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Review: Ascension – Deckbuilding Game

IMG_0784It was game time at The Forge Herald headquarters last night. And, since we haven’t played a new game in a couple of weeks, we decided to unwrap a game and give it a go. Our flavor of the weekend was Ascension: Deckbuilding Game from Stone Blade Entertainment.

Ascension was designed by Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Champions Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler. It was published in 2010 by Stone Blade Entertainment under the title of Ascension: Chronicle of Godslayer.

The game is wonderfully illustrated by Eric Sabee and is simple to learn.

The concept of the game is to build a deck to defeat monsters. Defeating monsters gives the player Honor. At the end of the game, the player with the highest honor wins.

Set up

To set up a game of Ascension you deal out a total of 10 cards to each player. These consist of eight apprentices and two Militia. This will be your starting deck.

Then the center deck is shuffled and six cards are dealt out into the center row. If a card is removed from the center row it is immediately replaced.

At the top of the board you will place cards that are always available. These will include Heavy Militia, Mystics, and Cultists.

Lastly, determine the appropriate amount of Honor to put in the pool. This is determined by the number of players in the game.

Once all this is complete, the game begins.

Game Play

Each player will attempt to build the best deck they can by drafting cards from either the always available cards or the cards in the center row. This is done by playing cards from your hand. These cards will build up your Runes or Power. They can also allow you to do other things, just make sure you read the card.

Runes are used to purchase heroes and constructs. Power is used to defeat monsters and IMG_0795thereby gain honor.

On your first turn, you will have five cards in hand. You may play as many cards as you like on your turn. Once you have used up all your Runes and Power, you turn ends and all cards used, or still in your hand, are placed in your discard pile.

If you purchased any heroes or constructs they are placed directly into your discard pile.

After you have discarded your hand, draw five more cards. You turn is now over.

Once you deck is empty, shuffle your discard pile back into your library. You will continue to do this whenever your deck is empty.

This means you now have a chance to draw the cards you recruited.

Ending the game

The final turn begins when the last honor is taken from the honor pool. At that point, you will start the final turn wherein everyone gets one more chance to play.

To determine the winner, add up all the honor you have earned as well as all the honor in your deck. The person with the highest honor wins.


This game is an absolute blast! Because there are so many cards, and so many possibilities to play out, the game-play should always feel a little different. This means replayability is very high.

Ascension is extremely easy to learn (we had a firm grasp after two or three rounds) and looks amazing.

Now, it could be the Magic player in me, but I suggest you get sleeves for your cards. With how easy this is to play, I could see you playing this with your gaming group a lot and that means damaging the cards.

My biggest con is the randomness of it. More often than not I was unable to slay a monster because nothing would be on the board on my turn. Not killing monsters meant I wasn’t getting any honor.

Although this is a super easy game to play, I do not see your average Joe wanting to play it. This is more designed for your more diverse board-gamer. Also, the game is limited to four players. So, for those of you with a larger game group, this one might not be possible.

despite those things, this game is highly recommended!



© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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