I was going to write about this last week, but I had so many posts going on this fell off the calendar until today.
Deck building card game Ascension is a wonderful game. I’ve been playing it since the first set and it’s definitely one of our top 10 games. However, are two big problems when playing this in meatspace, especially as the game has grown with expansions: asset management and action management.
This is just the core game and the first expansion, and it weighs in at over 250 cards plus honor tokens, the starter decks, and “always available” cards like the mystic or cultist. Once you buy all of the current Ascension sets you’re at well over 500 and pushing 600 cards.
Add in the “Soul Gem” cards and the Energy cards from the upcoming set and you’ve got a lot of stuff to deal with. Now, you don’t have to play with every set, but even with the first core set and the Return of the Fallen expansion I felt like I wasn’t shuffling the cards well enough.
Keeping track of what you’re doing is a problem, especially as you start to stack effects. Understanding how many runes and how much power you have can involve some mental math gymnastics, but add in a card like the Pathwarden that may convert runes into power and you’ve added a whole other dimension to remember. Plus all the may vs must mechanics require focus that may not be as sharp as a gaming session wears on.
Digital gameboards to the rescue
The iOS Ascension app is amazing. It plays very well on the full-sized iPad, and is manageable on the iPhone, but it really really shines on the iPad Mini. The interface is a little daunting at first, but it all “fits” quite well on the Mini. Coupled with the increased portability of Apple’s 8″ tablet and you’ve got a winner. I’ve played well over 300 games with Bert and Sedagive?, and the games go by much more quickly and easily than when we play around the table.
Except I’m an Android guy and I sold my iPad last year.
Luckily I still have an iPad in the house for work, but it would be great if I could play Ascension on my Nexus 7 tablet or the Nexus 10 I’m also “borrowing” from work.
A Hero Will Rise
Well, Stoneblade Entertainment (formerly Gary Games and maker of Ascension) is running a Kickstarter project to bring Ascension not only to Android, but to Windows computers as well.
On top of just playing the game, the Kickstarter project hopes to bring online tournament play and a bunch of other smaller features to an already expansive and fantastic game.
The backer tiers run from the basic ($5 gets you a special militia card, both in physical and digital format) all the way up to the “LOL Holy Shit” level. For $10,000 you get an incredible array of benefits, culminating in being a major, reoccurring character in the Ascension game universe.
One of the things I like about this Kickstarter is that Stoneblade offers some digital-only packages. For example, I backed the basic game plus bought all of the current and future digital expansions. This suits me just fine, as it’s less expensive than backing both physical and digital versions. It also addresses one of my big complaints about playing the physical version.
The Ascension Kickstarter ends Thursday, February 28 at 9PM EST. The project got half of its $125,000 goal the first day alone, so it’s definitely going to get funded. The big reasons to back now are getting in on the promotional content and helping to achieve stretch goals.
If you like Ascension even a little tiny bit, you may want to consider backing the Ascension: Online Kickstarter.