This website is all about board & card games. Usually my own creations, but of course I often play other games to, and occasionally I write about them. Today, we’ll dive into the incredible Viking-themed dice game called Orlog, as seen in the video game Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
Orlog is a deceptively simple dice game featured as a minigame in the video game Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. I was surprised to learn that this is not based on some ancient viking game, but actually an invention of the game developers. As such, one might be skeptical to how Orlog compares to modern day dice, card and board games. But despite its unusual origin, here’s the truth: this is an incredible game.
I’m sad to say, however, that it’s one that doesn’t exist in physical form. It should, because it really is great, and maybe the developers of Assassin’s Creed will one day bank on it. Orlog is, by any standard, a great casual pastime that plays quick and is surprisingly deep in strategy.
I’m a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series. With Valhalla though, possibly thanks to my board game hobby, I’ve found myself playing Orlog a lot more than the actual game. Finding the next town or city that has an Orlog AI player has become my primary goal in the game. I’ve found and unlocked a lot of the God Favors as a result (more on those below), and in this article I’ll share everything I’ve learned.
But first, we need to talk about how Orlog is played…
What is Orlog?
Orlog is a 2-player dice game in which you take turns rolling your own set of six custom dice. After each roll you decide which dice to keep and which to re-roll. You can re-roll up to three times, after which all remaining dice are locked automatically.
Your set of six dice is then compared to the set of your opponent. Symbols on the dice include Axes and Arrows which deal 1 damage each, Helmets and Shields which block Axes and Arrows respectively, and a Hand symbol which have you steal a God Favor token from your opponent. Some sides of the dice, regardless of symbol, have a dotted line around the edge. When you select such a die you get to collect a God Favor token from the bank. God Favors are special abilities you can use throughout the game, and which you need these tokens to pay for.
You start the game with 15 Health Stones, and the aim of the game is to get your opponent down to 0 health.
In terms of rolling and selecting dice, Orlog is pretty straight-forward. What makes it unique and strategic is the wide selection of God Favors. God Favors are special actions that you can call upon to perform unique abilities, and they are key to victory. You pay for them using the previously mentioned God Favor tokens, which you either collect by rolling dice with a dotted line, or by stealing them from your opponent, or in some cases by using God Favors.
Examples of God Favor abilities include dealing direct damage, healing yourself, removing Helmets from your opponent (so your Axes deal more damage), and many more complex ones. There’s a wealth of unique God Favors in the game, and you choose an arsenal of three of them at the start of each game. Thanks to this limitation, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the vast number of things you can spend your God Favor tokens on.
When God Favors are paid for:
Most God Favors except Thor’s Strike and Idun’s Rejuvenation are paid for during the so called God favor phase, after dice have been rolled but before their outcomes are resolved. If you have enough God Favor tokens at the start of the round, you can afford it.
Some favors, however, are paid for after the Resolution phase. In this case, you can also use the tokens collected during the round, but there is a risk that you won’t have enough tokens after all if your opponent steals some from you.
God Favor Priority:
God favors happen either immediately (before the Resolution phase), during the Resolution phase, or after the Resolution phase. In the latter case, you also pay after the Resolution phase.
Each God Favor comes with a priority from 1-9. A lower number = a higher priority. This is rarely relevant, but is important if two God Favors clash or in certain situations.
Perhaps more important, especially for some specific God Favors, is who is first to roll in any given round. The player who rolls first also attacks first. For this reason, your damage won’t be dealt (and consequently, your offensive God Favor that replies on specific dice won’t apply) until after it might be too late if your opponent goes first.
All God Favors in Alphabetical Order:
In Assassin’s Creed you unlock more of these abilities as you play. I’ve discovered and earned the following God Favors:
- BALDR’S INVULNERABILITY (Priority 4): Add 1, 2 or 3 Shields or Helmets per die that rolled a Shield or Helmet respectively, costing 3, 6 or 9 tokens.
- BRAGI’S VERVE (Priority 4): Gain 2, 3 or 4 God Favor tokens per die that rolled a Hand, costing 4, 8 or 12 tokens.
- BRUNHILD’S FURY (Priority 4): Multiply your Axes by x1.5 (rounded up), x2 or x3, costing 6, 10 or 18 tokens.
- FREYJA’S PLENTY (Priority 2): Roll 1, 2 or 3 extra dice (yes, extra – not just re-roll), costing 2, 4 or 6 tokens.
