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A 2-4 player 
Deck-Building card game game designed by Justin Gary for Stoneblade Games with exceptional card art and illustrations by Eric Sabee, Anton Kagounkin Magdalina, David Wyatt and Larry MacDougal

If you have played a Deck-Builder before then you'll have a fair idea how ASCENSION works for it runs along fairly similar lines to others in this genre. If you haven't played a Deck Builder before then it may be a totally different concept for you as far as card games go. In ASCENSION players each start with 10 cards composed of 8 Apprentices and 2 Militia which are shuffled, placed face down and a hand of five cards drawn to be their starting cards for the game. At this point it is highly likely that all players have drawn the same hand, if not it will of course be very similar, but this doesn't matter as it will change fairly soon and according to each player's own design. Apprentices have a value of 1 Rune and Militia a value of 1 Power - these points are used each Turn to purchase other cards and as the game continues your own personal deck builds, hence the sub-title "Deck Builder".


There are 200 cards in this box. 40 are the 4 sets of Militia and Apprentices and 60 are known as "Always Available" cards, though the "Always" may not always be so because two of the stacks of AA cards can expire leaving none to purchase; only one of the stacks, the stack that has just one card - the Cultist - never exhausts because the Cultist is only fought and defeated to give you an Honour Point, and not purchased. But I'm getting slightly ahead of myself here, so backing up a little for the sake of players inexperienced with ASCENSION (this is the Third Edition) or other DBs the AA cards are laid out on the table in three stacks, 29 Heavy Infantry (+2 Power), 30 Mystics (+2 Runes) and as previously mentioned one Cultist. The Cultist is a Monster and gives one VP or Honour point each time it is defeated; you can defeat it as many times as you are able to throughout the game and multiple times in a single Turn if you have the necessary cards. However using your Power to defeat the Cultist continually is highly unlikely to win you the game as it only gives One Reward (HP) per defeat.

The remaining 100 cards are called Centre Deck cards because they are shuffled and placed in the centre of the table; the top six cards are then taken and placed face up in a row, visible and if possible, in reach of all players.The correct number of Honour point tokens, 30 per player (Reds are 5 and Crystal are 1) are placed on the table and the game is setup and ready to begin, all you need to do is select a Starting Player in whatever is your favourite manner of doing so. Players buy cards from the central row by paying the cost in Runes or Power as required - shown on the top right of the Centre cards - and place them, along with the cards used to purchase them into their own personal Discard pile, drawing a new hand of five cards from their personal Deck ready for their next Turn. If they cabnnot draw 5 cards then they take what they can and shuffle their Discards to form a new stack from which they make their hand up to five - you never hold any cards over from one Turn to the next; in this manner you begin to bring the cards you purchase into play. Unlike some TCGs you do not have to pay any cost to bring cards into play, you play them from your hand announcing their effect or ability as you do so. Heroes brought into play from your hand are discarded at the end of your Turn whereas Constructs remain in play and their effect can be used each Turn, Tap the card (Turn card 90 degrees) to show it has been used and UnTap it (set it right) at the beginning of your next Turn.

ASCENSION is an ever-changing, exciting and fun game of deck building, card playing, careful selection, luck, and strategy. It plays at a fast pace because there are many options open to the players each Turn and should a card they'd hoped to obtain be taken from the central row before their Turn there is nearly always a possible back-up plan that can work just as well as your original strategy, if not even better. Sometimes you don't even know your best move and then suddenly it opens up in front of you.

As one of the "quite a few" Deck Building games currently on sale ASCENSION lists high as one of the easiest, quickest and most fulfilling.

Apart from the cards already described there are many different types of cards in the Draw pile: Monsters, various types of Heroes and various types of Constructs :

28 Monsters: Valued 3 - 7. Avatar of the Fallen; Corrosive Widow; Earth Tyrant; Mephit; Mistake of Creation; Samael's Trickster; Sea Tyrant;Tormented Soul; Wind Tyrant; Xeron:Duke of Lies.
2   Enlightened Constructs: Values 5 & 6: Tablet of Time's Dawn; The All-Seeing Eye.
10 Mechana Constructs: Values 3-8: Burrower Mark II; Hedron Cannon; Hedron Link Device; Rocket Courier X-99; The Grand Design; Watchmaker's Altar.
4   Lifebound Constructs: Values 4 & 5: Snapdragon; Yggdrasil Staff.
5   Void Constructs: Values 3-7: Muramasa; Shadow Star; Voidthirster.


16 Enlightened Heroes: Values 1 - 7: Arha Initiate; Arha Templar; Ascetic of the Lidless Eye; Master Dhartha; Oziah the Peerless; Seer of the Forked Path; Temple Librarian; Twofold Askara.
8   Mechana Heroes: Values 1 & 4: Avatar Golem; 
Kor the Ferromancer; Mechana Initiate; Reactor Monk.
14 Lifebound Heroes: Values 1 - 7:  Cetra, Weaver of Stars; Druids of the Stone Circle; Flytrap Witch; Landtalker; Lifebound Initiate; Runic Lycanthrope; Wolf Shaman.
13 Void Heroes: Values 1 - 6: Arbiter of the Precipice; Demon Slayer; Emri, One with the Void; Shade of the Black Watch; Spike Vixen; Void Initiate.


Link to GGO Review of  ASCENSION: REALMS UNRAVELED    Link to GGO feature on DAWN of CHAMPIONS

   Price for Third Edition Core Set is around £36.00

Retail and trade outlets can obtain Ascension from Esdevium Games   Public customers should locate their  local Game Store where hopefully they will be able to find ASCENSION 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2021