Clank! Legacy - First Impressions (Spoiler-Free)

Owner

It took a while but my wife and I finally got around to starting the campaign! I'll be mentioning the names of some of the components throughout the writing below, but I'll be sticking to big picture thoughts instead of getting into the details so that I won't spoil anything.

For those who don't know, Clank! is a lineup of deck-building games where players must race through a dungeon (or some other type of maze-like area in the expansions) fighting monsters and securing loot, all while building up a deck full of powerful cards you can buy throughout the game. This all seems fairly straightforward but the catch is that many of your actions cause noise in the dungeon and generate "Clank! cubes." And whenever there's an event causing the dragon to attack, the Clank! cubes generated by all players are thrown into the dragon bag (which starts with 24 black cubes), and you draw a number of cubes matching the amount shown on the "rage track." Every time a player's cube is drawn from that bag, that player's health is dwindled and will mean game over if you're knocked out of the game and don't have an artifact or if you're in the danger zone.

Here are our first impressions:

Unboxing/Pre-Game Experience

(++) The first thought that came to mind is "Wow, this was a steal." I got this after @BenjaminK posted that it's on sale for $52 on amazon. Considering the nice minis (and I'm not even a mini guy), great insert, the general component quality, and the amount of content available (10 campaigns and after you're done, you have your very own custom Clank! game to play without the legacy portion), I'm very happy about my purchase.

(+) Rulebook is relatively short and easy to understand. No instances of "what if's" came to mind. If you've played other deck-builders like #Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, you'll have an especially easy time going through the rules.

Gameplay

(+) Simple turns with good amount of decision space, and I always love that in games - You draw 5 cards from your deck and you must play all of them to end your turn. Each card has a number of Skills, Boots, or Swords and by playing them, you have a pool of these "resources" you can allocate toward a number of different actions such as acquiring new cards from the Adventure Row (which gets refreshed/restocked as cards get acquired), for movement, or for defeating monsters for gold or other benefits. I'm going to have fun testing out different strategies!

(++) Adventure - I enjoy #The Voyages of Marco Polo, but I wish it actually felt like a voyage. And whereas your choice of which path to take in Marco Polo is mostly based on your hidden end goal destinations and your pool of resources, Clank! Legacy actually makes you want to explore just for the sake of discovery. Many of the spaces reward cool bonuses and trigger looking into the Book of Secrets to advance the narrative, so I often wanted to take a longer, less straightforward path just so that I can experience more of the game.

(++) Book of Secrets - There are a number instances when a player triggers looking up the book. It reminded me of my middle school days when I had this book where each page presents you with different choices and your decision leads you from one page to the next. The Book of Secrets captures that type of fun where you're filled with anticipation and wishing that nothing bad will happen when you're so close to the finish line. Well written with a nice touch of humor, engages the players especially as the gameplay progresses, and it doesn't feel cliched or like it's a bother.

(+/-) Legacy Upkeep - I was a bit concerned about 15 minutes into the game. Our table space was already about full and I was doing a bit of gymnastics juggling between the Book of Secrets, the Cardporium (where you sometimes have to retrieve cards that get added into the game through an event), and getting the appropriate stickers to put on the board, etc, all while trying to make it a smooth process so that my wife is enjoying it. It felt like all these pauses would kill the momentum of the gameplay, and even though the amount of upkeep persists throughout the game, you do get used to it. Plus, we got used to the rhythm of the game and my wife and I got into a groove of each of us sharing a part of the upkeep. Also, the Book of Secrets and all these mystery elements do a great job of pulling you into the game and making you invested and curious, to a point where you're just looking forward to seeing what will unfold. I do think that if the players are relatively inexperienced, then I think it's very important that at least the owner of the game maintains an enthusiasm for all of this so that it keeps everyone motivated and patient especially in the beginning of the game. It paid off for us, and it's cool to see the board itself and even the rulebook slowly transforming into our own custom version.

(++) Luck - There are many elements of luck in this game, and I love it. First, there's the suspense of pulling out the Clank! cubes and not knowing how many hits you'll take from the dragon. Then there's the Book of Secrets where you have no idea what will happen and which can have severe consequences for everyone, whether for good or bad. Although I like elements of luck in the first place, I think I mind it even less because (1) it makes it feel more real to life, and (2) it leads to a much more memorable story.

Final Thoughts

We love it :)

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12 months ago

This and Betrayal Legacy are two of our favorite Legacy games...Clank is a bit funnier...lol.

Owner12 months ago

Yeah, I like the overall lighthearted feel from the game :D

12 months ago

Nice! I have heard so many good things about this game, it is definitely on the list for some point in the future!

Owner12 months ago

I enjoyed it a lot! The legacy elements took some time getting used to and manage, and it felt a bit too much at first, but it was fun unlocking all these secrets as the game progresses.

12 months ago

Ooooooo snap! Let me know how it is at two players! I'm waiting for four, but I'm getting impatient.  :) 

Owner12 months ago

I was wondering if you've gotten to it yet! I saw your instagram post about resuming the game nights. Are you thinking of getting this to the table soon then?

As for player count, I had no issue at 2 players, but I could see pros and cons of 2p vs. higher player counts. Higher player counts could make for a more eventful game and trigger more side quests (and you'd finish up the campaign with 4 characters completely shaped by players' decisions), but I would expect this to slow up the overall pace of the game because you'd frequently have to read passages and put stickers on (and there's a lot of that going on even at 2p count). I'm also guessing it'll make for a much longer game and it would be less "snappy" in the actual gameplay. I'm sure it would make it an even more unforgettable story though and you'll have a blast if everyone's going in expecting a longer game than usual. And just to reiterate--they did a magnificent job capturing the essence of adventure and discovery.

