really helps you to get the creative juices flowing. You look at the card, and you think, "How would I sculpt that, no, that one's too hard, oh, that one could be interesting!" and away you go.

The one downside, at least with the game we purchased, was that the clay was kind of dried out. This made it a little hard to sculpt properly, but getting it wet did help. Although this would seem like a turn-off to buying the game, don't let this stop you! The clay was definitely still usable, but after contacting the game producers at Northstar Games, they sent me all new modeling clay, at no cost to me! That was what pushed this game up into 5-star range for me, kudos to the game makers for standing behind their game and going the extra mile!

After playing with us, our friends are going to buy their own copies of this game, and we're thinking about buying some additional copies as gifts. So buy it already!

 
 
 
 
 
Sculpting is only the beginning of this game
January 24, 2006
If you have a family or group of friends that relish engaging board games, Cluzzle is it. Choosing a word and then sculpting a respresentation of it only ushers in the play. This is a game that is as much deduction and problem solving as it is craftsmanship. Think of it as Pictionary with Twenty Questions.

Don't let the detailed rules of the game discourage your players. Once they begin and arcs are assembled around the center circle, the rules will fall into place naturally. The colors and the pieces look cool. Seemingly ambiguous creations only enhance the interest as the game progresses through each round. Unlike the aforementioned Pictionary or trivia games, the solution, when done properly, takes time and emerges through a group effort.

My family played this game just twice but every one of them loved it. If your group likes a buffet of games to choose from this would be a great addition for its colors and unique activities.

 
 
 
 
 
Simple, captivating, and laugh out loud funny!
October 19, 2005

This is best new game that I have come across recently. It is a perfect mix of creativity, logic, and social interaction! Very unusual mix of skills for a game and ones that go amazingly well together. Add humor and this game always leads to a great time. Fun, Fun, FUN!!!

First, everyone (not just one player) makes something out of clay. The trick is that you don't want to make it too good. This makes for some interesting clay puzzles (Cluzzles) that need to be figured out. Then, players ask questions to figure out what the objects are. Simple and captivating.

 
 
 
 
 
Unartistic? This games for you!
May 16, 2005

This game is one of the best party games on the market right now. Although it is an adaptation of an earlier Klaus Teuber design that won the Spiel Des Jahres in 1988, Cluzzle is by far the superior design (which is saying a lot).

At first glance, the central aspect seems to be the clay, but this game has nothing to do with being a good artist. Instead, the game is actually an interesting deduction game where you try and figure out the objects that others have purposely sculpted in an vague fashion. While playing with clay IS fun (I had forgotten this) and so is trying to figure out what the other sculpture are supposed to be, I think the best part of this game is the funny situations that arise. This is my favorite game right now for family reunions because it is easy to teach and always leads to a great time.

 
 
 
 
 
by Mirta G
Creative and fun game for parties and family time
January 13, 2005
This is both a great party game and a wonderful family game. It stimulates imagination and creativity, and is also a lot of fun. I am a bad sculptor, but I still like to express myself in clay. Cluzzle is an excellent opportunity for doing that without being publicly ridiculed :) Besides, it is always interesting to see how other people experience and sculpt things like school, earth, or love. Great conversation starter.
 
 
 
 
 
Great mix of diverse elements
January 13, 2005

I picked up this game because Dirk mentioned it as one of the best 6-player party games in one of the first episodes of Geek Speak. When I read that it was a remake of Barbarossa, I decided I had to try it. It has quickly become one of my favorite fillers because it has such a great mix of tempos.

To start off, you get into your own little (not so) artistic world by making some intricate thing out of clay which you want to keep partially obscure. This takes a good deal of thought based upon the players you are playing with.

Then you have to liven up the pace by asking questions within the timer. Actually, I am usually so mellow by this point that I just sit back and listen to the questions that others ask. It doesn't take long to get really curious about what the other objects are. That's what drives this game forward because people seem to care less about who's winning than about figuring out the little puzzles (called cluzzles).

After a few rounds of questioning, it's back to my own little artistic world again. What a great mix of FUN activities!! About once a year you come across a new game that really floats your boat. This year it was Cluzzle for me.

