Top of the Table-Assassin’s Creed: Venetian Brotherhood

At first glance, Assassin’s Creed looks like a ripe franchise for desktop adaptation. Setting options that are rich in characters and stories and spread throughout history will be an exciting project for designers to make it happen as a board game. However, like the video game itself, this is also a very ambitious concept that requires a combination of numerous mechanics such as stealth, combat, and traversal. And where do you focus on dozens of unique mini-settings, heroes, and villainous franchises? A few years after the initial announcement, and undoubtedly many iterations and improvements, the Assassin’s Creed: Venice Brotherhood is finally here. Indeed, the resulting releases are large, ambitious and complex. It’s also very fun.

Even among enthusiastic tabletop enthusiasts, Venetian brotherhood is a game of enthusiasts, head-on that cross-section of fans who worship Assassin’s Creed and want to invest dozens of hours in a shared collaborative board game campaign. It is important to recognize what you are aiming for. Over the course of hours, we will serve the core game of 1 to 4 players. Price tag over $ 200 It can be justified, but no one intends to declare it a cheap pastime. The game is working hard to earn its high entry costs. The core release includes over 140 unpainted and highly detailed plastic miniatures. The art of cardboard tiles and excellent stock cards is delicate and gorgeous. Dozens of different scenarios each add a new twist to action and playstyle. And the inclusive story interweaves new branches that are intriguing to Assassin’s Creed folklore.

The base game contains over 140 highly detailed miniatures

After hours of exploring those scenarios and the unfolding stories they present, the only feature that impressed me most was the deep understanding of the source material by Brotherhood in Venice. I have enjoyed Assassin’s Creed for over a decade, both personally and professionally. Triton Noir has worked clearly and closely with Ubisoft franchise creators to focus on the atmosphere of the series. There is a unique combination of stealth that suddenly overflows into a burst of action. This is represented by a clever mechanism like a dice roll that transitions from secret mode to dangerous exposure. In each mission (or memory), players work together to achieve the objectives of the option and “100% sync” with the animus. There are even elements of secret disclosure and conspiracy that may not be revealed until many sessions to the campaign, looping through elements of Assassin’s Creed fiction that are both surprise and joy. The game also includes fully optional missions to provide a backstory and context for each playable hero.

With the full spread of Assassin’s Creed fiction, designers have now chosen to focus on one period that almost all enthusiasts can agree on. The active bureau of Venice after Ezio Auditore defeated Cesare Borgia. Players initially adopt the role of apprentice and immediately nominate members to work together to confront a new division of the Knights Templar-Assassin confrontation. Sessions run through individual interconnected memory sequences. Each memory sequence is configured using multiple modular tileboards. Your rewards, failures, and successes are often passed from one session to the next.

Brotherhood of Venice by using the Action Cube to show the number of sets that each character can perform in turn, and using event cards to periodically change the state of the field and direct enemy movements and actions. Should be familiar to experienced board gamers. I’ve been working on a recent “dungeon crawl” game. The Venetian Brotherhood has more than similarities to other dungeon crawl modular board games in recent years, but the big difference here is the shift to stealth. In most cases, full combat is not the goal, with careful movement, placement, use of equipment, and even withdrawal or even hiding in the event of a worsening situation. Giving the game its own identity is its focus on stealth. Like a video game, I was thrilled by the growing tension of a given recovery, escape, or assassination attempt and the rare moment when my team of assassins slipped in and out of sight.

Assassin's Creed: Image of the Venetian Brotherhood

Gameplay is deployed on a tiled modular board with a setup specific to each mission.

If a rich understanding of its source material is the game’s greatest strength, the second most commendable is how the game teaches you itself. Following games like Pandemic Legacy and Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, the early chapters of the Venetian Brotherhood are incredibly simple in terms of rules. Since the game is gradually being tutorialed in early missions, it is very possible to move to the first play as soon as you open the game. Unless all players in the table have problems with the regular pauses needed to search for newly introduced concepts, they will occur. Conveniently, gameplay elements that need additional explanation are clearly marked in the rulebook with blue diamonds and numeric references, minimizing the need for endless page turning.

The individual scenarios are described in the accompanying campaign book, but the new cards and other components needed for that memory are contained in a sealed envelope and will only be opened when instructed to do so. This approach allows for fun surprises such as unique rewards such as new equipment and is only available when you have completed a specific purpose.