As for 2p--normally, a game like this with a map of this size would feel way too loose. But I feel like the adventure portion of the game completely fills in that void and makes it so worthwhile because each player is curious and invested in what's happening even if it's not his/her turn. There was never a moment when we felt like we were just playing our own games, because we were sharing the experience together. Plus, the deck building part doesn't slow down as much at 2p since you're not waiting on as many players to make their decisions. Although, I should say that given how many cards are in this game, higher player counts would be great so that you can get through more of them per game.

I think you'll love this game Ben

12 months ago

We're hoping to play it with one of our married friends in the neighborhood who are also into games. I really want to play it soon. We played #Clank! last night and I a SO ready to take on the campaign!

I'm very excited to get in on this adventure and discovery of which you speak. Clank is one of my favorite games, so I know I'll love it haha

Supporter12 months ago

This just looks so good! One day I’ll get it and we’ll give it a go

Premium User12 months ago

That's awesome! Always great to find a game both of you really enjoy :)

Owner12 months ago

Yes it is! On the flipside, it can be devastating when you find out a game was a complete miss :(

Haven't had that kind of extreme reaction yet though haha, and it was great to see my wife tensing up when it was right down to the wire and she was basically one turn away from dying right in front of the HQ.

Premium User12 months ago

Haha, the only complete miss I've had so far have been smaller games, luckily. #Jixia Academy and #The Fox in the Forest. She really could not get into those at all, haha. Oh well! I actually gave #Jixia Academy to a friend who really liked it. Maybe his wife will enjoy it!

12 months ago

I am with you on this, I have missed on #The Mind, #Deep Sea Adventure and #Arboretum, all fairly small games so I cannot complain!

Premium User12 months ago

Ah man, Arboretum looks so interesting, but that's one of those ones I'm almost positive my wife won't enjoy so I haven't bothered buying it, haha.

12 months ago

Ya I have a feeling it would work fine with my game group but it fell flat at two players. 

Premium User12 months ago

Bummer. They can't all be winners. What are some of your favorite games to play with your wife?

12 months ago

We have played #The Castles of Burgundy and she liked it, I am hoping that that becomes a favorite of ours as we play it more!

12 months ago

#PARKS is another big one!

Premium User12 months ago

Nice! I have 7 Wonders Duel, and we played once but my wife didn't enjoy, though she has said she thinks she should try it again.

She does like Carcassonne quite a bit too!

I'd love to try CoB one day with her too. It's hard to get past the drabness of it though, haha.

Parks looks so pretty but it's so dang expensive!

For some reason Quacks just doesn't appeal to me. Not sure why.

12 months ago

7 wonders duel is currently her threshold for a ganes complexity that she is comfortable with if it is a competitive game. I am hoping she can handle more complex coops!

Carcassonne is great man, I have a couple expansions too that add some fun elements. 

Ya COB is drab but it functions in a fun manner. I really enjoy it, it is about making small moves for a big payoff. 

Parks is probably too expensive for what the game is, but its a nice little game!

Quacks honestly is so good. You have to be ok with it being mostly luck and you kinda have to enjoy gambling a bit. I have to change my mindset from a eurogamer to a luck gamer when I play!

12 months ago

Man, I am starting to consider this for myself...You did a great job of describing the tensions and the fun!!

Owner12 months ago

We're definitely bad influences lol

12 months ago

I do not think I have bought anything that I have been recommended from here...but the wishlist is ever-growing... 

12 months ago

In your short experience, does it look like each character will get new abilities? Or do new items become available? I just am curious about what the legacy aspect looks like!

Owner12 months ago

I'm honestly not sure but I think what it's working toward is that the characters you run with will have a unique starting deck once you're done with the campaign. And I'm guessing that the game will offer some kind of "catch up" for the other two characters we didn't use so that they're up to par.

As for other legacy aspects (not comprehensive):

  • Events from the Book of Secrets will have players place stickers on the board (the board has two sides by the way). About half of the board has routes that go to nowhere at the moment and you'll be discovering them as the campaign progresses. You also place alternate routes sometimes or make certain paths more difficult to cross.
  • Events from the Book of Secrets often present multiple choices to the player who triggered it. Depending on your choice, it will change up the board or rulebook in a very different way. Also, events often instruct you to pull out cards from the Cardporium that will get added into the game. Some of these cards will serve as contracts players can try to fulfill for some cool rewards or cards that will get added into the deck of whoever triggered the event. Once added, these cards will be available for play throughout the campaign.
  • Each player starts out by selecting their player color and deck box (this just contains the plastic base for the mini and identical starting cards (for now at least)). The deck box has personal goals that are unique to that player. By completing a number of those goals along the track, you will trigger an event in the Book of Secrets that will probably change up your character/deck as well.

12 months ago

Man this sounds really fun...I have been craving an RPG style game with progession lately, hence my interest in TMB and Aeons End Legacy. this may scratch that itch too! I also just started up Dark Souls Remastered on PS4 too lol. 

Owner12 months ago

Dark Souls! Never gave it a try but it was one of those games that I couldn't resist watching runthroughs of on YouTube lol

12 months ago

I have played Dark Souls 3, Bloodborne, and Sekiro, just started DS Remastered. They are not for the faint of heart. The hardest games I have ever played but very rewarding because of that!

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Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated
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