iOS Universal, Android •
Remember Yahtzee, that dice rolling game you were forced to play with your grandparents because if you didn’t the only other option was helping them weed the garden? Anyone? Okay, maybe it was just me, but I grew up with Yahtzee as a gaming staple, spending long days at my grandparents’ house while they babysat my brother and I all summer. While it’s somewhat poopooed these days, I don’t really hate Yahtzee. Sure, strategy is almost nil, but there’s something about chucking dice and filling out that score sheet that hits me in the feels. Today, game designers are turning that simple roll-and-write mechanism on its head with games like the recently released Ganz Schon Clever. A similar roll-and-move game with complex rules just landed on the App Store and it too has a German title: Noch Mal!
Noch Mal is the brainchild of Inka and Markus Brand who you might know as the 2012 Kennerspiel des Jahres winners for the board game, Village, which is notable mainly for the fact that its worker placement mechanism includes your workers shuffling off their meeple coils. Noch Mal is a bit simpler than that, but not much. You roll dice and check off spaces on a score sheet that looks like a collection of paint swatches. How and why you want to do this is still very much up in the air.
It’s not that the app doesn’t offer rules; they’re in there. The problem is the rules are complex and you cannot look at the dice or scoresheet while reading them, so putting what you’re reading into a form my brain can understand has proven, well, impossible.
Basically, you roll some dice and check off boxes and if you complete rows you get points. Or something. Honestly, I just need to get a pdf of the rules so I can reference them while playing or watch a damn video (and then learn Portuguese). Right after downloading, however, it’s a mystery.
On the positive side, the app is far more polished that the Ganz Schon Clever app is. There are animations, logins that actually work, and more. It has a solitaire mode as well as a 2-player version that you can play pass-and-play. Considering that it plays up to 6, I’m not sure why the pass-and-play number is capped at 2? There’s also a digital score pad and digital dice if you want to play that way? I mean, I can see using the digital score pad if you own the cardboard version, but I’m not sure about the digital dice. I guess you could conceivably play the game with up to 6 if everyone had their own device to keep score and pass around another device for the dice? I DON’T KNOW!
Anyway, the dice game is rather well thought of over at BGG, so I’m hoping that, once I figure it out, I’ll have a nice companion to my current favorite time waster, Ganz schon clever. Noch Mal! is available for iOS Universal and Android right now if you want to try to wrap your head around it (and then maybe explain it to me).