Assassin's Creed Brotherhood of Venice: Apocalypse Expansion Preview
Sary, June 3rd, 2023

A few days ago, the Kickstarter page for the expansion of the Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice board game, Apocalypse, has been launched.
Thanks to Triton Noir who were kind enough to send us a preview version of the expansion, we had the chance to try it and we can now share our thoughts about it as well as show which are the additions that this expansion brings to the base game.

The copy of the Apocalypse expansion we received is a prototype and as such all the pictures and videos you will see in this article do not necessarily represent the final version/quality of the game.
If you are not familiar with what Assassin's Creed Brotherhood of Venice is, we suggest you take a look at our interviews with the creators (Interviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). If you are curious to see a bit of gameplay, you can watch our video where we played and showcased Memory 1 and 2 of the base game.

Enough with the introduction, let's dive into the new Assassin's Creed Botherhood of Venice expansion, Apocalypse.

First of all, the Apocalypse expansion works as a proper DLC to the main game. The characters you can play with are Alessandra, Bastiano, Claudio and Dariâ from the base game and/or Alif, Beatrice, Clara and Domenico from the "Roma" expansion.

Keeping in mind this is a prototype and that texts and story details are not final, the introduction reads:

Venice - 1524 - Headquarters of the Brotherhood

It has been years since your team of Assassins last met in the hallways of the headquarters of the Brotherhood. They all have had their share of heroic and tense fights with the Templars.

Now they are assembled again for a special briefing.

Months ago, the Brotherhood received worrying reports about a group of former Assassins gone rogue, deep into the jungles of the ancient kingdom of Cambodia. They seem to instill terror into the local populations. Not to mention the fact that this group is giving the Brotherhood a very bad reputation...

The rumor has it that they are led by a giant viper who goes by the name of Colubra...

A group of less experienced Assassins was sent to investigate but they have gone silent and the Brotherhood is not optimistic about their fate.

This is why the Brotherhood has tasked you, the four most loyal and experienced Assassins currently in Italy, with the delicate mission to find the team that was sent before you, seek the rogue Assassins and deal with their leader in the most discreet fashion.

You will not be alone in this: Shao Jun, a brilliant Assassin was on her way back to China but accepted to help you work your way in the jungle of the Khmer Empire.

Good Luck and remember: Nothing is true, everything is permitted!

We see here the very first new element of the game which is the presence of Shao Jun.
In the gameplay, Shao Jun has her own Action and Health points and her character is controlled collectively by the players that, once per turn, can perform the actions that are listed on her card.

The first meeting with her is in the first sequence where you find her sick, laying in a bed because she has been poisoned. For this reason, even if not specified, we have then not used her character in our gameplay for this memory.

Her being poisoned though, already gives the players a taste of another new element of the expansion which is the "poisoned" status which reduces both your Health and your Action points, basically slowing you down and making your character more vulnerable, which was actually a nice addition in my opinion, as it pushes players to strategize in order to avoid it.

There are in fact new enemies, the Vipers, that work as an elite group of guards that attack with a new type of dice. When Vipers manage to hit our Assassins, they will get the poisoned status . When Vipers win a fight against our Assassins, the player gets the poisoned status
Vipers - Prototype Figurine
Vipers - Prototype Figurine
which not only removes health points but it also reduces the available action points in every subsequent turn, until an "antidote" card becomes available in the equipment.

We’ll discuss how antidotes can be obtained later, but it is not possible to get them in the first memory we tested and this absence made the memory a bit difficult to play towards the end, considering it was not possible to remove the poisoned status (thus limiting the actions of every poisoned player till the end of the memory).

Speaking of enemies, the expansion introduces three new types of miniatures: the Stalkers, the Vipers and the Furies.

  • Stalkers: this is a group of enemies that works similarly to the basic crossbowmen in the base game. They don't have special abilities or characteristics.
  • Vipers: as we have already mentioned, Vipers can poison the player.
  • Furies: the rulebook describes this group of guards as "formidable enemies expert in infiltration by blending
    Vipers - Prototype Figurine
    Danger Tokens
    into the vegetation, which allows them to arrive directly on their target.
    " In this version of the expansion, players meet them for the first time in the fifth memory.

They cannot be considered proper enemies but in this new expansion, keeping in mind we are playing in a jungle, we can also meet predator animals – crocodiles and cobras - that can attack us, but also the enemy guards, if the concerned miniature endsup on a tile where one of the newly introduced “danger tokens” has been placed.

Crocodiles will appear if the danger token is placed on a tile that features water like a pond or a river, and they will grab the player and deal health damage. Cobras, on the other hand, will appear when the danger token is placed on a ground tile, and, in addition to dealing health damage, can also deliver the poisoned status.
Danger Tokens can also reveal Hydras that will "capture" the player and will remove all the remaining Action cubes.

Generally speaking, the gameplay of the expansion is still similar to the one from the base game. There are still hiding spots that in this case are represented by trees, basins and tall grass and there are still synchronization points that in this prototype version of the game were portrayed by the big Naga structures, replacing the Towers from the main game and the first expansions.

The Naga synchronization point

The expansion also features rivers that work like the canals in the main game with the difference that in this case we have the possibility to make our Assassins swim in it, even against the current, by spending action points.

The most interesting addition though is the Exploration phase.

Map of the Cambodia Region - overview
In the prototype box we could find a new map that represents the kingdom of Cambodia - which made up one third of the actual map that will be included in the final game.

The Exploration phase works in a way that is akin to what might be found in a main game, on console: we complete our current memory and we have to move on to the next one. We open the world map and we decide where to go. We can either explore the region and find treasures, equipment and side missions, or we can go to the next memory.

This new map in Apocalypse works in the same way. Every time players successfully complete a memory, they "open the world map" and they explore the region, until they reach the location of the new memory.
During the exploration phase, aside from the main memories that continue the story, players can face different types of activities: Encounters, Ruins and Mysteries, Observation Points, Dispensaries, Forges and Scripted Locations.

Encounters, Ruins and Mysteries correspond to cards that players have to draw from dedicated decks and each card of these types will feature the description of an event (it will be different depending on the type of card). Each event will give the player options on how to react to a certain situation and depending on the choice, there will be different consequences.
You can see some examples below.

To simulate the fact that the player is moving in an unexplored region, in search of a rogue Assassin, the more players explore the “open world map”, the more they fill the so-called "Threat Gauge" and as soon as a threshold is reached, something will happen (oftentimes in the form of scripted events). This gauge means to represent how, if players explore a lot, their enemies will become more and more aware of their presence.

The new element I found most entertaining was the Exploration phase part: it gave the feeling of having a whole game world to be explored as it happens in the videogames. The events, aside from providing a nice break from the main memories, also work a bit like gamebooks in which the reader has to make choices that will affect the outcome.

The miniatures and artworks on the cards are really nice as they were in the main game, even if the ones we have seen, are prototype quality too and may not represent the final version. We will wait to provide our opinion on the lore of the expansion as this is not the final version and it still needs to be approved by Ubisoft but the story seems to have potential too and, if it is going to be canon as it happened with the main game and the first expansions, it could be a nice addition to the Assassin's Creed lore.

If you want to join the kickstarter, you can visit this link until June 15th 2023!

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