Saturday, March 05, 2011

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer microreview

Today I played Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer with my sister Jenn.  She whupped me of course.  Anyway, if you dig the deckbuilding-without-collectibility aspect of Dominion, this is the same sort of thing with two key differences:

1) You don't have to thing as hard about what order you do things in when your turn comes up.  You can pretty much but not quite show all your cards and figure out what happens simultaneously.

2) The theme is fantasy heroes beating up weird monsters.

When I was a kid I was a sucker for anything involving monsters, but nowadays one can be picky/choosy and insist on good mechanics too.  Ascension delivers on both a good theme (with cool art) and some interesting mechanics.  One amusing detail is that if there are no monsters on the main field of play then your heroes can always go beat up crazy cultists for minimal points.  Death to all fanatics!

The only thing I don't like about it is that there's no real sense of urgency in fighting the monsters.  Victory is basically a race to win more glory by defeating more badguys.  If there was a provision in the rules whereby the monsters could win the game (and all the players lose) that would add some juice.  You know, like Arkham Horror ot Betrayal on the House on the Hill.  I think Republic of Rome had the same basic idea, with Hannibal standing in for the monsters.  The old GDW card game Red Empire also had a neat "everybody loses" mechanic: the game ends with no winner if you spent too much time skulldugging the other players and ignored governance.


  1. I totally agree that this game is awesome.

    I forgot his name, but one of the cards was a legendary monster slayer of some kind. That one card sold the whole game for me. The art and the flavor text just made him sound like such a bad-ass.

  2. Anonymous1:20 AM

    Re older post:
    YOu are right. I think to wave the term, nay concept, D&D to the legalistic powers forfeits our, the player's, claim on the activity. Ultimately it is also forfeiture of EGG's life accomplishments. I find this to be unacceptable. re-imagining the "R" into rules, though, has my fullest support. Not a movement, but a well-named, inclusive practice. It should definitely not be restricted to D&D, I state most violently.

    - Settembrini