I remember vividly when the first version of Assassin’s Creed was released for the Xbox 360. I purchased a copy during release week after reading plenty of articles in various game magazines. It was touted as one of the first third-person games where being quiet and stealthy was as important as killing the enemies. It really pushed the boundaries of what consoles of the time could display. I never finished the game – it was quite difficult.
Since then, a total of a dozen different main games has been offered in the Assassin’s Creed world. The most recent was in late 2020, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. The complexity of the game has come a long way, especially with the introduction of the most current consoles. One small addition to the Valhalla version is a mini-game inside the main game. This is known as the Orlog dice game. Thanks to its in-game popularity, PureArts Limited / Hachette Boardgames and Ubisoft ran a Kickstarter campaign and have published a version for the analog world.
Orlog is a dice game for two players aged 8+, who are each trying to reduce the other’s health to zero. Inside the box you’ll find fifty God Favor tokens, one game coin, thirty-two Health Counter stones, two sets of twenty God Favor cards, two matching acrylic dice sets and two rigid plastic bowls. The Health Counter stones are our favorite since they are actual polished crystal rocks!
You can play Orlog at different difficulty levels, so let’s look at the God Favor cards first. The selection of which to use during a game determines the overall difficulty. These tokens are played up to once per turn and vary in power. Some allow you to re-roll dice, some destroy your opponent’s God Favor tokens (the game’s money), while others heal you or damage your opponent. Each card has a variable price you must pay to invoke the God’s powers and the priority in which it will take place.
The Beginner Game dictates which three Gods you will each use. The Casual game allows you to simply choose three of the twenty cards, with your opponent also choosing three. Lastly, Expert Mode conducts a draft where each player bans one God card from the game and then take turns drafting three. After each round, they’ll discard those and select three from the remaining pool.
A typical turn in Orlog is broken into three phases. First is the Roll Phase, where each player will roll their dice up to three times trying to get the results they want. Dice have five different results – melee attack, melee defense, ranged attack, ranged defense and Influence (steal a God Favor token). Some faces also have gold borders which earns you a God Favor token from the pool.
Once all dice have been locked, players decide whether to use a God Favor card (they’ll need to pay to activate it). Most are invoked after both players choose them. A few will delay their effects until the end of the round. Now the dice are compared to each other for the Resolution Phase. Attacks and Defenses cancel each other out and damage is dealt for any remaining attack dice. This is tracked by the Health Counter stones. One stone is discarded for each damage taken. As previously mentioned, any influence results rolled allow you to steal tokens from your opponent.
If both players still have Health Counter stones, the player order switches, and another round is played. This continues until one person is completely out of stones and is considered vanquished. You can expect an entire game of Orlog to complete in under twenty minutes! There are a few issues with the rulebook that left us wondering what to do (how many times can you use a God Favor token, etc.). Fortunately, a number of these issues are covered under the BGG listing.
If you’re a fan of dice games or of Assassin’s Creed, you’ll probably want this game in your collection. Orlog is distributed in the US by Hachette Boardgames, where you can order it on their website. Ask your favorite local game store whether they have it in stock or have a copy delivered via Prime on Amazon. Want to see what else Hachette is bringing to the states? Follow them on Facebook or Twitter!
Have you ever played any of the Assassin’s Creed line of video games?