Ascension: Delirium preview!

Hello Ascension players! I am happy to announce the upcoming release of the next Ascension set, Delirium, on July 20th. If you’d like to make sure you can get your hands on a copy, preorder it here.


In Delirium, a new portal to the Dreamscape has opened. With it, the very fabric of reality in New Vigil is being warped into a state of chaos. Players will harness this power through Insight (icon), gaining them access to powerful tools in an effort to combat the forces of Delirium. Today, I am going to talk about the new mechanics featured in the set.


Delirium largely revolves around a returning mechanic, Insight, which was introduced in our previous expansion Dreamscape. Insight is a resource that players accumulate over the course of many turns because it doesn’t deplete at the end of your turn. The primary way to gain Insight is through Dreamborn cards. When a Dreamborn card enters the center row, all players gain one Insight. In addition, when a player acquires a Dreamborn card, that player gains one Insight. There are also card effects and Monster rewards that will grant Insight.

Now that we have gone over how Insight works, let’s talk about what you can use the resource for in Ascension: Delirium.



The Delirium Die


You read that right. In Ascension: Delirium there is a six-sided die called the Delirium Die! During a player’s turn, that player can choose to spend 5 Insight to roll the die. Each side of the die has a different output listed and the player rolling will gain the effect of the side they roll. The sides are: Banish up to 1 card, draw 2 cards, gain 3 Runes, gain 4 Power, gain 5 Honor and gain 6 Insight. You can roll the die any number of times in a turn, so keep rolling the 6!

I’d guess that many of our serious players have mixed feelings when it comes to a mechanic like this. Our experience has been both very exciting and challenging with the Delirium Die. There is absolutely luck involved with the mechanic (duh!), but there is also a surprising amount of skill involved with its use. Since Insight is a resource that can be stored from turn to turn, deciding when the right time is to roll the die is critical. One of the challenging things about tabletop games and card games is figuring out how to maximize your opportunities, given the variance that exists in the game and it’s mechanics. This mechanic is no different, so I hope that all of our fans, from the most casual to the most advanced will enjoy the Delirium die as much as we have.


ASC013-cards-v7-Gary31_previewSome Hero cards in Delirium have the ability to Recur. When you play a Hero with Recur, first execute the card text listed above the Recur keyword. Once that is done, you then make a decision whether you want to spend Insight to activate Recur. If you do, spend the amount of Insight listed in the card text and execute the card text listed above Recur one more time. You can only use a card’s Recur ability once when you play it.

The main goal with Recur was to make a fun and simple way to utilize your Insight. Players can pick up a Recur card like Dreamscape Dryad and have a consistent and easy way to convert their Insight into points when they play it. As players play more with Delirium, they can start to unpack the complexity around this decision. Some games, you will want to use the Dryad as much as possible, ending the game quickly. Other games, you might be better off saving your Insight for something else.

With a card like Emma Ironheart, players who are able to construct a proper deck to pair with her will be rewarded immensely with her Recur ability. This tests a different type of skill in Ascension within the same mechanic.

Fate: Auction

ASC013-cards-v7-Gary30_previewIn Ascension: Delirium, Fate is back but in a very new way. These Fate cards will trigger an Auction. As soon as a Fate: Auction card is revealed, the game pauses and an auction begins. Auctions start with the active player and move clockwise. When it is your turn to bid, you must bid Insight higher than the previous bid (minimum one). If you don’t increase the bid, you are out of the Auction. Last person in the Auction spends the Insight they bid to gain the effect listed on the card.

Auctions are one of the most interactive mechanics we have ever had in Ascension. Taking into account the state of the game, how much Insight your opponents have, and what they can potentially do with the auction reward are all crucial to mastering this mechanic. I personally have loved the mind games involved with making bids in the mid-to-late game (even though my coworkers are getting the better of me 90% of the time!).


What about the Monsters?

ASC013-cards-v7-Gary40_preview While we have no special name for the mechanics within this set of Monsters, I will say that Delirium is one of our favorite expansions to date when it comes to the Monster defeating strategy. Many monsters have their own form of Insight use that allows you to increase their Rewards by paying Insight.

The Demon Pups are a great example of this. When you defeat this Monster, if you are willing to pay one Insight, you can draw an additional card. This turns an otherwise average output Monster to a great value in the right circumstance. This little bit of extra control results in players focusing primarily on Monster killing having many more options in Delirium than they would typically have.





There is much more!

One last thing I’d like to talk about before wrapping this up, is a more story-focused element to Ascension: Delirium. Some of you might notice this character seems a little bit out of her normal state…











Cetra, our Lifebound celestial Goddess, is… a Void Hero? Many of our traditional Ascension Heroes have warped their faction in Delirium. Some of their followers who were journeying with them into the Dreamscape have also been warped.

The Voidspeaker is one of these followers. As you can see with both cards, we blurred the lines between a typical Void card and their original Lifebound forms. Be on the lookout for the other pairs in other factions in the coming weeks on our Facebook page!

It has been an honor to present to you another Ascension expansion. I look forward to hearing your reactions and talking with many of you at Gen Con about it!

-Gary Arant


Cultist Program



Are you passionate about games?  Do you want to see and give feedback on Stone Blade Entertainment’s newest games before the public sees them?  Interested in a free trip to San Diego to play games with me and the rest of the Stone Blade team? Then the SBE Cultist Team is for you.