 
 
 
 
 
Cluzzle = fun + learning!!
January 08, 2005

I am a special education resource teacher and I recently tried this game with all my 4th - 8th grade students. The response was great. They picked up the rules quickly and really got into playing. As a great side benefit, I've also seen improvements in their analysis of stories and word problems - based on practicing their questioning skills through Cluzzle!!

Our school social worker and speech pathologist have both participated in the game at my students invitation. They're both now hooked too! I told them they have to get their own and they both said they definately will. I especially love the freedom to not be good, it really helped my students with low self esteem get up the gumtion to try it.

This is definately the best game I've come across in a while. I'm thinking about getting a second one for home so I don't have to keep lugging this one back and forth. Buy it, you won't regret it!

 
 
 
 
 
Clayful and Interesting!
December 20, 2004

I play a lot of games. Most of them are variations on some game theme that I learned 20+ years ago. These games are a nice change from the other versions (like Cranium), but they don't create the same type of excitement in me as when I try something that is wholly original. Cluzzle is definitely something fresh and new!! I guess the closest game to it is "20 Questions" with clay. Sounds weird and intriguing does it? It is! Perhaps the best part about the game is that it is so elegant and simple.

The basic concept is that each person chooses an object from a card and creates a Clay Puzzle (called a Cluzzle) for it. The Cluzzle is not supposed to be a perfect representation of the object because you don't want people to guess it right away. In fact, you want your object to be guessed later in the game because that is when it is worth the more points! Your Cluzzle is simply a clue which the other players use to try and figure out the object by asking yes/no questions. So why sculpt anything at all if you don't want others to figure out the object right away? The trick is that you will not get any points unless at least one other player is able to figure out what you made. Nice little catch, eh?

The rest of the game is a fast-paced series of questions that people ask about all of the other Cluzzles (Clay Sculptures). This is the most important part of the game because you don't want to ask questions that give away what you think the objects are. At the end of the two minute timer, everyone writes down their guesses for each of the Cluzzles. Players only get points for writing down the correct objects (not for asking the questions out loud).

So why is this game so great? One reason is that it is fun to make things out of clay. It is even better that you don't have to be a good artist to be good at this part of the game. In fact, there is no time limit for making your sculpture. For this reason, the first half of the game is usually a relaxing clay-fest where people sit around and joke while making things with clay. Then the timer is flipped and everything gets frenetic for a few minutes. This is the fun and exciting part of the game where tons of humorous situations arise. All in all, the game is a great balance of creativity and intellectual stimulation. The best part is that the game takes less than 20 minutes which means that it is easy to get friends to join you, and that you'll usually want to play the game 2 or 3 times in a sitting. I have already played this game more than 10 times now and it is still great fun. I highly recommend it.

 
 
 
 
 
Works for me, works for everyone
December 05, 2004

I bought this game as a present for my folks at home, but I tested it with a bunch of friends recently. Personally, I do not like "clay games" at all -- I stink when it comes to sculpting, drawing, or anything involving manual labor. And that is why I think Cluzzle works so great for me, or for everybody: If your sculpting is as bad as mine, you'll have way more fun answering questions of people who have no clue what that's supposed to be.

I guess the game allows for bad artistic skills to be balanced with enjoying Q&A skills, and vice versa. It works both ways. And that is something I have not seen in a clay game before. (Which spells: I have not played Teuber's Barbarossa -- all based on my assumption that Teuber's game is to elaborate/complicated to work well as a social game.)

 
 
 
 
 
I give it a 10 out of 10
December 05, 2004

This was a great party game, a lot like charades and great for most ages. It takes some thought and depends on how well you can mold clay. I give it a 10 out of 10.

The trick is that you are supposed to make a poor sculpture on purpose, which why the game becomes so humorous. At the same time, most of the game is really about asking good questions to figure out what all of the other poorly made sculptures are supposed to represent. Since the game only takes 15 minutes, we usually play 2, 3 or even 4 times in a sitting! We have played the game so many times now that we are now starting to make up our own subjects and write them into the spaces on the bottom of each card. This game is always fun to play.

