Mar 29

Walking on Eggshells! – A Review of Clank!

 Quick Board Game Reviews That Pack a Punch. No Rules, Just Opinions. 

From the Publisher:WAM Header - 2

Burgle your way to adventure in the deck-building board game Clank! Sneak into an angry dragon’s mountain lair to steal precious artifacts. Delve deeper to find more valuable loot. Acquire cards for your deck and watch your thievish abilities grow.

Be quick and be quiet. One false step and CLANK! Each careless sound draws the attention of the dragon, and each artifact stolen increases its rage. You can enjoy your plunder only if you make it out of the depths alive!


There is a delicate balance going on in Clank!. It’s a closed system where every action creates a kinetic dance between players. Are you racing towards the same secret tile or the last key to the dungeon? Did you want that card that was just revealed or are you going to deny it to your opponent? You may even try to cause the dragon to attack by buying as many cards as possible. Regardless, I am fully engaged, waiting for my next turn and that is a great thing!
Clank! deftly combines deck building mechanics with push-your-luck tension. The biggest prizes are found in the deepest parts of the dungeon, so the first decision you need to make is one of risk. You need to be at least above ground to get the points for whatever you pick up, but you’ll get 20 extra points for making it out of the castle alive. Looming over the proceedings is the ever present danger of a dragon attack. Tread lightly!

I didn’t think deck building had much left to offer. In my favorite deck builder, Eminent Domain, there is a clever following mechanic that added a fun layer to the “traditional” deck builder. Even so, I never felt thematically connected to the gameplay. Find the best card you can afford. Add it to the deck. Rinse. Repeat. In 2016, we finally have a deck builder that has brought my interest back to this mechanic. In Clank!, you are using the cards for multiple reasons. You need fight, movement, and buy power in your hand at appropriate intervals to keep yourself moving through the dungeon without dying.
For a mechanic that had grown a bit tired, deck building certainly made a comeback this last year. Clank! keeps play accessible for almost all levels of gamers while introducing a third currency (movement) and considerations beyond simply tuning a deck. Do you buy that 3 movement card to get out of the dungeon faster … or do you buy a bunch of cheap stuff and hope the dragon is provoked into finishing off your foes?

As I get older, I am becoming more fond of how gaming all started for me. The Dungeon Crawl epitomizes it. It has all the hallmarks and there is such a rich amount of source material from yet to draw. The integration of those ideas in the Deck Building is done well, and I love finding new magic items or companions to help move through the map. Scouring a dungeon in a race to get out of there alive with the most priceless of treasure is like my Mom’s Chicken and Dumplings on a wintery night. I love it.
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned dungeon crawl? It’s a theme with universal appeal and endless opportunity. Several unique characters will appear during your adventure to help fill in the narrative blanks, and there’s plenty of loot to grab besides the artifacts, such as crowns, keys, and mysterious monkey idols.

So there are a lot of things to like in Clank!, but to me the art is one of its weaker points. Is it distinctive? Is it memorable? No. Not really. I think it’s fine, functional, and very appropriate to the theme. It’d be nice to see a little easter egg homage to the fantasy dungeon crawl genre added in the backgrounds, but yeah it’s fine.
The art is well executed, but a little boring. It’s got a light, cartoony style that fits the game well, but it doesn’t look like kid stuff. Characters stand stiffly against a flat gray stone wall. The iconography is functional but a bit generic, especially the Recruit values. Both of the boards are lovely, and the layout of the cards is clear and concise.

There is a ton of value and replayability in this box, and as with other Renegade Games the provide a companion app as well. Not only does it provide a Solo mode, but it also enhances the multi-player experience. I am not a fan of apps being overused, but I think this is an excellent way to incorporate variety without being dependent on it. I was a little taken aback by the price tag by the $60 MSRP. After playing Clank! I’d pay it in a heartbeat.
When it comes to deck builders, variety is key, and Clank! comes with a lot of stuff in its box. Having a double-sided map immediately adds replayability to the the game. A huge variety of cards adds even more. Renegade’s app throws a few wrenches into your plans if you need a little more spice to keep you satisfied until the Sunken Treasure expansion hits your FLGS.

So to sum up, I’d have to say WOW! This is my top deck builder, and after 8 plays and multiple teachings, I still want to play it. I’d give this a 6 and it’s most certainly in my top 10 of 2016.

2016 was a great year for games, and Clank! was a big reason why. I’ve always liked deck builders but felt they’ve haven’t had much new to offer for a while. It easily earns a spot in my Top 10 of 2016, and it’s a solid 6 for me as well.
The Dukes of Dice Rating System
1 = Poorly designed but playable. Not necessarily fun.
2 = Game has some merit but has significant detractions.
3 = Game is okay, not exciting. Will play in the right situation.
4 = A good game. Worth playing, just not all the time. Belongs in the Duchy.
5 = A great game, will rarely turn down a play of it.
6 = An all-time favorite that is a contender for the top 10

If you want to connect with us you can find:

Matthew on Twitter as @uncouthtooth or matthew@dukesofdice.com

Matt on Twitter as @matosowalker

Join the discussion in our Board Game Geek Guild on this review HERE


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