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Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Clank! Review: Do I really need another deckbuilder? rss

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Jill Hauck
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Wheat Ridge
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As a little background on me, I am relatively new to the hobby (with a measly 139 games, formerly 133 before this past Saturday...), but I tend to like a variety of games, euros, ameritrash, light games, and I am definitely starting to really enjoy and crave heavier games.

On to the review! I am not going to step through the rules because frankly you can find those elsewhere. I may cover a couple bits simply because I want to talk about what I like, but that is all. A few months ago I started trying to discover what this deck building nonsense is all about, and therefore I now own Star Realms, Ascension, and recently the Legendary Alien game, which I've yet to play. I like the mechanic well enough, but was not a fan of Dominion when I played it, and after having the deckbuilders I do, I didn't think I really needed any more. It seems to be a mechanic that often lends itself to feeling like most new games are just the same damn thing in a new skin. Because of this, I didn't really give Clank! much of a second glance at my first game convention this past weekend, until I saw nearly every person there with a copy in their hands. This prompted me to sit down and play through a demo, and I was very pleasantly surprised - I loved it! I immediately bought a copy after playing, and losing horrifically at that. My husband and I had so much fun playing it, and it felt very different than my other deck builders, and I attribute this to two main things about this game; the board, and the clank.

This game involves a board and a knight meeple (kneeple?)for each player, which you move around the board, exploring the dragon's cave and getting different types of loot. However, your ability to move around in this dungeon/cave is completely dependent on your cards. One of the types of currency on the cards are boots, which allow you to move around. There are also swords, buying power, and very rarely gold. The swords help you battle goblins or other badies, as well as move along certain paths in the cave. Gold will allow you to buy certain items, as well as count for VP at the end of the game. What impressed me so much about this was that your card choices felt very important, and they were integral to your success in the game. As I learned, if you don't get enough cards with boots, it makes the end game and the middle game exceedingly difficult, to the point where I ended up with zero points! I'll get into that a little later. The cards didn't feel tacked on to a dungeon crawler, and the dungeon crawling didn't feel tacked on to a deck builder, which I think is probably harder to do than this game makes it seem. There is also a Clank mechanic that I thought was thematic and very interesting, and added significantly to the tension. Players generate clank by stumbling, which is a card in your starting deck that is very hard to get rid of, and by other cards you may buy or by affects of cards other people play. When you generate clank, you are being loud in the caves and the dragon gets angry, which you represent by adding one of your colored player cubes into a pool area on the board. Then when certain cards come out of the deck and get put in the buying row, they trigger the dragon's anger, and it attacks. This is done by putting all the clank cubes into a bag and drawing out anywhere from 2-5 of them, depending on where you're at in the game. In the bag are all the cubes from all previous rounds of clank collection, so as the game goes on you have more and more cubes of your color in the bag. There are also black cubes that represent misses, which never go back into the bag, so the more you draw now the fewer are in there later. If any of your cubes are drawn, they are added to your wound track, which when it fills up kills you.

The end game is an intense mad dash to get your sh*t and get out of the caves, and is triggered either by someone dying (yes there is player elimination, but it doesn't last long, and it's fun to watch the resulting chaos) or by someone getting back out of the caves. Once this happens, there are only 4 rounds left, and at the end of each round clank cubes are drawn, and at a larger number than the rest of the game. If someone does not make it above a certain place in the dungeon and/or does not nab one of the dragon's artifacts, or if they die, then they get zero points. If you make it all the way out, you get a bonus 20 points. So there are a variety of strategies you can employ, like if you want to just grab the closest artifact to the exit and get out, you can push everyone else to have to scramble at the end to get their points and run out. But, as I said earlier, if you didn't build your deck properly, you may be very hard pressed to have enough boots to leave in time.

Overall, super fun game with lots of tension, lots of decisions, and many ways to end up with no points, but even fun in the losing. Whether you're sick of deckbuilders, if you've never even played one, or somewhere between, I highly recommend you give this game a try. It's just plain fun!

(This is my first review, so any constructive feedback is much appreciated!)
*Edit* I fixed a spelling error in the title. Darn fingers typing too fast!
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Tahsin Shamma
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Re: A Clank! Review: Do I realy need another deckbuilder?
Great comments Jill. My main feedback is that you might want to structure your paragraphs a little better. Shorter paragraphs work better for the Internet with very concise ideas.

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Jill Hauck
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Long run on sentences and paragraphs are indeed a common flaw in my writing, thanks for the suggestion. I will work on that on my next review, maybe for one of the new games I got from the con...
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Evan
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One thing I love about deck builders is the portability factor. I can put the cards in a deck box and travel on vacation and still play the game. How unwieldy are the other components here? How big is the board? How many bits and pieces would I have to travel with to introduce this at a family get together or over the holidays?
 
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Jill Hauck
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This one will be much less portable, but I think it could be done. There are a number of little cardboard pieces that are treasures you pick up along the way, but each different type is a different size or shape, so even if they were all together they would be easy to separate, and all those pieces and the wooden cubes would fit in the included drawstring bag. The board folds in 4 I believe, so it's the size of the footprint of the box, which is about 10"x10" (I'm at work so I am guessing on that). You should be able to lay the folded board on the bottom of a suitcase, or between some layers of clothes, and the rest would be just a card box and the drawstring bag.
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Brian M
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Wait...isn't the answer to "do I really need another deckbuilder" just "HELL YES!!" ?



Nice review!
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Rasmus Helms
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Thanks... or not. My wallet does not like you :-) This convinced me that I have to own this. I appreciate your comments on the tension - sounds like something I would enjoy
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Brian Torrens
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Plus when your skill with the game increases, you can always start with fewer black cubes in the draw bag at the beginning of the game. Normally you start with 24 black cubes. Try it with 18 to start. See how low your starting black cube count can go and still survive the dungeondevil
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Jill Hauck
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That is a brilliant and evil idea! I noticed that the board had two sides, so I assume the side we didn't play during the demo is harder, but I haven't really looked at it that hard yet.
 
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Alex Limoges
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Once you played the first side for an intro game, I suggest taking 5 black cubes out of the bag at the start if you want to play this "easy" side again and get a challenge.
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