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Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override Expansion Kickstarter Preview


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Designers: Janice & Stu Turner
Publisher: Wren Games
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 10-20 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override. I was provided a copy of the game for my review. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

Imagine you're watching your favorite sci-fi horror movie for the umpteenth time. The protagonist is fleeing in terror, the monster closing in, and the door between them closes just in time. As she sits on the ground catching her breath, you wait in excitement for her radio to crackle to life, the rescue party signaling their arrival. It's a scene you've seen so many times, you've memorized  the dialogue. But somehow... the scene changes. This time, her radio sits silent, and her shallow breathing is interrupted by the hair-raising sound of the alien chittering from behind her, having found another entrance...

Like any good expansion, Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override takes the core experience you know well and turns it on its head. Re-Sequence challenges players to lock rooms in a specific order, while also cutting the token stack into two and offering an olive branch in the way of a new Command card. Meanwhile, Override tasks you with moving two troublesome robots into place, on top of your regular tasks. More than just a simple add-on, this two-in-one expansion provides a host of new challenges to the core game, forcing players to rethink their strategies and focus their attention on how to outsmart their technological foe.

The components included with this double expansion.

Review:

Rules and Setup:

I've thoroughly discussed the core game here, so I won't rehash the basic rules, though I would encourage you to check it out if you haven't recently. For those unfamiliar, the TL;DR plot goes something like this: you and one other individual are the sole survivors on a space station overrun with a virus, and you must attempt to repair a half-built spaceship docked on the station and escape. However, the computer is attempting to block your attempts so that the virus doesn't escape, both by interfering in your work and depleting the station's oxygen levels. Your goal is to finish the ship and escape before you suffocate.

The Re-Sequence expansion forces you to lock the rooms in a clockwise order, removing the freedom to lock them in whatever order you choose. To offset this requirement, the token stack is split into two face-up stacks, allowing for some variety in choice. There are also slight modifications to how each Command card works, such as swapping deployed tokens with those still in the stacks, but the biggest change is the inclusion of the "Platform/Hold" card. This acts as a locked module for the turn it's played on, allowing for tokens to travel further when a "Rotate" card is played in the same turn.

In contrast, the Override expansion adds more responsibilities in the form of robot meeples. These act similarly to the tokens, with both robots having a specific bay that they must be "locked" into for the players to win. Similar to Re-Sequence, the Command cards have updated mechanics to facilitate movement of tokens, robots, and even the both of them together. The new "Platform/Hold" cards can also be used to help the process along.

The light blue "Platform/Hold" cards are exclusive to this expansion.

The basic setup of the board for both expansions is the same as the core game. Re-Sequence does have different starting cards for the Command deck, which are outlined in the rules. Also, the tower of tokens should be split into two stacks of six, face up (a notable shift from the core game which had them placed face down), and when the die is rolled to place the first token, the players get to choose which stack they take from.

In Override, the starting cards are identical to those in Re-Sequence, but the token stack stays in one piece. Also, players must roll the die twice to determine the starting points for the robots. These receive a face-up token and a robot meeple atop them, and the matching robot meeple is placed next to the Blueprint card on the opposite side of the table from the first meeple.

The Override expansion prepped. Notice the meeples across from one another - get them side by side to lock them in!

Theme and Mechanics:

Re-Sequence & Override do a good job of keeping to the original game's theme. Neither one seems too out of the ordinary, based on the premise of "computer is trying to stop us in our tracks." I will say that the premise presented by Override is a more thoughtful addition, as it adds a layer of complexity to the evil AI and what it's capable of. Unfortunately, Re-Sequence doesn't quite seem to do the same. Its flavor text reiterates the computer making things more difficult, but it doesn't go out of its way to describe how, which is something I really like about the core game—its little blurbs before each new section of the rulebook, grounding all of its rules and mechanics in the world of the game. A sentence or two about the computer rewiring itself - forcing the escapees to work around its programming, while also fracturing itself in the process and giving them more room to work with - would have been the icing on the cake. Of course this is me getting nitpicky about a single part of the rulebook, which may very well change later on, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

Mechanics-wise, Override is the only expansion that brings something new to the table with its meeples that players must coordinate moving alongside the tokens. Honestly, I think these work really well; they don't make the game too complicated or the board too full, but they add an extra layer of thinking when players have to line up several moving parts at once.

