My Dear Friends made me a great present recently for my birthday – I received Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure. I will not deny – I had my eye on that game for some time as it was combining some of the very intriguing mechanics for me – like dungeon exploring and deck building. Also, except for wargames, I want to have some family-friendly titles in my collection, which my children and wife actually appreciate.

The core game components – cards, boards, rules. tokens and cool bag to draw cubes for dragon attacks!

What is your present good for if it is not used – I thought and thus immediately started to plant the sessions with Clank! But before reporting how it all went, and sharing my observations, couple of words about the game for those who do not know it.

The game

Clank! is a deck-building game. Each player has their own deck, and building yours up is part of playing the game. You start each of your turns with five cards in your hand, and you’ll play them all in any order you choose. Most cards will generate resources, of which there are three different kinds:

  • Skill, which is used to acquire new cards for your deck.
  • Swords, which are used to fight the monsters that infest the dungeon.
  • Boots, which are used to move around the board.

Every time you acquire a new card, you put it face up in your discard pile. Whenever you need to draw a card and find your deck empty, you shuffle your discard pile and turn it face down to form a new deck. With each shuffle, your newest cards become part of a bigger and better deck! Each player starts with the same cards in their deck, but they’ll acquire different cards during their turns. Because cards can do many different things, each player’s deck (and strategy) will become more and more different as the game unfolds.

During the game, you have two goals:

  • Retrieve an Artifact token and escape the dragon by returning to the place you started, outside of the dungeon.
  • Accumulate enough points with your Artifact and other loot to beat out your opponents and earn the title of Greatest Thief in the Realm!

based on publisher website

The sessions

To really get the feel for the game I decided to play each of the maps provided in the Base Game twice – once with other player(s) and once solo, using fantastic solitaire application from Renegades Studios. Below short summary of those based on which my first impressions section is based.

Basic map – with my wife

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That was actually our second game with my wife and we knew what to expect. In two player’s game you do not have so many minor secrets and your move is every second turn so you can accumulate a lot of powerful and useful items. Sill, being too greedy can have detrimental effects on your health… or life 🙂

I think we both played well, to the brink of survival (we both had eight out of ten hit points used). I grabbed 15 and 20 VPs artifacts (backpack is a key) and headed for the safety of the nearby village. My wife was not so fortunate and she struggle with attacking Dragon almost till the end as one more turn and she would not make it.

The results were close and… great! 131 (me) to 122 (Magda) shows pretty good grasp of the game and knowledge  as to what should be prioritized once in dungeon!

Basic map – solitaire

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That was a completely different experience. The Base Map does not seem too challenging and I thought that I should get as much as possible from it. How wrong I was! The great mobile app leased you through the game. All the time you have goals to achieve – usually limit is set to 2-4 turns. Should you not fulfill it, a nasty surprise can meet you!

I got rid of many monsters, acquired artifact but succumbed to a dragon attack before I reached the safety of surface. 67 points was not the best result for initial solitaire game and left me with the feeling that I can do better next time!

Advanced map – with my wife

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When we first looked at the Advanced Map we thought – well, not so many differences. Again (I wrote it already today 🙂 ) how wrong we were! Those nuances like monsters guarding the only fast way to the surface, one-way paths to most valuable artifacts or generally, more rooms had a tremendous impact on game-play.

We both thought we can do more – and we both succumbed to the fatal ending, being overrun by the dragon. Fortunately, not deep in the dungeons but already above that level. From points perspective, Magda crushed me 8368 although I felt I have everything under control. Nope I did not – especially my artifacts were of mediocre quality,

Advanced map – solitaire

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Then the time came for solo play – at least theoretically solo as my two sons insisted they also want to take part in the game! I of course agreed and handed over to them clicking “next” in mobile app and – most fundamental – drawing dragon attack cubes.

After previous three games of Clank I was pretty aware what to expect and how to behave. Get the back-pack and key quickly, earning gold in process. Do not buy each and every card but invest wisely. Last but not least, I decided at certain moment in game “enough, it is time to run!”. That all lead to fantastic result of 138 VPs!

The impressions

The game definitely did not fail to satisfy my expectations. Couple of things I would like to underline:

  • Very thematic game to play, with dragon, dungeons, monsters and other adventurers competing with you!
  • Good replay value – we have two boards, each of them can be set-up in multiple ways due to hidden treasures. Not to mention different deck of cards each turn!
  • Fantastic support from the publisher – clearly visible in amount of expansions and top-quality digital apps supporting the game; I would love to see more of such examples!

So again, thanks to whovian223 and it great review of its space version as it sparked my interest in that game. I need to play more before I can provide full and thorough review!