Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse Review

Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse

Players: 1-4

Time: ~50 minutes

Times Played: 10+

Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure is a big hit in our household and while Clank!: Sunken Treasures wasn’t a home-run, it was still a worthwhile addition to the Clank! universe. That universe has expanded some more with the release of Clank!: The Mummy’s Curse, the second expansion to the base game from Renegade Game Studios.

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Before diving into what The Mummy’s Curse brings to the table, I want to speak about compatibility with the two expansions. You can easily use the Secrets and deck of cards from Sunken Treasures when playing The Mummy’s Curse (or even the base game) and just remove the few cards that deal directly with expansion additions (like swimming). However, in doing this, you are severely bloating the deck and the secrets, thus taking away some of the key features of the game. If you thought there weren’t a lot of cards related to water in Sunken Treasures, imagine adding the forty cards from The Mummy’s Curse and trying to find what you need.

In short, it works but it will dilute the experience so while it is a pain to separate them, I would keep both expansions apart.

The Double-Sided Board

Like the base Clank! and the Sunken Treasures expansion, this version comes with a double-sided board and the twist is that one of the boards can be played at an angle so it mirrors a pyramid, which is neat. I don’t like it, but I appreciate the concept. Well, I like the idea and it fits the theme as it’s a pyramid and the highest value treasure is directly opposite the top point, but it just makes table space weird.

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Ignore that possum dog toy…

The four sectors for the Mummy to move are highlighted in different colors (tan, brick red, dirt brown, and slate gray) and they also feature the symbol that corresponds to the Mummy die (more on that later). I am grateful for the symbols because in certain lighting, I cannot tell the colors apart. It can become difficult to see where one sector begins and another ends. This is coming from someone who isn’t color blind (I don’t think…) and yet the trouble is there.

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Like Clank! and Sunken Treasures before it, the pet peeve I have of starting the game the same way every time still persists. You are unable to make a meaningful decision until at least your third movement of the game. Going through the motions to start the game is boring but luckily the remainder of Clank! makes me forget how much I hate that forced opening.

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There are a decent amount of tunnels that have players taking Curses, which forces players to interact with the new mechanics. I think it works well and makes it so players have to interact with the new pieces of the game. In Sunken Treasures, you didn’t necessarily have to venture into the waters. In fact, you could go the whole game ignoring the water if you wanted. In The Mummy’s Curse, you could try to avoid the pathways of the Curses and of the Mummy but it would honestly be more trouble than it’s worth.

The biggest takeaway here is that you get two more pathways to explore for Clank!. That’s a big enough deal for me.

The Mummy

The board is divided into four zones that the Mummy can travel to. Each zone matches a face on the triangular Mummy die. The Mummy can reach any location in its zone as opposed to following the same trails as the adventurers. The Mummy is very central to the entire theme of the game. The Major/Minor Secrets, new deck cards, and Curses play heavily into its inclusion.

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When you attack and defeat the Mummy, you will role the die that dictates where the Mummy goes. When a Mummy arrives to a new zone, any player in that zone will take a Curse (more on that in a moment). The Mummy might end up in the exact same zone and can be attacked again as long as the player can interact with them.

I personally don’t think the Mummy does enough. It never really feels like a threat and the randomness of the die roll could send the Mummy completely away from the players. I think the reason I found the Mummy as less than a formidable foe was due to the lack of instances of the Mummy die being rolled. This is in part due to the sheer amount of cards in the game and the expansion deck that has cards that impact the Mummy being in such a low amount as well as the lack of spaces on the board that result in the Mummy being activated.

The inverse is also an issue. Due to the die roll, the Mummy’s attacks could result in the same player being hounded over and over again through no fault of their own, which is frustrating and downright sucks. You’re no longer pushing your luck but instead being saddled with negatives outside of your control.

I also don’t recall players ever really making an effort to seek out and fight the Mummy. The two-sword cost is a good return on investment with a reward of four coins (good) and a curse (bad) but the three-sword attack is only ever beneficial if you’ve been racking up curses and it just doesn’t seem there were ever enough curses being attributed to a player to make that attack a necessity. Couple that with there being enough cards that, if seen, do the job without having to attack the Mummy, combat wasn’t something that was sought out.

I guess to sum it up: we don’t fear the Mummy.

Curses

Curses can be accrued due to interacting with the Mummy, moving through tunnels and rooms on the board, and from cards that are drawn and/or placed in your hand. Curses have a negative impact on a players score when end game scoring is commenced, with each Curse netting the player negative two points.

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I like the addition of Curses, particular those that were introduced on the tunnels and pathways of the game board. Similar to the SCUBA in Sunken Treasures, these Curses add another risk/reward/push-your-luck aspect to navigating the landscape. I think that having to fight the Mummy to remove Curses is a better fit than the SCUBA gear as I mentioned previously it was never really purchased and as a group, we typically just braved the water as opposed to buying the gear. The remedy to Curses is forcing players to fight the Mummy and is something that any player can do. There are also some cards that will help players out. It’s not limited to two players (like the gear) and most importantly, it saves money for other (re: better) market items.

I am on board with this inclusion.

New Dragon Marker

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I guess this is neat. The dragon is now green. I honestly don’t know the purpose for including this new dragon. It’s not like there’s a variant for playing with two dragons or anything and this new component takes up space in the already crowded base box (where I personally store everything). Weird inclusion to me.

