How to Play Clank! (Rules and Instructions)

Working to obtain the most desirable artifacts, players sneak into the dungeon stealing valuable loot without waking the dragon in this deck-building game called Clank! Learn all the Clank! Rules.

Clank!, first published in 2016, is a deck-building board game that has since released additional expansions for even more gameplay fun. Players earn points by collecting valuable artifacts within the depths of a dungeon but must escape before awaking the dragon. 

This guide includes everything you need to know about playing Clank!, including answers to frequently asked questions, game rules, materials needed, and scoring. 

Read on to learn how to play Clank!, a deck-building adventure game.

What is Clank!

Clank! Board Game Info Image

Clank! is a deck-building board game where players work to obtain treasure in a dungeon without waking the dragon. 

Players add new cards to their deck throughout the game by sneaking through a dungeon, getting points, and dodging dangerous situations with hopes of making it out alive. 

Number of Players: 2-4 

Ages: 12+

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 30-60 min. 

Similar to: Dragonwood, Everdell, Tyrants of the Underdark, Forbidden Island

Main Objective: Sneak through the dungeon and earn the most points by obtaining valuable treasures. Make it out of the dungeon alive with the most points earned to beat your opponents. 

Why We Love It: While competitive in a sense, players fight against the dangers of the dungeon more so than their opponents. In this “every man for himself” adventure, cards determine the players’ possibilities, challenges, and rewards. 

A Brief History of Clank!

Designed by Paul Dennen, the game Clank! was released by Renegade Game Studios in 2016. 

You can now find several expansion packs, such as Clank! Sunken Treasures give you even more playing options. 

What You’ll Need to Play Clank!

Everything needed to play Clank! comes included in the game box:

The original box contains: 

  • Double-sided game board 
  • 182 game cards
  • 4 Rules summary cards
  • Cloth “Dragon Bag” 
  • 4 Thief meeples 
  • 120 player Clank! cubes 
  • 1 Dragon Rage meeple 
  • 24 Dragon cubes 
  • 32 gold piece tokens 
  • 11 Major Secret tokens 
  • 18 Minor Secret tokens 
  • 7 Artifact tokens 
  • 3 Crown tokens 
  • 2 Backpack tokens 
  • 2 Master Key tokens 
  • 3 Monkey Idol tokens 
  • 4 Mastery tokens 
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Clank! Area of Play

Set up the board game in the middle of the table. You can play using either side of the board; however, one side is easier to use for new players learning the game. 

Place artifact tokens on the board face-up on the spaces that display a matching number value. In a 4-player game, use all seven tokens. Use 6 tokens for a 3-player game, and use only 5 tokens for a 2-player game. 

Next, shuffle the Major and Minor Secrets tokens separately and place them into 2 stacks face-down. Place a major secret token on the major secret space, and place 2 minor secret tokens on every minor secret location on the game board. 

Place the key, backpack, and crown tokens near the Market area of the game board. Place three monkey tokens in the Monkey Shrine room, and place Mastery tokens near the board- you need one per player. 

Place the numbered gold tokens in piles beside the board. They need to be sorted by 1s and 5s. Black dragon cubes should be inside the cloth dragon bag next to the playing area. Place the black dragon marker on the board space representing the number of players. 

Near the board, sort the Clank! Cards by Mercenary, Explore, Secret Tome, and Goblin into four face-up piles. Remove any playing cards with a grey banner and set them aside. 

Shuffle the rest of the deck, the Dungeon Deck, and deal six cards face-up. Cards with a dragon image must be shuffled back into the deck and replaced with another card. 

If any of the cards have an Arrive memo, follow the action listed on the card at this time. For example, a card may say, Arrive: Put three dragon cubes back in the bag. 

From the grey banner cards previously identified, give each player 6 cards labeled Burgle, 2 cards labeled Stumble, one Sidestep card, and one Scramble card. If you have less than four players, you can return unused cards to the box. 

Players shuffle their cards into a face-down deck and place 30 Clank! Cubes of a selected color beside their playing deck. Place the marker of your color at the dungeon entrance on the board. 

Select a player to go first. They will place three cubes in the Clank! Area on the game board. In clockwise rotation, the second player will place two cubes on the board, and the third player will place one cube on the board. The fourth player will not put any cubes. 

Clank! Area of Play Image

Clank! Rules and Gameplay

To begin, each player draws 5 cards from the deck to keep in their hand. When you start to play your cards, you will group them into rows: the dungeon row and the reserve directly in front of you. 

Players move through tunnels on the game board by acquiring cards with boot symbols. Some of the tunnels require additional boots or have specific rules. The tunnels lead to different rooms. 

Players must explicitly follow tunnels shaped like arrows. If a tunnel has a lock symbol, you will need a master key to enter. 

