I like to play board game apps. It’s a fun way to get a game in when I have the urge but don’t have the people around to play. Some of these apps have either a really nice AI or online options where I can play friends or strangers from all around the world. It’s a wonderful world of internet communication and lightning fast connections we live in.
Back when I first purchased an iPad and not long after I got into the board gaming hobby, Ascension on ios dropped followed very quickly by my jaw doing the same thing. As far as board game apps go there are some that really miss the opportunity to be a solid port of the original game. Ascension is not one of those. This port is one of the best around.
The wonderful thing about this app is that it’s super easy to learn. When you attempt to make an illegal move it stops you or simply doesn’t let you try it. You learn through attrition whether you want to or not. The game is pretty intuitive for anyone familiar with card drafting games like Dominion, but Ascension’s ios port allows you to learn on the fly.
Then you have the DLC’s. I for one am not a particular fan of downloadable content or expansions in the gaming world when it becomes clear that the companies are simply trying to prolong a cash cow. I think it can be a cheap way to make money, though it’s capitalism so I won’t complain too much. That being said, any time the crew at Playdeck drops a new DLC expansion for the app I can’t buy it fast enough. With each expansion you get more game and new opportunities. You can pick and choose the expansions you want added to your game and each one includes new artwork not only for the cards but for player avatars. It’s a sweet little system they have working over there at Playdeck and while buying all promos and expansions can get a little pricey (roughly $26 for everything as of this article’s publication) they aren’t entirely necessary. I’ll find myself turning off all expansions from time to time just to play the base game. That’s not something I can claim for Dominion. The card sets in Ascension work well together and after more than 100 plays I have yet to get tired of or frustrated with any cards or how they play.
That brings me to my next point. The replayability of this app is phenomenal. The game is fun. Add to that the vast array of different options with DLC expansions and you can play all manner of different versions of the game until your thumbs hurt.
One negative I will mention is using the game on different devices. There’s no real difference when using it on an iPhone compared to an iPad. The game is virtually the same and I’m not sure I’ve ever had it crash on me. Instead my negative comes from an aesthetic desire more than anything else. The iPhone version is just too darn small. You can double click a card to see what it does but that gets old pretty quick. The iPad version is large enough that you can see and read the card’s text most of the time. While I know the game pretty well and don’t require reading all the cards all the time, sometimes I just get tired of double clicking the card to read the text even the few times I have to do it. If I’m going to play this I prefer it on the iPad. If I have to play a game on my iPhone I will, but no one has ever forced me to play a game at gun point so I think I’m safe choosing my preferred medium of ios Ascension gameplay.
Final verdict is this game is a must play. The price can be steep if you get everything but its well worth the money. And as I’ve mentioned before you don’t have to buy any DLC expansions and you’ll still have a wonderful time. If you’re a fan of the original table top version you owe it to yourself to try this one out.
If you see me at a convention with my face buried in my iPad, or God forbid my iPhone, rest assured I’m most likely playing a game of Ascension.
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