The ranks of thieves are growing—now up to 6 players can join in on the fun of Clank!
Clank! Adventuring Party is an expansion to the deck-building game Clank! for 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, and takes about 1 to 2 hours to play. Note that you must have either the base game or Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated in order to use this expansion. It retails for $30 and is available in stores and online now; the first print run has sold out at the publisher level but is being reprinted, and local stores may still have it in stock. Although the age recommendation is 13+, I’ve played Clank! with kids as young as 7; some deck-building (and card-shuffling) experience is handy, but not absolutely necessary, as long as they can read and understand the cards.
Clank! Adventuring Party was designed by Evan Lorentz and published by Renegade Games and Dire Wolf Digital, with character illustrations by Raul Ramos; additional art and card illustrations were by a large team of artists.
Here’s what comes in the box:
The components in Clank! Adventuring Party are comparable to the rest of the line, from the cards to the cardboard tokens. The cards are formatted the same as before (though there are some new features, detailed below), with fun illustrations and flavor text. Each of the character decks is marked with a small icon matching the meeple, and I like that each one has unique Burgle and Stumble artwork and flavor text—based on the original versions, but featuring the different characters.
The meeples are fun—unlike previous sets, where all of the meeples have the same basic shape with just a tool or weapon to distinguish them, these are patterned after the six characters and are wildly different in shape and size. Garignar the orc towers over Agnet the dwarf, and the Hexavultus boss is enormous (though, given the name, why does it only have 3 heads?).
With this latest expansion, my Clank! base game box is now full to the brim with components (and actually a little over the top, once I put the character boards and side board on top of everything). I have the other game boards in one of the smaller expansion boxes, but I don’t think I’ll be able to fit anything else in here unless I throw out the insert. I’m hoping Renegade Games might consider a storage box option the next time they expand Clank! again.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you already know the basics of how to play Clank!, because otherwise, this expansion won’t do you much good. If you need a refresher, take a look at my original review of the base game here. Clank! Adventuring Party doesn’t change the goal of the game but adds some new features, so I’ll explain how those work.
Adventuring Party can be used in two ways: first, you can use it simply to expand the base game to 5 or 6 players, with just a few tweaks to setup and the rules to accommodate the extra players. Second, you can use the new characters (regardless of player count) to give each player a different starting deck and special abilities.
Most of the setup changes are for adding more players, and will not apply if you’re only playing with 4 or fewer people.
There are two more basic starting decks, plus meeples and cubes in two new colors: grey and orange.
The side board is placed next to the main board: it includes health tracks for the grey and orange player, as well as a new boss track for 5 or 6 players.
You’ll mix in additional artifacts: in a 5-player game, remove 2 at random, but use all of them in a 6-player game. Some spaces will now have two copies of the same artifact, a gold one and a silver one.
New minor secret tokens are mixed in with the old ones but are not placed on the board. Just make a face-down supply of them.
The market board is used (as with previous expansions) to store the market items in a handy, easily visible place. Add the extra market items and the invisibility cloak to the market.
The rest of the additional items are simply added to the supply: the reserve cards, gold tokens, and mastery tokens.
Finally, shuffle in the 35 new dungeon deck cards. These may be used with fewer than 5 or 6 players, but they’re intended for higher player counts.
When placing initial Clank! cubes during setup, the 5th and 6th player do not place any, but take 1 and 2 gold, respectively.
If you want to use the new characters, give each player the character starting deck and board instead of the basic starting deck. In addition, most of the characters have some tokens associated with them.
There are a few minor changes pertaining to the higher player counts.
In the rooms with duplicate artifacts, you take the gold one if you’re first. Nobody is allowed to have two copies of the same artifact, even with a backpack. In the case of a tie at the end of the game, the player with the gold version beats the player with the silver version.
When you enter a minor secret space, you get a token from the bank, so the spaces themselves do not run out of secrets (but it is still possible to empty the supply). There’s one new secret added: the Potion of Stealth. Discard it to remove 1 of your own Clank! and everyone else adds 1 Clank!
The invisibility cloak in the market allows you to ignore monsters in tunnels when you move and is worth 5 points at the end of the game.
There are two significant gameplay changes on the new cards: React and Arrive Choice.
Some cards (including some of the character starting cards) have “React” text on them. If the conditions in the text are met during another player’s turn, you may play the card into your play area and draw another card to replace it. It doesn’t actually take effect until your own turn, but it’s like playing an extra card. React cards played on your own turn just function as usual, without the extra card draw.
Some dungeon cards have an “Arrive Choice” text below the illustration: like the “Arrive” effects previously seen, these trigger when these cards are flipped into the dungeon row but offer a choice rather than a single effect, and every player must make the choice on the card independently.
While this isn’t a rules change, it’s a new effect: some monsters will give everyone a choice to make when they’re defeated, but the player who defeated them gets a better reward.
Let’s take a look at the characters and what they do.
First, each character has its own starting deck of 10 cards. They’re pretty similar to the regular starting deck, but each has unique illustrations and flavor text for the Burgle and Stumble cards, and each character has 3 unique cards that replace some of the usual starting cards. In addition, each character has a player board with some additional instructions about their powers.