 
 
 
 
 
Perfect for artistically challenged people like myself
October 05, 2004

I played it for the first time last weekend. It was definitely the most fun game of the evening. The basic idea is that everyone makes a purposefully obscure sculpture out of clay for others to guess. The trick is that the longer it takes for people to figure out what you made, the more points you get! The pure absurdity of it had us on the ground laughing several times. It took me a few games to fully grasp the fine line between making a "poor" sculpture and making a "way too poor" sculpture as you don't get any points unless at least one other player guesses your object by the end of the game.

Cluzzle is definitely a good game to get people laughing. At the same time, there was enough strategy that we ended up playing it three times in a row. This is the coolest new game I've seen for several years now.

 
 
 
 
 
A fun game for everyone
September 30, 2004
I thought Cluzzle looked like a lot of fun - who doesn't like playing with clay? My husband, who tends to prefer strategic games and card games, was skeptical. But he now loves the game, and as has everyone who we have played it with. It's become the one game I know everyone will love, regardless of their usual taste in games. I have yet to play it when after the first set, everyone didn't want to play another game. I've played it with adults ranging from their early 20's to mid 60's with various backgrounds, men and women, and they all love it equally. I highly recommend this game for anyone looking for an equal opportunity good time.
 
 
 
 
 
Something for Everyone
April 28, 2005

I received a review copy of Cluzzle a few weeks ago, and after several playings, am quite happy to have this game in my collection.

Cluzzle is Klaus Teuber's Barbarossa rendered into a party game. I'd like to say that I'll still play Barbarossa, as it remains more of a gamer's game, but in all honesty, we will probably end up playing Cluzzle instead of Barbarossa from here on out.

The game comes with a stack of cards listing possible sculptures, high-quality clay, a timer, a playing board which breaks apart into segments which double up as your work surface, and a stack of paper "clay money" which serve as points.

At the beginning of the game, players get a card, a small amount of clay, and sculpt something from their card. The sculptures are added to the board, the timer is started, and each player has two questions to ask any other player, with the goal of trying to guess their sculpture. In the rules, players are also supposed to have their guesses written down before the timer runs out. Guesses are read aloud, and points awarded for correct guesses. There are three question/guessing rounds per "clay session". Sculptures guessed in the first round only get one point awarded to both the sculptor and those who guessed it correctly, while those that are not guessed till the last round get three points each. Any sculptures not guessed by the end of three rounds get no points.

After this, players start over with a new card and a new sculpture, and play for a total of three "clay sessions." The player with the highest points at the end of the three sessions wins the game.

First and foremost, this game clearly levels the playing field and allows even below-average sculptors a chance at winning the game. In the first game that we played, there was a very talented sculptor at the table who got very few points because her sculptures were guessed almost immediately. After a while she figured out a way to "dumb" down her work, but by then she was too far behind to win.

The quality of the clay and the well thought out board design make the game easy on your furniture. There are no greasy stains to be left on your table, because the board cleverly breaks up into sections which each player uses to sculpt on. That being said, my only true complaint about components has to do with the paper money scoring system. Rather than use paper money to keep track of points, I would prefer to see the center section of the board turned into a score table, much like the ones included with Carcassone or Alhambra. If you really wanted to get into the sculpting aspect of the game, players could then sculpt their own little score token, or simply use a wedge of their clay.

All of our games have been extremely fun and relatively quick. There was some initial confusion about what constituted a correct guess, but we eventually settled on the house rule that nouns had be word-for-word exact, and adjectives/verbs just had to be close enough, ie. jogging, jogs. Three sculptures per game didn't seem like quite enough, and many players would request a second game immediately after the first. In subsequent games we might simply extend the playing time to include a total of 4 or 5 sculptures per player.

Another house rule that we adopted was simply taking a few seconds to write down our guesses after the timer ran out. This came about because we were so busy looking at the sculptures and asking questions of each other that we rarely noticed when the timer ran out. Playing it this way extended our total game time by maybe a minute or two.

I particularly like the two-question limit on each player. There are always going to be a few players at the table who could ask question after question after question. The two-question per round limit forces them to think carefully before asking, and gives the quieter players a chance to ask their own questions after everyone else has used up their two questions. It also prevents each game from becoming a free- for-all, and enables some sculptures to make it to the third guessing round.

Overall, I think Cluzzle is a solid party game which allows almost anyone a chance at winning. It is easily learned, generates a lot of laughter, and encourages canny questioning. I would pull this game out if you have a mixed crowd of gamers and non-gamers, or kids and adults.

