Clank! Review: A Dungeon Crawling, Push-Your-Luck Deck-Builder | Casual Game Revolution

Clank! Review: A Dungeon Crawling, Push-Your-Luck Deck-Builder


Who will plunder the most loot from the dragon’s dungeon? And who will make it out alive?

The 2017 Mensa Select Winner, Clank! has already spawned a sequel and several expansions. So what is all the fuss about?


Each player is a thief. You must delve into the dungeon and steal an artifact and make it out of the dungeon alive. The dungeon is comprised of a board with many different tunnels leading from room to room. Different tokens are placed on different rooms: artifacts, monkey idols that are worth points, items you can buy to assist you in the dungeon, and small and major secret tokens that are kept facedown until claimed (at which point they grant you various boosts).

Clank! is a deck-building game. Each player starts with the same deck of cards. You draw a hand of five cards and on your turn you play all of them. Cards can give you skill points, swords, boots, and "clank" (noise that threatens to wake up the dragon). Skill points are used to buy more cards from the card display to fill your deck. Boots are used to travel through the tunnels of the dungeon, and swords are used to either fight monsters in the display or to fight monsters in the tunnels between the rooms. It usually takes one boot to travel from room to room in the dungeon, but some tunnels require an extra boot and some are infested with one or more monsters. Each monster requires one sword to defeat or you can choose to take one point of damage. When you earn a point of clank, one cube of your player color is added to the dragon bag.

At the end of your turn you discard all cards played this turn, and draw a new hand. Once your deck is depleted you will reshuffle it. Also at the end of your turn, if any cards were removed from the card display, they are replaced from the draw deck. Cards in the deck include new cards for player decks, devices which have abilities you pay to use and then discard the card from the display, and monsters which grant rewards for defeating them and then are discarded as well. Some cards also have a dragon symbol on them. When one of these is placed in the display at the end of the round, you draw cubes from the dragon bag. The number of cubes you draw increases as the game progresses. When a player’s cube is drawn from the bag, he takes one point of damage.

Players earn bonus points for making it out of the dungeon. Once you are out, you no longer take a turn, however the first player to exit places her pawn on a countdown space and advances it on her turns. Each time her pawn advances, the dragon attacks and an increasing number of cubes are drawn from the dragon bag. On the fifth turn, all players still inside the dungeon are knocked out. If any hero ever reaches zero health points, he is also knocked out. The dungeon is divided into a top half and a bottom half. If you are in the top half of the dungeon when you are knocked out and have an artifact, you are rescued and may count up your points for the end of the game and may still win. Otherwise you are lost to the dungeons forever and eliminated.

Once the game ends, players total the points from their artifacts, tokens collected, and from cards in their deck. The player with the highest point total wins.

Clank! Components
Image by zgabor on


Clank! is a unique blend of multiple mechanics. The deck building is solid, but there is also a push your luck aspect as you choose whether or not to purchase cards that will add to your clank but will speed up your progress through the dungeon or add to your point total. Having a lot of clank in the dragon bag also does not guarantee that your cubes will be the ones that get pulled out, which means that players always have the option to take a gamble. All of this is tied into a neat, dungeon delving theme that is represented in an extremely visually appealing fashion on the board.

The board's dungeon has so many twists and turns and so many different pathways that you can take. We actively wanted to explore it and make our own ways through, discovering what minor and major secret tokens were lurking in the rooms and choosing which artifacts to go after. The board offers a lot of different strategic choices, and together with how you choose to build your deck, you have a lot of options during the game.

There is minimal player interaction, however. It is fun to see how the game plays out and how players react once someone starts making for the exit or reaches the surface, and there are a few cards that allow you to give other players clank, or you can beat other players to tokens, but in general you are doing your own thing, meaning there is some down time between turns, especially when playing four players. Also, once a player exits the dungeon, you have little to do.

While the game can sometimes slow down a bit, the blend of mechanics and theme is quite enjoyable. It is a ton of fun to cut your path through the dungeon and there are a wide range of cards in the deck and plenty of potential strategies. The blend of mechanics feels unique and intriguing in Clank!, and the double-sided board with two different dungeon layouts promises plenty of possibilities.

Pros: Unique blend of mechanics, high quality components, many paths around the board

Cons: A little too much downtime with full player count, minimal player interaction

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.