Our Team is looking for dedicated, passionate players and designers to work with us and help design and develop new games.  We are looking for people with great work ethics, communication skills, initiative, and passion. Selected candidates will be expected to run local playtest groups in their home town and send regular feedback to the SBE team.  In addition, SBE will host bi-weekly calls teaching principles of game design and openly discussing our *top secret* new games and projects. After the initial 3 month period, top performing candidates will be flown out all-expenses paid to sunny San Diego for a weekend of fun, designing, gaming and connecting with the SBE crew!  Sound fun? In order to apply, you’ll need to fill out the application form here.

This is an exciting opportunity to see inside the process of how games are made and to influence the design of games you love.  If you think this is for you, fill out the form by June 20th, 2018. We will notify candidates who are accepted by July 3rd.

We are all excited to see your submissions and to meet many of you in the fall for our San Diego Summit!

-Justin Gary


Ascension: Lore – “Shattered”

Zora Tonné woke up screaming. She thrashed around, tangled in blankets. It felt like someone had split her head with an ax, mind broken open, visions pouring out into the room: sadistic giants, wailing spirits, and blood-hungry demons. She’d been slipping into the timestream for years, but over the past few months, what were once exhausting visions, had become destructive episodes.

Muscles twitched, and tendons strained as Zora began to convulse. She reached out for the bed frame. The uneven legs pounded into the floorboards. “Enough,” she moaned and dug her nails deep into the wood.

“Enough. That’s enough!” The whole room was shaking. The window rattled, and she watched with one open eye as the latch that held it from swinging open loosened. “No,” Zora shouted, but the window slid free, and she closed eyes tight, waiting for the sound of broken glass.

But the sound never came, and in an instant, the vision was over. Just the sharp creak of a rusty hinge and Zora’s own heavy breaths.

For a while, Zora laid there in bed, throat dried out and nauseous from dehydration. She stared at the window and breathed a sigh of relief that she wouldn’t have to replace it again. Hopefully, not tonight, at least.

Thirsty, she reached out toward a small table where a water jug sat; finely decorated and out of place in her little home. A gift from her son, the great war hero. The black clay jug was inlaid with gold and depicted the four factions of Vigil underneath a rain of crystals; fragments of a long forgotten god’s prison.

The day the shards came down was the day Zora had her first vision: she watched her son dragged to his death on Azerax’s Hook, killed for a handful of those awful black shards. Ever the skeptic, she failed to warn him, and the jug remained a harsh reminder of the reality of her divinations.

Zora put the spout to her lips and drank in huge gulps, water trickling down her cheek. Stopped to breathe, and swallowed again. The thirst was gone, but her head still ached. She placed the jug on the floor, closed her eyes and pressed her hands to her temples, a futile attempt to squeeze the pain out.

A sudden flash of light and she fell forward, hit the ground hard, and tumbled into the wall. The window swung open, she reached up, almost instinctively, and caught it before it smashed against the frame.

The jug was tipped over, water pooling up by the rim, and dripping down between floorboards. Zora stared into the pooling water. Bubbles started to form in the liquid, and a moment later it was boiling, evaporating into steam, filling the room.

Visions appeared all around her in the mist, this time much more clearly than before. Not a blurred hallucination or a murky scene in a puddle of water, this was something more precise, more vivid. She felt as though she was somewhere else, not seeing the future, but experiencing the present from a timeless place.

A dark-skinned monk in a red robe hovered in the center of a barren marble room. Golden ribbons of cloth spiraled around him like the rings of a planet. His eyes were closed, and he seemed to be meditating.

“Who are you?” Zora asked.

“I am…” the monk whispered. “I am…” He paused, and He furrowed his brow. Contemplating the question, not quite able to find the answer.

“Why am I here?”

“I brought you-” He stopped, the room fell silent. The monk twisted his head, cracked the bones in his neck, and started again: “I wanted-”

His eyes burst open. White fire burned from underneath his eyelids. “ I…am.” The monk bit off the words.

Zora screamed, turned to run, but behind here there was only empty space. Nowhere to run.

There was a crack of thunder, and the monk’s head began to split open along the crown of his skull, blinding white light beamed out. He pressed his hand on the crack as if to hold in the energy.

The monk was repeating his words, “I-am-I-am-I-am-I-am-,” mumbling like a madman. All the energies of the universe spiraled around him, and Zora could feel an unfathomable power reaching out. The monk was something more, not a man, but a god.

“No more,” she cried.

In an instant, they were face to face. He was gripping Zora’s shoulders. She could feel the fire from his eyes, burning her skin. “You must…,” he hissed.

“Let me go, it burns, let me go.” She was sobbing now, trying to rip his hands off her shoulders, but they were heavy as the mountains.

“You must…get help.” Void energy, thick as blood, poured out of his mouth, dripped onto the ground.

“Please,” she begged. “Let me go.”

A thousand voices filled the room, “We will all die!” A chorus of madness. “You will see.”

Visions appeared all around her: clockwork forests billowing smoke, liquid energy from the void pulsing through human veins, organic metals growing from the ground and cultivated by mechanized druids. The realms unraveling and then blending together, technologies merging, Vigil turned upside down and shaken like some mad alchemists brew.

The monk lifted her off the ground, “I will unmake us all,” he hissed. Then hurled her into her room. Zora skidded across the floor, hit her head hard on the corner of the bed. The last thing she saw before she passed out was the moon’s shining light through the unbroken window.

Zora woke up to the sound of rain. She dragged herself to her feet and looked out into the distance, droplets of rain rattled against the window. The world had a new glow to it, the forest outside her home seemed distorted, the birds slightly misshapen. A result of hitting her head or was the world truly different?

She inhaled deeply, and in the back of her head: a voice. Her lips parted, and she said a word. A name. His name.


And the window shattered.