 
 
 
 
 
The somewhat odd world of clay puzzle making
April 26, 2005

Basically, each player must create a puzzle (or should I say, "Cluzzle") of an object, action or idea, but must create it in such as way as to avoid it being too easy. The trade-off is that one must also be careful as to not make the puzzle too hard, or risk receiving no points at all for their masterpiece.

My group played this using the latest edition rules which do away with the question markers and allow for unlimited questions each round, with the only requirement being that one question must be answered before a new one is asked (to avoid yelling over each other). We also saw fit to play with a house rule that required the person asking the question to pause for a second after their question was answered, to allow time for someone else to start a question. This really helped keep things civil, and stopped one player from "grilling" another under a hot lamp (We tried the old "good cop/bad cop" routine, with mixed results).

In each round, the value of each cluzzle rises by one point until the last round in which cluzzles are worth 3 points. This point scheme applies to both the guesser, and the cluzzle- maker, with both being awarded for a correct guess. In some cases, multiple guessers are awarded.

THE HIGHS: First, the clay itself is quite nice. You can tell that there was an eye to quality here, and while the amount of clay is slightly limiting, it is nice to know that the next time you come back to play, the clay will still be moist enough to work with.

Additionally, we found that the choice of puzzles to create was very random, and didn't follow any one theme. This makes the game much more challenging, as one doesn't know if the puzzle will be a vegetable, or an olympic event. Also, there are enough catagories that it would be nearly impossible to recognize one from a previous playing.

The laugh factor is huge. We played with a 20- something crowd, and found that the jokes were pretty much endless. A good laugh was had by all, as we pointed out various alternate possibilities for puzzles, or scratched our heads trying to figure out just what that extra glob of clay was meant to represent.

THE LOWS: Only a few things come to mind here. First, the play money is a little tough to work with. It's thin, and sticks together, making it difficult to hand out. All of those playing felt that it would have been better to create a scoring track on the center board, and have each player place a dab of clay denoting their score.

Another item that may have been useful would have been a cardboard "blind" so that others couldn't see your puzzle in it's creation stage. Many times a player will cloud their puzzle in mystery by removing certain give-away attributes, and it would have been nice to have a screen that blocked others from seeing.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: I was a bit stunned by the response "Cluzzle" received. From the most serious players, all the way up to the strictly party-gamers, this one was a success. I had the impression that most felt this was a game not meant to be played at every opportunity, but rather one that would be called on to provide a little comic relief, especially after a longer, more serious game.

I would be inclined to recommend this game to families with young children, as this could be the "Pictionary" of their generation. I would also recommend this to people who like party games, or have friends that would provide extra humour to their creations.

Overall, this is a suprisingly good game worthy of the consideration of almost all gamer types.

 
 
 
 
 
Barbarossa: Second edition
March 28, 2005

Though I generally dislike the reviewing technique of comparing recent games to established classics ("It's El Grande light!"), there is simply no way to discuss Cluzzle, a new game by Dominic Crapuchettes, without mentioning the award-winning Barbarossa. Released in 1988, Barbarossa is a Klaus Teuber party game in which players make sculptures out of clay and attempt to identify their opponents' creations. It is quite fun and invariably generates a lot of laughter. But I've been playing less and less of it over the years, as a number of cracks in the game design have made themselves apparent. The largest flaw, to my mind, is that the game requires 45-90 minutes to play -- too long for what it is. The final third of the game often finds the players increasingly uninterested, and you can usually sense the mood shifting from "this is blast!" to "when will it end?" I've used the homebrew variants available Boardgame Geek to shore up Barbarossa, but I've often wished that someone would find a way to overhaul the rules and halve its playing time.

So when Crapuchettes sent me an email saying he had done just that with his new game Cluzzle, I gladly accepted his offer of a review copy. And I largely agree with his assessment: Cluzzle incorporates the good elements of Barbarossa, omits most of the bad, and streamlines everything in between.

