Assembly is an escape puzzle card game with elements of push-your-luck. It’s compact, fast and eminently replay-able. Set on a spacestation, you can play Assembly either solo or cooperatively with a partner.
You are on an orbital platform that assembles luxury spaceships. After a recent swarm of micrometeorite impacts, a deadly virus has emerged and wiped out the entire staff. Luckily, you seem to have natural immunity and now you must escape to help create a vaccine before the virus reaches Earth. Unfortunately, the on-board computer has quarantined the station and is now venting the oxygen to ensure nothing survives.
Fortunately, you know of a half-built spaceship on one of the assembly lines and have discovered a rather limited set of commands to complete it but as you try to make your escape, the controls keep glitching. Does the computer know what you are trying to do?
You must work together and use your time and commands wisely to assemble the ship and make your escape before you perish.
The only way to escape is to lock each Room Module into their correct bay, fully assembling the spaceship before you run out of time.
Using the available commands (Draw, Lock, Swap and Rotate), you can move the Room Modules around the assembly line until they are located in the correct and lock them into place. Unfortunately, the ship’s computer isn’t going to make your life easy, and just as you think you are a step ahead she will throw a spanner in the works.
No two games will ever be the same because of a variable setup, numerous role cards and the optional use of several malfunction sets activating on locking that force you to change your strategy. Also, 2-player games add limited communication into the mix and the optional use of sign language instead of verbal communication.
When designing Assembly, we had the following design goals, which we hope you will agree have been achieved:
- Inclusiveness: We have tried to avoid using gender stereotypes and have made a conscious effort to include all variations of pronoun. The game can also be played entirely with hand gestures. Additionally, a reference sheet teaching you basic sign language is included.
- Replayability: The base game includes 6 different roles along with 3 sets of Malfunctions (plus the standard no malfunction game), each of which require you to modify your win strategy. Additionally, there are several recommendations on how to make the game easier or harder. We will also be releasing templates for the community to make their own malfunction sets and role cards to extend the game even further.
- Intuitive: This includes both learning the rules and playing the game. One of Janice’s pet hates is having to refer to the rule book mid-game as she feels it breaks the flow of the game. Therefore we have aligned every mechanism within Assembly to the background story. We know from experience that stories are far easier to remember than rules. This method, we hope, will mean that knowing what you can and can’t do becomes intuitive. We have also included lots of examples in the rules and there are player aids included for the key elements of gameplay.
Inspiration for Assembly has been drawn from clock patience, Shadi Torbey’s Oniverse games, Dungeon Petz and The Maiden Voyage. You can find a narrative on Assembly’s development in its WIP thread on BGG.
Assembly was ranked among the top designs in the 2016 Board Game Geek Mint Tin Design Contest (26 entries):
- 1st place: Best Written Rules
- 3rd place: Most Innovative Mechanism
- 4th place: Overall in Contest*
- 6th place: Best Overall Design
*based on Geek Gold
Reviews & Media Coverage
|Loved the game; a fiendish puzzle that will delight any soloist looking for a compact quick challenge. It’s a big thumbs up from me! Watch it.
– Ricky Royal, Box of Delights
|It’s a lovely little design. It’s a fun fast puzzle of a game that’s tight and compact and has a Hanabi feeling. It’s a sharp, sweet, fun little coop game. Watch it.
– Richard Ham, Rahdo Runs-Through
Rahdo also does a run-down of the UKGE where he talks about Assembly. Watch it.
|Overall, I think Assembly is a lot of fun! If you’re looking for a fun solo puzzle, this is definitely it, but if you’re looking for a very strategic two-player cooperative puzzle, this will likely satisfy that part of your collective brain as well. I’d recommend at either player count. One thing that I particularly like is how clear and distinguishable the symbols on the Room Modules are so that players don’t have to rely on color (or their perception of color) to be able to effectively play the game. There are a lot of good design elements at play in Assembly. I’m a fan. Read more.
– Eric , What’s Eric Playing
|Assembly does not hesitate to put its all into the theme. The mechanics of word choice and coordination, framed as the computer acting against you, is genius. [It’s] a game that draws you into its world and keeps you there until your last breath. Assembly is a nail-bitingcard game where the prize for success is your life. When I say this game is tight, I mean it. It’s intense enough to make Pandemic veterans shake with fear. If someone could make a board game out of a Rubik’s Cube, it would look a lot like Assembly. Read more.
– David, Everything Board Games
|Sci-fi at its ultimate mind bending, puzzle solving best. Probably the most fun a solitary spaceship construction worker can have left alone on a space station in lockdown/self-destruct mode, a deadly virus doing the rounds, a mad computer and a limited oxygen supply. This is Assembly! Read more.
– Giles, Both Sides of My Table
|I love games that are of small stature, but pack an almighty punch- and that’s Assembly. Watch it.
– Lindsay Jo, Shiny Happy Meeple
|I love the look and feel of this game. The layout mimics clock patience. It’s co-operative but with communication restrictions which nicely adds to the complexity. But the best thing for me is that the theme is immersive. Every element, every mechanic, every card strengthens the theme. I am playing this [game] a lot. To say it has a strong ‘Again… again…’ vibe is an understatement and the compact nature of Assembly is very handy given how addictive it is. It’s permanently in my bag! Read More.
