Kickstart This! #252: Ascension Tactics

Designers:  Justin Gary (Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, Ascension: Return of the Fallen, Ascension: Storm of Souls, Shards of Infinity), Ryan Sutherland

Artists: not credited

Publisher:  Stone Blade Entertainment (Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, Ascension: Return of the Fallen, Ascension: Storm of Souls, Shards of Infinity)

Genre/Mechanisms: card game, card drafting, deck building, hand management, miniatures

Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Ascension Tactics: The Deckbuilding Miniatures Game is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than 2.5x the initial funding goal with 3 days left to go on the campaign.

Player Count: 1-4

Solo Mode:  yes

Complexity: medium-light

Risk: low

What It’s About: Brings tactical miniature game play to the Ascension deck-building universe.

How It Works: “Ascension Tactics can be played with 1 to 4 players; the following rules are for 2-player head-to-head competition.”

“On your turn, you may take the following actions in any order, as many times as you’d like: Play a card to gain Runes, Power, and other effects; Acquire a Hero or Construct from the Center Row by paying its cost and putting it into your discard pile; Acquire a Champion from the Center Row by paying its cost and adding its card and miniature to your team; Command one of your ready Champions by paying its command cost and then exhausting it.”

“When you have finished, take the following actions to end your turn: Place any played Hero cards into your discard pile along with any cards still in your hand; Draw five cards from your personal deck to create your hand for the following turn; Ready all of your exhausted Champions; Score Honor. Check if anyone meets the victory conditions for the scenario. For instances, the Battle of the Three Shrines scenario requires 15 Honor to win.”

“Besides the standard 1 vs. 1 game mode, there are other ways to experience Ascension Tactics. 1) Champion Drafting allows you to strategically choose your starting Champions from a Champion Row, rather than having them assigned to you by the Scenario. 2) The 2 vs. 2 Mode pits two teams of allied players against each other. Teams select their starting Champions using Champion Drafting and alternate taking shared turns. 3) In Solo Mode, battle against a Villain team and their deadly Boss Champion. Villain turns are automated by a Scheme Deck, which they use to move, attack, and perform abilities. Earn Honor for defeating Villains and scenario objectives. 4) Co-Op Mode lets you fight alongside your friends, as you face off against a Villain team using the Scheme Deck. Share Treasure with your allies and sequence your team’s actions carefully to defeat the various Co-Op scenarios. 5) Become the Boss Mode grants you control of the Boss team while battling against 1 to 3 allied players.

Comparisons: Because the Tactics version of the game plays so closely to regular Ascension, that game stands as the best comparison. However, a few other games that pair deck-building with miniatures and skirmish combat include Cry Havoc, Ignite, The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, Mage Knight, and Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire.

What Should I Pledge?:
$99 Core Game: a copy of the Ascension Tactics game including stretch goals.
$139 Protector Bundle: everything in the Core Game pledge level, plus 300 Ultra Pro Custom Protective Sleeves and a Playmat.
$299 Ultimate Bundle: everything in the Protector Bundle, plus the Ascension Year 6 Collector’s Edition and the Ascension 10th Anniversary Edition.

$36 Ascension 10th Anniversary Edition
$80 Ascension Year 6 Collector’s Edition
$8 Ascension Tactics Sleeves (100 pack)
$8 Ascension Sleeves (100 pack)
$25 Tactics Playmat
$20 Cultist Plushie
$40 Carrying Case: holds the Ascension Deckbuilding Game with all expansions
$199 Arha Templar Replica Sword

KS Exclusives
Kickstarter-exclusive miniatures include 21 sculpts, plus 4 more added via stretch goals: the Nihilbomber, Tuskrider, Tyranx, and the Water Djinn; or a total of 32 miniatures not included in the retail version. This leaves only 6 sculpts (of 27), with 1 more added via stretch goals (Pasythea), for a total of 7 miniatures seemingly destined for the retail version.

All-In Total: In the continental U.S. (and assuming you’re not interested in any of the multi-thousand-dollar vanity pledges, or the pledge levels that include Ascension Deckbuilding rewards), you’re looking at $139 for the Protector Bundle plus $30 in shipping for a total of $169. If you do opt for the Deckbuilding extras, then the Ultimate Bundle will run you $299 and $40 in shipping for a total of $339.

Ascension Tactics: The Deckbuilding Miniatures Game completes its Kickstarter on Thursday, August 6th and tentatively ships in July 2021.

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