Ascension: The Rise of Vigil

rise of vigil gameplay 1
Multiplayer:Yes, via pass n play or private server (account required)
AI:Yes, 2 levels
Universal App:Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)
Purchase for iPhone:Use link below to purchase universal app
Purchase for iPad:
Ascension: Deckbuilding Game
Price: Free
User rating:
GD Star Rating
Ascension: The Rise of Vigil, 6.8 out of 10 based on 8 ratings

For awhile there, it looked like Playdek was going to lose the Ascension license for iOS, despite having done excellent versions of the base game, its major expansions, and promo card packs. Now the license is back where it belongs, and Playdek has just released the latest major expansion, Ascension: The Rise of Vigil (as an IAP on the base game) to celebrate. Ready to rise?


Ascension is a deck builder set in the fantasy land of Vigil. The Great Seal has broken, and the heroes of the four realms must come together and send the evil back to the Void.

rise of vigil gameplay 1

Each player starts with a basic deck of 11 cards. 8 of these generate one Rune, used to buy Heroes; 2 generate Power, used to defeat Monsters and earn Honor. The Honor pool starts with 30 points per player, and when it is depleted, the game ends.

rise of vigil energy shard

In addition to these two basic resources, A:TRoV adds a new resource called Energy, which is produced by Energy Shards. Aside from your one starter, each Shard comes into play attached to a card in the center row, and acquiring or defeating that card also nets you the Shard.

rise of vigil energize card

Each Shard, in turn, generates one point of Energy and lets you draw another card when played. Energy is not depleted like the other resources; instead, if you generate enough Energy to meet the Energy Threshhold of a given card, you can Energize it when you play it to unlock an additional effect.

rise of vigil gameplay 2

Once the Honor Pool has been depleted, the current round is finished, and then final scores are tallied. All cards you can add to your deck have an Honor value in the lower-left corner. Your final score is the total Honor value of your deck combined with the Honor you’ve amassed by defeating monsters. Highest Honor wins.


Ascension is not the oldest game in Playdek’s catalog, but it’s arguably their earliest hit. The base game went free back in March, with each subsequent set available as an IAP. Note that at this time, Rise of Vigil is not included in the all-in-one bundle, though at $7 for everything else via that bundle is still an amazing deal. Getting the bundle and Rise of Vigil together totals $11 – less than half the cost of one of the cheapest real-world sets – and gives you over 500 cards in the main deck.

rise of vigil what's new

Since Rise of Vigil is technically an expansion, the rule book only covers what the expansion adds; similarly the excellent interactive tutorial only covers the base game. The first time you launch the app after unlocking the expansion, the rule book will display briefly to catch you up on the new mechanics. They aren’t overwhelming, but the addition of Energy represents a fairly dramatic shift to the game’s strategy, so this serves as a quick and useful introduction.

rise of vigil deck

Playdek apps are justly famous for excellence, and A:TRoV is no exception. With amazingly clear subtlty, the interface makes it quickly apparent which cards contain Energy Shards (and how many) and you can quickly and easily reveal all open information in your discard pile and the Void pile just by tapping. You can also get a visual display of your deck’s composition, and the game automatically keeps track of the resources you build in a turn. There are also subtle enhancements – highlighting Constructs (cards that stay in play) with one-time-use actions that are still viable, highlighting energized cards, and clearly indicating what cards can be purchased or defeated.

rise of vigil expansions

Multiplay exists via both pass n play and through the Playdek server – an account must be created, but the same account can be used for all Playdek games, so you probably already have one. AI players can be added both on- and offline, and have 2 levels of skill to choose from.


Ascension has always been both a fun game and a bar-setting app, and Rise of Vigil continues this trend. The introduction of the new Energy mechanic opens up gameplay in interesting ways, and Playdek has done a fantastic job of integrating it alongside the entire library of the Ascension world. Especially now that the app is free, there’s no reason for any fan of this blog not to at least give Ascension a try – and if you’re a fan of Ascension, picking up Rise of Vigil is almost a no-brainer.

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  1. bulcsuv

    The strength of Ascension as a game, comes from the fact that it is a game of strategy and not just luck. Sadly, this expansion transforms a game into a glorified coin-toss. There is hardly any decisions involved when buying cards and in any given setup it is very obvious which card to buy / defeat. 

    This expansion makes Ascension a worse game. The implementation is very good though, but does not save it.

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