There’s a whole country waiting to be climbed, explored, and viking’d, but I’m sitting here rolling dice. Many who pick up Assassin’s Creed Valhalla are feeling the same way as they get sucked into Orlog, the combat dice mini-game. The game is easy to understand, and yet has the opportunity for increasing layers of strategy. As a tabletop gaming enthusiast, let me just say this: Ubisoft, you would make bank if you sold a real-life version of Orlog.
I actually looked up Orlog before writing this to make sure I wasn’t missing out on some ancient Norse game that had been around for literal centuries. There isn’t a game, but Orlog is a Norse concept. You should read some of the literature for the full story, but it’s essentially tied to the Norse concept of fate. Humans inherit some of their Orlog, but can also shape it with their actions. This makes it the perfect name for a strategy dice game, where both player action and chance rule in equal measure.
As a Dungeons & Dragons player, I can attest that people love games where depth and randomness are properly balanced. It’s kind of the whole reason the game has thrived for decades. Orlog, which has two players alternate three rounds of dice rolls, strikes that balance. It also has great theming by allowing players to call upon the powers of Norse gods. Slap the Assassin’s Creed logo on it, maybe include a little Eivor figurine, and Orlog could be sold as a collector’s item. And again, as D&D taught us, people love a good collector’s set.
The wonderful thing about Orlog is that it doesn’t even need the Assassin’s Creed branding. That would certainly make it easier to sell, and corporations love a safe sell, but Orlog has proven to be addicting enough to pull people away from the main Valhalla storyline. It’s got the chops to draw in players on its own merit, and might even be an entry point into Assassin’s Creed for more tabletop-focused gamers.
But if Ubisoft did want to put Orlog out under the Assassin’s Creed banner, there’s expansion potential. God powers are an essential part of Orlog, and Assassin’s Creed has shown a proclivity towards mythology with the past few entries. Imagine an Odyssey set that adds the Greek gods, or an Origins one with Egyptian deities.
A new Xbox came out today, and I’ll probably spend the day playing viking dice in 4K. Ubisoft should take advantage of my, and others’, burgeoning addiction and release a real life Orlog. Or at least let us play in online multiplayer.
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Sergio is the Lead News Editor for TheGamer. But usually he asks people to call him “Serg” because he wants to sound cool like the guy from System of a Down. He began as a convention reporter for FLiP Magazine and Albany Radio’s The Shaw Report to get free badges to Comic-Con. Eventually he realized he liked talking to game developers and discovering weird new indie games. Now he brings that love of weird games to TheGamer, where he tries to talk about them in clickable ways so you grow to love them too. When he’s not stressing over how to do that, he’s a DM, Cleric of Bahamut, cosplay boyfriend, and occasional actor.
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