Clank! A Deck-building Adventure is a Deckbuilding Game that combines deckbuilding with a more traditional tabletop board game.
The game's premise consists of two to four players acting as thieves attempting to plunder a dragon's castle of treasure. The most important treasures of them all being the Artifacts, of which you can only carry one. The game ends when the players all successfully escape with their Artifacts or die trying.
Gameplay involves moving around the board with to grab an Artifacts, as well as Major and Minor Secrets along the way, by moving their game peice into the room they are in. Each turn, they may also Acquire cards to both use immediately and add to their personal deck from both the Reserve pile(cards which are always available) and the Dungeon Row (cards which are dealt from the Dungeon Deck and represent monsters to face, items to steal, potential companions to persuade to your side, etc. that your character finds along their journey). Moving around is primarily done with Boots icons that are found in the cards of your deck, while Acquiring cards is done with cards that give the player Skill (for everything but monsters) as well as Swords (for monsters). Players begin with a 10 card starting deck of six Burgle cards worth 1 skill each, 1 Sidestep card worth 1 Boot, 1 Scramble card worth 1 skill and 1 Boot, and 2 Stumble cards, which gives the player Clank.
In addition to these three primary resources to manage, the player must be careful not to build up Clank, representing the noise the player would make as they move about the castle, alerting the dragon to their presence. Clank is represented by colored cubes that eventually get put in a bag, shaken, and drawn. If the dragon successfully detects a player (which happens whenever the player's cube is drawn), the player is dealt damage that will eventually result in defeat. The goal of the game is the acquire one artifact and as much loot as they can and successfully escape. The winner at the end of the game is a combination of Victory points on cards, secrets, the player's artifact, and any acquired gold.
The base game has 2 expansions:
- Clank! Sunken Treasures
- Clank! The Mummy's Curse
In addition, there are 2 related games.
- Clank! In! Space!. A space-themed variant of the game.
- Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated. An expanded world-building campaign version of Clank!.
This deckbuilding game provides examples of:
- Bag of Holding: The Backpack will let you carry one extra Artifact. If you buy one but fail to acquire that extra artifact it ends up as a net loss in points.
- Berserk Button: The dragon's rage will go up when three things happen: When an artifact is stolen, when a dragon egg is stolen, or when a player with an artifact has successfully escaped.
- Clingy Macguffin: You can't drop an artifact after picking it up. Not even to pick up a better artifact.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: Some valuables that are worth a lot will cause the player to build up a lot of Clank, in particular most Gems (which give you a single time increase in Clank, and the Monkey Staff, which does nothing at first, but gradually alerts dragon to your presence.
- Dungeon Shop: Depending on the setup being played, there is one shop or three roaming shopkeepers in the castle.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Nictotraxian the Dragon. "Nicki", for short.
- Fragile Speedster: The player characters start out with only skill and the ability to move, and zero attack power. They will have to rely on the stronger magical artifacts they find or their companions for the bulk of their fighting.
- Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Nicki the Dragon will start out having a hard time detecting the player, represented by 24 black cubes in the Dragon Bag, so the chances of the players cubes being drawn are quite low at the start. Since even black cubes are removed from the back if drawn, the probability of the dragon's attack hitting goes up each time it misses.
- Healing Potion: Healing potions are a minor secret that an be found that heals only 1 damage, though it can be saved for when you really need it.
- Healing Spring: Healing Fountains throughout the castle can heal the player for 1 every time they pass through it. However, they tend to be awkwardly placed and in situation where repeatedly exiting and re-entering them is difficult.
- I Meant to Do That: The Swagger card allows the player to gain Skill for their turn depending on the amount of Clank they have. This can be interpreted as playing off the noise they make as intentional in a show of bravado.
- The Maze: Crystal Caves will exhaust players with its mazelike passages, which in gameplay terms means that entering one means they can't leave the room for a full turn. They can still teleport out if they are capable of it.
- Mook: The Goblins are omnipresent in the castle, apparently always in every room, in as many number as needed, represented by their presence in the Reserve pile instead of the Dungeon Deck. As many goblins can be defeated per turn as you have spare Swords, in exchange for single coins each. Oddly, they are exactly as tough as Orcs, which are treated as more threatening, but Orcs give better loot.
- Mister Muffykins: The Dragon's pet cat is a "companion" that can cause the dragon to attack as an effect when it is played. it's most useful for getting other players killed.
- Monster Is a Mommy: The dragon is explicitly female, and one of the minor secrets the player can steal is a dragon egg, which will automatically increase the dragon's Rage.
- Only Mostly Dead: A Player that grabs are artifact and manages to make it back above ground, yet is defeated before they can escape the castle, doesn't quite die. They instead are rescued by villagers, although they no longer get the point bonus acquired when escaping.
- Random Drop: Minor and Major Secrets represent random items found in the adventure, which can be a brief power boost or an item you can hold on to.
- Rule of Three: The Monkey kingdom is noted to be obssessed with the number three. There are three Monkey Idol tokens, the Scepter of the Ape Lord causes the player's Clank to increase by three, and the robotic monkey companion is called the Monkey Bot 3000.
- Shared Universe: This game takes place within the same universe as Eternal Card Game. The dragon of the castle, Nictotraxian, is a monster from that game.
- Skeleton Key: The Master Key can be bought in the dungeon shop. Since it costs 7 gold to buy and the key itself is only worth 5 points, its usefulness is offset by a net loss in victory points.
- Stalked by the Bell: Once somebody escapes, the dragon's Rage slowly increases for 5 turns upon which it will automatically knock out anyone in the aboveground castle and kill anyone in the Depths.
- With Catlike Tread: Players that do this will find themselves eating a lot of damage. One card, Dead Run, gives the player a strong +2 movement for their turn, but also gives them +2 Clank, which is depicted on the card as forgoing stealth and making a mad dash.