It wasn’t until the day before Gen Con 50 that Renegade Game Studios and Dire Wolf Digital announced a whole new stand-alone Clank! adventure to explore: Clank! In! Space! The new big box game challenges players to escape an alien starship using the same exciting system developed in the original Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure, which I absolutely love. Where the Clank! games differ is that they add the element of a game board that you must move around to complete your adventure.
At first I was hesitant about plunking down $60 on a brand new stand-alone, as opposed to an expansion. But, it’s Clank! So I gave it a try. And I’m glad that I did! It’s everything that I loved about the original game, but with a space twist. It ended up being one of my Favorite Things from Gen Con!
The evil Lord Eradikus has all but conquered the galaxy, and is now on a victory lap across the sector in his flagship, Eradikus Prime. He may rule with an iron grip, but his most prized artifacts are about to slip through his cyborg claws. You and your fellow thieves have challenged each other to sneak aboard his ship, hack your way into its command module, and steal from him.
Along the way, you’ll recruit allies and snatch up extra loot. But one false step and—Clank! Careless noise draws the attention of Lord Eradikus. Hacking into his command module and stealing his artifacts increases his rage. You’d better hope your friends are louder than you are if you want to make it to an escape pod and get out alive…
Clank! In! Space! is a deck-building game. Each player starts with their own identical deck, but building up that deck is part of playing the game. Players will acquire different cards during their turns. Because cards can do many different things, each player’s deck (and strategy) will become more and more different as the game unfolds.
Every time you acquire a new card, you put it face up in your discard pile. Whenever you need to draw a card and find your deck empty, shuffle your discard pile and turn it face down to form a new deck. With each shuffle, your newest cards become part of a bigger and better deck.
During the game, you have three goals: 1. Hack the spaceship’s computer to obtain a two-part command code allowing you to enter the Command module, 2. Steal an Artifact token from the Command module, then reach an escape pod in the Cargo Bay module and escape the ship, and 3. Accumulate enough points with your Artifact and other loot to beat out your opponents and earn the title of Greatest Thief in the Galaxy!
You start each of your turns with five cards in your hand, and you’ll play them all in any order you choose. There’s a wide array of actions you can take during your turn, using the Skill, Swords, or Boots on the cards in your hand. Skill acquires cards with blue banners from the Adventure Row to your deck. Swords defeat an enemy. Boots move through the Spaceship.
When moving through the Spaceship, you can buy from the market, use a Hyperlift or Telepad to move even quicker throughout the Spaceship. The Command module of the spaceship is protected by a force field. To reach an Artifact, you will have to hack the ship’s computer in two different locations to grant yourself a two-part command code. Once you’ve placed your two Data cubes in two different modules, you have completed your command code. Then you can enter the Command module and do what you came here to do: steal an Artifact from Lord Eradikus.
Once you’ve picked up an Artifact, you can make your way to an escape pod. Once all players have escaped the spaceship or have been knocked out, the game ends. All players who reached an escape pod (or at least the Cargo Bay module) add up their score, and see who is the Greatest Thief in the Galaxy!
My favorite element of this version is the card art. Designer Paul Dennen took the time to incorporate tributes to sci-fi favorites on each of the character cards. It is fun to play a card and figure out which character or genre they are paying a tribute to.
I am also impressed with the app integration for the Clank! games. This app includes ways to enhance the multiplayer gaming experience. It also includes single player campaigns for all games and expansions in the Clank! world.
The Flatline mode provides your Chief Medical Officer with a player aid and timer. Keep treating those patients before time runs out! Log your wins and losses as well. The Fuse mode turns up the pressure with a countdown timer (taunting optional) and high-score leaderboard for when you make it off your ship alive. The Clank! mode provides a single-player dungeon-delve for your favorite Deck-Building Adventure, and introduces exciting mini-Quests to add surprises to multiplayer games. The Clank! In! Space! mode provides a single-player campaign to thwart Lord Eradikus. Play through the multi-game encounter and save the galaxy.
And the best part… the app is available (for iOs and Android) for free!
There’s not much bad that I can say about this game. The only real complaint that I have is with the design of the modular game board. The pieces snap together much like a jigsaw puzzle, with interlocking pieces. I have found that popping these modular pieces together and apart can cause wear on the tabs and blanks of the pieces. The cardboard has potential to become frayed easily. One of mine started to fray the first time I took it apart. I wonder if they could have achieved the same effect by creating tiles that just laid next to each other, without the tabs?
There is also a need for clarification for some of the rules and symbols on the game board that the rule book does not provide. Renegade Games Studio and Dire Wolf Digital recognize this need, and have published a FAQ for both Clank! base games. They intend on keeping them updated with all of the latest answers to player questions. While the confusion was a little annoying at first, I was happy to find the FAQ after a little internet search and have all of the answers that I need.
I am a huge fan of deck-building games. Deck building is one of my favorite mechanics in any game. But the addition of the game board adds a fresh twist to the gameplay, and opens up for new strategies for success. As with the other Clank! games, you don’t always successfully escape, and a successful escape doesn’t always guarantee a win. You can carry only one Artifact, and once you’ve picked one up, you’re stuck with it. This forces you to choose carefully, because the time that it takes to successfully escape the ship may not be worth the extra points for the more valuable artifacts.
I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s entertaining, the artwork is fun, the modular game board is innovative, and it appeals to gamers with different experience levels and interests. It is sure to be a terrific addition to any gamer’s collection.
- Release Date: 2017
- MSRP: $60.00
- Playing Time: 60 minutes
- Age Range: 13+
- Player Count: 2-4
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