Thursday, January 19, 2017

Clank! (Renegade Game Studios)

This week I am wrapping up my review of new deck-builders with one of the hottest games of 2016 - Clank! Clank! is one of the many amazing games Renegade Game Studios released in 2016. (Seriously, some game companies have hits and misses, it seemed like everything they touched last year was gold.) More than a deck-building game, it is described as a "deck-building adventure," and that doesn't even begin to describe the fun this game will bring. It plays 2-4 players, ages 13+. The playing time is 60 minutes, and it retails for $60.

Setup
1. Place the game board in the middle of the table. (Note: The blue sky is the recommend first time play, and the night sky on the back is more difficult.)
2. Give each player a Pawn, 30 Clank! Cubes of matching color, and a 10 card starting deck consisting of 6 Burgles, 2 Stumbles, 1 Sidestep, and 1 Scramble.
3. Place the seven Artificats face up on their corresponding spaces on the board.
4. Shuffle the Major Secrets and place one face-down on each corresponding space on the board.
5. Shuffle the Minor Secrets and place two face-down on each corresponding space on the board.
6. Place the Market Items (2 Master Keys, 2 Backpacks, and 3 Crowns) on the Market Area.
7. Place the 3 Monkey Idols on the Monkey Shrine room.
8. Place one Mastery Token for each player near the top left corner of the board.
9. Place the Gold tokens near the board.
10. Place the Dragon on his Rage Track space, which depends on the number of players.
11. Place the 24 Dragon Cubes in the Dragon Bag.
12. Form 4 stacks of cards - Mercenary, Explore, Secret Tome, and Goblin.
13. Shuffle the Dragon Deck and deal six cards face-up.
14. Have each player put their Pawn just outside the dungeon. Then, they will shuffle their deck and deal out five cards.
15. Finally, determine the starting player and have each player place a specified number of Clank! Cubes in the Clank! Area.
Game Play - The goal of this game is to pick up an Artifact and escape the Dragon. During your turn, you play five cards from your deck and do the following:
1. Acquire a new card by using the skill points your cards granted you.
2. Fight a monster by using the swords your cards granted you.
3. Move through tunnels by using the boot your cards granted you.
4. You can also buy from the Market, gain Gold (points), acquire Major or Minor secrets, pick up an Artifact.

Some cards will give you Clank! Cubes which will be accumulated until the Dragon attacks. When the Dragon attacks, you put all the Clank! Cubes in the bag and draw out the required number. If your cube is drawn, you lose one health. If you lose all your health you die, but could still win if you are in the top half of the board. After you have chosen your Artifact, you must now escape. Most points wins!

Review
What I can say about this game other than WOW! This is a deck-builder on steroids. However, it is more than a deck-builder, it is also a dungeon delve. Your starting deck of ten cards is twenty percent useless and harmful to you, so you must use the other eighty percent to buy better cards, move around, and defeat monsters. While doing this you will make a lot of noise or clank, so you must and that is going to disturb the dragon. Thus, your opponents are the other players and the dragon, but you don't have to outrun the dragon you just have to outrun your slowest opponent. That means the game is also a race and an interesting study in risk and reward.

How far down in the dungeon do you want to go? Do you want to go for the highest point artifact and accumulate a lot of other points along the way? Or do you want to get the cheapest artifact you can, so you can get out quickly and speed up the game for the other players? The same strategy won't work for every game, because the Major and Minor Secrets are randomized, the cards available to buy each game are randomized, and every player will play differently too. The only negative I have about this game is the initial setup. As you can see from above, there are a lot of little steps that go into setting up the game. This may intimidate newer players, but after the first couple of times, it becomes second nature.

What I like best about this game is the replay value. There are many paths of victory to explore, and just when you think you have the game figured out, you can flip over the board and there is a more difficult challenge on the back. I also like that you can still win the game if you die. If you make it above ground but die, they'll drag you out and you'll be a hero...a dead hero, but a hero nonetheless. This game is super-hot, and it is obvious why. Renegade Game Studios is super smart, and to capitalize on the hotness of this game, they are releasing an expansion called Clank! Sunken Treasures. This will add another game board, more cards, more tokens, and a new monster. I'm excited to see how big this game will grow into, because it has a great deal of potential to get even better and better. It has not only raised the bar for all deck-building games, it has obliterated it!

This game was provided to me for free by Renegade Game Studios in exchange for an honest review.