Two weeks ago I took a look at the first four Ascension sets, examining the mechanics of each.
In this article, I’m continuing that journey by looking at the most recent four sets — from Rise of Vigil through Dawn of the Champions. I’ll be examining how they influenced the Ascension game and deckbuilding in general. In doing so, I’ll be bringing Ascension up to date — and perhaps I can repeat this exercise in another 2-3 years.
Block Three: Vigil & Darkness (2013)
Ascension fell into its scheduling stride with the release of the large-box Rise of Vigil (2013) and the small-box Darkness Unleashed (2013) which together form Block Three of the game.
These two sets also used a simple model for introducing new mechanics: a major mechanic appeared in Rise of Vigil (Energize), and then was ever-so-slightly adjusted in Darkness Unleashed, which also saw a new and related mechanic (Transformation). Continue reading
In the last year-or-so, it seems like the surge of deckbuilding games has finally slowed down. I’m certainly still looking forward to some upcoming releases like Don’t Turn Your Back, Cthulhu Realms, and Apocrypha — and I think some bag-building games deserve some crossover attention. However, in 2013 or 2014, I could expect to play 5-10 new deckbuilders a year, and that’s no longer the case.
Fortunately for us fans of deckbuilding, there’s still a lot of interesting innovation of the traditional deckbuilding form to be found — it’s just in expansions rather than new games.
Ascension (2010) kicked off its expansions with something very important: a plan. Rather than releasing expansions willy-nilly, the folks at Stoneblade Entertainment (or whatever the company’s name is this week) decided to arrange their supplements into “blocks”, following in the footsteps of Magic: The Gathering (1993).
Each of these blocks was to consist of just two sets: one big set and one small set. They’d have coherent mechanics, and thus they’d work well together. In fact, that’s the suggested way to play Ascension: only mix boxes from the same block.