Clank!: Legacy – Acquisitions Incorporated

The one-year anniversary of starting our Clank!: Legacy campaign is quickly approaching. While we have no formal agreement that we should prioritize playing Clank! over any other game, there is a spectre looming in the back of my mind. I don’t like unfinished business, but Legacy games seem to present a uniquely difficult challenge. I only have 1 game night per week. Do we commit a month or two of games to a legacy experience, or do we let the box gather dust as we wait for the day when we’re all gathered and are inclined to progress our story?

Clank!: Legacy is a deck building adventures for 2 to 4 players. In Clank!, both the original and the legacy variant, players begin with a generic deck and are tasked with diving deep into the caverns attempting to nab an artifact, then escape back to the entrance. The deeper you go, the more valuable the artifacts will be. The wrinkle is that many cards and effects will generate Clank. The titular resource is a cube of your colour that gets thrown into a bag. When the dragon strikes, a number of cubes are pulled from the bag. Any cubes of your colour are then placed on the health track. Reach the end of the track with your cubes, and you’re out! If you happen to be underground when you run out of HP, you score 0. If you’re above the ground line, you get to score everything you’ve collected. If you’re a champion and make it back to the starting space with an artifact, you’re rewarded with a mug of ale worth 20 points.

Clank!: Legacy expands on this concept by peppering the board with half a dozen story prompts at any given time. The core of the game is still the same, buy cards from the adventure row, delve into the depths, return with an artifact. The game ends when all players are either knocked out, or returned to the tavern.

The first four games of Clank!: Legacy had me so enthusiastic. Each game takes about 2 hours to play, as there is a lot of reading and stickering that goes on during each game. It’s these moments that get me the most excited, I love being told to place stickers on the board and discovering new places and mechanics. Because discovery is my love language, I beeline for the story prompts, usually eschewing the goal of the game, which is to acquire artifacts and escape the dungeon alive.

We played the first 6 games with 4 players, our whole group. Unfortunately, after our last game, Bigfoot threw up the white flag, opting to bow out of any future games as they just weren’t having fun. We all would rather play with that person than exclude them from our game night, so Clank!: Legacy had been sitting in my closet, awaiting our return. This week, Bigfoot was out camping, so we returned to the world of Acquisitions Incorporated to play games 7 and 8.

I’ll be honest, Clank!: Legacy had lost its lustre for me. The first 4 games I was so enthusiastic and excited, there was so much to discover, and I was ready to proclaim this as my favourite legacy experience. Part of me wonders if I feel this way because we played 4 games back to back, then didn’t return for games 5 and 6 for a couple of months. In games 5 and 6 we struggled to get anything done. One player would get a boon that would allow them to hop skip and jump further down into the caverns, making the other players wary of chasing them. What’s the point of going all the way down there if the valuable artifacts are already gone? At this point, they’d scoop a low point artifact and bolt for the door.

This song and dance left very little time for players to explore for the story prompts. There was one game whereby, all rights, I should have lost miserably. I was far down the map and two players had already escaped, meaning there would be at least 8 cubes drawn out of the bag in between each of my turns. Luckily, the story prompt I chose to chase to the bottom of the map revealed a new artifact that I could collect, and a coach space, which teleported me back up to the top of the map. Now, most story prompts aren’t that effective, but it was a memorable moment for me.

The visceral joy of Legacy games

In a 3 player game, a lot of that tension and fear is dissipated. Sure, one player can go deep into the underground, but there are a couple artifacts, so chasing them down doesn’t feel like a lost cause. If someone escapes with a low value item, it’s only one dragon attack per round, much more manageable. This loss of tension allowed us to explore more, by the end of the 8th game, we had satisfied all the quest s, and chased down all the story prompts on the board. A much more satisfying experience.

If you have plans to give Clank!: Legacy a try, I’d recommend 3 players. 4 just has too many people around who can spoil your plot, and there ends up being a lot of time and activity between each of your turns. I’m finding my joy again with these 3 player games, and I hope to finish off the campaign of Clank!: Legacy soon