Jason
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I have heard many people say that this expansion "fixes" the base game, making it enjoyable to play, where before they thought the game was boring. In this review I will discuss this in more detail, and also talk about whats new inside the box:

What's New:

Opening the box can be very underwhelming if you do not know what to expect going in. You get 120 new cards, which are a thinner, non glossy card stock compared to the original. Roughly half of the included cards are the basic cards that are required to add a 5th and 6th player (or too play the expansion with 1 or 2 players).

You will also get a small rule book that rehashes all of the rules from the original game, with a few new items of interest. The new Fate rule is included, along with a few new variants. The first being a Team variant, which allows players to team up with a player that is sitting directly across from them. The 2nd variant included is a solo variant. Neither one is ground breaking, but the team variant can be fun.

You will also get more honor tokens, which again add support for a 5th and 6th player.

What's good:

The new fate rule is a nice addition. When a fate card enters the center row, all players are affect by "fate" action on the card. I haven't had fate really change the outcome of a game, but it is a fresh new rule that does make the game more fun.

The original cards were getting a bit dull, and I feel that the game was in a desperate need of new cards, and this expansion takes care of this. There are many new interesting cards for all factions, along with some great additions to the monsters. The new cards do add a little more player interaction, but the game still feels very "solo" to regardless of the number of players.

Like mentioned above, the new team variant is fun, but nothing groundbreaking. Anyone picking this up though should at least give it a try once.

What's not so good:

Both 5 and 6 player are underwhelming, just as I thought they would be. The game slows down way too much for what it is. There is obviously no way to plan much before your turn since very few, if any of the cards in the center row will still be around, and becomes even more random than the original 4 player game was.

The cards feel WAY cheaper. I really do not understand their reason for changing, because it was my understanding that it was changed due too all the complaints about the original. That's fine, but why would you go with a cheaper card stock then? At this point, all the cards need to be sleeved, or they will not last more than 10 games. Without sleeves the difference is VERY noticeable between sets, and I was worried that the thickness between the sets would be noticeable even in sleeves, but thankfully it wasn't. I standard clear sleeves from FFG and there is no way to tell the difference between sets. I can also fit everything back into the original box with sleeved. The one card compartment will fit all the "starting" cards, along with the Mystic and Heavy Infantry's from the first game. The other card compartment fits all the portal cards from the original game. The middle compartment houses all the expansion cards, along with the new honor tokens (to prevent the cards from moving around).

Overall:

I cannot see this expansion fixing the game for anyone who did not like the original game. I also feel like this expansion will not boost the life cycle of the game for very long since there is nothing groundbreaking added.

The first expansion to any deck building game is very important since the base game will always get dry very quickly just due to the lack of card combinations that can occur. With both Dominion & Thunderstone, we got cards that didn't just add variety though, we got groundbreaking changes. Return of the Fallen unfortunatly falls flat on the groundbreaking changes...

If you love Ascension, get the expansion, otherwise I would stay away, since this expansion has nothing that is going to fix the game for players who were not a fan of the first!!
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Eric Leath
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Can you provide some examples of things you would consider "groundbreaking" ?
 
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Jason
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Well both expansions brought in new concepts to the deck buidling genre. For example, Thunderstone introduced Guardians & Traps into the first expansion, which completely changed the Dungeon dynamic. Intrigue introduced way more player interaction, and possibly the "best" single box deck building game ever. Both were first expansion, and both really paved the way for what we consider deck building today.
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Jason
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jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


LOL. Thanks for the warning, i'll use you as a body shield!
 
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jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


Or people could pop in here who have ZERO affiliation with Gary Games and take umbrage with both the comments that the game was "originally" broken (which it was not, it was excellent though for some people it was flawed since it wasn't a clone of Dominion) and the idea that the expansion needed to fix the game.

It needed to do neither.
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jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. :robot:


Gah. It's always either "HURR DURR IF YOU DEFEND GAME X YOU'RE A FANBOY" or "HURR DURR IF YOU SPEAK ILL OF GAME X YOU HAVE AN AGENDA". If people who crap out this weak, lazy fallback argument knew how foolish it made them sound, they'd knock it off.
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Pellbort wrote:
jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


Gah. It's always either "HURR DURR IF YOU DEFEND GAME X YOU'RE A FANBOY" or "HURR DURR IF YOU SPEAK ILL OF GAME X YOU HAVE AN AGENDA". If people who crap out this weak, lazy fallback argument knew how foolish it made them sound, they'd knock it off.


Very well said. It gets old.
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Scott Bland
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wytefang wrote:
jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


Or people could pop in here who have ZERO affiliation with Gary Games and take umbrage with both the comments that the game was "originally" broken (which it was not, it was excellent though for some people it was flawed since it wasn't a clone of Dominion) and the idea that the expansion needed to fix the game.

It needed to do neither.


