Hello all and welcome to Rise of Vigil previews! Very soon, players will be able to get their hands on a copy of the newest Ascension expansion by coming to find us at PAXEast Booth 548, by preordering through our Ascension Online Paypal Campaign or by visiting your friendly local game store starting on April 3rd. I’m here to talk about some of the new mechanics available in Rise of Vigil and to kick off our week of previews leading up to PAX East.
Rise of Vigil is my favorite Ascension set since the original Chronicle of the Godslayer. The play pattern feels fun and different, but still retains the best parts of classic Ascension game play. This is in large part due to the introduction of a new card type and new mechanic.
The new card type introduced in Rise of Vigil is Treasure. Treasure cards don’t take up slots in the center row. Whenever they are flipped, you keep adding cards to that space until you hit a Hero, Construct, or Monster. Whenever you acquire or defeat the top card, you get to acquire all the treasure underneath it for free.
Once you have acquired a treasure card, you play them from your hand just like Heroes. All treasure in Rise of Vigil are Energy Shards:
Energy Shards represent powerful crystals that have recently appeared in the world of Vigil. The denizens of the land have learned to use the power of these mysterious shards to unlock new abilities. Each Energy Shard generates an Energy for the turn and lets you draw a card, thus not taking up a “slot” in your hand. This makes it pretty much always good to have more Energy Shards in your deck. Energy is used to turn on Energize powers on Monsters, Heroes, and Constructs.
Unlike other resources like Power and Runes, Energy is not “spent” on your turn. Once you have enough energy, you can turn on as many Energize powers as you want. For example, if you had two Energy on your turn, you could turn on the Energize powers of both cards shown above!
One of the design objectives of Rise of Vigil was to shake up the normal way that you evaluate cards. Very often in Ascension, it’s correct to buy the most expensive thing you can on the board. Treasure cards change that equation because sometimes it’s more important to add energy to your deck rather than to buy the most powerful card In addition, some cards are worth a lot more to a given player because they already have the energy to power it. For example, a card like Blackwatch Vanquisher can serve as either a lowly Heavy Infantry, or a mighty Emri depending on your supply of energy.
Another key design objective in Rise of Vigil was to create more of what I like to call “ca-ching” moments – think of the sound of a slot machine paying off. “Ca-ching” moments are those times when there is a build-up of dramatic tension and the perfect card or incredibly rare situation comes up that can make or break a player’s game. The drama of flipping cards off the center row grows when a pile of treasure starts to build up and you hope that the card that ends up on top is one you can acquire or defeat. This is further emphasized by special fate cards in the set that create swingy game effects but only if they are revealed on top of treasure cards.
Ascension is at its best when there is a balance between the strategic choices you make and the variance the game throws at you that can throw a wrench into the best laid plans. The energy resource itself plays into this well. Since cards in your hand can have very different effects depending on if you get the right combination of energy with them, there is increased drama and game variance as you hope to draw the right cards to power-up all of your best energize cards – and because each Energy Shard draws a card itself, you get a lot more of these “topdeck” moments. Better players will learn how to build their deck to get the right combination of energize cards and energy, but everyone has a chance to live the dream and turn on powerful effects like these.
I hope this introduction to the major mechanics in Rise of Vigil has you excited to play. We have a lot more previews we will be posting on our Facebook page, so please be sure to like us there and come say hello if you’ll be at PAX East next week!