GTM #224 - Adventuring in Veins
by Evan Lorentz

Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk is the first expansion of its kind. The Clank! Expeditions line focuses on double-sided boards with unique rules on each side. In particular, Gold and Silk takes players into a mine abandoned by the Ruin Dwarven Mining Company (Ruin DMC), and the even more dangerous lair of the Spider Queen. (You also get new meeples appropriate for the occasion.)

So far, Clank! expansions have offered both new cards and new boards to change things up when you play. Each of these additions serves a specific role. Once you add a card to your deck, you may play it several times before the game is over. It can open up a very different strategy and change your experience. But your opponents won't get the same cards you get, and what your cards do may or may not force them to rethink their own plans.

A new board, on the other hand, affects everybody. All players must consider an unfamiliar dungeon and figure out to deal with the different hazards (and opportunities) it presents. The surest way to provide a new experience for players, one unaffected by the randomness of a shuffled adventure deck, is to offer them a new board. Clank! Expeditions does exactly this.

Gold and Silk is inspired by two particular fantasy images. The "Gold" part is an abandoned mine that has become infested with monsters. The Dwarven Mine side of the board includes some unusual features like an entrance on the opposite corner and elevators you can ride to and from the Depths (for 1 Gold). But its major twist comes in gold veins that are scattered around the board. If you're in a room that touches one of these veins, you can spend 2 skill to mine the amount of gold it shows. You can't use any more Boots for the rest of the turn, but you're that much richer (and that much closer to buying something useful from the market).


Gold veins are a limited resource. When you mine one, you put one of your Clank! cubes on it to show the vein has been tapped out and can't be mined again. It also becomes your "entry" into a competition between players. Whoever has mined the most gold veins by the end of the game receives a 20-point bonus. That's as valuable as escaping the dungeon! Lesser prizes of 10 and 5 points go to the second and third place players... though if one more gold vein is going to put you in the lead, you may well want to travel a bit out of your way to get it. 

The "Silk" part of Gold and Silk is inspired by a very different image: that skin-crawling staple of fantasy, the giant spider. The back side of the board presents the Spider Queen's Lair, and it's a wide world of webs. A dozen new web tokens included with the expansion get placed on paths throughout the dungeon. The first player to move through one must spend a Sword or an extra Boot, thus clearing the path for all players on later turns. But you also keep the Web tokens you "break through" for scoring at the end of the game -- each one is worth from 1 to 3 points.


More webs entangle many of the secrets in the Spider Queen's Lair. Several rooms on the board are marked with webs that protect the secrets (and monkey idols!) placed there. If you want to take one, you must spend a Sword if you want to cut your prize out from the web. So getting to a room first is no longer a guarantee that its secrets will be yours.


Then there's the biggest web of all. The Queen's Web Cache sits at the top right corner of the board, waiting to be cleared out by you cunning thieves. You don't need to travel to any specific room, but you do need to spend 8 skill. In exchange, you can take any of eight special rewards you choose, from Secret Tomes (with bonuses) to combinations that mix gold with healing, a timely Sword, or an auspicious Boot. Each of the eight options can be claimed only once, and is marked with one of your Clank cubes when you take it. If someone beats you to the one you really wanted, you'll have to craft a new plan.

Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk comes with new meeples suited to the themes of the boards: player pawns wielding mining implements, and a spider you can use in place of the Dragon marker. If you're looking for new cards to play with, don't worry -- you haven't seen the last of expansions like Sunken Treasures and The Mummy's Curse, that offer both new settings and new cards. But Clank! Expeditions: Gold and Silk is still an exciting (and inexpensive) new way to play Clank! Pick up a copy at your friendly local game store!


Evan Lorentz has been a designer and developer for nearly 20 years, on games including Star Trek CCG, The Lord of the Rings TCG, Star Chamber, Stargate TCG, Legends of Norrath, and more. Most recently, he has worked with Dire Wolf Digital on The Elder Scrolls: Legends, Clank!, and Clank! In! Space!