7 things about life I learned from the game Ascension – Part 1

21 01 2013

1. Have a plan but be flexible

A generally good beginner’s strategy is to concentrate exclusively on runes or power right from the beginning. The basic theory here is that if you concentrate on one resource only you have a better chance of purchasing/defeating good cards of that resource on a given turn than you would if you “split” your strategy and end up being mediocre in both areas.

Specialization can be very powerful, but it is limited by the circumstances of what is available. While someone who specializes can run away with the game if the right cards show up, they are equally likely to be stuck with nothing useful for their one-and-only strategy in the center row.

Another common trap is over-commitment to an arbitrary strategy. Some players as soon as they buy their first Lifebound hero with Unite get this stubborn self-enforced doctrine of only buying Lifebound cards that appear from that point onward.

combustion-idol1 dandelion-witch1

It is tempting to chase a given strategy with cards like these.

Rather than thinking of it in terms of Plan A and Plan B, think of your potential paths in slightly more indistinct terms. I like to conceptualize the “Plan A, Plan B” model as “Plan Red, Plan Yellow,” but what I am really wanting to end up with is a “Plan Red” and a “Plan Orange.” That is to say, ideally my secondary plan can feed off of the things that I’ve already put into place for my primary plan, at least in an indirect way. A great example of this would be a Mechana/Runes strategy where if the Mechana cards I want aren’t showing up then at least I have the rune-heavy buying cards that I’ve been stocking up on in order to buy those Mechana constructs.

syril scrapflinger

These cards very potent with the right combos, but are still useful by themselves; a good example of versatility and being able to transition to different strategies.

On the other hand, you also need to have a keen awareness of when you really are committed to a given strategy and also have an awareness of when taking a certain action will commit you to a strategy. If you’re already 12 turns deep and have several cards that basically do nothing without comboing with other cards of the specific strategy, it is only going to hurt you to try and change course then.


There are some cards that are pretty worthless without accompanying combo cards. If you are stranded with several of them already you had better make a point of pursuing those combos or they will be useless for the entire game.

Goal-oriented decision making can sometimes corner us into difficult situations where we hit an unexpected hurdle and end up stagnating if the situation is not optimal for that particular goal. It is often better to set more than one goal such that you will be more likely to have a productive path towards meeting one or both given what is immediately available to you, especially if those goals are complimentary to each other in some way.



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