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Subject: Questions after First Impressions rss

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Steven Metzger
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I'm not a fan of "First Impressions" reviews, but I did want to make a few points and ask a few questions about the game before passing judgement on it. I won 4-player with 68 points, everyone else was in the mid-50's.

1) Less interaction than Dominion? I didn't have to cry about the "card that got away" because I knew I'd have a whole new set of 6 to look through, but I can't help but thinking that the indirect attacks in Dominion have more of an effect than the sporadic ones in Ascension.

2) No real choices? While maximizing what your hand can do each turn is a hallmark of most deckbuilders, it didn't seem like there were too many choices to make (do I buy one 7, or do I buy a 4 and hope to flip something else I can buy or kill?).

3) Can't the cards look better? This game certainly looked like it could use a heavy dose of RftG iconography...

I like the game so far...but I think it's just because I won.
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Ron
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1 - No. I don't think so. And there can always be an expansion set with cards which bring more interaction.

2 - Yes. The trouble with this one is, that every game there are (more or less) the same cards. Dominion offers everytime you play a different set of cards, which gives you much more choices every game. But the setup time with all these expansions nowadays is crippling. I really prefer playing Ascension out of the box, without spending the first half hour sorting cards.

3 - Yes. Definitely. I think the art is ugly. But that never kept me away from a good game meeple

A lot depends also on "what's in the center row?" on your turn. IMHO it has a bigger luck factor than Dominion. Which must not be a bad thing at all.

However, I will still buy more expansion sets from Ascension but will stop buying them from Dominion.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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PzVIE wrote:
1 - No. I don't think so. And there can always be an expansion set with cards which bring more interaction.

At higher level play, drafting cards that control the center row (through Banishing) can be extremely important, but only if you are paying attention to what your opponent is doing. I consider this meaningful interaction.

Quote:
2 - Yes. The trouble with this one is, that every game there are (more or less) the same cards.

I disagree, you see less than half the deck in most games, so the array of choices varies quite heavily from game to game.
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Ron
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sdiberar wrote:

Quote:
2 - Yes. The trouble with this one is, that every game there are (more or less) the same cards.

I disagree, you see less than half the deck in most games, so the array of choices varies quite heavily from game to game.


You're right; I meant that in comparison to Dominion. The cards in Dominion show a greater variety than the cards in Ascension *; one card can be useful in one game and worthless in another, depending on the 10 kingdom cards you chose. In Asension, I find nearly every card useful!

The Asension cards are a little more limited, IMHO. Either monsters or useful things (constructs & heroes); either combat strength or magic points.

I don't want to put Dominion over Ascension (surely not in this forum meeple); I like Ascension much more than that other game, but it has its weaknesses, which could eventually be rectified by another expansion set with different cards. Probably even with a new 'currency' and a complete new range of cards - which would lead to new strategies (but eventually also more luck-dependece).

* Footnote: Of course, only when you play with all the available expansion sets.
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metzgerism wrote:
1) Less interaction than Dominion? I didn't have to cry about the "card that got away" because I knew I'd have a whole new set of 6 to look through, but I can't help but thinking that the indirect attacks in Dominion have more of an effect than the sporadic ones in Ascension.
On the contrary, I find there are more "The card that got away" effects in this game than Dom. Someone buying or defeating the monster before you could, or Banishing it happens alot in this game.

In Dom, the Attack cards are there, and buying out the last card of a good deck are also painful, but they don't happen as much. For the former, it depends on what cards were randomized for the Supply. For the latter, it happens up to 3 times.

metzgerism wrote:
2) No real choices? While maximizing what your hand can do each turn is a hallmark of most deckbuilders, it didn't seem like there were too many choices to make (do I buy one 7, or do I buy a 4 and hope to flip something else I can buy or kill?).
If this is a general comment, then I can see that. If you're saying Dominion has more variety here then I just don't get it. In Dom, the "overexaggaration" (but not by much really) is... Have 8 coins? buy a Province. 6? Get Gold. 5? Get a good 5-cost Kingdom card. Less than that? get a 4-cost Kingdom card, or for 3, get Silver or Kingdom card. There are some twists where instead of getting Gold, you'd want to get a 3-cost card that gives you an extra buy if you consistently get enough coins for meaningful, multiple buys, but that's pretty much it.

