Sorry for the skipped week everybody, life caught up to me and I wasn’t able to get a review done last week- but we’re back on track!
On today’s episode we’re going to explore one of my personal favorite games in my absolute favorite genre in this hobby- Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, which is a fantastic deck building game created by several Magic: The Gathering pros. The premise is you are a hero in the land of Vigil, starting with a group of Apprentices and Militia and wanting to build an army to defeat the Avatar of Samael the Fallen, an ancient evil who is breaking into the world again.
You start the game with 8 Apprentice cards, which produce Runes that are used to purchase other cards, and 2 Militia cards, which produce Power that is used to defeat Monsters. There are five other groups of cards: Monsters, Lifebound, Void, Mechana and Enlightened. Monsters are the army of Samael breaking into Vigil and killing them will bring you rewards as lowly as straight honour to as powerful as defeating the Avatar of the Fallen himself whom allows you to acquire or defeat any other card in the center row! Lifebound cards are focused around gaining honour and runes, there are a few that gain power but they’re mostly “peaceful” type cards. Void cards are focused on banishing low value cards to allow you to thin out your deck to make your draws easier. Mechana cards are focused on construct synergy and high value cards- all of the Mechana constructs have an Honour Value equal to their cost, so they’re very good purchases no matter when even if you don’t already have some. Enlightened cards are focused entirely on card advantage, drawing more cards or being able to do the same thing as multiple cards with only one.
To start the game you give each player their starting deck and deal 6 cards from the top of the Portal Deck, and whenever a card in the center row is acquired or defeated you deal another card from the top of the Portal Deck so that you always have 6 cards in the center row.
After each player has their deck of 10 starting cards, you shuffle them up and draw five. During each of your turns you can play every card in your hand and acquire or defeat any cards that have a cost you can pay. For all cards this is located in the upper right hand corner, and you can defeat or acquire as many cards on each of your turns as you have runes or power to pay for. Now, there are two types of cards you can acquire- Constructs and Heroes. Heroes you get to play on your turn, gain their effect and then they get discard at the end of your turn. Constructs however stay in play, unless otherwise stated, forever once you’ve played them and you get to gain their effects once per turn.
Once you’re done acquiring and defeating cards all the cards you’ve played that turn, except for Constructs, get put into your discard pile and you draw another five cards from your deck; now if your deck has run out of cards you’re going to want to shuffle up all the cards in your discard pile to form a new deck and draw from there- this way you never run out of deck to play with!
There are these three cards which are always available to acquire or defeat, the Mystic which produces 2 Runes, the Heavy Infantry which produces 2 Power, and the Cultist which is the only monster that can be defeated on the first turn because he only costs 2 Power to defeat! So naturally because the cost of the cards in the center row can’t always be paid for by your initial deck you want to acquire some Mystics and Heavy Infantries to be able to afford higher cost cards.
Here we have the Honour tokens, the small clear ones are worth one point, the big red ones are worth five points. You gain these by defeating monsters (and sometimes by playing cards!). You start with Players*30 Honour Tokens, so for a two player game it’s 60, three players is 90 and 4 players is 120. Of course you can play with more honour than that, but that’s entirely up to you! The game ends when this honour pool gets emptied, and continues from the player who drains the pool until the current turn cycle has ended- so if the first player takes the last token then the other three players still get a turn after him. At the end of this all you count up the Honour Tokens each player has, and then you also check the lower left hand corner of every card in each players deck to get their Honour Value and add it to their total Honour and whoever has the highest wins!
Part of the reason I love this game so much is that it is usually pretty fast once everyone has a hang of it, as well it’s very easy to set up and take down quickly. There are many different strategies one can take in the game and because of the random factor all of them are very valid strategies. The core game is $40.00 and it has multiple expansions all that add a new mechanic to the game, as well if you want to try it out before you buy it you can get a taste of the game by downloading it on your Android or iOS mobile devices for free, and can even purchase the expansions there too!Next week we’ll take a step into a game that I’m not legally allowed to play with other people anymore, and that will be a fun review indeed!