To put together this Secret Life of Board Games series, i just write to designers out of the blue and hope to hear back from them. The vast majority don’t respond. Those who do are sometimes terse. But every so often, i’ll strike paydirt, like i did with Paul Dennen and his game Clank! In! Space! Watch:

(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is The Secret Life of Board Games, a series where I interview board game creators about the Easter eggs they’ve hidden in your favourite games.

Clank! in Space is the spiritual successor to the deck-building/board movement hybrid Clank! Designer Paul Dennen told me that the Hack cards in each of the players’ starting decks has a password written at the bottom that references a different sci fi or fantasy movie. Paul says he didn’t really think these were Easter eggs, because he intended for players to figure them out. Let’s take a look at each of the six passwords, and we’ll see if you can determine where each one is from.

The Doomsday Cannon password is Kronos…

which gets Bob Parr into Syndrome’s computer in The Incredibles.


The Med Lab password is Mellon…

which helps the fellowship enter the Mines of Moria in The Lord of the Rings.

The Arena password is Reindeer Flotilla…

which lets Flynn talk to the Master Control Program in Tron.

The Engineering password is 11A-11A2B-1B2B3…

… which sets the ship to destruct mode in Star Trek II: The Sarch for Spock.

The Promenade password is Joshua…

… which is the name of the AI researcher’s dead son in Wargames


And the Hydroponics password is 12345 …

is King Roland’s combination to unlock the air shield in Spaceballs.


That’s amazing! i’ve got the same combination on my luggage!

Paul mentioned one more Easter egg to me…

Many players figured that the Heroic Sheriff card in the Apocalypse expansion is a reference to Chief Hopper in Stranger Things, but Paul points out that genre cinema and television enjoys a long history of plying the noble lawmaker trope, from Nathan Fillion’s police chief in Slither, to Sheriff Jack Carter in Eureka, to Deputy Dave in Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

How many of those passwords did you figure out on your own? Did you notice any of them your copy of Clank in Space before you started watching this video? Let me know in the comments section below! If you’d like to share the secrets of a board game you’ve developed, get in touch, and we’ll tell the world together. i’d like to extend a special thank you to Jack Ball-E-God for helping me out with this video. You can chat with Jack and me and the rest of the gang on the Nights Around a Table Discord server. See you next time on The Secret Life of Board Games.

What – is this thing broken again? Come on – i’ve got a hot date with my mom!


Get Your Own Copy of Clank! In! Space!

You don’t have to have played the series progenitor Clank! A Deck-Building Adventure in order to enjoy Clank! In! Space! (or the third installment, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated) All three are standalone pillars, and complete games unto themselves. Use the Amazon link below, or those embedded in this paragraph, to add a Clank! game to your own board game collection, and i’ll receive a small commission!

Clank! In! Space! (Toy)

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