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Clank! in Review

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20 Jan 2020 00:00 #306403 by san il defanso
Chief among Clank’s many pleasures is how it handles deck-building....

The pitch for Clank sounds a little like the board game equivalent of magnetic poetry. A deck-builder? Combined with a dungeon-crawl? It feels focus-tested within an inch of its life. There are so many deck-builders and dungeon-crawlers out there that my eyes glaze over whenever I hear about new entries into either genre. That’s my excuse for why I gave Clank a pass for so long. I really only picked it up because it seemed like something I could play with my son, and because it is one of those games that has been extensively distributed in Asia. Most game stores here have several versions and expansions on their shelves, so it was only a matter of time. I’m glad I took the plunge, because while Clank doesn’t sound like anything fresh, it makes up for it by being well-executed, with a keen sense of what it wants to do and with few of the annoyances that dog either of its well-represented genres.

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20 Jan 2020 14:15 #306404 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Clank! in Review
I have played Clank! exactly once. It is a solid design, but leans too far in the euro direction for my tastes. I prefer the suspense of rolling dice over the control of optimal card play. Also, the map felt more like a flow chart than a dungeon.
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20 Jan 2020 14:42 #306405 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Clank! in Review
Thanks for the review!
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20 Jan 2020 14:52 #306406 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Clank! in Review
Thanks for the review. I enjoyed Clank!, but Clank! In Space really took it to the next level.
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20 Jan 2020 15:14 #306408 by southernman
Replied by southernman on topic Clank! in Review

ubarose wrote: Thanks for the review. I enjoyed Clank!, but Clank! In Space really took it to the next level.


I thought it was quite fun, wouldn't want to play it that regularly but decent play for a multi-player solitaire game and some laughs on the cards for Sci-fi nerds (like the Roses).
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22 Jan 2020 09:44 #306485 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Clank! in Review
I've actually never played Clank! and hadn't looked at it that closely because, by the time I noticed it on the shelves, there were already three or four expansions for it and I thought it was a) a system game, like Scythe, which I'm avoiding; and, b) something to do with steampunk (clank!) area control; a type of game of which I have plenty. I later discovered that it's exactly what you describe and decided I had enough dungeon crawlers (although I could always use another deckbuilder...)

It certainly sounds like a better version of Dungeonquest, though, which can't be a bad thing.
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22 Jan 2020 11:18 - 22 Jan 2020 11:25 #306487 by Josh Look
Replied by Josh Look on topic Clank! in Review
I love Clank. The innate addictive nature of deckbuilders and the kind of get-in-get-out-and-get-rich push your luck setup is a perfect pairing for me. I played the hell out of my copy.

I eventually did pass it on because, as Uba said, Clank In Space really takes the game to the next level. I wasn’t really expecting to be wowed by it and though I prefer sci-fi over fantasy, the fantasy setting is a better fit. But the formula is refined to the point that it might just be perfected. The modular board obviously gives it some extra variability, but the big change is that it now has pacing. You can’t just rush to the deeper parts of the dungeon and get the big loot, you first need to go to a side section to get the key in order to get to any of the artifacts first. This is balanced back out by there being transportation now, both in terms of an elevator and teleportation pads. The shops are now spread out across the map, but each type of item is limited by the number of players. The biggest issue that arose in the original is that a careful (or lucky) player that is being very cautious about adding Clank can really hurt the tension around the table. That doesn’t happen anymore, there hits a point where the big bad hires bounty hunters, represented by special cubes that get added to the bag that hurt every player when pulled. Not adding Clank is still a worthwhile endeavor, but no one is ever truly safe.

I hope you enjoy Clank for a long time to come, Nate, but don’t write the space one off once you’re ready. If you think the original is good, you’re in for a huge treat. I’d still recommend newcomers start with the original because a) the chance to enjoy two games is better than the chance to enjoy one and b) seeing the improvements in Clank In Space really helps you appreciate it even more, just know that once you play the second game, there really isn’t any going back.
Last edit: 22 Jan 2020 11:25 by Josh Look.
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22 Jan 2020 14:40 #306489 by WadeMonnig
Replied by WadeMonnig on topic Clank! in Review
As Josh said, Once you've played clank in space, you are spoiled for regular clank!

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22 Jan 2020 20:23 - 22 Jan 2020 20:26 #306498 by san il defanso
Replied by san il defanso on topic Clank! in Review
I should say, I haven't yet seen any pacing issues with regular Clank. There certainly seems to be an ability to rush in there, but maybe our family is too bad to figure it out, or too greedy to make a dash for it like that.

I didn't mention it here, but I actually got the Gold & Silk expansion when I bought this. This just creates a couple of new boards on which to play the game. They throw some more roadblocks onto the board, break up the market spaces, and generally make getting around a little more challenging. It's possible that their design was informed by In Space, I'm not sure.

Definitely will give In Space a shot another time. In the meantime I'm having a ball with this one.
Last edit: 22 Jan 2020 20:26 by san il defanso.
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