It seems simple upon first glance, but in practice, finding the rooms while staying alive is quite a challenge. Followers of Chaos are patrolling the area, and when they see the assassins, the threat level goes up, meaning bad things will happen to the players. Keeping the balance between being quiet and sneaky, taking down bad guys who get in the way, not taking too many hits yourself in the process, and doing it all within the deadline of sixteen turns provides a compelling and satisfying challenge.
Games Workshop is well known for high quality miniatures and components, and what’s inside the AEF box certainly lives up to that reputation. There are almost twenty miniatures representing the forces of Chaos, all of which come from previously used 40K molds, and four brand new Assassin miniatures. These minis are plastic and come on a sprue, so they have to be clipped off and assembled before you can play, and optionally can be painted. The detail on all the models is amazing, but the assassins in particularly look fantastic. They are also a challenge to put together, depending on your proficiency with a tube of superglue. If you are willing to put in the time, though, you end up with one of the finest looking games you’ll ever have on your tabletop.
I do have a few reservations about AEF. First of all, the cost of the game is exorbitant. Suggested retail is $125, though it is commonly available at a deep discount online. The components are certainly high quality, but there is less in this box than in other boxes that are less expensive (Imperial Assault from FFG, for instance). Replayability seems like it will be an issue as well; there is only one map and set of objectives. There are “achievements” included in the rulebook, which alleviate this concern somewhat, but a double sided board and some variant scenarios would go a long way towards providing something new each time you play. As a miniatures hobbyist, I didn’t mind assembling the minis, but others may find this a serious drawback.
Assassinorum Execution Force may not be for everyone, but the quality of the components, well-integrated theme, and easy to comprehend ruleset combine for a great gaming experience. 40K fans will be glad to know that all the miniatures in the box are legal in the 40K miniatures game, as well. If you ever wanted to sneak around and take out Chaos cultists before confronting a big bad evil guy determined to take out the entire Imperium, and do it all with two or three friends, Assassinorum Execution Force is just the game for you.