– Ann Jones, Cards or Die
|What you’ll get with Assembly is a neat puzzle game, but more than that, this strikes a great co-op chord. Not only does a victory feel especially shared and equally achieved, but in playing this game you’ll create a muster point of thought, where there is a degree of pleasure and alarm (in almost equal measure) when both players are on the same page… Assembly is on Kickstarter now for £16 and for that, you’d be a smeghead for missing out. Read More.
– Rory, Board Meetings
|I highly recommend checking out the Kickstarter campaign as this is a game that I can honestly say I love everything about it – the replayability; the wonderful quality of the wooden tokens; the gameplay; the exhilaration that comes with trying to beat the clock; learning to communicate differently and more effectively with my fellow players; literally everything! Read more.
– Krista, Geek Girl Project
|We really enjoyed playing Assembly. It’s such a great 2-player puzzle game and I love the replayability. The random shuffling of the bay cards in combination with the random order of the room module stack means you will have a different puzzle nearly every time you play. Clearly a lot of playtesting was done to get the number of deck shuffles and number of cards down to nearly the minimum necessary. It’s a tight puzzle! Read more.
– Rebecca, To Play is Human
|Assembly is fast, tight, and tense, providing an experience bigger than its modest components would suggest, but not so big as to overstay its welcome. The modular nature of the game paired with the tight, accessible gameplay kept us coming back for more. Read more.
– Jess & Andrew, Gameosity
|The gameplay is awesome. It’s a pretty interesting game and we had a lot of fun. We’re planning on playing the hell out of it; I think we need to work on our strategy for the game as our highest score is 20 points! Watch it.
– Joshua, Logan Chop Reviews
|Aesthetically speaking, Assembly is gorgeous. What I think is very unique about Assembly is that it’s very open and accessible yet it has a whole ton of depth. You can really enjoy being challenged without feeling stressed and I was surprised I didn’t beat the game! Assembly is it just such a fun little puzzle game and I’ve already backed it on Kickstarter. Watch it.
– Board Game Inquisition
|One of the best things about this game remains that rulebook and the clever, witty humor that drew me to the game in the first place. The game is good fun and it succeeds at being a fun and fast solo game. I could see someone who love cooperative games really enjoying the 2-player version of this game. As a solo game it is well-designed and enjoyable every time it hits the table. I think they’re going to be a new publisher to keep an eye on! Read More or Watch Video.
– David Wiley, Cardboard Clash
|If you’re thinking that this game sounds rather like low level computer programming, you’d be correct. Perhaps my ancient degree in computer science is part of why I enjoy it so much, but particularly as a solo game it’s a rather meditative and quick playing entertainment. I recommend Assembly and think that Janice & Stu have done a really good job of balancing simplicity with strategy. Read More.
– Dave Taylor, Go Fatherhood
|Assembly rassemble plusieurs points très forts. Les premiers étant la possibilité d’y évoluer en solo ou en coopération à 2. Des atouts peu courants, pourtant recherchés. Le mix de dé, cartes et jetons est également toujours intéressant. Surtout qu’Assembly y apporte sa touche par la mise en place du vaisseau, via les cartes. Le détail faisant la différence. Lire l’avis complet.
– Jean-Micheal, INOD
|I have been watching this game develop. A small box coop with a power-hungry sentient computer? Yes, please. To be truthful, I haven’t been this excited about a game on Kickstarter since Eric Lang’s…well, everything.
– Matt, Geek Spiel
Watch Chris and Emma play a game of Assembly, recorded live on Twitch. Watch now.
|An interview with Janice where they talk about Assembly, cyber sharks and other random things. Listen now.|
|If you’re looking for a quick, easy card game that’s small enough to carry around but packed with plenty of substance, Assembly is probably for you. It’s cooperative, unpredictable gameplay makes it a great pick for fans of Pandemic. While it has some challenging aspects, Assembly is simple enough to understand after just a few turns. Read more.
– Sammy Maine, PC Gamer
|Unlucky Frog do a run-down of what they got at the UKGE including Assembly! Watch it.|
|Janice talks to Richard at We’re Not Wizards about Assembly, card stock and other random things. Definitely not a wizard. Listen now.|
What Do Our Playtesters Think?
“I’m a sucker for a small game. It plays very fast, and feels very tight, by that I mean it’s always close to the wire. Loved the set up and this one has new mechanics which I love too!” – Bruce, UK
“Assembly is great puzzle for two. Both players’ decisions matter, and the communication limits help provide plenty of tension. It’s great to have a quick game we can break out after a long day that requires just the right amount of thinking.” – Teresa, USA
“I liked the puzzle element of moving pieces (gambling on certain action cards turning up etc)…really challenging deciding when to use command cards for their optimum effect.” – Giles, UK
“The rules were easy to learn and the game was fairly quick to play. We escaped on the very final turn – exciting and satisfying!” – Tom & Katherine, UK
“I enjoyed the game a lot! It seems like the type of thing you could bring with you to a boring family gathering to pass the time alone or with the one person there you can stand.” – Amy, US
“The ability to scale difficulty and switch roles make it a more replayable game, I like value for money.” – Symon, UK
“I think it’s a great game. I love the malfunctions, and I like adding the special abilities.” – Michele, US
Layout with Prototype Components
Beta Tabletopia Digital Implementation