The Ascension deck building game goes virtual

by: Russell -
More On: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game GenCon 2016

If you're a fan of deck building games, then it's very likely that you've heard of Ascension by Stone Blade Entertainment.  The goal is to use the cards in your hand each turn to gain Power to defeat monsters and gain Honor, and Runes to purchase heroes and constructs.  I reviewed the PC version on Steam a while back in early 2015 and actually talk about the game in general as well.  As it turns out, this past Monday Stone Blade Entertainment announced a VR version of the game developed by Temple Gate Games, and I decided to check it out while at GenCon.

The interface is actually pretty cool as you can easily see the cards you have in your hand, any constructs you have, your current rune and power totals, and the center row.  You can also see your opponent's avatar across the way and the game will show their cards when they're played as well as the cards they purchase or defeat in the center row.  Selecting and using cards is as simple as moving your head around to move the cursor over a card, the tapping the right side of the headset.  Any time you have to make a choice (ie. discard a card or if a certain cards lets you choose to add one power or one rune to your totals), the game will prompt you to make said choice.  My one qualm with that is that I accidentally played a card that forces me to discard a card and then draw two more, and I couldn't find a way to back out of it.

I played a game with the VR version's developer Theresa and I picked up on everything pretty quickly.  Granted part of that was that I've played Ascension quite a bit, but part of it was also due to the interface being easy to work with.  My only real complaint at the moment is that it can be hard to see the text on a card without zooming in on it, and no amount of focusing the headset could fix that, but it wasn't because it was blurry; the text was a bit too small on the cards, but the size of the cards were proportionate to the size of the actual cards.  Theresa did say that she was working on a way to make the text bigger so you wouldn't have to zoom in on them all the time, at least for cards with only a line or two of text.

Overall, the VR version of Ascension is pretty cool.  I played the game on a Samsung Gear headset, but Theresa said that the game was available on all major headsets.  If you like Ascension and have a VR headset, it only costs $9.99.  I didn't think to ask, but in the lobby there were only the options for the four rooms to join or create a game and I didn't see any tutorial or rules options.  However, a quick google search can fix that, or if you have the Steam version it has rule books for the core game and each expansion.

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