The goal of Clank!, from Renegade Game Studios, is to sneak into a dragon's lair, steal the best loot and get out alive. However, the best loot is deep in the dragon's lair. If a player spends too much time or makes too much noise, it's game over.
Clank! is a deck-building board game for one to four players (yes it can be played solo), which means players begin with a hand of cards which they continue to improve and use throughout the game. Part of the fun of this type of game is becoming more powerful by gaining new cards. New cards are purchased from a row of cards available each round and some are quite unique. So the first to buy the card will benefit.
A beautifully illustrated board depicting a castle and the dungeon below the castle is placed on the table. Players start at ground level and descend room by room into the castle and dungeon to retrieve loot. Some rooms contain treasures which are face down. They can only be revealed by visiting that specific room.
A number of artifacts are spread throughout the dungeon. These are treasures with a high victory point value. However, the game keeps track of the anger of the dragon and it becomes angrier when artifacts are stolen.
Throughout the game players will keep track of the noise they make (called clank!) by adding wooden cubes in their color to a central pool of tokens. Depending on a variety cards and effects, cubes will be added and subtracted. When a card is drawn at the end of the turn depicting a dragon, all of the cubes in the pool are added to a cloth bag with a scary dragon sewn onto it.
Players then check the anger level of the dragon. It will indicate how many cubes are drawn from the dragon bag. If a player's color is drawn from the bag, he or she suffers a wound. If a player suffers too many wounds, he or she is unconscious. In certain areas of the board, the player can be rescued but in some areas, the player is eliminated.
The game has a unique trigger that can end the game. If a player is knocked out (in an area where he or she cannot be rescued) or if a player leaves the dungeon entirely, the game ending is triggered. Players will have just a few more rounds before the game ends.
This is a unique mechanism in Clank! because a player can quickly go into the dungeon, gather a few treasures and escape thereby triggering the game's end. However, with a few rounds, another player can gather more treasures and escape with the most points.
When the game ends, it's time to add up points. Points are gathered by gathering treasures and cards. The person who has the most points will win. Unconscious players that were not rescued are out.
Clank! is a superb game. It comes with a strong recommendation and is worthy of space on any game shelf. Yes, it's that good. It combines a variety of fun mechanisms into a thematic game that players will enjoy thoroughly. The only drawback is that the game can eliminate players. But that's why it's important not to press your luck too far by generating too much noise.
It's worthy to note that there is a free companion app that helps facilitate the game, adds new content and helps with solo play. Find out more at Renegade Game Studios.