If you come to a minor or major secret token, you must take it and play it in front of you. Clank! Comes with a reference sheet that explains what each token means or requires. 

Health Meter

At the bottom of the game board, there are health meters for each player. When you run into trouble or damage, you must place a cube on one of the squares on your health meter. If you can defend yourself, then you will not play a cube. 

If you are nearing the end of your health meter, represented by a skull and crossbones, you cannot enter a tunnel with damage if it would bring you to death. 

When a player’s health meter is complete, they become knocked out. If a player is positioned above the grass line on the board and has an artifact, they can be saved. Players won’t be rescued if they are in the depths (under the grass line) or have no artifacts. 

Once you have an artifact, you can work your way back to the exit of the dungeon. Players can earn extra points by exiting the dungeon with an artifact alive. Players who have escaped or are knocked out will not play regular turns. 

Dungeon Rooms

If you land on a room with a heart symbol, you can remove one of your previously placed cubes from your health meter, and it restores your health. There are also cards with the heart symbol which serve the same benefit. 

Upon entering a crystal cave, you can not use boot symbols for the rest of that turn. You can, however, use a teleportation card to move freely because that card overrides movement restrictions. 

When entering the monkey room, you can collect a monkey token, taken one at a time. The green jewels represented on the monkey tokens will give you points later in the game. 

Artifacts in various rooms are worth points, but players can only take one. Be sure to choose wisely, as some artifacts are worth more than others. Anytime a player picks up an artifact, the dragon figure must move one space on the board. 

Market areas on the game board allow players to shop for item tokens. These items have point values, and they are also helpful resources that you can use throughout the game. Players carry only one artifact typically, but purchasing a backpack token allows players to take more items. 

Clank! Cubes

Clank! cubes, used on your health meter, are also played on the Clank! area of the game board. Players can lose or regain Clank! cubes based on specific cards within the deck. 

For example, a Stumble card will cost you one cube; however, the Move Silently card allows you to retrieve cubes. If a player is out of Clank! cubes, they are exempt from playing a cube. 

Always keep 6 cards from the dungeon deck in the dungeon row. Place used cards in your own discard pile at the end of each turn. If you run out of cards in your hand, you can reshuffle and draw again.

If a player turns a card with the dragon icon, then a dragon attack must occur. Place all Clank! cubes from the space on the board and into the bag filled with black cubes. Draw cubes from the bag equal to the number on the dragon marker’s space on the board. 

Players also draw a cube from the bag if any card is marked “Danger.” If you draw a black cube, it means nothing. However, if a player’s colored cube is removed from the bag, it must be placed on that player’s health meter. 

Clank! cubes Image

How to Keep Score in Clank!

Players who successfully exit the dungeon will add their scores up to determine the winner. 

Artifacts, tokens, and some cards have green gems depicting a point value. Add these points to determine your final score- the highest score wins. 

If two players tie, determine the winner by whoever has the most valuable artifact. 

Clank! Expansions and Add-ons

Dragons, Mummies, and Apes? Oh my! The Mummy’s Curse is an available expansion pack that makes Clank! even more enjoyable with the addition of a mummy roaming the dungeon. 

Additional game boards are available in expansions:

  • Clank! Expeditions Gold and Silk 
  • Clank! Expeditions Temple of the Ape Lords.

Clank! In Space! features expansion packs of its own, including:

  • Clank! In Space! Cyber Station 11, 
  • Clank! In Space! Apocalypse! and 
  • Clank! In Space! Adventures Pulsarcade. 

How to Play Clank! – Video Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Clank! A co-op game? 

Clank! is not a cooperative board game, so each player works independently to collect points and complete actions. While players compete to collect the most valuable artifacts, the moves do not directly affect other players. 

Is this a good 2-player game?

Clank! plays well with two players; however, some find it more enjoyable to play with three or four people. If you utilize the available app for IOS or Android app, you can even play Clank! In single-player mode. The app acts as a companion to the original board game.

Is it possible to play with more than 4 players? 

You can play the original game with a maximum of four players. If you purchase the expansion pack, Adventuring Party, you can play with up to six players. You must have the original boxed game or Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated to utilize the expansion pack.

Similar Games to Clank!

If you are into deck-building games and Marvel comics, try Upper Deck Legendary, a Marvel deck-building game. Easy to learn and great for children, this game allows for cooperative gameplay and solo play.

Another deck-building card game, Dominion, is easy to learn and has many expansions available. Because there is so much variety among the cards, this game repeatedly plays well while still entertaining players each time. 

If you like to explore strategy card games, check out our guide for Munchkin game rules.

For a challenging military-themed board game, Risk (see Risk board game rules) is worth a try. Players capture territories instead of treasure; this game requires strategy and precision to win battles without getting attacked. This classic board game keeps players on the edge of their seats from start to finish. 

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