Everyone starts with lump of clay, a pad of paper and a pencil, and a card with nine subjects on it; a typical card might have "baseball bat," "shoelaces," "Easter," and six more words and phrases. A "clay session" begins with each player choosing a subject from his card and sculpting a clue from his clay. The key word here is "clue" -- players need not create literal representations (and, in cases like "Easter," couldn't in any case), but may sculpt anything that they think will aid the other players in guessing their subject.

When the sculptures are complete the first two-minute round begins, during which players ask their opponents yes-or-no questions about their clues. "Is it alive?" and "is your subject two words?" are typical questions, and the owner of a clue must answer truthfully and completely. There is no turn order, and any player may jump in with a question as soon as the previous question has been answered. Players will also be spend the round jotting down their guesses as to the other players' subjects. When the timer runs out, no more questions may be asked or guesses recorded.

Afterwards, all players read their guesses, and the owner of a clue announces if anyone has guessed correctly. When a clue is identified the correct guesser(s) and the owner of the clue score points. Clues are retired after being guessed correctly; if no one identifies a clue it is carried over to the next round. The session ends after three rounds, and after three clay sessions the game is over.

The conceit at the heart of Cluzzle is lifted directly from Barbarossa: players gain the greatest rewards for making "Goldilocks clues," those that are neither to easy nor too hard. The number of points a player gains when his clue is guessed equals the round in which it was identified -- one point in the first round, two in the second, three in the third -- but clues that remain unsolved at the end of a session score nothing. Thus, players need not fret if they are poor sculptors, because creating instantly recognizable clues is not the goal. The game instead rewards creativity, both in the clue-smithing and in question asking.

Cluzzle is both considerably less than and a vast improvement on Barbarossa. By stripping the system down to its core, Crapuchettes allows the players to focus on the fun rather than the mechanics, an essential feature of any party game.

One fault Cluzzle shares with its progenitor is that people can occasionally and unintentionally give ambiguous answers to questions -- throwing players off track and irritating them when the solution is revealed -- but this is unlikely to cause serious disagreements when played amongst friends. And there is at least one aspect of Barbarossa that I prefer to Cluzzle. One of the challenges of Barbarossa was devising carefully worded questions that would elicit answers meaningful to you but to no one else at the table; the players in Cluzzle on the other hand, who are allowed to ask as many questions as they wish during the two-minute round, will often blurt out queries the moment they pop into their heads. Barbarossa's system appealed to the gamer in me, but I recognize the trade-off: the elimination of the deliberative element is largely responsible for Cluzzle's reduced playing time. And even this small complaint is unlikely to result in my ever reaching for Barbarossa so long as Cluzzle sits on my shelf.

Some people have expressed misgivings about Cluzzle genesis, calling it little more than rip-off of Barbarossa. I see their point, but don't agree with it. As Teuber's much needed "Barbarossa: Second Edition" doesn't appear to be on the horizon, I can't bring myself to begrudge Crapuchettes for undertaking the task himself, even if he makes a few bucks in the process. Besides, one of the reason game mechanics aren't copyrightable is so they can be freely reused, giving designers the liberty to take older games and improve them. In my opinion, that's exactly what Crapuchettes has done.

 
 
 
 
 
Sculpting for artistically inept
December 21, 2004
Cluzzle is a good party game. Sculpting things of clay is fun and doesn't require much artistic skill. After all, if you make a really good-looking sculpture, it'll be too easy to guess and you won't score many points. Asking good questions helps too, so success isn't too dependent on just sculpting. The mechanics of the game work smoothly making Cluzzle a good game both kids and adults can enjoy equally. What comes to the quality of the game, the cards could be of little better cardstock, but as they are not shuffled around much, they should last fine. Other components are of good quality.
 
 
 
 
 
Even a poor sculptor can have fun.
November 10, 2004

When I first read on the internet about the game Cluzzle (North Star Games, 2004 - Dominic Crapuchettes), my thoughts immediately went to Barbarossa, a similar game by Klaus Teuber. I thought, “Why would I need another game that basically does the same thing?” Yet still I continued to hear good things about Cluzzle, especially by some respected gamers, so I wondered if there was maybe something more to the game. I enjoy sculpting clay for games (I’m absolutely horrible at drawing) and find that it makes an excellent activity, so I was happy to finally give Cluzzle a go.

