One of my favorite games from 2021 was Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood of Venice: the stealthy game of assassins going full John McClane as things inevitably go off the rails. It was a reskin of V-Commandos, which has since been renamed V-Sabotage (cue the Beastie Boys song) with one of the biggest differences between the two games being a long campaign mode and the original having the option of using tokens instead of miniatures.
One issue I have with big campaigns is finding the time to finish them, as Jason lovingly points out to me on the BGQ Discord. So, V-Sabotage presents a more manageable experience with operations that last just a few short missions.
What does Ghost add? Campaign mode. And more.
Instead of rehashing how this game plays, I’ll point to Tas’ review and just focus on what this expansion brings to the game.
Ghost adds three modes: XP, Lone Wolf, and Campaign modes which I’ll outline below.
XP Mode adds XP cards that players earn by completing objectives. Players can have a maximum of three danger tokens each and with each draw of an XP card you also add a random danger token to the container you’re drawing enemy tokens out of. While XP cards grant players special abilities (one-time or recurring under specific circumstances) danger tokens make your commando’s life harder.
If you draw a danger token during the enemy reinforcement step you also draw again until you pull out an enemy or a 0 token. These have varied effects like an extra movement action, adding extra enemies, or possibly breaking commando weapons. But it is possible to draw multiple danger tokens but you do get to pick the order you get hosed, so that’s nice.
The Ghost Expansion also contains Red dice which are often added to your rolls through events or XP cards. These roll 2-6 with two sixes so are better dice to use. Except when the enemy gets to use them, in which case they stink.
Lone Wolf Mode allows you to play as a single commando. This commando can gain up to six XP cards during a mission. Additionally, based on that scenario’s normal number of players, the lone player will get luck tokens, Lone Wolf XP cards, and equipment to start out. Luck tokens play similarly to Danger tokens where they don’t replace an enemy placement but enhance it.
And you also get a dog companion which rocks because dogs rule.
Campaign mode allows you to take gear and XP between multiple operations which include +1 and -1 AP tokens, equipment, and enemy reserves in whatever state you left them from the previous operation. The draw bags get the danger and luck tokens put back as well as all the enemies used in the previous level but you don’t reset the zero tokens.
Game Experience with the Expansion:
One of the things I love about campaign games is the engaging narrative that links the different scenarios together and that’s missing from Ghost. There can be an emergent narrative that plays out as you advance through an operation but it’s not like the game’s story changes based on what happened previously. However, the Operations do change the starting setup and some objectives for some levels which adds some fun wrinkles to missions you may have played in a different operation.
I love the idea of the Lone Wolf mode as someone who plays a lot of games solo but this one may depend on your gaming style and preferences. The boosts were nice and I felt very powerful but with a game that’s adding enemies every turn, speed is critical and several missions require multiple objectives to be completed to win. I found that playing with two characters I was more likely to accomplish what I needed while with one, the board was soon overwhelmed with German soldiers and stealth goes out the window in favor of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Commando style.
But there are other scenarios where the one Commando worked really well (Starter Pack is a great example of this). I found the Butcher, who can fight hand to hand when visible, was more effective than his gun-toting counterparts as he could fail a stealth check, dispatch enemies, and still possibly move somewhere to regain stealth. Meanwhile, other characters while firing off all the guns Matrix-style just makes life harder as everyone converges on your space.
One of the special cards you can select in Lone Wolf (or, in my case Lone Wolff) mode is called Army of Two which essentially gives you another Commando with their normal AP plus one to be anywhere on the board for the rest of the turn. This card requires you to have completed an objective that turn using at least 1 AP to activate it.
While danger tokens ramp up the difficulty and luck tokens can improve your immediate situation, both are positive additions to the game as they bring variability and can make you think harder about your strategic play. Of course, you can plan it out perfectly and then a danger token still wrecks your plan by moving all the enemies into your square instead of moving where you expected them to this turn.
Besides more content, the highlight of this expansion for me is XP mode which gives little perks (along with Danger tokens to raise the stakes). The XP cards are awesome, and I didn’t mind continually adding more danger tokens as that allowed me to still swap out skills that weren’t as useful anymore for skills with more utility. Having up to three skills (six in lone wolf mode) that you can continually replace when you find something better is awesome.
For fans of this game, the extra scenarios and XP mode add some great variability. Meanwhile, I think campaign mode and Lone Wolf mode really depend on your personal gaming style for how much they mean to you. All these modes get boosted by other expansions making this an easier recommendation if you’re leaning towards getting all the things (the miniature box contains a lot of content for other expansions). But if you only have the base game and/or enjoy shorter operations over longer campaigns, I think this is an optional buy.
• XP Mode is the star of this expansion
• Campaign Mode offers progression and longer Operations
• True Solo mode for solo players
• Longer campaigns may not be for everyone
• Success in Lone Wolf mode may depend on the Operation and character chosen
“Sister Teresa called me Mr. McClane in the third grade. My friends call me John…”
Thank you for reading! The lone wolf mode could easily be Die Hard. I can’t believe I didn’t remember that when I wrote the review…
McClane from Die Hard?
Thank you for reading! I feel shame for not making a Die Hard joke/comment about lone wolf mode.