When we originally reviewed Clank! here on the Opinionated Gamers website, I commented that the game “could well be the love child of Dungeonquest & Ascension.” Since I’m a long-time fan of Dungeonquest, that’s not a bad thing. (Side note: I don’t love Ascension with actual cards – but I’m addicted to the iPad app.)
The Clank! system is a melding of dungeon crawl/plunge and deck-builder… with the very clever “clank” mechanic binding the two together and acting a game timer and source of tension. The production is incredibly functional:
- While there is a lot of witty color text, it’s small and doesn’t make the cards more difficult to read.
- The graphic design of the cards is really smart – they have used consistent iconography and clear text instructions to make it easy to understand what the card does for you.
But I’m not here to talk about the base game – well, not all that much. My job (self-imposed, mind you) is to introduce you to the joys of the extended Clank!-iverse… up to and including the VERY recently released Clank! Expeditions: Temple of the Ape Lord.
As the Clank! games have been hits with my teenage boys, my gaming group and pretty much everyone who played my copy at Gulf Games, I’ve had plenty of experience with the game:
- 53 plays of Clank!
- 11 with Sunken Treasures
- 7 with Mummy’s Curse
- 5 with Expeditions: Gold & Silk
- 5 with Expeditions: Temple of the Ape Lord
- 2 with solo version on the Renegade Games app
- 28 plays of Clank! In! Space!
- 4 with Apocalypse
- 9 with solo campaign version on the Renegade Games app
What follows are a number of short reviews that highlight what I think each of the expansions brings to the literal and metaphorical table… and, as you can see, my reviews are going to tend in the positive direction.
Clank!: Sunken Treasures
New stuff in the box: a double-sided board (two new maps); a bunch of water-related cards for the adventure deck, new cardboard tokens
Added rules & card types: in addition to the aforementioned water cards, there are a number of board spaces that are underwater – and require “scuba” gear and/or a willingness to take a wound to survive
Most notable addition to the system: A number of cards in this expansion add the ability to discard cards to gain something – this helps you dodge making clank as well as cycle your deck quicker… which leads to more interesting and powerful combos. (See my notes on combining expansions near the end of this article.)
Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse
New stuff in the box: a double-sided board (two new maps); a bunch of pyramid/mummy-related cards for the adventure deck, new cardboard tokens, wooden mummy & croc-a-dragon pieces, 4-sided mummy movement die
Added rules & card types: curses come into the game, both as payment for certain cards and a different kind of pathway payment… and there’s the whole “mummy hunting you down” thing
Most notable addition to the system: The mummy is probably the least successful mechanic added to any of the Clank! games… and it’s not a bad idea, but it just doesn’t seem to have all that much game effect in actual play.
Clank! Expeditions: Gold & Silk
New stuff in the box: a double-sided board (two new maps); new cardboard tokens, wooden giant spider and dwarf player pieces, and a completely unnecessary (yet delightful) Mister Whiskers standee
Added rules: both boards have neat twists (the spider webs and the gold veins) that change the game without adding any cards
Most notable addition to the system: the variety of the new boards
Clank! Expeditions: Temple of the Ape Lord
New stuff in the box: a double-sided board (two new maps); new cardboard tokens, wooden ape lord and adventurer player pieces
Added rules: both boards have neat twists (the gears on board #2 are particularly notable) that change the game without adding any cards; there are an interesting set of ‘campaign’ rules that link two games – one on each board – together
Most notable addition to the system: the gears
Clank!: the Renegade Games app
New stuff: this FREE app includes two modes…
- a multi-player mode that adds both scoring and a random event generator (based on in-game events)
- a solo mode for playing against the game
Most notable addition to the system: the solo mode is actually quite good… but my sons love the random event generator – either way, it’s free, so what are you waiting for?
Adding the Expansions Together
It is possible to stack the expansions – to make one giant pile of cards & choose the board you want to play. In practice, however, that means that there are some cards which are of limited use unless you’re playing with a particular board:
- Any card that specifically deals with underwater stuff only applies to Sunken Treasures
- Any cards that has you roll the Mummy die or take curses only applies to Mummy’s Curse
Each of the expansions include certain counters that don’t work with the other boards – whether they are things for purchase (diving equipment, ape tools, etc.).
All of that said, it’s not terribly difficult to cull out the problematic cards & counters to play with an expanded deck. Cards from the Sunken Treasures or Mummy’s Curse sets have an appropriate symbol (waves or pyramid) ghosted behind their text in the bottom half of the card.
Our experiences with this are actually pretty positive – we have tended to play a new expansion with the base deck to begin with and then add in the non-board specific cards on the second or third play.
Which One Should I Buy First?
So, let’s start with the biggest issue if you’re going to buy more than one of these expansions… you’re going to run out of room in the original box unless you throw out the very nice insert. My solution: save one of the “bigger” expansion boxes (Sunken or Mummy) and use it to store extra boards.
With that said, I like the cards added in Mummy’s Curse better than the cards in Sunken Treasures… but I like the board challenges on Sunken Treasures better than Mummy’s Curse. I don’t think you can go wrong with either set.
The Expeditions sets have more twists and nifty (but completely unnecessary) extra wooden bits… of the two, I think I like Temple of the Ape Lord slightly more, but that’s because I’m an Indiana Jones fan.
Note: none of these expansions (or the base game) were given to me as review copies – we have purchased all of them. I don’t regret any of the purchases.
There are actually rules for a two game mini-campaign as a part of Temple of the Ape Lord (tokens you acquire in the first game enable you to better manipulate the gears in the second game). We’ve played it once and it works well.
But, thanks to the magic of the Interwebs, I was reading Frank Schulte-Kulkman’s excellent Essen reporting (check it out at Kulkmann’s G@mebox!) and he mentioned that he & his wife have home-brewed a set of campaign rules for using all the expansion boards. He’s graciously allowing me to share them with you!
The objective is to have the highest total score after all boards have been explored (ahem, looted). For those of you keeping score at home, that means you will get to play 10 games of Clank!.
If a player escapes the dungeon on his own (and is not dragged to safety by the townspeople), he gains one purchase point. This can be used to keep a cost 1 skill card in his starter deck for the next game.
Another escape adds another purchase point… and the player can either add a second cost 1 skill card or scrap the original “kept” card and keep a cost 2 skill card instead.
“Kept” cards which are trashed during gameplay do not return to the player’s deck – but the purchase points are available to them before the next game.
I can’t wait to try it!
All of these expansions add enjoyable twists to the game – but don’t substantially change the play of the game. If you didn’t enjoy the base game, none of these will likely change your mind. On the other hand, if you enjoy Clank! in its elemental form, you will enjoy any and/or all of these expansions.
Clank! In! Space! is a world unto itself – I’ll need to write a second Clankiverse in Space post to cover those games.
And, yes, I know that Clank! Legacy is on the way… and that there are sub-expansions connected to it – but I haven’t seen any of them yet. (Check back with me in a month or two.)