Question: Does ‘Clank! in! Space!’ deserve to exist?
Short answer: yes
Long answer: ‘Clank in Space’ caused a real ruckus when it showed up. It got over-hyped at a convention as some big secret project. People were mad because it wasn’t an expansion for the original ‘Clank!’ deck-building game. And the thing about deck-builders is their eternal thirst for more
money cards. They HAD made sunken treasures, a watery expansion that came with a new map (totally borked the name. Shoulda been ‘Splash’ accounting for the type of noise made to wake the dragon).
So why the change? The core cards are actually just futuristic copies of their fantasy originals (e.g. the G.0.B.L.1.N. is just a goblin. I think they wanted us to know) and the gameplay is very similar. Go into a big bad’s lair, grab everything that isn’t nailed down, and LEAVE. This COULD have passed as an expansion, as even the modular board and its hacking rules don’t interfere with the core cards of Clank!. I think to find our answer, we need to compare the games with Magic: the Gathering.
See, MtG craps out more cards every season, covering a new plane of existence almost every time. As such, they need to create new mechanics. Some of them, such as the recent ‘Energy’ mechanic, have absolutely no interaction with every previous card ever made. Could you imagine the great Richard Garfield was sitting down, writing out Ancestral visions going “Oh shit I had better make it draw more by spending energy to make them work with those cards I’m printing in 25ish years” I mean I could imagine it; the guy isn’t human. Because of this, each block of cards is drafted separately. This means that decks made around these mechanics are actually possible, and not diluted with irrelevant cards. ‘Clint in Spartacus’ has it’s own ‘parasitic’ mechanic in the form of factions.
The makers of ‘Clarice in Splatoon’ clearly knew that if they introduced faction cards (and cards referencing factions) as an expansion, they would be so diluted that their synergies would almost never be relevant. This problem already exists with the Clank! expansion’s theme of discarding. ‘Clank and Ratchet in Space’ becomes a very exciting experience as more and more space pirates show up in the buy row to combo with all those space pirates you purchased earlier. But watch out! Dingus over there might grab it just to spite you!
As an example of dilution done wrong, we look at ‘Munchkin’. Every new set *does* work with every other one. But you’ll eventually find later expansions bending over backwards to add more copies of previously made classes (and their gear) to prevent the variance from getting to high. This causes the variance to get too high. Neat.
I do agree with the design choices made here. As for marketing; I hope they learned their lesson. As of writing it’s been announced that Clank! is getting a new Egyptian themed expansion. It will be interesting to see what synergistic mechanics they will and will have to add to keep the game tight. At least #Clank #In #Space has room to grow in it’s own direction, keeping factions as a core mechanic. So yeah, it should exist.
Oh and you want me to say which is better right? How about you think about the one you like, and it’s that one. Just don’t say it out loud, I need my answer to remain in quantum entanglement to avoid an internet argument.