pic710736[1] By Eric Newland

“Good and evil, there is never one without the other.” – Merlin

What do you get when you have a Fallen God, Monsters, machines, weapons and warriors. Ascension, baby! Here is my review.

Components:
This game is well put together. Let me do a run down.
*The Game board – It’s a nice fold up board when laid out. It shows the players where all the cards are placed.
*Beads – These are your honor points or end points. You get 25 red larger beads and 25 smaller white beads. Not sure why they call them beads in the rulebook? They look more like crystals. They match the flavor of the game nicely.
*Cards – The game provides a good quality card. I would say it’s on the same line as Magic the Gathering card or better. At Gen-Con, I did buy the component pack, which give you Ascension card sleeves and a box with dividers to hold all your cards. The sleeves have the Ascension logo on it and the box has art from the cards wrapped around it.

Rulebook:
As far as rulebooks go, this one is mega good. Yes, the game is not that difficult to learn, but for someone who has never played a game like this, they would have no trouble understanding it. There are plenty of pictures and a nice FAQ and Tips for the game in the back of the book. I learned the game at Gen-Con so I really never read the rules. I did use it as a guide when teaching the game.

game-layout[1] Game play:
This game has been compared to Dominion so many times. Frankly, I am tired of hearing that. Yes, it’s a card building game. Yes, there are elements that are the same like taking cards from the middle of the table. This is an Ascension Review, so I am going to talk about Ascension.
Everyone starts the game with a deck of 10 cards. Your first and every draw moving forward is a 5-card hand. Within your 10-card staring deck are Apprentices which give you runes (money) and Militia, which give you Power (Fighting strength). In the middle of the board are 6 random cards that are always available. Here is a breakdown of what you will be able to buy, slay, or exile in the center row.

card-types[1]Heroes: These guys can be bought with your runes and used later to fight for you in battle. Some are less aggressive and give you money or let you draw cards. There are other abilities as well.
Constructs: This is my favorite part of the game and which it differs so much from Dominion. Opps, I mentioned Dominion. Well, It is needed here to help explain this example. Constructs are devices, weapons, or other items that stay in play instead of going to your discard pile on your turn. There is no card in Dominion that allows you to do this. It feels great when you play a construct knowing its effect is a guarantee each turn.
Monsters: These are the beast you will be battling with your combined Power and constructs. There are many forms of creatures ranging from spiders to huge dragons. Each has a different power level and a reward when they are defeated.

The other cards that are always available are the Heavy Infantry, which is a stronger version of the Militia card. The Mystic is the second available card, which is an upgrade for the Apprentice. The third and final available card is the Cultist. He’s a creature that can be killed every turn and multiple times if you have enough power to do it. Good flavor here on the Cultist. He and his buddies are running around town paving the way for their insane god. You may be able to destroy one or maybe two, but they continue to come back each turn.

Another interesting thing about this game are the 4 factions.Besides the monsters, each card in the center is part of a faction. Here is a break down of each.

  • Lifebound: These guys are from nature, the tree huggers.
  • Mechana: This faction is the machines, robots, and scientists.
  • Void: Can you say the Dark side? They are from the netherworld.
  • Enlightened: These are the monks of this world, trained in body and spirit.

Templar_1024x768[1] Each faction can provide different things. When using the Void fraction, you may have to discard something but gain a big reward. The Mechana seem to work better when other Mechana are out in play, almost like a hive mind. The Enlightened are good for drawing cards and Lifebound is a good mix of granting you extra runes and honour points.

The game play is simple. You buy cards, build your deck, defeat monsters, and gain honour. When the entire honor is gone, the game is over. Each player will add his total honor together, some from cards and the rest from the beads. The player with the highest wins the day.

Rating:
This game rocks. It’s so easy to learn, anyone can play it, and it’s a deck building game. What else can you ask for? The art is a bit strange, but over time, I felt like it melded perfectly with the game. The randomness of the centerboard is great. You never know what you will be fighting or buying. Every component of the game is high quality. I love grabbing the crystals instead of a cardboard gold coin. I love the sleeves that say Ascension on them. I love everything about this game. If you are fan of deck building games, you need this in your collection.

Review kindly supplied by Eric Newland