Kickstart This! #171: It’s a Wonderful World Ascension

Designer:  Frederic Guerard (Clash of Rage, Ilos, It’s a Wonderful World)

Artist:  Anthony Wolff (King of Tokyo, It’s a Wonderful World, Zombie 15′)

Publisher:  La Boite de Jeu (It’s a Wonderful World, Neta-Tanka: Deluxe Edition, Outlive)

Genre/Mechanisms:  card drafting, card game, civilization, drafting

Funding Status:  At the time of this posting, It’s a Wonderful World Ascension is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than 15x the initial funding goal, with almost 6 days left to go on the campaign!

Player Count:  1-6

Solo Mode:  yes

Complexity:  medium-light

Risk:  medium-low

What It’s About:  “It’s a Wonderful World is a card drafting and engine building game where players draft 7 cards and then choose which ones to recycle (to immediately acquire Resources) and which ones to keep (for Construction, producing Resources and/or gaining victory points each round). Ascension cards introduce new ways to play, most notably through pair scoring and corruption, and also allows play with up to 6 players.

How It Works:  “In It’s a Wonderful World, you are an expanding Empire that must choose your path to your future, and must develop faster and better than your competitors. The game lasts 4 Rounds. Each round, you will draft cards that you will use to produce Resources and develop your Empire. After having chosen your hand of cards, you can recycle some of them to acquire Resources immediately, or slate them for construction to produce Resources each round and/or gain victory points.”

Each round is comprised of a Draft Phase, Planning Phase, and Production Phase. The Draft Phase mimics the one in 7 Wonders and many other card drafting games. Each player receives a hand of 7 cards, takes one, and passes the rest to the left or right (the direction alternates each round). They’ll then receive 6 cards, take one from that group, and pass it on. Rinse & repeat until each player has a selected hand of 7 cards and there are no more cards being passed around.

During the Planning Phase, players decide which of their cards to slate for Construction, and which cards to Recycle (discard) for the card’s Recycling Bonus.

During the Production Phase, each of the 5 types of resources will trigger in order. The player who produces the most of each type of Resource also receives a Supremacy Bonus, and all players will use the 5 resources being generated by their already-constructed buildings to construct their cards/building that are currently under construction. Once a card contains the correct resources, the player returns the cubes on it to the supply, and collects the card’s construction bonus. Players need to plan accordingly though, because unused cubes (like the ones on buildings that did not complete construction) are discarded at the end of the Phase.

After 4 rounds are complete, players will score the following points as a part of end-game scoring: total victory points on cards in their Empire, “combo” victory points triggered by set collection, and points for General and Financier tokens. The player with the most points wins, with ties broken by the player with the most cards in their Empire, and then by the player with the most Characters.

There are also 2 separate 5-game campaigns in the Heritage Edition, which adds additional cards to the game after a first play. This gives each campaign a Legacy feel during that first play, without including destructive elements so that the campaigns themselves are fully replayable.

With the Ascension expansion, “players will play a mixture of classic Development cards and Ascension cards each round. Ascension cards introduce new ways to play, most notably through end-game pair scoring and corruption. This new deck also allows you to play with up to 6 players.”

Comparisons:  At its core, It’s a Wonderful World is a combination resource management (with some smartly produced components) and card drafting game. Similar games in the genre include 7 Wonders, the Century series, Concordia, Shipwrights of the North Sea, Terraforming Mars (although TM has an admittedly larger grab bag of mechanics and a larger table presence), and Wingspan.

What Should I Pledge?:
$25 Ascension Pledge: the new Ascension expansion.
$99 All-In Pledge: the new Ascension expansion plus It’s a Wonderful World Heritage edition.

$23 War or Peace, a Heritage Campaign Expansion: includes 6 Scenario Envelopes, 84 Cards, a Booster, and a Secret Box. For people who bought It’s a Wonderful World at retail and don’t have the extra items in the Heritage Edition.
$28 Leisure and Decadence, a Heritage Campaign Expansion: includes 6 Scenario Envelopes, 164 cards, 2 Boosters, and 4 Secret Boxes. For people who bought It’s a Wonderful World at retail and don’t have the extra items in the Heritage Edition.
$10 The Exclusive Pack (made up of Stretch Goals from the 1st It’s a Wonderful World campaign): includes 17 cards, 5 plastic bowls, and a wooden turn order tracker. For people who bought It’s a Wonderful World at retail and don’t have the extra items in the Heritage Edition.
$4.50 Pack of 100 Sleeves (102x67mm): the Heritage Edition has 398 cards, so would require 4 packs of sleeves; the new Ascension Expansion has 76 cards, so would require 1 pack of sleeves. 5 packs of sleeves will sleeve everything in the All-In Pledge.

KS Exclusives
The Leisure and Decadence Expansion, Exclusive Pack, and Heritage Edition from the first campaign will continue to be KS-Exclusives not available at retail. This campaign includes a Secret Box compatible with Leisure and Decadence, as well as a Storage Box for the Ascension components that slots into the Heritage Edition, and both of these items are KS-Exclusives that will not be available at retail.

All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $99 for the All-In Pledge, $22 for 5 packs of sleeves, and $12 in shipping for a total of $133.

It’s a Wonderful World Ascension completes its Kickstarter on Thursday, February 13th and tentatively ships in November 2020.

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