Ah, Monkeybot Prime. You may remember Monkeybot 3000 from the base game, which lets you draw 3 cards but also makes 3 Clank! Well, Monkeybot Prime is all about the high-risk, high-reward strategy. Every time you are damaged by a dragon attack, you remove one cog from your board, uncovering a symbol. On every turn, you get the benefits of all uncovered symbols. Monkeybot’s unique cards include one that heals damage and one that lets you run through Crystal Caves if you have a monkey idol.
Another character you may recognize is Whiskers—some version of this cat appears in many of the Clank! titles, and it often has something to do with dragon attacks. Sure enough, Whiskers is able to trigger an extra dragon attack that he’s immune to. Two of his cards let him flip over one of the three behavior tokens on his board, giving him the corresponding benefit that turn. When all three are face-down, a dragon attack occurs and they’re flipped back up.
Garignar is an orc, and the only character who starts with any sword icons in his deck: his Wallop card has two swords on it, so you can start smashing that Goblin as soon as you enter the dungeon. Every turn that you defeat a monster, you advance his carnage token on the player board and get one of the corresponding benefits.
Agnet is the Mountain King’s commander, and she’s great at recruiting (or conscripting?) companions. She starts with 4 conscription tokens, which may be spent when you acquire a companion to put it on top of your deck instead of in your discard pile. She also starts with a companion in her deck, Rebel Squire, who lets you draw a card if you’ve played other companions, and she has an Inspire card that lets her put a played companion back on top of her deck.
Lenara is a mage and has 10 mana tokens that she can build up to cast three different spells, printed on her player board. Two of her cards give her mana, and she can accumulate it even more quickly if she has secret tomes, acquires secrets, or uses potions. Also, most characters start with 2 boot icons in their starting deck—Lenara only has one, but she also has a teleport card, which is great for getting past monsters, locked doors, and one-way tunnels.
D’allan just wants everyone to see his collection. He’s the only character who doesn’t have any special tokens—instead, he has four display spaces on his board: a dragon egg, a monkey idol, a crown from the market, and an artifact. When you collect these items, you get to place them on your board, and then the effects are triggered by your special cards. He also has the most React cards—if somebody collects one of the four items that you don’t have yet, you can play your card.
Clank! Adventuring Party is GeekDad Approved!
As you may know, Clank! is one of my favorite games: I love deck-building games of all sorts, but the combination of the theme, the press-your-luck element, and running around on a map in Clank! just clicks for me. It’s one that has been easy to teach players, even those who haven’t played deck-building games before, because the gameplay matches up with the theme, and I’ve enjoyed introducing people to it (and the various expansions) over the years. Clank! In! Space! was our 2017 Game of the Year. I even did a month-long “Clanktober” series on Twitter to highlight a lot of the various aspects of the game.
So what does Adventuring Party add to the mix?
Well, for those of you who tend to have more than 4 players at game night, it increases the player count. I have to admit that I haven’t gotten to play a 5- or 6-player game yet due to quarantine. I do imagine that it will extend the playtime a bit as people are making decisions, but I do like the idea of the React cards, plus the cards that give every player a choice: these will let you do a few more things when it’s not your turn. All of the new cards added to the dungeon deck are designed with a higher player count in mind, and the changes to the artifacts and secrets mean that there’s more for everyone to pick up so the last player doesn’t get left out in the cold.
What I’m really loving about Adventuring Party, though, is the characters. I like the way that you can now play to different strengths, and see if focusing on those tactics can lead you to victory. I’ve sometimes tried the “lots of Clank!” strategy where I acquire cards that make noise—they tend to have more powerful effects, at the risk of being attacked more often by the dragon. Well, now Monkeybot Prime lets me go all in, because each time I’m attacked, I get another boost … at least, until I die.
My kids were immediately excited about the characters, too. My oldest daughter picked out Lenara and was able to use her teleportation and magic abilities to great effect. My middle daughter loves the Mr. Whiskers card, so she was very excited to play as Whiskers, triggering extra dragon attacks and skipping past monsters in tunnels. My youngest is actually new to Clank! but she picked up on the game so she was at a bit of a disadvantage, but she’s managed to hold her own.
I’ve gotten to see all of the characters in action, and have seen victories from several of them. If you like hunting monsters for the rewards, Garignar’s your guy. If you enjoy grabbing up a little bit of everything, D’allan may be right up your alley. And for those who love the extra card draws from rebel companions, Agnet lets you maximize their abilities.
My own experience with Agnet was unfortunate—that was the time all my kids escaped and got all the way out, and I died one step underground! But Agnet’s powers are all about companions, and we had bad luck where there were very few companions in the market row the whole game. The asymmetric powers do mean that players will be affected differently when the market is unbalanced. Garignar can always fight goblins, but he won’t be quite as fun if there aren’t monsters showing up in the market row frequently. D’allan loses out a little if he can’t find a dragon egg among the many minor secret tokens. That’s something to take into account when you use the characters: it won’t always feel fair depending on the mix of cards, the map you’re using, and how the secrets shake out. But I do think overall each character has a way to capitalize on their powers.
If you’re a fan of Clank!, I think you’ll really enjoy adding Adventuring Party to your collection, even if you only play with 4 players at most, and you can include them regardless of which map you’re using. You can also use them on the Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated board, though not until you’ve completed the campaign and are just playing on the finished maps.
For more about Clank! Adventuring Party, visit the Renegade Games website or check out the designer diaries at Dire Wolf Digital. Renegade Games should have it back in stock in its web store in January, but distributors and retailers still have some stock, so check in with your friendly local game store first!
Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.
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