Untold riches await inside the pyramids of the Ancients but they are well protected. An undying Mummy guardian spreads a vile curse to those who would rob its tomb. And, inevitably, the treasure has attracted a dragon. Can you escape the fearsome Croxobek?
Clank! The Mummy's Curse, an expansion for Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, adds a wandering mummy to the pathways that players will explore as well as new artifacts to acquire in the depths of the pyramid!
Clank! - the brilliant dungeon-exploring, treasure-stealing, deck-building adventure game from Renegade Game Studios and Dire Wolf - became a fan-favourite shortly after its publication in 2016. To keep the game fresh and interesting, the publishers have since released a major standalone expansion (Clank! In! Space!) and two smaller expansions for the original game: Sunken Treasures (2017) and now The Mummy's Curse (2017).
This latest expansion brings Clank! to ancient Egypt. It features a brand new two-sided board with one side featuring a dungeon below a very cute sphinx statue and the other a pyramid. As well as the board (which completely replaces the base game's board), it adds 40 new cards to the Dungeon Deck, two new major and minor secrets, a supreme monkey idol, curse tokens that give -2 points and, of course, a mummy meeple, which comes with its own persistent monster card and a pyramid die.
What are the changes from the base game?
The main changes to the base game stem from the mummy and the related curse mechanic. Each of the new boards are divided into four regions that match up to the four symbols on the pyramid die. When the players are in the same region as the mummy, they can attack the mummy's monster card, which allows them to do one of two things:
- Spend two combat to gain four coins and a curse.
- Spend three combat to get rid of half their curses rounded up.
Whenever the mummy is defeated, the victor rolls the pyramid die and the mummy moves to the region that comes up. If a player is already in that region, they gain a curse. In this way, the mummy doesn't add additional damage into the game. It adds negative points (and a way to remove them) instead. This means that the balance of the damage mechanism from Clank! isn't upset, but there is real risk and reward in clashing with the mummy.
Another effect of the mummy is that players can access coins more easily, which I think is one of the biggest improvements in this expansion. An influx of four coins is more than half of the total you need to buy a market item in one go. Market items can really change up the game and they're exciting to buy and use. It's a sign of a good expansion that you can do more of the fun stuff from the original game.
The curse tokens themselves also add an interesting dynamic. Mechanically, they can be used in a similar way to clank cubes, providing a small drawback to more powerful effects. This emphasises the push your luck aspect of the game, allowing players to have the choice between taking risks and playing safely. Some tunnels within the new dungeons curse players when they walk through them, which is a flavourful addition to the other types of tunnels.
There are also 40 new cards that have been added to the original 100 or so. The number means that while you're bound to see a few new cards in each game, there aren't enough to completely overhaul the existing deck-building setup. I think this is a smart move from the design team. It allows The Mummy's Curse to be picked up easily and makes it feel like a compliment to the base game, rather than a completely new experience.
Given how well the cards from the original were designed, this strategy makes a lot of sense. I suppose that if you want completely different cards, you should just go and buy Clank! In! Space!
Theoretically, The Mummy's Curse is somewhat compatible with Sunken Treasures. The rules mention that you can combine all the dungeon cards if you wish. I don't own Sunken Treasures to be able to test it out and I'm not sure how it would work. I certainly can't see how you'd use the expansion's dungeon cards on any map other than its own. Without the capacity to have the mummy wandering around, curses become a lot more punishing.
The sense that I get is that each expansion is best when combined with the dungeon deck from the original game and nothing else. Each has been designed with its own board in mind and showcases different mechanics. I definitely didn't get the impression that The Mummy's Curse would be improved with cards from Sunken Treasures and I imagine that the same holds true the other way round. If you own both then give it a go, by all means, but don't expect too much.
The Mummy's Curse - Is it worth the investment?
If you already own and enjoy Clank! then I wholeheartedly recommend buying The Mummy's Curse. It refreshes the content from the original game, adds fun new mechanics and emphasises the most fun things that you could do in the original.
If, on the other hand, you're not a fan of Clank! (which I find hard to believe, but I'm sure there are people out there) then I don't think this expansion will change it enough to get you interested. It very much supplies more of the same experience with a slightly different twist rather than changing anything dramatically.
The changes that it does make to the game's flavour, dungeon deck and mechanics should be more than enough to reignite your interest in Clank! even if you've played it a lot. I'll admit that before picking up this expansion I'd overplayed the core game a little (though it's still one of my favourites) and the expansion immediately made me want to pick it back up and play it repeatedly. It's a must-have for fans of the game.