Clank! - In Depth Review
This review is for Clank! the board game, not the onomatopoeia. The onomatopoeia was shorter than expected.
- Excellent card selection
- Fun and fast paced
- Surprising depth
- Clever mechanics
- Potentially Zoomable
- Most games feel the same (because someone keeps grabbing the lower artifacts and running away)
- Can be extremely competitive (we fight every time we play)
- Lot of little things to remember
Clank is a hybrid game. It is a deck building dungeon delve with push-your-luck mechanics. I love push-your-luck games. Unfortunately, I find it much more fun to grab a low hanging artifact, run out as fast as possible, and then cackle maniacally while the other players scramble back to the exit. This makes it less of a push-your-luck game, and more of a ‘make everyone else push their luck’ game.
The goal of Clank is to steal more treasure than your opponents. You cannot leave the dungeon until you pick up an artifact, and some artifacts are worth more points than others.
The first player who returns to the surface starts a clock for all other players. It triggers an increased number of dragon attacks, until all players remaining in the dungeon are automatically knocked out. Any player who steals an artifact and makes it back to the surface gets 20 bonus points. If you get knocked out too deep in the dungeon you get zero points. If you die near the surface, you get to keep all your points but do not get the bonus 20.
The clank mechanic is clever. Most of the best cards in the game come with a cost. You make noise, and the dragon may hear it. For each clank generated, you have to pay a colored cube. This cube eventually is added to the dragon bag. Each time the dragon attacks, you pull out the specified number of cubes from the bag. Some are black and harm no one, but the rest cause damage to the player.
The deck building + dungeon delve combination sounds complicated, but we were able to stumble through the first play-through with minimal preparation. The basic mechanics are not complicated, but there are a decent number of things to keep track of and rules to remember. There are myriad icons on the board, and sometimes I will forget what one is and have to look it up. The theme is simultaneously awesome and pretty high-level. I don’t need to think about the theme too much because the premise of being the burglar is awesome. However, the character tokens are all literally just colors.
If you haven’t played a deck building game before, it is possible to start with this one. There are better introductory deck builders out there, but there is nothing so difficult in this game to warn away a novice from.
Each player starts with a standard hand of 10 cards. These are all fairly basic cards, and are often trashed as soon as it is physically possible to do so. Cards net you three types of resources: boots, swords, and skill. Boots allow you to move your token, swords allow you to attack monsters, and skill allows you to buy more cards. Cards can also add clank for you or the other players. The card selection is excellent. Cards can trump game rules. Read them carefully. More often than not, it is legal to use cards in creative ways for an advantage.
My household has divided opinions about Clank! I really like this game and want to play it all the time. My husband thinks this game was designed by the devil just to torture him. In order to get Clank on the table with just the two of us, we have to remove most of the easy-to-access artifacts from the game.
What About Remote Play?
I think this can be played over Zoom, but each household would need a copy. The hardest part would be creating the buyable pool. I don't think it would be a deal-breaker if our group each used their own pool, but I have yet to play test it.
Have you played this over Zoom? Let us know how it went in the comments.