We join our crew of brave adventures somewhere deep beneath the earth. Carefully, a leather gloved hand pushes open a heavy wooden door.
Clank! A sharp ringing sound echoes throughout the chamber!
“Dammit Brad, I told you to be careful! Now you’ve pissed off the dragon!” says Janet.
The room fills with an acrid steam that glows orange as if lit from a furnace. There is a sharp smell of sulfur, followed by a torrent of dragon fire that toasts the buns of the adventurous pair like a drunk uncle at a holiday barbecue.
You’re soaking in it. Relax, it’s Clank!
Clank! Is a deck building adventure game designed by Paul Dennen and published by Renegade Game Studios. Up to 4 players may seek valuable artifacts while fighting their way through deep and deadly chambers, but if they make too much noise, they risk being attacked by the dragon whose lair they have invaded.
Clank! At its heart is a deckbuilding game, but I barely notice it, which is probably why I like it so much. I was never that excited about Dominion and the whole deck building mania it created. But in Clank!, so much of my attention is focused on the game board, picking up artifacts and getting through the dungeon, or watching others make their way through, that I don’t have to focus as much on my deck. Obviously, your deck is super important and you do have to have a plan as you build it, but the board activity makes it seem like a secondary part of gameplay.
Delve Silent Delve Deep
Players start out with a deck of ten cards. Six Burgle cards give you skill points that you can use to buy additional cards for your deck from a face up display. A Sidestep card gives you a point of movement that’s represented by a boot, and a Scramble card gives you both a skill point and a boot. Two Stumble cards make you contribute a cube of your color into a pool of cubes that are drawn from a bag when something happens that wakes the dragon. If you cube is drawn from the bag, then you lose a point of health.
The additional cards in the display include special actions, devices, companions, and monsters. In order to fight monsters, you need to purchase cards that give you swords. Swords fight monsters, boots allow you to move, and skill points act as currency when buying cards. I love how easily you can see all of your options. It makes for fast and easy gameplay.
There’s also a huge push-your-luck aspect to the game. The first player to get in, grab an artifact, and then get back out starts a countdown that will end the game. If another player is caught deep in the dungeon when another player starts the timer, it’s unlikely that the player will make it out alive.
Yes, Buy This Game
Seriously, as far as deck building games go, this is probably my favorite. It seems like a board game to me. I know that my deck determines my options on the board, but it feels like any other game mechanism to me. I think about it in terms of victory points and the options it will give me as I move around the board, but it’s just a part of what’s happening as opposed to being the whole of the game. Clank! may be, as my friend Eric Burgess described it, “Ascension bolted onto Deep Sea Adventures” but as he also said, “That’s a good thing.”
The game production is beautiful and well worth the price. The game board is two-sided, so you can explore a slightly different dungeon on subsequent adventures. There’s also an expansion for the game called Sunken Treasures which adds a new two-sided board with underwater chambers and additional cards to the base game. I’ve played it and I liked it, but I think you would be fine with just the base game. Go and give your FLGS some coins and pick up a copy of Clank!
Happy gaming my friends. The world is a bit of a madhouse right now, so stay safe and delve silently.