How does that compare to Asc? Right about the same IMHO. You can buy a 7, or a 4 + 3. A few more choices are added when you're playing luck with what cards will replace the Center Row when it's still your turn. There are cases where you have 5... you buy a Mystic, but some pros have mentioned that depending on the situation, forgoing the Heavy Infantry with the other 2 Runes may be the way to go.

metzgerism wrote:
3) Can't the cards look better? This game certainly looked like it could use a heavy dose of RftG iconography...

Huh people all around have been clamoring for are games that AVOID USING RftG iconography. I'd agree with you, but for the greater good, it's better the way it is, as it'd probably put off more people than draw them in with excessive icons.

metzgerism wrote:
I like the game so far...but I think it's just because I won.
[shrug] Play a few more games. Due to the random nature of the Center Row, you'll likely find the scores for subsequent games to be much different. If winning was your only source of enjoyment then consider finding better opponents, or just move on.
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Steven
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I had an extremely poor first reaction to Ascension, for many of the same reasons as the OP. But as I've played it more (especially on the iPad), I've realized that the game becomes much better once you know all of the cards (which is not that hard - there are several repeats). That way you can shape how you build your deck based on what the "starting position" of the cards seems to be: military, mechana, card-drawing, etc. In all honesty this aspect of the game makes it resemble RFTG, which seems confusing and chaotic in the beginning until you start planning for future cards.

In terms of interaction, the chief interaction in this game is denying your opponent(s) the cards they need or want. It's more interactive than Dominion in this respect because in Dominion there are usually enough cards for everybody to get what they want. Here, though, judicious uses of runes, military, and especially banishing can prevent your opponent(s) from getting the key card they need to bolster their strategy.
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Alex Brown
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I wrote some strategy articles in the subforum here that might help.

Also, I think the comparison between Dominion/Ascension is confusing more than helfpul. Dominion is a creative game; Ascension is an efficiency game. Dominion is more like Magic Constructed; Ascension Magic Limited. Dominion is interactive with attacks and turn order; Ascension is about minimisng opportunities for your opponents while maximising yours via knowing what they've purchased and what's valuable in the row.

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Steven Metzger
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ackmondual wrote:
metzgerism wrote:
1) Less interaction than Dominion? I didn't have to cry about the "card that got away" because I knew I'd have a whole new set of 6 to look through, but I can't help but thinking that the indirect attacks in Dominion have more of an effect than the sporadic ones in Ascension.
On the contrary, I find there are more "The card that got away" effects in this game than Dom. Someone buying or defeating the monster before you could, or Banishing it happens alot in this game.
Actually, I was past the "isn't there a lot of the 'card that got away?'" concept, and more on to the "it doesn't matter too much about those ones" idea. I guess I wasn't too clear...it's easier to deny your next opponent something in Ascension, but ultimately doesn't provide key decision-making (at least, my impression).
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Alex Brown
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Denial is key, but probably only substantive in 2-player.

It's my opinion that the honor pool is too small for 3er and 4er games, and that leads to 'engines' being less useful than 'best card' decks too often. I think there should probably be 30 tokens per player, though I can see that quick game play was a design goal and necessary to carve a niche in market share.

In the 2er game however, the balance works for the first set at least.
 
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Alex Brown wrote:
Denial is key, but probably only substantive in 2-player.

It's my opinion that the honor pool is too small for 3er and 4er games, and that leads to 'engines' being less useful than 'best card' decks too often. I think there should probably be 30 tokens per player, though I can see that quick game play was a design goal and necessary to carve a niche in market share.

In the 2er game however, the balance works for the first set at least.
Funny how you mentioned that... the Return Of The Fallen exp ups the Honor Pool from 75 honor to 90 honor for 3p games, and 90 to 120 honor for 4p games. I think the 5p and 6p games follow the same pattern to 150 and 180 honor respectively, which seems staggering, but I have yet to play with that many players. I agree that those changes were necessary. I'm tempted to do that in the base game really. Heck, I feel a bit that way about 2p games.... that by the time you've established an engine or two.... *poof*, the game's over.
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Alex Brown wrote:
Denial is key, but probably only substantive in 2-player.

Multiplayer Ascension does not exist in my universe, but good point.
 
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