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Subject: First play of a pre-release copy of Ascension: Dreamscape rss

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Allen OConnor
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I was one of the lucky few who managed to get one of the 100 pre-release copies of this game at Essen; Ascension: Dreamscape is still yet to be released, but is available for preorder on Stoneblade’s website.

I have every Ascension set to date, and I’m a big fan of the series; this set is the ninth game, or the first half of the fifth cycle, which is how I tend to separate the different sets. Dreamscape is the first game in the series to be officially co-designed, and the first to contain artwork from someone other than Eric Sabee.

The game introduces a new mechanism to the game, in the form of the dreamscape; which is a row of face down cards that can be purchased at any time that a player would usually be able to purchase cards from the centre row. Some of the dream cards will enter your deck, and some will act as a ‘one shot,’ then will be discarded. The new cards are paid for with a new currency, Insight, represented by little orange eggs. This currency, along with the dream cards, will carry over from turn to turn; this is the first time that a currency has been able to do this across any of the Ascension games.

I played a two player game with Matt B, another big Ascension fan. I managed to get some early banish cards, taking an Ahra Sensei on turn one; Matt picked up a lot of attacking cards early on. As the game unfolded, I found myself with a lot of insight, but no dream cards; Matt was stuck in the opposite circumstance. He managed to get a good combination of constructs late game, and started churning points; in the end, he managed to win by a comfortable margin. We both loved the new set, it flowed pretty quickly, had some interesting new mechanisms, and felt different enough from the rest of the series. I suppose that my only complaint was that the little egg tokens tend to roll around on the table; a minor thing really.

Matt 107 - 85 Allen

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Runcible Spoon
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This is very interesting so thanks for posting your thoughts.

About the orange eggs, do they roll around a fair bit or do they have some flat sides on them? It is a bit hard to tell in the photos so I thought I would ask.
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Allen OConnor
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
This is very interesting so thanks for posting your thoughts.

About the orange eggs, do they roll around a fair bit or do they have some flat sides on them? It is a bit hard to tell in the photos so I thought I would ask.


They don't have a flat side, and they are a bit of a pain for rolling about. I suppose that the problem is easily remedied by using a bowl or a cupcake casing.

Don't let that put you off though, the new set is excellent, well worth having in my opinion.
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Neil Evans
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Thanks for the report.

What is your early opinion on the swingy power cards in this set? I want to like the game more than I do; but it seems to me like every set has ridiculous overpowered cards/mechanics/combos etc., that jsut don't do it for me. It's like they either don't playtest enough or enjoy runaway uncompetitive games. :/

Of course it might just be me. I don't think it's ever balanced enough but most of the people I play with like it just fine.
 
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August Larson
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I've liked the gameplay of Ascension well enough, but the art was a little bit of a turn off that I never sprung for owning it myself. From what I've seen, the new art in this one is looking great, so I may just get this one. So would Dreamscape be a decent starting place? Would introducing someone (my wife) to this game who has never played an Ascension game before (but has played other deck builders) be difficult to grasp?
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Crazed Survivor
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The art is what drew me to the game in the first place, and the new artwork is what is pushing me away from the game nowadays.
Eric Sabee's artwork is colourfoul, balanced, original, and you can see just how much time has been spent on hand drawing, colouring, creating unique angles and subjects.

New art is generic, bland, seen anywhere, and draws inspiration from pretty much anything you can imagine except Ascension. 'Tis really a shame and a waste of talent and character IMO.

As for the game, a new resource might be a bit too technical for new players. A perfect entry point would be Ascension: Deckbuilding game. Check the third edition, the one with new art.

Your wife should still be able to jump in Dreamscape once she's grasped the notion of the Dreamscape though. From spoilers, it mostly revolves around that zone and Insight, and is an Insight race, where you can gather some by several means. Basically a fixed version of Energy.
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Anybody try out Promo Pack #5 for digital Ascension? It's out for iOS, but assuming so for other platforms.

This Insight thing sounds as "random" as the Portals in that pack (not that "random" is necessarily a bad thing, at least how Ascension players are used to it nowadays). Well, there, you get a random hero or construct card from ANY Ascension deck. It's not limited to the sets you're playing with (which would explain why this one's digital only)
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Dave Roy
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ackmondual wrote:
Anybody try out Promo Pack #5 for digital Ascension? It's out for iOS, but assuming so for other platforms.

This Insight thing sounds as "random" as the Portals in that pack (not that "random" is necessarily a bad thing, at least how Ascension players are used to it nowadays). Well, there, you get a random hero or construct card from ANY Ascension deck. It's not limited to the sets you're playing with (which would explain why this one's digital only)


I'm enjoying the Portals, but if somebody thinks that Ascension is too random as it is, then this will totally destroy them.

Back on topic, I am looking forward to getting the Dreamscape expansion. It sounds cool!
 
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Jeroen Dollenkamp-Tiggelman
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ackmondual wrote:
This Insight thing sounds as "random" as [..]
I don't think picking three cards out of five at the start of the game makes it "random" so much as that it gives you a hidden motivation to "play a particular faction". Depending on your strategy, you can get plenty of other Dreamscape cards later on, or choose to almost ignore the dimension.
 
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Jeroen Dollenkamp-Tiggelman
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colmustard21 wrote:
would Dreamscape be a decent starting place? Would introducing someone (my wife) to this game who has never played an Ascension game before (but has played other deck builders) be difficult to grasp?
Conceptually, no--you just have one more resource to manage. Finding the right balance might take a bit more time. My thinking is that the answer might depend on your wife's experience with more complex resource balancing in other games than deckbuilders.
 
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