Everything you need to know about AC: Brotherhood of Venice
Written by: ATA Team

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood of Venice is a new tabletop game grounded in the Assassin’s Creed franchise whose crowdfunding starts today on Kickstarter at this link.

Thanks to Ubisoft and Triton Noir, we had the chance to interview Thibaud de la Touanne & Fabrice Lamidey to ask them as many questions as we could about Brotherhood of Venice!<

Thibaud & Fabrice, thanks for joining us in this interview!

Q: To start us off, for those who might not know about you and Triton Noir, can you please introduce yourself and the company?

We are Thibaud de le Touanne and Fabrice Lamidey. Thibaud created Triton Noir 5 years ago and Fabrice joined him a couple years after. Triton Noir published its first game, V-Commandos, in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. Both of us have worked at the Ubisoft Montreal Game Studio on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Q: Let's get right to it. What is Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice? How many players can play, and what is the main goal of the game?

Assassin’s Creed®: Brotherhood of Venice is a cooperative tactical miniature game for 1 to 4 players. It is played in a campaign spanning several years in which you play a small team of Assassins in charge of developing the Headquarters of the Brotherhood of Assassins in Venice, shortly after Ezio Auditore da Firenze has defeated Cesare Borgia and his allies.

Q: What inspired you to create a new tabletop board game dedicated to the AC Franchise and set the game in the time period between Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Revelations?

V-Commandos was inspired by the fun gameplay of some famous stealth-based video games. Metal Gear Solid, the Commandos series, and obviously Assassin’s Creed. As we thought about our next game, it struck us that the gameplay of V-Commandos was like a template for an Assassin’s Creed game and as we had worked on the franchise at Ubisoft, it felt completely natural to make an Assassin’s Creed board game.
As for the time period, Venice is one of our favorite settings in Assassin's Creed, but it felt a bit too quick in the game. We also wanted to tell an original story within a familiar environment, so the time between the games felt ideal.

Q: What would you say are the biggest influences to the game from the board game genre? (The likes of Warhammer, or Pen & Paper etc.)

V-Commandos is our template obviously. Brotherhood of Venice is nothing like a mass combat tabletop miniature game. It is a tactical cooperative experience where the challenge lies in analyzing the map you’re on and act as a team to overcome the dangers on the map. There is a light RPG component as you play a unique Assassin and develop him or her as well as your Headquarters.

Q: It is interesting to note that this is a Kickstarter funded project, with the crowdfunding starting today, November 13th. Does that mean you approached Ubisoft after the project had already begun? It is unusual for Ubisoft to not do their own official licensed releases.

We worked on the project for several months before showing it to the Brand Team at Ubisoft. We wanted to make sure we could have a design that would fully satisfy the fans, not just releasing a side product.
Then we entered a classic license agreement. We have self-funded all the costs up to the Kickstarter.
We are very lucky to have a special relationship with Ubisoft which goes beyond a financial one. We love Assassin’s Creed as much as they do, and we are working hand in hand to deliver the best possible board game experience for the fans.

Q: Speaking of today’s launch on Kickstarter, we noticed that the date (November 13th) is the same as when the first Assassin’s Creed game was launched. That can’t be a coincidence, can it?

We could totally pretend that is a perfect scheme planned for years :) As ludicrous as it will sound, it IS a complete coincidence. Some other things in the campaign and in the game are not though…

Q: Did some of the developers of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood of Venice previously work at Ubisoft directly on the games? How important was / is that in the development of the board game?

We did not work directly on the games. We worked on a couple of game projects in the franchise that didn’t see the light of day, and Fabrice was Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Initiates. It was crucial for the development of the board game because it gave us a great insight on both the passion and diversity of the fans as well as on the way the universe and franchise work.

Q: One of the elements that make the AC franchise very recognizable is its art, and Brotherhood of Venice has plenty of it, from the concepts that appear on the cards to the tiles in the board game to the highly detailed miniatures. Can you share with us some new / exclusive art for the board game?

Q: Speaking of miniatures, will there be a version of the board game with painted or unpainted miniatures? (For those who like to paint them)

As much as we’d love to offer a painted version of the miniatures, offering the fans the quality they deserve would require hand painting and that would represent not only crazy costs (there are a lot of miniatures in the game) but would make it plain impossible to deliver within a decent time frame.

Q: Can you name some of the elements of the Assassin's Creed franchise that can be found in Brotherhood of Venice and that you think fans of the franchise will love finding in the board game?

There are so many! Hidden blades, historical setting and events, hiding the bodies of dead guards, synchronization points that reveal new things on the map, well-known friends and enemies, even down to annoying bards!

Q: We see that the board game will provide stealth approaches and combat in a similar way to that of the Assassin's Creed videogames. Can you explain the stealth / chase / combat loop in Brotherhood of Venice?

As long as an Assassin is Anonymous they can move as they please on tiles devoid of enemies. As soon as an Assassin becomes Exposed, the alarm will be triggered, and this Assassin will become the target of enemies within shooting range.

As the risk of being Exposed is known to all players, they must try to avoid Detection tests increase their chance of success by using their equipment, special abilities, the positive effect of an event card, smart tactics and coordination.

Once the alarm is triggered, the number of enemy reinforcements will quickly increase, requiring the Assassins to try to go Anonymous again or building up the right combination of weapons, equipment and unique abilities to eliminate the enemy threat while still completing the objectives.

