Brave the Pyramid in ‘Clank! The Mummy’s Curse’

Clank! The Mummy's Curse coverFlavor Text

What Is Clank! The Mummy’s Curse?

Clank! The Mummy’s Curse is an expansion to Clank!, a deck-building exploration game for 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, which takes about 30-60 minutes to play. It retails for $25 and is available today in stores and online from retailers like Amazon or directly from Renegade Games. (Note: The Clank! base game is required to play.) Like the original, the game involves deck-building and some press-your-luck, but nothing that’s really scary for younger kids.

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Clank! The Mummy's Curse components
Clank! The Mummy’s Curse components. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Clank! The Mummy’s Curse Components

  • Game board
  • 40 Dungeon Deck cards
  • Mummy card
  • Mummy meeple
  • Dragon meeple
  • Pyramid die
  • 2 Ankh tokens
  • 2 Major Secrets
  • 2 Minor Secrets
  • Supreme Monkey Idol
  • Market board
  • 24 Curse tokens
Clank! The Mummy's Curse meeples
The mummy and the new dragon meeple. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The components are similar to previous editions of Clank!, with a few new additions. The mummy meeple is used to mark which region of the board the mummy is in, and the new dragon meeple is just there for thematic flavor but doesn’t have any functional difference from the original dragon.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse
The market board provides a space for all the market tokens. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

In the original Clank!, the market tokens were placed in the market spaces on the board, but it could get a little confusing because there were multiple market spaces and any item could be purchased from any of those spaces. The Sunken Treasures expansion added a market board so that you could set all the market items off to the side of the game board, and The Mummy’s Curse includes one as well. (If you have Sunken Treasures already, you won’t need both, but they have a slightly different look to preserve the themes.)

Clank! The Mummy's Curse board
One side shows a pyramid, and the other is a giant Whiskersphinx. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

As with the other versions, this board is double-sided, so you can play with two different maps, depending on your mood. One side shows a pyramid, turned 45 degrees so that it lines up with the corner of the square board, and the other looks a little more like the older maps, though with a giant sphinx serving as the above-ground portion. Each of the maps has four sections with slightly different colored backgrounds, each marked with a triangle showing a symbol. I do wish the borders were a little more prominent, as I’ve sometimes misread which section the mummy is in.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse cards
There are references to Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones, and—of course—the original Clank! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The cards are very similar to the original game, using the same iconography so it’s easy to add into the game. The cards are marked with a pyramid watermark in the effects section so that you can sort them out if you want. There are, as expected, references to some adventure franchises, most notably Indiana Jones, but some others as well.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse gameplay
Let’s dive in! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

How to Play Clank! The Mummy’s Curse

If you’re not already familiar with Clank!, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the base game first (which was one of my favorites from 2016): see my original review here. I’ll just go over the differences in the new version.

 

Setup

Setup is the same as before, though with a few small differences:

The mummy pawn is placed in the zone with the throne-like icon. (I don’t know if that’s what it is, since the rulebook just shows the icon and never calls it anything.) The mummy card is set next to the dungeon row, along with the goblin card.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse supreme monkey idol
The Supreme Monkey Idol! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

There are a few more tokens that get added: four new secrets get shuffled in during setup, and the Supreme Monkey Idol is placed on its designated space—it’s like the other monkey idols, but is worth 10 points instead of 5, and it will still count as a monkey idol for cards that require those. The Ankhs are added to the marketplace as well.

The whole thing comes in a small expansion box (like Sunken Treasures), but I ditched the box and stored it with my base game. The only thing that doesn’t fit really well is the extra board, so my Clank! lid is raised up a bit because of the two expansion boards in it.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse curse tokens
Curses! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Gameplay

Since the gameplay is the same as before, here’s what’s new.

Curses! As you’d expect, a lot of the new cards are related to curses—getting curses, removing curses, and so on. Any time you get a curse, you take a curse token, which is worth -2 points at the end of the game. Moving through a tunnel with a curse symbol also gets you a curse.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse Mummy card and die
The mummy card and pyramid die. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The mummy is an always-available monster, like the goblin, and is displayed next to the dungeon row and is never discarded. The difference, though, is that you can only fight the mummy if you are in the same region of the board. You have two options:

  • Use 2 swords to gain 4 coins and a curse.
  • Use 3 swords to remove half your curses rounded up.

