Friday, July 5, 2019

Assembly Build Solve Escape - Board Game Review



Build, Solve and Escape is the goal of this 1 or 2 player strategic cooperative game. After a virus has wiped out all but you and one other person if playing coop, the onboard computer decides to complete the virus's job by eliminating anyone left. Sounds like the start to a bad syfy show right? To be fair in this situation the computer is just trying to prevent the virus from reaching Earth and wiping out the population. To escape, you must match module tokens with the corresponding rooms and get them locked. Randomly the rooms are put in a circle like a clock with each room representing an hour, so you have 12 total. Than one module is put out to start the game. It's randomly drawn and assigned to it's position by a dice roll. This is how all the module placements start out.

Each player draws 3 cards from the shared action deck, these show the different actions you can take. This includes, putting a new module on the board, locking 2 modules that are in the correct rooms, rotating all the unlocked modules either clockwise or counterclockwise, or swapping 2 modules. There is a wild card and some that can rotate both ways as well. These only come into play as the game progresses. Before you play your action card, you get to ask your partner if they can complete one of the operations. They may only respond with a yes or no, then all communication is done for that turn.  To do an action you both need to have an action card in hand with that action on it.  So as the active player you play you ask your partner can you lock? They say "No". Now your in a bit of a pickle, because you need to still have a viable action that will help you towards your goal as well as hope your partner has that same action in hand. knowing your partner can't lock you take a chance and play a swap card, luckily it gets verified by your partner, so you complete the action. You use that card and put it into the discard pile and draw back up to 3 cards.need to verify the action or deny it if they can't match it. The player that verifies is not suppose to show any cards, but since they verified you know they have a swap card in hand.  The none active player does not discards a card unless the action fails. In that case the action card played is lost and the none active player also has to discard a card. You can also play all 3 of the cards from your hand to do a wild card, that allows you to try any action, but your partner still needs to verify it.

 I've mostly only played this cooperatively, I did play it once solo to experience it. It's a lot like a lucky shuffle and dice roll eccentric game of Solitaire. This game really shines with 2 players, in fact I would only buy it if that is how you plan to play it mostly. It's easy to learn, and has simple win and lose conditions, speaking of which you win when you lock all 12 rooms, and lose if you get through the action deck 3 times.

Video Game Comparison


While there are a lot of puzzle games for both platforms, the cooperative side of it isn't usually found in video games. With that said some of my favorite that share the cooperative side are; The "We Were Here" series or "Tick Tock a Tale for Two". If you enjoyed either one of those then Assembly will be right up your alley.

Final Thoughts 


Overall I really like Assembly, but for serious board gamers this will not tickle the itch of a deep puzzle game. You can play perfectly and still lose due to how reliant it is on luck, both of the card draws and dice rolls. Once you figure out the way it goes, it's really only a matter of having the right cards and luck. It's a great causal game that none gamers will be able to pick up and enjoy.

We played a session on Tabletopia please check it out!

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