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Ascension is what I would consider a basic deck builder. I prefer it to Dominion, but not to themed games such as Legendary. It is a great place to start and then build from there with other games.
This version is set up for two players specifically. It is very portable and can fit in a big pocket or easily in a book bag. If portability is important for a game, this is a no brainer. There is a lot of good game in this small box.
To be honest, that is the appeal of this version. It is all about being portable and set up for just two players. I'm actually happy they made this version, but also a little surprised.
The bits are simple: a deck of cards and some chits. Everything is good quality. The cards will last a long time and shuffle well.
The big discussion with the bits is going to be the art. I hate the art. I'm not a fan of the theme. The cards are organized well and the icons are easy to use and read. The art is improved a tad over the base original game, but if you didn't like that you are unlikely to like this game.
The rule book is really just a paper folded up. It is full color and includes great pictures. The rules are very clear and can be learned in just a few minutes. If you have ever played a deck builder, then this game will be so simple and you will have zero problems with this game. Many others games have "used" the rules of this game and added complexity to the game.
Flow of the Game:
The game plays rather quickly. As a quick overview of a deck building game, you have a deck of cards and each round you draw 5 cards which you can use. After your turn is over, you discard all cards and draw a new hand of 5 cards. Your goal is to buy/fight cards to add to your deck (thus deck building) and make your deck more powerful.
In this game, instead of the Dominion style of having all cards available and have a determined quantity of each card, Ascension has a deck of cards where only 6 "random" cards are available for purchase on your turn. You use your cards in your hand to buy/fight the cards in the center which will give you control of those cards in the future.
You are racing for a number of victory points (60) which will end the game. The main grunt of the game is to get your cards to work together and "combo".
That is the main flow of the game. There really isn't any main differences from the main game.
Should I buy this game?:
I am not a huge fan of Ascension. I do like the game, but I just like other deck builders better (Legendary comes to mind). The art work really doesn't do a lot for me. This package is small, portable, and plays only two. I didn't see a huge big difference between this and the main game.
This is designed to get you used to the mechanics and sort of whet your appetite for more Ascension. This is an introduction to the game.