Each time you fight the mummy, you roll the pyramid die and move it to that region. If the mummy ever moves into your region, whether because somebody fought it or because some other effect caused a player to roll the die, you get a curse. (If the mummy doesn’t move and you’re in its region, you don’t get a curse; you also don’t get curses when you move into the mummy’s region.)

Clank! The Mummy's Curse gemstones
New gems give you clank AND a curse. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The gems in Clank! are worth points but make clank when you pick them up. The new gems also give you a curse—but they’re worth two more points than the cost, so it evens out. The question is whether you can get rid of those curses before the game ends.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse monsters
New monsters deal with curses. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Some of the new monsters have curse-related effects, as you can see above. The Scorpion Queen’s reward level depends on how many curses you have. The Crocodilian removes a clank and a curse, and the Whiskersphinx lets you draw two cards and remove a curse. Some cards also have a pyramid die (as seen on the Whiskersphinx)—you roll the die as soon as the card arrives in the dungeon row, moving the mummy and cursing any thieves in its new region.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse secret tokens
New secret tokens also roll the pyramid die. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The new secret tokens—two major, two minor—are similar to those you’ve seen in previous Clank! versions, but they add a pyramid die symbol. As soon as these are revealed, the player rolls the pyramid die. There’s a chalice worth 7 points, 5 coins, and two scarab beetles each worth 3 points.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse clank cards
A new mechanic: cards that trigger if you have clank. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

One other new card mechanic is that some cards will trigger only if you currently have clank in the clank area—so if you’ve managed to stay quiet, or an attack was just triggered before your turn and the clank area is cleared out, you won’t get those benefits. These are other cards that may pair well with cards that make clank when you play them.

The ankhs in the marketplace are worth 7 points, but also give you 1 point of healing at the time you purchase them.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse 2-player setup
Set up for a 2-player game on the pyramid board. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Why You Should Play Clank! The Mummy’s Curse

As you know, I’ve been a fan of the Clank! series from the beginning, so it’s always fun to me to see what sort of new features they add. Sunken Treasures added tunnels that gave you clank when you moved through them (essentially, splashing into water) and a need for oxygen, as well as cards that let you discard other cards in your hand for effects.

The Mummy’s Curse centers around—of course—the curses. You can get them from fighting the mummy, but also from various card effects and when the mummy moves into your region, and then there are various cards that refer to curses. Some cards give you more points if you don’t have as many curses, and there’s even a card that is worth 1 point per curse, making the curses a little more bearable.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse cards
Some other cards that manipulate curses. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

And even with the -2 penalty, having curses might not prevent you from winning—you still need to get in, get an artifact, and get out, so the core gameplay is still quite similar to previous versions of Clank! in that sense. If you spend a lot of effort avoiding curses, you may just run out of time before the game ends and score nothing at all.

The downside, though, is that in some of my plays, the curses were barely a factor at all. In some cases, we just didn’t roll the pyramid die much: nobody wanted to fight the mummy, and we just didn’t happen to hit any of the secrets or cards that required us to roll the die. Or in some cases, we’d roll the die and get the region where the mummy was already, so it wouldn’t move. Because the dungeon deck and secrets are both random (and the dungeon deck is quite thick), there’s always the possibility that you may play The Mummy’s Curse and not ever encounter the mummy itself. I think that’s perhaps the biggest disappointment, that the mummy isn’t particularly exciting in those circumstances.

That aside, you may still get curses from other cards and from walking through tunnels, and there are plenty of cards that can help you ditch those curses later. Or, if you have enough curses, it may make it worth tracking down the mummy and fighting it. I also liked the new card mechanics that relied on you having clank in the clank area—that’s a neat idea, and it can reward those players who play the risky, noisy game.

And, of course, it’s always fun to have a couple more maps to play with, mummy or not, because it forces everyone to rethink their paths and find their way through a new location.

Clank! The Mummy's Curse exploring the pyramid
Exploring the pyramid… Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Personally, I think I still prefer the major shift to Clank! In! Space! over the expansions to the base Clank! game, but the space version does add a layer of complexity that not everyone likes. If you prefer the base game and are looking to add some variety, The Mummy’s Curse can help you spice up the game without too much additional investment in learning new rules.

Look for Clank! The Mummy’s Curse in game stores and online today.


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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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