Published by: Stone Blade Entertainment
# of Players: 1-4
Stone Blade Entertainment has contentiously upgraded the look and feel of the Ascension series. Ascension X has given us excellent components for a deck-building game. The game board has beautiful art that is in the background, but does not distract from the parts of the game board that are used for the actual game. The box is thick and sturdy and includes an insert. The insert works great and has additional space for other storage. The games victory points come in red and white gems. These gems have been pretty standard throughout the whole series, and have always stood out as high quality. These little extra attention to details and extras help make the Ascension series stand out. The cards are your standard card size and thickness. There is a nice gloss finish that gives the cards a nice finished feel. The instructions are filled will illustrations. Right when you open the instructions up, they explain the new mechanics with Ascension X. This allows the veterans to read what they need to know and jump in and play. If your a new Ascension player, the rest of the instructions provide everything you need to learn and play the game. The illustrations break down everything and leave almost no details out. There is even a F.A.Q. and Glossary in the back that will help answer questions that could possibly come up during the game. Finally I want to talk about the art on the cards. Ascension has had a wide variety of art through the 10 games and I find that the art in Ascension X is either the best in the series or at least top 3. Each card illustration looks interesting and can have you looking at the art for fine details. Ascension X has really continued in the path of excellent components for a card game.
Ascension X: War of Shadows has players starting with 10 cards in their deck that will be used to purchase new cards or defeat monsters. You will start with 5 cards in your hand. During your turn you will play cards and add any runes and power that each card gives to purchase/fight cards in the center row. Playing cards can have numerous effects like banishing cards, drawing extra cards, replacing cards in the center and many other abilities. There are two types of cards that you will have in your deck. Hero Cards will be played on your turn with all it's effects and discarded at the end of the turn. Construct Cards will stay in play after your turn is over and will provide the effect when it's criteria is met. Once you are done buying and defeating cards, you will discard your hand minus played constructs. You will draw 5 new cards and the next player will take a turn. Game ends when the victory point gem runs out and everyone has had an equal amount of turns. Players count up all their gems and victory points on their cards. The player with the most points wins the game.
There are two big, new features to the Ascension series. The first deals with the theme of light vs. dark. Cards are divided into light and dark. When placing the cards in the center you will place the light cards slightly higher from the middle and dark will be slightly lower. Cards may have effects that only happen if it is day or night. What that means is that if the center has a majority of light cards out, day effects will happen when a card is played. If there is a tie between light and dark cards, then neither day or night effects will not trigger when played. Remember that when you buy or defeat a card it is immediately replaced. This can change the day into night or vice versa, and in turn may affect the other cards you still have to play. The other new addition to Ascension is dual cost cards. Before it used to be that you used runes to buy cards and power to defeat cards, but now some cards have both costs that are required to obtain that card. This now shows that sometimes it is not just money needed to recruit a hero, but they must also see the power you have, so they can join you and respect your leadership.
If you have read some of my lists or followed me on twitter, then you know that I really enjoy the Ascension series and have been addicted to the digital version. If you haven't downloaded yet, you really should. Ascension X: War of Shadows is in my top 3 Ascension games. I like the night day concept and that it can change at anytime. Also liked the addition of dual cost cards. In some ways it felt like a step back towards the core in terms of complexity. This is a great starting point for new players. Sometimes I like to mix sets together and I do not think they set will mix well with previous games in the series. Component wise the quality is excellent and holds up to the standards that Stone Blade Entertainment has worked towards. I wish there was a little more variety in the cards, but I feel like this is setting up for the next Ascension game and may mix well with future games. I still really enjoyed it and it will be sitting next to the rest of the Ascension series. If you are a fan of the series, you will like the changes and will have almost no learning curve. New ones will find this a great start into the series. This is one of the easier sets to teach and learn from. I recommend this to anyone interested in the series, or wants something different from their deck-building games.
+ Great entry point into the Ascension series
+ New features are thematic and flow nicely in the game
+ Great components and insert
- May feel a little basic to some Ascension veterans
- more variety in cards
- Does not mix well with others in the series