Clank! Review

A fearful dragon lives far down the dungeon underneath the castle guarding a priceless treasure. It loves to sleep and it will punish the one waking it – punished with being engulfed in flames. Do this too many times and you might not get out alive. So find the best artifact, gold and other treasures and leave the dungeon if you want to win.

 

Game overview

You start with a basic set of 10 cards (typical deck building); whereas 2 of them generate clank, which is the thing that enrages the dragon, and too many clank will make it attack. Clank cubes are drawn from a bag, which was already seeded with some good cubes, so there is a change nothing happens; but prepare for the worst.

You make your way to the dungeon to find an artifact and get out in one piece. On the way you might encounter enemies and other treasures, which can help you. You have 20 life, and if you make it out just above the dungeon you can still win, as the villagers save you. In order to maximize the victory points gained, you need to completely get out (back to your starting position); which gives you extra 20 points, which is quite a lot.

 

Game: Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure

Player Count: 2-4

Max Playing Time: 60

Year Published:  2016

Rating: 7.8052

Designers: Paul Dennen

Artists: Rayph Beisner, Raul Ramos, Nate Storm

Mechanics: Card Drafting, Deck, Bag, and Pool Building, Drafting, Pick-up and Deliver, Player Elimination

BoardGameGeek

 

How is it?

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

This was actually my first deck building game I tried, and I instantly fell in love with the mechanics and this incorporation with a board; it really gave you a feeling of exploring a dungeon or cave. I liked the variability in both what was happening on the board and the cards you bought and played – still keeping an eye on not making too much noise to upset the dragon. My first game was a 4 player game, and this felt like a good player count.

I have later played the solo variant using the companion app on my phone. Unfortunately there was no variant in the box. The companion app can also be used different in a multiplayer game, which I have yet to try. I’m hoping they will do more content, solo you can solo more expansions but also more modes/quests.

 

Strategy & complexity

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

The strategy part might not be the most complex. It’s mostly a push your luck and timing when to take an artifact and go back up to freedom, before the dragon eats you. But not all games have to have a high amount of strategy to be a good game. It increases the strategy from a regular deck building card game to more; as you have to maneuver the board and make the optimal path. The strategy is broken by the randomness of the card drawing; a way to get better odds is to build a better deck and try to get some of the bad cards trashed. A little bit of chain reaction is also part of your decisions as some cards get more powerful (drawing extra cards, money or points to buy new cards) if combined with other cards; if you can draw them at the same time.

Some of the strategic elements come from the special crystal caves, where you have to end your turn when going into these, unless you can teleport, but also buying items at the market to help you navigate easier in the cave. Selecting which cards to buy from the dungeon row or the standard cards makes a difference. There is also monsters to fight in the dungeon row giving you some reward but also making the possibility of drawing dragon cards bigger – and therefore more dragon attacks. If you haven’t made that much noise/clank it might be a good strategy.

The game is straightforward to understand, but if you are new to how deck building works, there is a bit more to wrap your head around.

 

 

Replayability

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Very high replayability with so many different cards. The board is double sided which also makes the setup a bit different. The only minor thing is the artifacts are always places in the same spots with the same values, so you probably end up going the same path. Potion tokens are random though.

There is also the option of using the companion app, which allows for a variant play and solo gaming.

If you need some extra things to spice the game up, you can get an expansion to the game; currently of writing these are the expansions available:

 

Clank!: Sunken Treasures

A new double-sided board with a few new cards and tokens plus a new feature (scuba diving – having to get up for air – a token from the market can help, so you don’t get hurt). This is a nice touch and it’s always nice to get new cards, although the base game comes with a lot of cards, you quickly learn what they do, which is not a bad thing, but it gives you an edge toward new players.

 

Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse

A new double-sided board with a new monster (the mummy) and a special die. The mummy can put curses on you, which will end in some negative points at the end of the game. I have not had a chance to play this yet.

 

Clank!: Expeditions: Gold and Silk 

A expedition variant with a new double-sided board and Meeples and a huge spider meeple. On one side of the board you are facing a spider and her treasure mechanic and spider webs for extra points. On the other side you are mining your way through the cave. I have not tried it yet.

 

Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated – Upper Management Pack 

No new board, but varied character specific decks and minis. I have not played yet. It can be used in the base game (and probably also expansions and new base game) but it will also be usable in the upcoming legacy game. I’m a bit unsure if they fit for solo gaming, as I have not tried it yet.

 

Also I can recommend the new version Clank! In! Space!; I’ll link it here, when I do a review.

 

Scalability

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

I feel the game works best as a single player with the companion app and with 3-4 player. With 2 players I would fear one person would just rush in, take an artifact and quickly go out and start the end of the game. With more players you will also stand in the way of others, since the routes in and out are limited.

 

Rules & accessibility

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

It’s a very straightforward and short rule book; with only a few minor rules that can be interpreted differently but without it ruining the game. Easy to get started with your first game.

Once you learn how to use the cards – classic deck building style – using cards for both movement, attack and as money to buy new cards, you are ready to dive deeper into the cave.

There is a companion app, which can help with setup, which works really well.

 

Solo variant

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Only via the companion app, so not out of the box; which is why the box says 2-4 players

The companion app is really well done, it gives you challenges you need to complete in x amount of turns; say buy a special card; generate x amount of skills or pickup a potion. For every turn you haven’t finished the task you are being punished and completely failing a task can be a hard punishment. On the other hand you will be rewarded for completing tasks; but it doesn’t stop the app from making a surprise dragon attack afterwards.

In the end it’s a beat your own score, but done in a different way. I would love to see more quests or incorporation of the different expansions; as this would make it more repayable.

 

Skype-ability

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Skyping a 2-3 player game might work. There is no hidden information as soon as it’s a player’s turn, cards are played openly and therefore can be displayed on camera. I have yet to try it, but if the board can fit on your camera with enough detail it should work; I’m definitely open to trying it.

 

Portability

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Clank! is not very portable; first there is the large board, but second all the cards needed and not to mention the many small tokens. It’s not impossible, but for a light way and compact travel, I would not recommend it.

 

Appearance & component quality

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

I really like the adventure look of the board and cards. The art is nice and good iconography on the cards and board. The crystal caverns are a nice twist, both visually but also game wise.

Quality of the cards and tokens are alright and the board has a really nice thickness. Being that the cards have a black back the cards quickly displays some wear – I can see why people would sleeves these, I just don’t like the slippery or shininess of the sleeves.

The tokens might show some wear on the border. I always appreciate wooden tokens and this was luckily also added here; meeples and clank cubes and the big dragon meeple (deeple). The nice thick bag to pull out clank cubes is a great touch.

 

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Helge’s review

(and Birger)

First of all, let’s talk about that box, was nice quality, and it’s square and has a good height. There are some different possibilities of how fit your furry body into it. Eventhough the game is called Clank! the cubes are quite silent, and I wouldn’t be able to make so much noise; plastic or metal are still the best to make noise. The tokens and the other small pieces filling the board completely gives me good changes to mess this board up – just a swish of my tail and it’s almost unplayable – I like it.

 

Box Fitting:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Component Noise:3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)
Component Count & Diversity:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Component Quality:4 out of 5 stars (4.0 / 5)
Human Annoyance Level (HAT):4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Average:4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

 

Game info

BoardGameGeek (BGG)

 

Rules explanation

Watch it Played

 

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