Cluzzle went over extremely well with the first group, and then continued to have repeat playings because of its popularity. It certainly has some similarities to Barbarossa but is simpler and more accessible to “non-gamers”. There are some ambiguities in the game rules (which have been solved in the next edition), but they are minor and can be handled by the players. All in all, it’s a nice little party game; and one that has instant appeal, thanks to the fun clay modeling aspect.

Each player (up to six) takes a mound of clay of a different color, as well as a “Clay Station” - a rounded board section that fits around a middle round board. They also receive a guess sheet, pencil, two question tokens, and a random cluzzle card. Piles of “clay dough” (money) are placed in the middle of the round board, in “1”, “2”, and “3” denominations. Each player selects one of the words from their card and sculpts it, placing it on their Clay Station. The catch to this is that players are trying to make their sculptures not too difficult to guess nor trying to do a great work of art that is apparent on initial sight. The first round then begins with a ninety-second timer begun. Each player then can, in any order, ask “yes” or “no” questions to any other player about their sculptures. When asking a question, the asker flips over one of their question tokens, therefore giving each person only two questions.

Players can neither intentionally mislead the questioner with their answer nor give a hint in their answer. However, they may answer in complete sentences and are not restricted to a simple “yes” or “no”. The rules give this as a legal example of an answer to the question: “Is your Cluzzle bigger than a breadbox?” Answer: “My subject is an intangible concept that does not have a size, but the clue depicted with this Cluzzle is smaller than a breadbox.” I haven’t seen this answer given in a game yet, but this does allow a bit of leeway in answers given.

Before the timer runs out, the players should write down a guess for each player’s sculpture on their score sheet. Once the timer runs out, no more guessing occurs; and each player reads their guesses for each sculpture. Each player guessing correctly, as well as the sculpting player, receives points (clay dough). One point is given out for guesses in the first round, two in the second round, and three in the third round. If a sculpture is guessed, it is removed from the game, but the sculpting player can still guess other players’ sculpts. The timer is then flipped, and another round begins. After the third round, or if all sculptures have been guessed, the phase ends, and a new “clay session” is begun, with new sculptures being chosen. After three sessions, the player with the most points is the winner of the game!

Some comments on the game...

1.) Components: The large box is filled with a variety of components, including six different plastic bags full of brightly colored clay. When I first saw the amount of clay, I thought it too little to sculpt anything successfully, but it has proven to be quite sufficient for all the sculptures I’ve seen. The rounded clay station pieces are really nice - of a good size, and with a bit of lamination on them, making them an excellent surface for modeling clay. The “clay dough” paper bills are useful; although I don’t see the necessity of them, as points would work just as well. On the flipside, the scoring sheets are really nice, providing plenty of room for a game on them and are double sided, providing multiple uses. Pencils are included, as well as a nice timer and thick, rounded tokens. The cards are of medium quality but are easy to read; and many of them have extra space on them, so that a player can write in their own words.

2.) Variety: There are over one hundred cards in the game with seven to nine words on each, which provides enough words for many a game. One feature I really enjoyed about the game was the fact that the cards had many words on them, allowing a player a great deal of choices when deciding what to sculpt. An example card included these choices (hamburger, telescope, desk, swordfish, squash, speakers, Africa, Easter, and Babe Ruth). And if this isn’t enough, players can have their own cards inserted into the game. If a player can get three friends to buy the game, the company will print out a card for that player with the words of their choice. Yes, this is a shameless marketing ploy, but it’s simply cool to have a card of your own, so I’m sure it will work with some folk. (And if you buy the game because of this review, please tell them [email protected] sent you, so I can get my card.)

3.) Rules: The rules are simple and short, on two sides of a laminated piece of paper. A few examples of proper sculpting are shown; but other than that, the rules are sparse. I got a page included with my game giving some clarification, along with the promise that any rule confusion will be cleared up in the next edition of the game. The best thing of all, however, is a full page describing an entire round complete with sample questions and answers. It helps one learn the game easier than the rules. The game itself is easy to teach and learn; and as with all party games, the playing of it is more of an experience than the winning of it.