- FREYR’S GIFT (Priority 4): Add 2, 3 pr 4 to the total of whichever die face is in majority, costing 4, 6 or 8 tokens.
- FRIGG’S SIGHT (Priority 2): Re-roll 2, 3 or 4 of opponent’s dice, costing 2, 3 or 4 tokens.
- HEIMDALL’S WATCH (Priority 4): Heal 1, 2 or 3 health per attack you block, costing 4, 7 or 10 tokens.
- HEL’S GRIP (Priority 4): Each Axe damage dealt to opponent heals you buy 1, 2 or 3, costing 6, 12 or 18 tokens.
- IDUN’S REJUVENATION (Priority 7): Heal 2, 4 or 6 health after the Resolution phase, costing 4, 7 or 10 tokens.
- LOKI’S TRICK (Priority 2): Ban 1, 2 or 3 of opponent’s dice, costing 3, 6 or 9 tokens.
- MIMIR’S WISDOM (Priority ?): Gain 1, 2 or 3 God Favor tokens for each damage dealt to you this round, costing 3, 5 or 7 tokens.
- SKADI’S HUNT (Priority 4): Add 1, 2 or 3 Arrows per die that rolled an Arrow, costing 6, 10 or 14 tokens.
- SKULD’S CLAIM (Priority 3): Destroy 2, 3 or 4 of opponent’s God Favor tokens per Arrow, costing 4, 6 or 8 tokens.
- THOR’S STRIKE (Priority 6): Deal 2, 5 or 8 damage after the Resolution phase, costing 4, 8 or 12 tokens.
- THRYMYR’S THEFT (Priority 1): Reduce the effect level of a God Favor invoked by an opponent by 1, 2 or 3 levels, costing 3, 6 or 9 tokens.
- ULLR’S AIM (Priority 4): 2, 3 or 6 of your Arrows ignore all of your opponent’s Shields, costing 2, 3 or 4 tokens.
- VAR’S BOND (Priority 1): Heal 1, 2 or 3 per God Favor token spent by your opponent, costing 10, 14 or 18 tokens.
- VIDAR’S MIGHT (Priority 4): Remove 2, 4 or 6 Helmets from opponent, costing 2, 4 or 6 tokens.
Orlog General Strategy
Your strategy in Orlog will vary based on your three chosen God Favors, your current number of God Favor tokens, and how close you are to victory or defeat. For example, you can choose an offensive approach by using Thor’s Strike to deal damage or Brunhild’s Fury to multiply the number of Axes you have rolled. Or, there are several God Favors that allow you to heal yourself if you are getting low on health. In some situations, you should focus more on a specific type of die, for example on Axes and Arrows if you are very close to victory.
Here are a few general tips on how to become a better Orlog player:
- Spend the first few rounds gaining tokens. God Favors are key to victory regardless of which setup you’ve chosen, but you won’t be able to use them if you don’t have enough God Favor tokens. Early on, pick only dice with dotted lines and/or the Hand symbol.
- Choose a strategy and stick to it. Depending on if you are close to victory or near death, or if both players have a decent amount of health and you are not in a position to attack, you should choose one of three strategies: do a lot of damage, heal yourself, or build up your token count. Decide this on your first roll and stick to it. Don’t be indecisive in your picks. Pick only dice that serves your strategy at this stage. Sometimes, it’s better not to pick any dice at all and hope for a better roll on the next turn.
- Adapt to your opponent’s dice – and your God Favors. If your opponent picked multiple Shields on their first roll, don’t pick Arrows and expect them to do damage. You might still need them if they also have the dotted line though, to collect tokens. Also, you might have a God Favor that warrants more of a certain type of die even if they will be blocked. It may then be worth selecting that die face even if you can already see that your opponent will block it. Analyze the current situation and act accordingly.
- Do the math regarding the cost of different God Favors. God Favor tokens are the currency in the game, and Health Stones are the goods you purchase. If you can afford multiple God Favors, do the math to see which will yield the most Health Stones (either in damage to your opponent or regenerated health to yourself) in relation to cost. Plan carefully, and you may even have just enough tokens left for a second strike in the next round.
- Know the different die sides. Each die is unique, and you can study their sides by hovering over them. But in general, know this:
- There are no Axes with dotted lines.
- There are more Axes than Arrows.
- Most sides with a dotted line are defensive (Shields and Helmets).
