Ok, so i might be sliiiiightly biased on this one. After all, i know the designers, Janice and Stu. Good people. Very British, although i never saw them drink tea. I met Janice on the World of Women discord channel. If you are female and not on there yet, you are missing out. If you are human, and not in their Facebook group, you should be. Sometimes the random conversations about games and hobbies and life turn into opportunities to meet new people and even playtest their games.
This is how i became better acquainted with Janice and her Kickstarter project, Assembly. It started out in early summer with a print and play copy of the game, which i tested primarily on Balconien, the island vacation spot that comes attached to most German apartments. We thought it was waaay to easy. We hadn’t really read the rules. I thought it was nice, but as a heavy eurogamer and not really a solo gamer, it didn’t really grab my attention. I watched their cute little video on the kickstarter page and decided to pass. If you agree with me so far.. keep reading. *spoiler: i changed my mind*
Several months later Janice asked if i would mind working on the German translation of the rules. Uhhhh, Sure, i’m kinda bored. Why not? Even if it might not be my style game, i still approve of people making new games. Especially ones with really good back stories. And yeah, i get that Assembly is fairly abstract… but the theme and mechanics work well together, and they did provide a logical story.
If you aren’t familiar with it, it goes something like this: you are on an international space station because your fictive life is waaay more interesting than your real life. However, much like in your real life (if yours is anything like mine) pretty much everything still goes horribly wrong. In this case, a mysterious virus kills everyone else. Maybe your partner or friend also survived. But not your drivers-ed teacher, the deli guy, or that neighbor that always leaves their trash by the door… Staying around on a virtually empty space station isn’t really your idea of sustainable living, and so you decide to head back to earth, maybe grab a pumpkin spice latte or three, and do some earth type things for a change. The computer, not named HAL 9000, thinks this is a very, very bad idea. She is worried that you might be contagious. So as you are working to finish building one of the rather sophisticated space ships for a quite luxurious trip home, the computer is shutting down life support and trying to stop your escape.
This leads to a solo or two-player co-op game where you can’t talk concretely about your plans because.. well, we all know not-HAL is listening. Hmmmm.
So one or two people can play?? Yes. Does it play differently?? Yes.
One person has it muuuuuuch easier. Really. You know what you are doing. Your friend is the one always doing things in the wrong order and never having the cards they should. Ugh. That friend! Always makes me lose. Until he doesn’t. And that’s a glorious moment. You escape together! High fives!*
So i alluded to my change of heart on this game. It is definitely not the light little filler game i thought it was going to be. It is a filler game. It is easy to learn. There is a small amount of luck needed, but also strategy… and that changed according to player count a bit. What really sells it for me is the intense suspense it creates.. will we get done in time?? So often i have been just 1 or 2 cards away from winning and not been able to.. and that is what i like in a co-op game. It is winnable, but not too easy. And they included extra varients to make it harder.. and an expansion (which i will admit i have not even played yet, as i am still having fun with the base game). It is fun.
Since i got home from Dragonmeet a few weeks ago, Assembly has been set up on my living room table. I play it once or twice a day, just kinda as a palate cleanser between chores or things i have to do… (also because i have a playmat and wasn’t able to roll it back up and put it in the tube, so i decided f#$%-it, this is my new table cloth) It takes about 10 minutes solo.
And yes.. i did basically fly all the way to London to go to Dragonmeet and pick up my copy of the game. Why else would one fly to London?? (i have so. many. reasons. now…) How far would you go for a copy of a good game? Would you go this far? You should.