4.) Barbarossa: The inevitable comparisons with Teuber’s Barbarossa are easy to see: both involve modeling objects, and both involve the player trying to model objects not too well and not too poorly. However, I think that Barbarossa is the “gamer’s” version, while Cluzzle is the “family” version. That is no disservice to Barbarossa, as I think it is a simplistic game. It isn’t as simple as Cluzzle, however; and unlike Cluzzle, I have to explain a few more rules. Cluzzle is simpler, easier, and therefore, more fun for most people. The designer stated that Barbarossa is the inspiration for his design, and the similarities are striking; but the games are not identical.

5.) Fun Factor: The game is very quick, ending in about thirty minutes or so. Because of the timer, the game moves at a quick pace, and players shout out questions and answers quickly. This helps keep people from taking exorbant amounts of times to guess, or think, and makes the game much more fun as a result. The only downtime is when people are sculpting, and that is fairly enjoyable, so it doesn’t seem that long. One thing that makes the game universal is that you are deliberately trying to make your sculptures ordinary, so that most people (who aren’t skilled artisans) will do well at the game, regardless of their artistic ability.

Cluzzle is not a rip-off of Barbarossa; it’s more like a fifteen year update on the game, making it more accessible to “non-gamers” and quicker and more fun. Everyone likes to play with clay (see Cranium if you doubt this); and this game is full of it, allowing even the most horrible sculptor a sporting chance. Knowing what questions to ask, and how to ask them so that others don’t get as much knowledge from the answer, is all part of the strategy of the game. But at its heart, the game is a simple party game - easy to learn, easy to play, and easy (most importantly) to have fun.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games.”

 
 
 
 
 
A game designed to make some dough
August 03, 2004

So if you like Klaus Teuber's game Barbarossa as much as I do, and haven't been able to find a copy since it went out of print, you will be glad to hear about this game. If you have no idea what on earth I am talking about because the best game you've ever heard of is Cranium...well, actually, you'll be pretty glad to hear about this too. Well, I guess we are all very glad! The first couple steps towards world peace...

Can you sculpt clay in a way that would embarass Michaelangelo? Do the things you shape seem so lifvelike an vibrant that they almost seem to come to life? Boy, are you going to lose! =)

You see Cluzzle is a clay sculpting game for people who are are lousy at clay-sculpting games. The premise is simple:

Each player grabs a lump of clay and a card.

On the card is a list of 7 or 8 things.

Pick one of them.

Sculpt it.

The timer is flipped and players now are allowed 2 yes/no questions each to try and get information about the other players' 'cluzzles'. By the time the sand runs out, players have asked their questions and written down guesses for each cluzzle. If a cluzzle is guessed, then the guessor(s) and the sculptor get money, and that cluzzle is disposed off. (I usually take my fist and pound my sculpture into oblivion -- unless of course it earns me maximum points. (Maximum points?) Yes: The CATCH is that the LATER in the game that the cluzzle is guessed, the more points for the sculptor and the guessors. So if the cluzzle is guessed in Round 1, then 1 point for the scultor and correct guessors. But in the 3rd round it's worth 3 points!

Who knew there could be a game where lousy is good! (Well, lousy is good up to a point. You can't completely stink. After 3 rounds, the session is over and unguessed sculptures get nada. So you can only stink so bad. Mind you, if you've been guessing everything else right, you'll still have a lot of points!)

This game is light, breezy, easy, fun. It has been a smash hit with non-gamers, and that comes as no surprise. It feels like it should be a game in the Cranium family. In fact, the whole of the graphic design is presented in such a way as to make you think it is a Cranium game. It has high quality clay, and reasonably good components, although, like so many other games, it has the dreaded paper money.

So why only 5 stars? 2 reasons.

1. It's a party game. And I don't care how good a party game is, eventually the fad is forgotten. Cranium has lasted a bit longer than some because it has so much variety in the game, but Cluzzle is like Apples to Apples is like Mad Gab: there's only so often you can play it and still have it be fun. The good news is that of all party games, this is one of the best. I like it a lot better than Cranium.

2. It's a rip-off of the aforementioned Barbarossa by Klaus Teuber. Barbarossa has TWO 'cluzzles' per player; correct guesses are kept secret so that the models stay on the table until guessed by two people (Cluzzle ditches it as soon as it is guessed); Barbarossa has an even better scoring system, and a better way of selecting a 'topic'; Barbarossa has a variety of types of questions you were allowed to ask, which made the game more challenging; Barbarossa had much better components (the clay is about the same, but all the extras like the board are better in Barbarossa.)

