V-Sabotage (formerly called V-Commandos) is a brilliant World War Two strategic board game from French company Triton-Noir, in which you sneak round occupied France, killing bad guys and completing missions. Their new game, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice takes the design and system from V-Sabotage and adapts it so you can play an Assassin’s Creed game without a computer. The result is easily one of the finest and smoothest adaptations we’ve ever seen.
Capturing the look and feel of the Assassin’s Creed games is no small task; the cinematic, pseudo-historical games are famously complex in terms of plot and appearance. Triton Noir have achieved this through attention to detail and extensive playtesting.
It helps that the game is rather big. It originally launched via Kickstarter, and that means they’ve had the time and funding to fully develop the scope of the game. The result is a deep box filled with many miniatures, board pieces and the like. It’s also got a bit of a hidden secret; various elements of the game are hidden away in sealed envelopes and boxes to be revealed in play.
The game itself is a long, narrative-driven ‘dungeon’ crawl, similar to the likes of Blackstone Fortress or Gloomhaven. However rather than exploring some gloomy haunted place, you’re on the streets of Venice or some mysteriously opulent location. Mechanically, you’re sneaking past guards, breaking into rooms and taking out foes. The clever bit here is the team-work; each of the (superbly sculpted) assassins have a limited number of actions per round and set abilities. By co-ordinating your actions and planning ahead you can mostly avoid detection.
The bad guys are controlled by the game itself through a series of event cards. This makes the enemy a little predictable, but then as they tend to be patrolling guards, that’s fine. Once you’ve hidden all the bodies, found the mission objective and returned back to base, there’s a spot of admin before the next adventure. Characters can develop in terms of equipment and so on throughout the game, and of course there’s an ongoing narrative.
This is Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood of Venice biggest flaw; it’s such a large and in-depth game that you’re going to want to regularly set aside some time to play it. And it’s a big game full of great surprises. The models are detailed, different and large. If you’re planning on playing this game and painting everything, you’re going to be pouring hours into it. It’s worth it though; the story is good, the game is pretty and the rules work well. Triton Noir have shown that good video games can be turned into good board games, and we heartily recommend you give this a look.