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Ascension: Deckbuilding Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Weeknight Specials: Ascension rss

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Kristen McCarty
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Vigil, is in trouble, Samael, the Fallen God, has returned and players must save the world. Heroes and constructs will help defeat the monsters, gain honor, and finally defeat Samael himself. Whoever does so will be known as Godslayer.




Components

Ascension is a deck-building game so the most important components are the cards. Chronicle of the Godslayer comes with 200 cards. These cards include the starting decks for four players (8 Apprentices, 2 Militia.) 60 "Always Available" cards (1 Cultist, 30 Mystics, and 29 Heavy Infantry). The last 100 cards are the Center Deck Cards.



You also receive one game board and 50 Honor tokens. 25 of the tokens are 1 Honor (small clear gems) and 25 are 5 Honor (large red gems).

Object of the Game:

Players try to collect the most Honor in order to win the game, Honor is gained by defeating monsters and collecting heroes and constructs.

Set-Up

One of the pluses for Ascension is its set-up. I haven't timed it but Ascension has perhaps one of the quickest if not the quickest set-up of any deck-building game. This makes it a great work night game; you can pull it out and play it in just a few minutes.

First, hand each player their start deck and have them shuffle it. They then draw five cards for their starting hand.

Second, place the Heavy Infantry, Mystic, and Cultist cards on their spaces on the board. Shuffle the Center Deck cards and place six face up on the row spaces. Then for each player place 30 honor tokens onto the board as the supply of honor for that game.
See... simple and fast!



Game Play

As with set-up, game play is quick and easy.

1. Play cards from your hand to gain Runes, Power, and Honor.
2. Place played heroes and any cards bought in your discard pile.
3. Draw five cards from you deck




1. Play cards from your hand:
There is a symbol on each card. Runes are represented by a silver triangle and Power is represented by a red shield and sword. Honor is shown by a black star.

Cards allow you to either acquire a new hero/construct or defeat a monster (and sometimes both).



Acquire Heroes / Constructs

Runes (silver triangle) let the player acquire heroes and constructs from the center row. The amount needed is shown on the card. Runes come from heroes and constructs in play. For example "Runic Lycanthrope" costs three to buy (and will later give you two runes when played from your hand).

You are not limited to buying just one card, however. You may acquire as many cards as you can afford. Available cards are the Mystics, Heavy Infantry, and any hero or construct in the Center Row. Aguried cards are placed in your discard pile.

Defeat Monsters

Players will use Power (shield / sword) to defeat the monsters, power is gained from the cards. The amount needed to defeat a card is shown on it. So "Earth Tyrant" requires six powers to defeat him.



Whenever you defeat a monster, you earn the reward written on the card. If you defeat "Earth Tyrant" you would take five honor tokens and would be able to draw two cards.

You may defeat as many monsters as you are able with your power. Defeated monsters are placed in the Void. The Cultist is always available to be defeated and is never placed in the void.

When cards are bought or defeated they should always immediately be replaced so there are always six cards in the Center Row.

2. Place played heroes and any cards bought in your discard pile. At the end of your turn, all acquired cards are placed into your discard pile and any cards used, except for constructs, are also placed in the discard pile. Constructs are always left in play (unless put into the deck by a card effect.) When your draw pile is depleted simply shuffle your discard pile and make a new draw deck.

3. Draw five cards from you deck.



Game End


The game ends when all the honor tokens are taken. The game ends that round so that each player has a equal amount of turns. If a player gains honor and there are no tokens left, you can use extra tokens or just keep track of the amount.

Now, players count their honor tokens and honor earned from cards (black star on the card bottom). For example Arha Templar earns you 3 honor. The player who has the most Honor wins the game and is given the title: Godslayer.



My Thoughts

Ascension is quickly becoming one of my favorite deck building games. The more I play it the more I like it. And since picking up most of the promo cards at Origins this year it just keeps getting better and better.



As I stated before I like the quick set-up and play time. During the week we don't have a lot of time to play longer games and sometimes just play filler games. Ascension gives me the feel of a slightly heavier game, but still can be played in 30 minutes. A definite plus!
Unlike other deck building games I don't feel like I need to choose to either buy just one card or defeat just one monster. As long as I have the runes or power I can do both. And, I can do each more than once, without any special cards. I feel like I'm cheating, or at least being spoiled. While I enjoy that tension and decision making in Dominion and Thunderstone, not having to choose is part of the fun and strategy of Ascension.

I also feel like I have to pay more attention to what my opponent is doing during his turn. Many other deck building games can feel like multi-player solitaire. Not so much in Ascension. Because of the limit of six cards out, your opponent may take that card you really want, or defeat that monster you finally were going to be able to defeat next turn. It can become a little bit of take-that and can become frustrating sometimes. But in the end it’s all about fun.



I also enjoy some of the added features of the expansion. I like the "Fate" feature in "Return of the Fallen" that causes things to happen as new cards are placed in the center row. I really like the events in "Storm of Souls." The theme isn't really thick in Ascension but the events help. I hope there are more events that come out in future expansions.

I also loved the story of the Ring of Gerd / Ring of Life Card. Were the designers and artists came together to create a card specifically so Alan Gerding could propose to his girlfriend, Crystol Shelton, with the help of one of their favorite games. It’s an amazing story and gives me just one more reason to love this game.



Quick Stats:

Designers: Robert Dougherty, John Fiorillo, Justin Gary, Brian M. Kibler
Artists: Eric Sabee
Publisher: Gary Games, Arclight
Number of Players: 2-4
Play Time: 30 minutes

Photo Credits: (In order of appearance) Nathan Morse (zefquaavius), José Carlos de Diego (jcd2001es), Sven (Tanakor), Ted Vessenes (tedv), Jesse Dean (doubtofbuddha), Alexander Bulgakov (bretteur), Ryan O'Connor
(ryno106)
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FYI, since these 2 images have no Medium size, u may wanna change their sizes to Original......



.

Oh, and FWIW, Dom, TS, and other such dgg can have very quick setups... u just have to do the setup before hand.... bring a setup supply of 10 decks, start cards, and the always available cards. Saves ALOT of time not having to shuffle the randomizers, and going through 25+ decks of cards for just 10.
 
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Kristen McCarty
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Thanks, I missed the size problem when I posted it. I also agree that the set-up for Thunderstone and Dominion can be shortened, all it takes is some before hand prep and perhaps one of those handy Dominion apps. But this one is ready right out of the box. Good or bad. We even have a travel version that fits in a deck box honor tokens and all!
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Ed G.
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Great job on the review and photos!
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xcrun55 wrote:
Thanks, I missed the size problem when I posted it. I also agree that the set-up for Thunderstone and Dominion can be shortened, all it takes is some before hand prep and perhaps one of those handy Dominion apps. But this one is ready right out of the box. Good or bad. We even have a travel version that fits in a deck box honor tokens and all!
Yeah, I'm finding that even if someone else already has the board, I'd rather not use it anyways.... I've gottne used to laying cards out 6 across.
 
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