Ascension Eternal
Fantasy Topics, Opinion, Reviews

Ascension: Eternal 10th-Anniversary Board Game Review

A fun, Magic the Gathering-inspired deckbuilding game


We were given a free copy of Ascension: Eternal, in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are our own. Ascension: Eternal was designed by Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler, and is manufactured by UltraPRO.

Ascension: Eternal is a fast-paced blend of Magic the Gathering and action role-playing video game. Each game can be played in as quickly as 20 minutes with two players. Up to six can play with expansions. At first glance, it can appear overwhelming with its large abundance of cards and tokens but it’s actually rather simple in its design. Players build a deck of Heroes and Constructs to be the first to collect the most amount of tokens. It’s all about strategy and playing the battlefield.

Ascension Eternal

Lore

For anyone who is a fan of lore – like us – there is an entire backstory to Ascension. It reads as follows:

Welcome to the world of Vigil. The barrier that protected Vigil from distant realms is collapsing. Samael, the Fallen One, has returned with an army of monsters from beyond. You are one of the legendary warriors capable of protecting Vigil from annihilation, but you cannot do it alone. Recruit mighty heroes and wield powerful constructs to aid you in battle. Each honor and defeat Samael’s forces to save the world!

How to Play

We checked out the 10th-anniversary edition of Ascension Anniversary. The massive box comes with 181 cards – all of which are stunning – and one layout mat to help you keep track of card placement. Each player starts with a deck consisting of 10 identical cards. Cards include either Runes that are used to buy new cards or Power that is used to fight monsters and cultists.

Ascension Eternal
Gamora the cat getting in on the action.

Players draw five cards and use them to gain new Heroes and Constructs or fight Monsters. The original deck grows and expands over time as players gain new Heroes and Constructs. Both cost Runes and help to defeat monsters, draw cards, or grant other boons to gain Honor tokens. Whereas Monster cards can only be defeated by Power and grant you certain abilities upon beating them.

The game ends when the last token is collected. Players then add up all their tokens and Honor points listed on their cards. The one with the most Honor is the winner.

Thoughts

It’s all about knowing what cards you have in your deck and what is out on the field. It’s a strategic game but isn’t complicated in any way. The rules are presented in an easy-to-understand and straightforward way. And the board gives a clear presentation of where cards go and how to set up the game.

There is one major thing we wish were included with the set. The addition of a simple handout for players to keep track of rules would be useful. Ascension is played similarly to Tyrants of the Underdark which does include a guide for each player. Having to pull out the rulebook each time to check what to do can slow down game time.

Ascension Eternal

Another thing is to see who plays first. It’s a pet peeve of ours. Ascension says choose randomly which is fine but there could be a more fun mechanic to see who starts. Other games use fun, quirky mechanics, like ‘the last person who ate a doughnut’ or ‘the oldest or youngest’.

Verdict

Ascension: Eternal is built for fans of Magic the Gather and Dungeons & Dragons. It may look intimidating but can be learned in a short amount of time. Each game can be played quickly as well leaving you plenty of time to play multiple games per night. The cards are beautiful and the lore is engaging and allows players to role-play out moments if they so choose.

We give Ascension: Eternal a 9 on a d10!

Bardic Inspiration, D&D / TTRPGs

Bardic Inspiration: Battles

Fast and Chaotic Fighting Music

There are a few fundamental Bardic Inspiration thoughts I use when figuring out how to pick music for a battle. The first is what or who is the villain or force. The second is focused on where the encounter takes place. These two methods will make choosing the best tracks all the more easier.

When it comes to fighting in a tavern or tussling with guards or ruffians in the street, I have one go to song. Assassin’s Creed III‘s Fight Club by Lorne Balfe is upbeat and full of energy. It’s fluid and fun and is for more of a bar brawl or wrestling match.

Whereas Steel for Humans from the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a bit more lively and mysterious. Don’t let the name fool you into thinking it’s a song designed for specifically fighting humans, the song blends well with battles against monsters too. Marcin PrzybyƂowicz and Percival’s use of hymnic chanting combined with strings and drums evokes fast-paced action combat.

Dragon Age is one of our favorite game series and it’s full of captivating music composed by Trevor Morris, especially Inquisition. Without spoiling the ending to the Trespasser DLC, the Trespasser – Qunari Battle theme is perhaps one of my all time favorite battles songs. It’s full of deep pounding drums and low bassy strings making it feel all the more powerful when facing a massive horde or singular powerful enemy – such as the Qunari.

If you’re looking for a lengthier song to leave on for eight minutes, The Blasted Heath by Stuart Chatwood is a great choice. It is from DLC The Color of Madness for Darkest Dungeon and is absolutely epic. It stands out as a solid pick for larger battles with several enemies or one where the villain can monologue for a few minutes before rolling initiative.

Descent into the Depths by Midnight Syndicate is one that can be used to setup a battle and be used during it as well. It’s ominous slow tones make it perfect for pairing with villains the characters know or ones dungeon masters use a few times before building an encounter focused specifically on them. Perhaps they are in the background while their minions fight the party and then flee during to pursue the characters another day.


Setting up battle music really sets the tone for any fight. Having upbeat and rhythmic tracks allows for a deeper and more thought provoking sequence of events. It makes any encounter feel more epic, like a fantasy movie. Next time for Bardic Inspiration we’re sticking with the battle theme but are focusing on boss fights or the BBEG.

D&D / TTRPGs, News, Video Games

Legend of Zelda has a Tabletop RPG

The Legend of Zelda is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Since 1986, there have been more than two dozen games in the series. Nintendo even developed Zelda Clue, chess, and Monopoly, but have yet to make any official tabletop role-playing game of the franchise. Fear not heroes, for if you ever wanted to explore Hyrule in a nonlinear fashion, there is The Legend of Zelda: Reclaim the Wild.

The fan-made TTRPG Reclaim the Wild is made by Elemental Knight and is as detailed as Zelda lore. It’s a 279 page book chock-full of information on how to build a character, craft equipment, and build a world for players to explore. It’s based off of Breath of the Wild and features many aspects carried over directly from the Switch game. It’s a way for fans and newcomers to mold their own stories in a familiar setting.

Tabletop RPGS provide so much freedom for both dungeon masters and players. It also takes inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons although instead of using the standard d20 system D&D players may be used to, Reclaim the Wild uses a unique 2d6 system to determine attacks and ability checks.

Players can choose to create a Gerudo, Goron, Hylian, Rito, Sheikah, and Zora and even some more obscure races such as a Deku, Demon, Fairy, Subrosian, Talking Animal, and Twili. Everything is presented in a nice and neat document making it easy to find. Even magic spells and effects are simple to understand. There isn’t as much confusion when determining the difference between D&Ds 15th level wizard having only eighth level spells. Characters use magic and, depending on the spell, can get the magic back during a fight or immediately after.

Reclaim the Wild has a rest system similar to D&D as well. Many effects, magical or otherwise, are restored after a short rest or extended rest. One such aspect is also songs, a mechanic featured heavily in the Legend of Zelda series. Characters can learn songs to help them solve puzzles or create a magical effect. For instance, Epona’s Song summons Epona in the games but it has been amplified to summon companions in the tabletop version. If a character has bonded with a companion they can play the song and call them to their location instantly.

Old School RPGs - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Reclaim the Wild is a passionate project dedicated to the Zelda franchise. It’s a stunning example of the power of storytelling. The Zelda series has always inspired us to travel and adventure in our campervan. If you want to check out more of the free tabletop game and can be downloaded on the game’s website.