- Hands are best when they also have a dotted line (notice how the AI rarely chooses Hand dice without the dotted line).
- Do massive damage with offensive abilities. Abilities that deal damage, for example Brunhild’s Fury which multiplies your number of Axes, have the potential to severely hurt your opponent. I mean severely! Build up to be able to use them, and go in for the kill – you can win this way even if your opponent has a lot more health than you do.
- Forget your God Favors when your opponent is near death. If you’ve managed to get your opponent down to just 1-4 stones, you may be able to win in the next round without the use of God Favors. If this is the case, select a lot of Axes and Arrows rather than building up your token collection, unless you already have enough tokens to pay for an offensive God Favor. Odds are it will be enough to fully deplete your opponent’s Health Stones.
- Keep an eye on your opponent’s God Favor token count. For example, if your opponent has a lot of tokens and the ability Thor’s Strike, which deals direct damage at the end of the round, they are more likely to use it. Counter this by using another God Favor that depletes their token count, or a God Favor that can heal you.
- Pick a God Favor setup at the start of the game that complements itself. It doesn’t make much sense to select only offensive or defensive abilities that would be used in the same situation, because you’ll only be able to use one at a time anyway. Ideally, have one offensive, one defensive, and one versatile ability. The latter can be an ability that either helps you build your token collection, or reduces the number of tokens your opponent has, or is flexible in its use (I’m looking at you, Freyr’s Gift).
Specific Orlog God Favors Strategy
Beside the general advice above, each God Favor has a play style of its own. Here are some things to consider for each God Favor:
Baldr’s Invulnerability (Add 1,2 or 3 Shields or Helmets per die that rolled a Shield or Helmet):
- This is a defensive ability that adds Shields and Helmets.
- A cheap ability (3, 6 or 9 tokens).
- Good for on-the-fly defence against Arrows and Axes, when the timing is right.
- Pair with: Any offensive ability.
Bragi’s Verve (Gain 2, 3 or 4 God Favor tokens per die that rolled a Hand):
- This is a versatile ability depending on what other God Favors you pair it with.
- Relies heavily on Hand dice.
- Hands are relatively rare, but with a good roll you can still get a lot of them.
- Because Hands also steal from your opponent, this God Favor can indirectly lead to your opponent not having enough tokens for their own abilities.
- The mid-range cost means that you’ll need to spend a few rounds collecting tokens, before you can use Bragi’s Verve to collect even more tokens at a faster pace.
- Pair with: Expensive (aka. powerful) abilities like Brunhild’s Fury.
Brunhild’s Fury (Multiply Axe symbols by 1.5, 2 or 3):
- This is an offensive and quite powerful ability.
- Deal a lot of damage in a single turn – if you can afford it.
- Spend the first half of the game collecting tokens (by choosing dice with Hands and the dotted lines).
- Once you have 18 tokens (x3), try to collect only Axes and go for the kill. 6 Axes x3 = 18 damage!
- Pair with: Heimdall’s Watch, to heal during the Resolution phase if you don’t roll enough Axes (to prolong the game and hope for more Axes later), and Freyr’s Gift to steal tokens from your opponent, to keep your opponent at bay.
Freyja’s Plenty (Roll 1, 2 or 3 additional dice):
- This is a versatile ability.
- Very cheap! Ullr’s Aim is the only ability I’ve found that can compete in cost.
- Great when dice outcomes are against you, for example if the opponent has a lot of Axes and Arrows and you lack a defense, but the outcome is of course random.
- Pair with: Any one offensive and one defensive ability.
Freyr’s Gift (Add 2, 3 or 4 to the total of whichever die face is in majority):
- This is a versatile ability. It can be an offensive ability by applying it to Axes or Arrows, or used to collect more tokens by adding to your Hand dice.
- Because it’s relatively cheap, you can use it at max capacity fairly often.
- Because it’s quite flexible in how you use it, it’s a great all-round ability.
- When used with Hands in majority, you steal half the number of tokens you pay. As such, you don’t gain an advantage, but can keep your opponent from using a God Favor this round.
- When there is a tie for which die face is in majority, the game picks one at random. For this reason, make sure to have 3+ of the die face you wish to add to, to avoid accidentally applying it to something useless.
- Pair with: One offensive ability, and one defensive ability. Brunhild’s Fury is a great offensive choice.