During gameplay, these detailed minis represent assassins that spread throughout the city (and other environments I don’t spoil), descending from the rooftop, climbing high sync points, or hiding in hay bales. can do. When you infiltrate a particular location, the guards are constantly moving and watching, and you are forced to use trading tools to cover things up until the mission is complete. Throw Florin on the ground to distract. Have you found your brother? Throw a smoke grenade to give him a chance to escape. Parachute down the unfortunate crossbow man and hide his body before the warning disappears. The actions and equipment available may vary from session to session, but everything is clearly explained by the scenario card at hand, often balancing stealth and all-out actions.

Assassin's Creed: Image of the Venetian Brotherhood

Each of the four playable characters has its own abilities and can even reveal optional backstory elements.

There are many tools to increase your chances in combat, but the exchange itself is often solved by a relatively simple dice roll exchange. In many cases, success in combat depends not on what happens during the battle itself, but on how you prepare for it. For example, if you insist on jumping to fight a dangerous boss character before disabling many nearby bodyguards, don’t be surprised if your health is quickly lost.

Your assassin can quickly be overwhelmed, and for the purpose of options that focus on stealth and often suggest more cautious play, the Venetian brothers are certainly devoted to its strategic elements. Demands that you think ahead and plan the movements of each character in advance. But I also like how event cards suddenly throw a twist in those plans. Your idea of ​​waiting for a chance on the rooftop nearby is all right until the full moon comes out in one turn, leaving a dangerous exposure. The event deck grows with each scenario you pass, as well as the challenges it represents. While some events have great benefits, many of the event cards that can occur later can be catastrophic. Thankfully, by that time, your assassin may have some great armor, weapons, and other toys to survive the storm.

Between the violent shaking of event cards and the reliance on dice for both detection and combat, luck can have a strong impact on the game, even with equipment and abilities that can mitigate its effects. Rather than saying that the Venetian Brotherhood is downplaying strategic play, certain scenarios are expected to be sometimes confusing (as some video game sequences do), and the situation Must be scrambled to resolve. This is especially true as these nasty event cards will enter the deck in later missions and the challenges will escalate. Seeing a carefully planned plan collapse and be forced to improvise is frankly part of the fun and leads to some of the best moments the game has to offer. But you can imagine some players barking in a way that the moment of bad luck takes things off track.

Assassin's Creed: Image of the Venetian Brotherhood

Throughout the game, the artist impresses with the texture of the series and the atmosphere of historic action.

Like many campaign board games, I’m forced to refrain from talking about some of Venice’s Brotherhood’s coolest twists, rules, and options. It’s no exaggeration to say that Triton Noir has done a great job of scrutinizing all the systems, story structures, and choices commonly found in this franchise’s video games and achieving them in a desktop format. Many fans will be pleased with the additional aspects of play and the characters who will join the mix in many upcoming sessions, but it’s best to leave the details of those discoveries to you.

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood of Venice has a long way to go, and the commitment of time needed to fully enjoy it is a very reasonable reason to pause before buying, not to mention financial investment. That said, years of development have created nuanced, smart games that are balanced and rewarding, but rarely frustrating. Rules and interlocking systems are relatively complex in the end, but you rarely come across such a big game without hurdles.

Assassin's Creed: Image of the Venetian Brotherhood

The mini arrives unpainted, but enterprising painters can add more layers of beauty

If you always love Assassin’s Creed but want to find a way to experience one of these stories with your real friends on your side, this will keep your group for weeks A collaborative venture that keeps you busy with play. Exciting moments of discovery on a regular basis. The dice-based combat and resolution mechanism fails innovation testing, but the overall structure and focus on stealth is novel and engaging. With the highest production value and components, Assassin’s Creed Venice deserves to share the legacy of being one of the best new entertainment assets of the last 20 years.

The Venice Brotherhood is great, but there is no shortage of other great tabletop experiences for you and your friends to explore next. If you’re looking for something more affordable or in another genre, top of the table, including some of the best board games of 2020, and some of the best tabletop talk RPGs of 2020. Feel free to read the recommendations backlog. .. And as always, if you need some personalized suggestions to guide you in your next game choice, feel free to contact me.