If you’ve played an Assassin’s Creed game over the past 10 years, you’ve probably fallen into the hole of finding a mini game that sucks up your time. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent playing Liar’s Dice in Assassin’s Creed Black Flag. Pure Arts and Hachette Games has taken a dice game called Orlog from Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and brought it to life on the game table.
An Ancient Dice Game?
Orlog is an original two player game that was developed by the teams at Ubisoft for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. While it definitely has the aesthetics of an ancient game, it’s actually a modern creation. Inside the box you’ll find two faux wooden bowls, 12 hefty dice, teal colored stones that track the health of each player, and god cards and tokens.
To start the game, decide which three god cards you and your opponent will play with in this match. There are 20 different god favor cards which give players access to special abilities. In the beginner mode, players will have three designated god favor cards. These starter cards are straight forward and easy to understand.
Gameplay in Orlog breaks down into 3 phases. The roll phase has players rolling dice and deciding which die faces they want to keep. Similar to Yahtzee, you’ll get three chances to get the die values you want. During the god favor phase, you can choose to use one of your three god favor cards. This can help you heal, deal damage to the other player, destroy god tokens, or modify die rolls. You pay to use these cards when the ability triggers. Finally, you resolve the die faces starting with the first player.
The six dice allow you to attack, defend, or steal god favor tokens from the other player. Axe icons are blocked by the helmet icons and Arrow icons are blocked by the shield icons. The hand icon allows you to steal a god favor token from your opponent. Each player earns new god tokens for each die that has a gold border showing on its face.
Once a player decides to hold a die, that die is locked and can’t be re-rolled during that round. Most of the time, the second player is choosing defense dice based on the roll of the first player. Even if you have a bad roll during a round, god favor cards give abilities to mitigate a round where you struggled to roll defensive icons. Stealing god tokens is an excellent strategy to leave your opponent with limited options.
Each player gets 15 health that is tracked through small teal stones. Once a player reaches 0 health, the game is over.
Orlog is a really great addition to our 2-player game shelf. It’s simple to learn and plays in around 20 minutes. With 20 different god favor cards, it offers variability each time you play. The abilities on these cards are different enough that mixing and matching can change the strategy of your game.
A Little Fun, A Little Frustration
Even with simple gameplay, Orlog has some major missteps that casual players might struggle with. In the attempt to stick with the ancient feel of the game, the god favor cards suffer from poor design decisions. The small “cards” look like wooden relics and are just around 2 inches tall. The back of these cards have a wood grain and small font that makes them barely readable. Thankfully, there’s an excellent resource sheet cataloging all 20 of these god favor cards. This sheet is absolutely necessary for both players during the game.
As a person who reads a fair share of rulebooks, I loved seeing a simple two page rulebook for Orlog. Even with the small font choices, the rulebook was a quick read. However, when we ran into issues only two games in, we found that the rulebook didn’t offer any clarity. Thankfully, these issues were covered in the forums of Board Game Geek.
This game should absolutely be marketed to fans of Assassin’s Creed. I’ve heard of people finding the game at their local GameStop, which is hitting the right audience. The simplicity of the game is a great way to pull digital gamers to the game table. However, the issues that I mentioned earlier almost cheapen the experience. Non-gamers aren’t going to look for guidance in the BGG forums when they run into a weird gameplay situation. Hopefully they’re familiarity with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will be enough to help them through any rules issues.
With all that being said, I think the team did an excellent job with the box art and insert for the game. It’s definitely got a look that draws in anyone that’s familiar with this video game franchise.
Both Erin and I really enjoyed Orlog. The game becomes even more strategic when players are familiar with the god favor cards and choose to ban and draft them in the expert mode of the game. This is a quick and easy dice combat game that will make it to the table during a normal week. Even with some of the issues we’ve run into, it’s a game that has found a home on our family game shelf. I hope this game can find the audience that will enjoy the quick head-to-head dice combat that Orlog has to offer.
You can purchase Orlog at your local board game shop or online through Amazon today.
This game was provided to us by the publisher for review. Read more about our review policies at One Board Family.
- Excellent translation from the video game to the tabletop
- Tracking health points with the teal stones feels elegant
- Mixing and matching god favor cards leads to deeper strategy
- Quick gameplay leads to playing back-to-back games
- The barebones rulebook leaves no room for clearing up issues with the rules
- Poor font and design choices along with grammar issues cheapen the experience