Frigg’s Sight (Re-roll 2, 3 or 4 of opponent’s dice):
- This is a versatile ability, because it can be used on both defensive and offensive dice, or on dice which yield God Favor tokens.
- VERY cheap! 2, 3 or 4 tokens only, which I believe makes it the cheapest in the game!
- Great for really frustrating the heck out of your opponent pretty much every round.
- Because you’ll want to use it often, you might never get enough tokens to use other God Favors – keep your alternatives in mind and consider sometimes saving up!
- Pair with: Any cheap offensive and defensive ability.
Heimdall’s Watch (Heal 1, 2 or 3 tokens per attack you block):
- This is a defensive ability.
- Because it relies on blocks, aim for Shields and Helmets that also gain God Favor tokens (dotted line).
- Relatively cheap, which makes up for the above.
- Similar in cost and strength to Idun’s Rejuvenation (which heals after the Resolution phase). With Heimdall’s Watch, however, you heal during the Resolution phase (in most cases before your opponent deals you damage) which makes it a safer choice to stay alive. But it’s also more situational as it requires you to actually block at least some opponent attacks.
- Pair with: Cheap non-defensive abilities, for example Ullr’s Aim or Vidar’s Might.
Idun’s Rejuvenation (Heal 2, 4 or 6 health after the Resolution phase):
- This is a defensive ability, and because you heal AFTER the Resolution phase, I consider it quite weak.
- Prolong the game while slowly dealing damage using Axes and Arrows.
- Ideally, pick Arrows with dotted lines (there are no Axes with dotted lines in the game) to constantly deal a little damage while being able to continuously heal.
- Similar in cost and strength to Heimdall’s Watch, except the healing happens after the Resolution phase. Heimdall’s Watch is more situational as it requires you to block attacks to benefit from it, but the healing (in most cases) happens before additional damage can be dealt to you.
- Important: The healing happens AFTER the Resolution phase, so make sure your health never falls below 8+.
- Pair with: Freyr’s Gift which is a cheap versatile ability.
Hel’s Grip (Each Axe damage dealt to opponent heals you by 1, 2 or 3):
- This is a versatile ability because its successful use both heals and deals damage simultaneously.
- Great for a jojo-style path to victory in which you deal significant Axe damage while keeping your own health up.
- The max capacity is very expensive, but even lower levels can help keep you afloat while dealing a little Axe damage each turn.
- I really wish this ability could be combined with other abilities in the same turn! Sadly, the game allows only for one ability at a time, even if you can afford multiple.
- Because of the high cost it’s hard to use this for a slow but steady path to victory. You’ll need to spend a turn or two collecting dotted lines (which are defensive in nature) and Hands before each use of Hel’s grip.
- Pair with: Mimir’s Wisdom for an increased jojo strategy effect, or Bragi’s Verve to gain tokens faster.
Loki’s Trick (Ban 1, 2 or 3 of opponent’s dice):
- This is a versatile ability, because it can block both attacking and defending dice.
- Quite cheap, which means you can use it often to aid your dice-related (=not God Favor-related) plans.
- Pair with: Other cheap God Favors.
Mimir’s Wisdom (Gain 1, 2 or 3 God Favor tokens per damage dealt to you):
- This is a versatile ability that helps you build up your God Favor token collection.
- Powerful when paired with expensive abilities.
- Because you will take damage each time you use this ability, pair it with something that you can heal realtively easily. Heimdall’s Watch (heal by blocking) is a great choice here in case you roll a lot of Shields and Helmets, which are the opposite of when you’d use Mimir’s Wisdom.
- Pair with: Brunhild’s Fury or Thor’s Strike, and Idun’s Rejuvenation or Heimdall’s Watch. Basically any offensive ability that costs a lot but can deal a lot of damage, and a defensive ability to heal if you run low on health because of Mimir’s Wisdom.
Skadi’s Hunt (Add 1, 2 or 3 Arrows per die that rolled an Arrow):
- This is an offensive ability that relies on arrows.
- Arrows are less common than Axes, but also often yield God Favor tokens (unlike Axes which can never yield God Favor tokens).
- The mid-range cost makes it a cheaper alternative to Brunhild’s Fury, but requires a luckier roll.
- Pair with: Any defensive and versatile ability.
Skuld’s Claim (Destroy 2, 3 or 4 God Favor tokens per Arrow):
- This is a defensive ability, because it prevents your opponent from using God Favors.