I demo'd the hell out of Ascension to hardcore Dominion players, casual Dominion players, and people that didn't play Dominion at all. They all had pretty much the same opinion, that the focus of the game was to make sure one player didn't get too many mechana cards. If someone did, they won. No other faction had broken synergy to that degree. Yes, it was broken and in need of an expansion. Sadly, this one does not address that problem.
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JestersTear wrote:
wytefang wrote:
jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


Or people could pop in here who have ZERO affiliation with Gary Games and take umbrage with both the comments that the game was "originally" broken (which it was not, it was excellent though for some people it was flawed since it wasn't a clone of Dominion) and the idea that the expansion needed to fix the game.

It needed to do neither.


I demo'd the hell out of Ascension to hardcore Dominion players, casual Dominion players, and people that didn't play Dominion at all. They all had pretty much the same opinion, that the focus of the game was to make sure one player didn't get too many mechana cards. If someone did, they won. No other faction had broken synergy to that degree. Yes, it was broken and in need of an expansion. Sadly, this one does not address that problem.


I disagree. While the constructs are good in that some of them are worth a lot of honor at the end and also stay out in front of you each turn, they don't work well in chaining lots of actions/cards together. If my hand is full of hero cards (lifebound, void, enlightened, mechana), I can chain a bunch of them together to get more cards, runes, power to fight more monsters, etc. After some turns, I will have played, purchased, and/or fought up to around 15 cards, which is a lot of cards. And this was all without a single construct in my deck.

In my opinion, the player who wins this game is the one who better utilizes the cards in their hands to get long drawn-out turns by chaining their card actions to draw more cards, get more runes and power, and buying/fighting more cards/monsters. Doing this gives you more honor at a faster pace than the other players. It's not broken.

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jubchncj wrote:
hey Jason, get ready for the onslaught of gary games fans to try to discredit you. unless you say its all "amazing"...they will hate you. robot


On the contrary. I enjoy Ascension qutie a bit, but don't think it's 'perfect' by any stretch of the imagination. I simply think that, if someone makes a claim that an expansion isn't groundbreaking, they should provide examples of how it could have been.

I asked the originator of this thread for examples, he obliged, and I'm appreciative of his opinion. I'm sure there are games he enjoys that I wouldn't like; to each their own.
 
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Chris Schenck
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Pellbort wrote:
Gah. It's always either "HURR DURR IF YOU DEFEND GAME X YOU'RE A FANBOY" or "HURR DURR IF YOU SPEAK ILL OF GAME X YOU HAVE AN AGENDA". If people who crap out this weak, lazy fallback argument knew how foolish it made them sound, they'd knock it off.

Sounds like something a Cylon would say.
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i agree the expansion wont make you like the game if you didnt like it before, but i do think it shakes things up a bit and freshens the game up, which is what I expect from an expansion. I disagree that it was not "game changing enough" however, though I look forward to more changes in future expansions.

what i think the biggest expansion changes are:

1) lots more ways to get honor that doesnt require killing monsters. this one is huge, and helps a rune-heavy strategy control the pace of the game better than before. This isn't a keyword mechanic, so hard to really see, but this aspect was very noticeable to me and my primary opponent. very good change.

2) fate: makes buying decision order matter more due to the things that can heppen from a card flipping. Ravenous Gorph may eat your next buy! Stone Circle, Askara of Fate, or Arbiter of Fate flipping in the initial 6 cards can really change the entire pace of the game by amping up/streamlining the starting hands before the game has even begun.

3) cards that manipulate the void! Serpent Call, Reclamax, and Sadranis all let you dip into what used to be "removed from the game" and allow some really crazy stuff to happen. Definitely a major factor to look for that wasnt possible before.

i think the new card stock is WAY better than the original cardstock and much easier to shuffle and they bend back more like Magic cards. Im bummed the dimensions arent exactly the same, but the card stock is a longterm improvement...
 
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Greg Wilson
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JestersTear wrote:
They all had pretty much the same opinion, that the focus of the game was to make sure one player didn't get too many mechana cards. If someone did, they won.


Can't say this matches my experience at all.

Mechana are nice late-game buys for the high Honour values, absolutely, but their abilities are relatively weak unless you manage to get one of the big combos running. Earlier on I'll gladly take card-draw, banishment or Honour-generation instead, something to give my deck a long-term benefit and get the fighting/buying engine up and running quicker.

If anything in the base set is overpowered, I'd say it's the low-Honour Void cards the let you trash the weak cards in your deck. Those seem to be the easiest way to victory, although I've seen winning decks based around each of the colours.
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Nick Jordan
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Glad to hear they fixed the horrible card stock from the base set, too bad they did it in a way that requires you to use sleeves on every card in both sets. Not much of an expansion under those conditions, but I guess when you make your cards 50-100% thicker than every other card game, you are kind of stuck with that.
 
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