New Marketplace

Like Sunken Treasures, The Mummy’s Curse offers a unique, thematic Marketplace adorned with Egyptian symbols that acts as a place to store all the market items. The symbols and pyramid-stone background give it a little more flavor than the wooden plank version from Sunken Treasures. But like Sunken Treasures, it offers no gameplay value and is only nice for the organizational aspect when playing the game.

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Now that I own both Clank! expansions, I would have preferred just one Marketplace as there’s really no need for two and it’s just taking up space in the base game box. I understand each expansion getting their own Marketplace since it’s not a guarantee that players will buy both expansions. If/when a third expansion is released, that will probably result in the original insert being tossed as there isn’t much room left for the additional components and cards.

Ankh

The Ankh is a new market item that costs seven coins (like every other market item) and is worth seven points at the end of the game. The special ability of the Ankh is that upon purchase, you can heal yourself one cube of damage.

I like the Ankh due to its ability to let players heal themselves, which is something I thought was severely lacking in the base game. Once you were saddled with wounds, they were stuck with you until you escaped or met your demise. Add to the fact that those coins would have netted you seven points at the end of the game, purchasing the Ankh is a net gain since players will receive the minor health boost.

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It’s also something that is thematic to the story that the game is telling. I personally like to feel that immersion and this helps somewhat.

I think the Ankh slides into a possible number two or three ranking in terms of Marketplace items for the new boards. Depending on your path, the key or the backpack are still the clear cut favorites but when it’s time to buy a second item, the Ankh, with the end-game  point value and the health benefit, could be the difference between escaping and netting twenty points or only reaching the above ground.

Secrets

The two new Major secrets are similar to items players are already familiar with: a coin worth five gold and the seven point chalice. What makes them unique to The Mummy’s Curse is that each is saddled with a Mummy die and when revealed, that die is rolled (thus moving the Mummy). The Minor secret is the scarab, which is worth three points at the end of the game and also has players rolling the Mummy’s die upon reveal.

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The scarab is incredibly thematic and fits with the rest of the game but the chalice and gold coin are underwhelming. The chalice could have easily become a vase-like water jug and the gold coin could have been the eye of Ra or Horus or something. I feel like these were two easy areas to increase the theme and immersion of the Mummy and its background but for whatever reason, that did not happen.

I don’t mind the Mummy die being tied to the secrets and actually, I rather enjoy it. If anything, I wish more secrets were included in the expansion so the Mummy would move more. Not every secret is revealed in a game. The boards host twenty-eight and twenty-nine total secrets. As the expansion only introduces three unique secrets, the chances of stumbling upon one that triggers the Mummy are slim, particularly in a two-player game.

Supreme Monkey Idol

The Supreme Monkey Idol is just another way to grab some additional points. It is treated just like the Monkey Idol’s from the base game with the only difference being that it is worth ten points as opposed to five.

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I can’t complain that there’s a new room with an additional way to score points. I do wish the room was harder to get to however. I enjoyed the intricacies of navigating to the room with the three idols but this one is just out of the way as opposed to needing skillful planning.

Cards

The Mummy’s Curse adds forty new cards to the deck (which is five more than Sunken Treasures added). The cards now match the base game cards in appearance (unlike Sunken Treasures) so you won’t have to worry about that. Of the forty cards included, five are Gems, seven are Monster’s, twelve are Companion’s, four are Device’s, and twelve are generic cards.

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Whereas Sunken Treasures cards didn’t tie in with the theme, The Mummy’s Curse cards are dripping with the ancient Egyptian/treasure hunting theme. In my opinion, one of the forty cards does not fit the theme. That would be the Rebel Mystic.

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Duplicates were kept in short supply and while a few are present, there’s enough variety to give you some new options to your gameplay. Almost half of the cards (nineteen) feature the new Curse mechanic. This includes gaining a Curse, removing a Curse, or forcing your opponents to take one. I really like the inclusion of Curse’s and the cards really help facilitate their inclusion into each game.

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The watermarked pyramid helps you keep the expansion and base game separate

One last important factor to note is that Mummy’s Curse doesn’t appear to be plagued by the same board issues that Sunken Treasures had. We’ve played both roughly around the same amount of times and whereas Sunken Treasures was showing signs of tearing and eventually broke into separate pieces, Mummy’s Curse looks the same as the day we took it out of the box.

The expansion provides what Sunken Treasures did: more variety and a slight tweek in the rules. If you’re looking for new boards to explore than The Mummy’s Curse will satisfy that itch but if you’re looking for anything more substantial, you’ll be left waiting. The Mummy’s Curse is more of the same which is great if you like Clank!. Going into this review, I thought I liked The Mummy’s Curse more than I liked Sunken Treasures but I think it boils down to the fact that I like the idea of the Mummy more.  An interactive boss monster that roams the board, feeding off players it comes into contact creates a strong narrative but falls flat in actuality. The new cards and board layouts are worth the change of pace in my opinion but if you didn’t like Clank! and thought an expansion would change your mind, I’m here to tell you that is not the case.

Author: Two off the Top

Just a guy that wants to talk about board games more than his future wife tolerates.

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