- Can be effectively used to stop your opponent from ruining your plans.
- Use it while being offensive (preferabbly with a lot of arrows) to also deal damage.
- Fun against Thor’s Strike or Idun’s Rejuvenation, because your opponent will need to collect more tokens during the Resolution phase for the ability they called upon to actually be affordable.
- Pair with: One cheap offensive and one cheap defensive God Favor, for example Skadi’s Hunt or Vidar’s Might and Heimdall’s Watch.
Thor’s Strike (Deal 2, 5 or 8 damage after the Resolution phase):
- This is an offensive ability that doesn’t rely on any specific dice.
- Because damage is dealt after the Resolution phase, keep your own health up to avoid losing the game on a round when you use Thor’s Strike.
- Only use the max capacity (8 damage costing 12 tokens), unless your opponent is already low enough on health to go in for a kill at a lower level. using lower levels costs more per damage dealt in the long term.
- Brunhild’s Fury (multiply Axes) may be a better offensive choice. It costs a bit more but can deal a lot more damage if you roll a lot of Axes.
- Pair with: Heimdall’s Watch, to heal during the Resolution phase while you collect tokens.
Thrymyr’s Theft (Reduce opponent’s God Favor level by 1, 2 or 3):
- This is a defensive ability focusing on your opponent’s God Favor tokens.
- Works best when the opponent uses an expensive and powerful ability, because you get more value for money.
- Your opponent still pays the full price to use the ability, which means they can potentially waste a lot of tokens.
- A cheap ability to use.
- Risk: If your opponent does not use a God Favor, the tokens you spend are wasted.
- Pair with: An offensive ability.
Ullr’s Aim (2, 3 or 6 of your Arrows ignore opponent’s Shields):
- This is an offensive ability that relies on Arrows.
- Arrows are less common than Axes, but can yield God Favor tokens (which Axes never do).
- A cheap alternative to Brunhild’s Fury, but also more situational because Arrows are less common.
- Very cheap!
- Pair with: Cheap defensive or versatile abilities, like Heimdall’s Watch and Freyr’s Gift, for a strong versatile setup that can be used often.
Var’s Bond (Heal 1, 2 or 3 per God Favor token spent by opponent):
- This is a defensive ability.
- The most powerful defensive ability in the game – if used at the right time!
- Has Priority 1 which means that it will usually apply before any other God Favor (except other Priority 1 favors, like Thrymyr’s Theft).
- Keep an eye on your opponent’s dice, God Favors and current token count. You don’t always get what you pay for, so use it only when sure that your opponent will invoke a God Favor.
- Pair with: Any offensive and versatile abilities – here, it’s more crucial what God Favors your opponent has (and consequently how often they will invoke them, and how much they are likely to pay each time).
Vidar’s Might (Remove 2, 4 or 6 Helmets from opponent):
- This is an offensive ability.
- A cheap ability that can be used often.
- Situational: Requires that you have a lot of Axes and your opponent has a lot of Helmets for maximum effect.
- Often, a more powerful Axe-related ability is a better path to victory.
- Pair with: Ullr’s Aim for a cheap and consistent strategy that can rely on either Axes or Arrows, for a slower but steady path to victory.
Choosing a God Favor Setup
A part of the fun with Orlog is that there’s no ultimate setup of God Favors, and no one sure path to victory. I’ve had multiple “favorite” combinations throughout my time playing. In general, however, you’ll want:
- An offensive ability that can either be used often (for a little extra damage each time) or is very powerful (for a deadly and sudden blow).
- A defensive ability that can be used often, to heal yourself without relying too much on specific die rolls.
- A versatile ability that either affects your or your opponent’s God Favor count, or can be applied either defensively or offensively.
My personal favorite God Favors in Orlog? Freyr’s Gift (you can do a lot of different things with it at a fairly low cost) and Brunhild’s Fury (extremely powerful offensive ability if you roll enough Axes).
Do you have questions about strategies or how to play Orlog? Have you discovered any God Favors not already on my list? Leave a comment! 🙂
This was absolutely brilliant. Hovering over the dice to see their sides… I wondered what that was showing on the screen and couldn’t figure it out, that makes sense now. I found someone on Etsy that is using a laser engraver to actually make this entire set. It’s not cheap, but it’s awesome. Mine should be here in a few days. You might want to check that out.