As soon as an Assassin becomes Exposed, the Guards will try to reach them. They will move (within their own limits, for example a Crossbowman cannot climb to get to a roof without a ladder) towards the closest Exposed Assassin. If an Exposed Assassin leaves a tile containing Guards, half of them will chase them! If this Assassin moves from a street to a rooftop tile, the guards will not be able to chase them, except for Agile Guards, of course ;).

Q: Will the missions provide players with rewards like in the AC games? Will there be something akin to the full synchronization players were accustomed to in the early games of the franchise?

Absolutely. There will be rewards inherent to the Memory objectives and full synchronization achievements with special conditions (for example, no Assassin is Exposed for the whole mission get you a Master of Stealth achievement).

Q: A lot of the fans love Assassin's Creed because of its plot and narrative. Will Brotherhood of Venice have a story of its own? Can you tell us about it?

The game is set between the end of Brotherhood and the beginning of Revelations. In both those games, the story revolves around the deeds of Ezio Auditore, where he sometimes is helped by other Assassins. Brother of Venice is a bit of a mirror of that. Here, as your Assassins team is in charge of establishing and developing the Brotherhood’s Headquarters in Venice, you’ll sometimes need a bit of help from Ezio.

As for the plot, there is definitely a story unique to the game, where the Doge of Venice, the Pope, Leonardo da Vinci, Lucrezia Borgia and many others all have a part to play. Discovering the story is a big part of the fun of the game so we will try not to spoil it…

Q: We have taken a look at a WIP of the Campaign Book that comes with the game and it stood out for us that the story layout of each mission / memory is similar to that of the memories of fan favorite AC Initiates with date, location and brief of the story of the memory. Was that intentional? We know some of you worked on Initiates...

What a coincidence… Or not. :) That format was never a random thing from the start of the Initiates project…

Q: Are there any familiar characters from the Assassin's Creed videogames in Brotherhood of Venice? How do they fit into the board game’s story?

What would an Assassin’s Creed board game be without its characters? Ezio will be around as well as Leonardo, members of the Borgia family (or what’s left of it) and many others. Let’s keep the surprise for now, just a bit longer…

Q: From some of the promotional materials we have seen that the board game features several miniatures. Will there be a miniature for each character and guard? How many characters / miniatures will be in the game?
All characters will have their own miniature, allies and enemies included. The base game, before any stretch goal is reached, has 54 miniatures. We really count on the fans to help us increase that number dramatically.

Q: Let's talk a bit about Ezio's role in the board game specifically. Ezio is undoubtedly without a doubt one of the most famous Assassins in the franchise and is also very well known character all over the world. How has it been creating new lore for such a beloved character?

Everyone loves Ezio. Maybe too much :) We didn’t want to have any one player in the role of Ezio and the others just looking or waiting for their turn. Ezio will be here only in time of the greatest needs. Remember Ezio is pretty busy looking for a certain place to the east.

The lore will focus on the group of 4 Assassins that you will develop along with your HQ. Each has their own backstory and you’ll be able to discover more of the lore as the game progresses.

Q: Is Ezio going to be a main character or a side character in the game?

Ezio will be helping the Assassins from time to time but he won’t be the central character. He will be very powerful though :)

Q: Will the players help Ezio in his endeavors that made him famous in the videogames, or will they be able to control him?

Ezio got plenty of help from other Assassins in Brotherhood, so we guess he figured it was time to give back a bit :) He’ll be the one helping you this time. But as we said, he is pretty busy, so his help is a rare commodity not to be abused.

Q: Before moving on to other general topics, this is like a customary fan question, you know we have to ask it. Will there be board game content focused on the First Civilization and / or the Present day of the franchise?

The game will not be focused on the Present Day.

Q: Now that the Kickstarter funding has started, what is the development stage of the game and when will it be available for everyone to play?

We have been working on the core mechanics for over 18 months now. We have a lot of Memories designed and some well play tested. The art is well advanced, and we have 90% of the miniatures design and 3d models.

It may sound like it’s almost finished but a game such as this requires a lot of playtesting not only for the first Memories but for all of them, so they are fun, balanced and replayable. This is about 9-12 months of work for the 20 Memories in the base game. Add to that the insane amount of material in the box and the miniatures and we are looking at 6 months manufacturing time.

That is why, because we do not want to make any compromise on the game’s fun and balancing nor on the quality of its components, we will deliver the game around June 2020.

Q: Can fans expect “post-launch content” for Brotherhood of Venice? Maybe something like new rare miniatures or additional rewards that can be added to the board game?

For V-Commandos, we already have created two expansions and we plan to continue. We always design our games to be playable for a very long time. We definitely want to make Brotherhood of Venice a long-term playing experience. So, you can expect, according to the success of the Kickstarter campaign, some addons.

Q: Will there be any kind of cross-platform promotions, such as unlocking contents for the main Assassin’s Creed videogames from purchasing the board game?

There is no plan for that at the moment, but we leave the door open :)

Q: Again, thinking long term, if the board game is successful could you see more settings being introduced? Perhaps a franchise wide encompassing model, so that famous Assassins can play on the same board?

Wouldn’t that be exciting? We want to focus on this game at the moment, but it’s definitely part of the vision.

Thank you so much for your time and we wish you an amazing launch for the game!

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