Still, I would say that for 90% of gamers, either Barbarossa or Cluzzle is a no-brainer for a purchase. Immense non-gamer appeal, and a lot of fun. Despite the minor differences, Barbarossa feels like far more of a game, while Cluzzle feels a lot more like a party game. I am still kind of ticked off that Cluzzle ripped off Barbarossa, but I'll let Mr. Teuber decide on appropriate legal action -- my job is to simply rate the games.

And Cluzzle is a pretty good game!

 
 
 
 
 
Review from both sides
April 24, 2006

Purpose: I'm in a situation where I feel a number of Geeks are in. You have a core group of people you play Euro/Designer games with, and you also have your non-gamer family and friends. I'm going to give my impression of this game from both sides, if it crosses over, and how much bang for the buck you'll get from the game between the two groups.

Overview: Cluzzle is a clay-sculpting game with a twist, you’re not trying to make the best clay sculpture, or the worst… you’re shooting for something in-between. Players may be familiar with a game called “Barbarossa” from which this game borrows heavily. In Cluzzle, you receive a small amount of modeling clay, a mat in the same color in which to sculpt on, a guessing pad, pencil, and several question tokens. You then get a card from the stack, and choose one of the items on that card to sculpt. You don’t want to make your sculpture too obvious, and you don’t want to make it impossible to guess, and here’s why: You get points based on which round your opponents guess your sculpture. In round one, anyone who guesses your sculpture gets one point, and you get a point as well. In rounds two and three, you get two and three points, respectively. In order to make educated guesses on the other sculptures, you ask questions during a timed round, which can only be answered in a few specific ways: "yes", "no", "sometimes", "partly" and "I don't know". Each time you ask a question, you flip over one of your question tokens for the round (You don’t flip one over if you get “I don’t know” as an answer). Once you’re out of questions, that’s it for you for the round, but you get to listen to any questions asked by the other players.

The components are of good quality. The clay was tough to work with, but a little water softened it right up. I was hoping for a bit more clay to play around with, but it seemed to be enough to do the job it needed to do. The box seems unusually large for such a short game, but overall I was impressed with the components and the variety of cards.

Game play: Game play is very quick outside of the initial sculpting round. You have to be careful when actually making your sculpture that you’re not giving too much away, as well as with the questions you ask during a round. Even though you may have figured out someone’s sculpture, you don’t want to tip off your neighbor as to what it is with too pointed of a question.

With your family and friends: This game was quite fun. Playing with clay gives everything a light atmosphere, and the cards are varied enough to hold up to repeated plays. The problem is that it’s such a short game, that people won’t remember that they played it at the end of the night, and there’s not a lot of desire for a repeat play once it’s already on the table. People seem to be satisfied with the result, and simply want to move on. So it’s treated more as a novelty, than a party/social staple.

With your fellow geeks: Unfortunately, this is not a game I found that geeks enjoy. First, it draws numerous comparisons to Barbarossa, a game which many believe is superior and more of a “game”, so much to the point that many gamers get a bad taste for Cluzzle because it feels like a direct rip-off. Second, it’s very short, clearly meant to be a filler… and it’s viewed as too much hassle to bring out, simply for a quick hit of 15 minutes or so… and there’s not nearly enough enjoyment to be had by playing it once. Third, Clay goo getting all over other games is not something any geek is looking forward to. The one thing it does right with gamers is having the “celebrity” cards included, which feature a few names familiar to gaming geeks alone, and not really anyone else.

Overall: Cluzzle hits the family/party scene pretty well; the tactile feel of it coupled with the ability to ask questions seems to do well with a more social crowd. Unfortunately, the game was a “miss” with all gamers I’ve played it with, who saw it either as too much of a hassle, or a direct rip-off of Teuber’s Barbarossa. If you’re looking for a 15 minute game in a big box that fills a little space at a party or family function, Cluzzle is a pretty good match. If you’re looking for a bit more utility out of the games you purchase (like yours truly), this one is questionable.

Ratings:
Friends and Family: 8
Gamers: 4
Combined: 6

Other Resources for Cluzzle:

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