There are some games that click (or clack) easily for me. Games like Robo Rally where there’s a programming mechanic, I tend to do well at. It doesn’t necessarily mean I LIKE that sort of game but at least I don’t lose as much as I do in other games. Enter Clacks, the Terry Prachett one not the other one. It’s based on the clacks communication system from the Diskworld novels. A set of semaphore towers manned by golem operators that repeat messages over long distances. Early telegram if you will. So how do you turn that into a game? If you were to ask a few of the players who tried the game Thur night we cracked it out, they’d tell you you don’t and the designers didn’t.
Theme wise it’s fairly strong. You’re racing to spell out all the letters of a randomly chosen word in Tetris like patterns of on and off lights. You accomplish this by moving your dude around the tower and playing cards with shapes on them which flip the light pattern. Obviously it’s a bit unwieldily getting the pattern you require easily and it needs a bit of planning, luck and ingenuity. If you pardon the pun it felt all a bit mechanical to me. While not actually solo it sort of feels like it is or maybe that was just my Borg like aloofness when I played.
Bolted onto this mechanic are cards to throw a spanner in other player’s works and a couple of additional rules for teams we didn’t bother playing.
In fairness it was late when we played so we didn’t see the game at it’s best. I’m kind of assuming the game has a best. It’s not a long game. The version we played was done and dusted in twenty mins. So filler material. Terry Prachett super fans will already have this and tell you it’s great. It’s only ok and there’s a lot more games more worthy of your attention.
Graphically it’s fine. There’s only so many ways you can represent 16 lights. After a game of it we Did feel like Picard with the Cardassians. There’s a set of mechanics in here. It’s debatable if there’s a game.
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