Ascension is a solid game that is definitely worth your interest and your attention. Though not without its shortcomings, it could very easily expand into something larger.
Ascension is a game that owes its heritage to other big CCG (Collectable Card Games) like Magic: the Gathering, but is also clearly showing influence from the game Dominion. It’s feel is much more like Magic, in that there are sets of cards that relate to themes. For example, void cards pertain to high destruction, and deck thinning. However, it’s mechanics are more like Dominion, centreing around card drafting.
In the centre row of the game there will be a number of cards that are either monsters that must be destroyed or heroes/constructs that must be aquired. Monsters are destroyed by building up power in a single round, while heroes/constructs must be acquired with mana. Various cards will generate these in a given round. Acquisitions go to the discard pile that will be in your deck once your current deck is exhausted and the discard reshuffled to be the new deck.
Killing monsters will get you points that deplete a central pool of points. When these run out the game ends. Also, various heroes/constructs have point values that are added at the end of the game. There are two strategic approaches to these points, one to max out power and empty the pool quickly, the other to max out mana and build up your collection of heroes/constructs.
The reason I say this game has potential rather than something that feels complete is because it is a bit limited in scope. There is a short list of cards that get recycled in every game, so the replay value starts to diminish very quickly after a couple of plays. It reminds me of a basic introductory game of Magic: the Gathering I played a while ago. There was only a few basic cards and so the strategy was lost in the limited range of cards available in play. However, this is something that is easily remedied by updates that introduce more packs. I suspect this was part of the plan from the beginning as in-game purchases. This suspicion was confirmed by checking out the main website of the game, and they have announced the hard copy release of their expansion, which will eventually be converted to an iOS version.
The other part of the game that is somewhat limited is the lack of interaction. Like Dominion, the game centres around your own acquisitions and deck building. It was always a feature of Dominion that let it down and which they tried to remedy later.
Nevertheless, the game shows much promise through the artwork and design, which shows a lot of work and talent. There is also a hint of ingenuity as they’ve taken existing mechanics from elsewhere and adapted it into soemthing recognisable but certainly unique.
What is most appreciated about this game is the tutorial mode that guides players from all levels into the game. It’s a step-by-step process that familiarises you with all the necessary parts of the game, and it works well.
7/10: The game is a bit pricey for its limited scope and its replay value is somewhat truncated. Yet, despite all these limitations I still recommend it strongly.