2-4 players (up to 6 players with expansion)
Ascension – Chronicle of the Godslayer (“Ascension” for short) is a Deck Building game set in a mythical universe of monsters, mechanical constructs, nature bound humanoids, mystical wizards and worshipers of dark magic. Designed by a group of professional Magic: The Gathering players, Ascension does a fantastic job streamlining the deck building concept and distilling the genre down to a quick playing and fun romp with multiple strategies and combinations.
Ascension currently has 2 expansions with another to be released shortly. Each expansion can serve as a stand-alone game or be combined in a variety of ways to mix up the possibilities.
For those of you reading this who are already familiar with other deck-building games like Dominion, Thunderstone and Resident Evil – this review is basically done: come on in to Fair Game and try out Ascension – you will not be disappointed.
For the rest of you still reading – I thought I would take a bit of space describing what a deck-building game is and how it can help you be a better player in other games (especially collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, WoW:TCG, Pokemon, etc.).
As the name suggests, a Deck-Building game focuses on each player gathering cards to put in their deck in order to achieve some goal – typically scoring some type of victory points. The cards which you ‘purchase’ during your turn will be mixed in with the cards you already have in your deck – and will have an effect when you draw and play them. In many of these games (including Ascension), the cards will serve as both victory points in the end-game, and also trigger actions during the game to either allow you to buy more cards, gain victory points or many other effects.
Each turn you will be adding cards to your deck – this is a double-edged sword, as the cards you ‘buy’ are generally valuable and you want to play them; however the more cards you have in your deck, the less chance a particular card will show up on a given turn. To counteract this, Ascension has cards which will allow you to remove cards from your deck – in effect streamlining it. Often times players will be faced with a conundrum as they weigh out the cost of ‘banishing’ a card since its effect is not that useful, with that card’s victory point value which will not be counted if the card is banished.
This simple concept is the heart of deck building techniques in almost all collectible card games currently in print – and often one of the most overlooked skills for new and intermediate players. Deck building and tuning in an important skill for being competitive, and Ascension teaches basic techniques without even trying.
For me, Ascension is the best of the deck-building games to date. Combining ease of play, an interesting a highly variable starting game state and wonderful card art makes it a clear winner.