Monday, December 26, 2016

Ascension - 20/20 hours

Over the course of the blog I've discovered a lot about my tastes and preferences. It turns out I really like card games. Obviously, I knew about this before, given all the physical card games I own, but didn't think my affinity would carry over so well into the digital realm. You lose something in the translation, to be sure. I like to touch cards, to feel the riffle and hear the sound as I shuffle them, to fan them out and keep them secret. That physical and social aspect isn't replicated in video game form.

However, the essence of the card game still remains. The game is broken up into little squares of meaning, and you have to navigate their interactions. It's about sorting through options and seeing connections. It's thoughtful and measured in its pace. You take turns and plan ahead. I like the way it sucks up my attention and breaks up time into manageable chunks.

Ascension, in particular, is a typical enough member of this species that it would have to have some seriously major faults to turn me off. As it is, my biggest complaint is that there wasn't enough of it. Each match of Ascension ends when you earn a predetermined amount of "honor," and while you could adjust the honor required to end the match, you could only reach up to double the default score. That meant I spent proportionally more time in the less fun early stages of the game and less time in the crazy combo and cascading interactions phase of the game.

Still, each match was a solid half-hour of entertainment, and I got to preview some of the sets that I had not yet been able to purchase in physical form. And if it's not quite as great an adaptation as some other card games I could mention, it did manage to implement the basic rules in a satisfactory way. It's not really worth it if your aim is to challenge yourself strategically, but making a great deck out of the tools available is an interesting puzzle.

Overall, I'd say it's five dollars well-spent.

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