Prototype robot meeples. I'm personally hoping for a sweet robot design for the finished product...

Game Play:

First off, let me say this: DO NOT try playing both of these expansions at the same time, unless you enjoy pulling your hair out. Nothing in the rules says they're meant to be played together, but I thought I'd give it a try for fun. If you thought the core game was tough, this was nigh impossible.

Separately, though, these expansions are a blast. Though it may not necessarily bring any new mechanics to the table, Re-Sequence twists the core game in new and interesting ways. Meanwhile, Override's robots add a whole other layer to the game you think you know, making you all the more wary about your choices. Combine these with the core game's already-intense mechanics of matching cards, minimal conversation, and one wrong move meaning certain death, and you've got a spine-tingling game that goes by too fast, while also coming back time and time again. We found ourselves trying several variations, starting with the core game, experimenting with the different Malfunction cards and the Glitches expansion (see below for further info on that), and then bringing in Re-Sequence and Override to really amp things up. And, with how quickly games go, we were able to play several varieties in a single evening! Always a plus in my book!

New Malfunction cards help keep the game fresh. Notice the symbols at the bottom right, denoting the expansion.

Artwork and Components:

Given that this is a prototype, I won't spend too much time on the artwork or quality of components, but it seems like Wren Games is keeping things pretty close to the base game in terms of art design. I personally like the minimalist design of Assembly, so this is fine by me. One thing I do really appreciate is that the new cards have symbols on the bottom to show which expansions they are from and are compatible with. It's a small addition, but one that's certainly appreciated.

As for components, they haven't skimped on adding plenty of new stuff to the game. Along with the four meeples and extra Command cards, there are also seven new Role cards to add some character variety (as well as take advantage of the new rules), as well as four new sets of Malfunction cards and four new Glitch cards that make the new expansions compatible with the Glitches expansion (I'm getting to that, I promise). That's quite a bit to add, and it only benefits the game in the amount of replayability it brings to the table.

Each Role card is double sided - one side details their ability, while the other side shows a visual reminder of their ability.

Strengths:

Assembly is a fun, nerve-wracking co-op game all on its own, and these expansions only add to the fun and complexity. With both of these new game modes, along with new Role cards, Glitch cards, and Malfunction card sets, this expansion truly gives Assembly a wealth of variety and replayability.

Weaknesses:

I would have enjoyed a bit more flavor to the Re-Sequence expansion, even though its gameplay is perfectly good.

Final Thoughts:

As I only received the prototypes, I can't wait to see how the final robot meeples turn out!

Players Who Like:

Fans of the core game Assembly, puzzle games in general, and cooperative games will enjoy these as wonderful additions to the Assembly family.

Glitches Expansion:

I mentioned the Glitches expansion above—this was released as part of the original Kickstarter, and while I didn't have a chance to play it at the time of my previous review, I have played it since and wanted to mention it here for those curious.

The main facet of the Glitches expansion are, unsurprisingly, the new Glitch cards. One new Glitch card gets placed into the deck each time the deck is reshuffled, and when drawn, the card must immediately be resolved. These cards range from shuffling unlocked tokens, to using extra Command cards, to even trading out your entire hand of cards. These can occasionally prove useful, but more often than not complicate your plans and require a reexamination of the board and your strategy. With ten total Glitch cards, two new Role cards, and the four new sets of Malfunction cards (for those keeping track at home, that's a whopping twelve different sets between the core game and expansions), this short expansion adds a surprising amount of variety to each game.

The expansions, in all their glory.


Check out Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/276671/assembly-re-sequence-override   http://wrengames.co.uk/main/   https://www.facebook.com/wrengames   https://twitter.com/wrengames   https://www.instagram.com/wrengames/




David Jensen - Editor and Reviewer

David has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he's trying his hand at writing creatively and working as an editor for a start-up literary magazine. When he's not busy procrastinating, he's running tabletop game sessions for friends and family.

See David's reviews HERE.
Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override Expansion Kickstarter Preview Assembly: Re-Sequence & Override Expansion Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by David J. on July 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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