Solitaire Ascension

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I've received a lot of notes on playing Ascension using the Solitaire variant so I thought I would take some time to chat about it here.  I was hoping to provide a video of this as well, but alas dear readers, daemon's from the 18th dimension of Cortaxia have stolen our previous video making machines and made off with them... well, that's another story.


So, Ascension... Ascension is a great game in 2, 3, 4 or even up to 6 player mode using the base set and expansions!  It's always different, and extremely beautiful with the unique artwork of Eric Sabee gracing the cardboard.  However, strap in, as playing in solitaire mode is like no other game of Ascension you have ever played before.


First, what are the rules?  Well, simple:


  • Place 50 Honor on the table
  • Set up the game as normal, with the common cards on the left, the center deck and Void on the right, and all 6 cards placed out to make the starting center row.
  • When a card is acquired or defeated, all cards shift from left to right, with the new card from the center deck being placed furthest left in the center row
  • At the end of your turn, your "opponent" takes their turn and is considered to acquire or defeat the two most right cards in the center row.
  • The cards your "opponent" acquires are placed in a pile off to the side.
  • Monsters you "opponent" defeats gain him honor, but they do not gain any additional benefits
  • Play until the last Honor token is taken from the center pool and if you have more Honor than your opponent, then you win!


Note that "Opponent" is in quotes as depending on which set(s) of Ascension you are playing with, your opponent will be either the Avatar of the Fallen (from Chronicle of the Godslayer), Samael the Fallen (from Return of the Fallen) or Nemesis (from Storm of Souls).  If you combine sets, well, honestly, just pick whomever you want to play against name wise... trust me, they are ALL formidable opponents.


The hardest thing to get used to is the "new cards enter from the left" rule.  It takes a game or to to get used to shift everything right when a card is acquired or defeated, but once you get that mechanic down, it goes pretty smooth. That is, until you realize that every turn, your "opponent" is acquiring two cards, acquiring one and defeating a monster, or worse, defeating two monsters!  If you haven't realized it yet, that racks up... and quick!


So what are some of the strategies for playing solitaire? Well, much like regular Ascension, you'll want to focus early game on either Power or Runes.  Mixing acquisitions of both types of card early on nearly always spells defeat. Additionally, it behooves you to lengthen the game as much as possible, so most people like going after Runes of Power. This will mean your "opponent" will be defeating almost every monster that hits the table in the beginning of the game, but if you can pace it out, and snipe the smaller weenies when you can, this strategy will more often than not, win in the end due to the extreme buying power you'll have late game.  In one game of solitaire using only Storm of Souls, I was able, in one turn, to acquire the following beauts:


Yes, 20 points worth of beautiful Runes in one hand!  And, I barely won that game!  Still, as challenging as this format is, it's something I've grown to love.  It forces you to ask yourself what's important to win in this format, not just win as you would normally.  While yes, the goal is the same, at times, you will find yourself not going after a smaller cost card that normally may benefit your deck, to only snap up or defeat something worth a bit more honor, purely in the "hate draft" mode of ensuring your "opponent" won't score it the next turn.


Cards with the ability to banish from the center row also become worth gold in this format, as they allow you the ability to strategically stop your "opponent" from acquiring or defeating those fatties when there is no hope of you acquiring or defeating them yourself.


This is a great format and one that has kept me engaged with one of my favorite games, even on nights my group can't get together, or if our action isn't as much as we'd like it to be.  Now... if they can just get this live in the App... and yes, the App on Android... 


Either way, I hope you enjoy this insight and would love to hear some of your great moves in Solitaire, or what some other variants you like to play as well, solo or in a group!




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Comments: 2
  • #1

    The Gambit (Monday, 27 May 2013 11:39)

    Grabbed a used copy of Ascension and RotF last night. Didn't have a group to play with, but couldn't wait to dig in. Decided to play the solitaire variant. Lost the first game, but the second time around I'd figured out how to go about it. This is one of my more intense rounds: Ended up with a ton of cards that let me draw more cards, and a bunch of Mechana Constructs that triggered a ton of additional effects. It was intense. Played about a dozen cards that round, and had a dozen or more constructs by the end of the game.

  • #2

    critshappen (Monday, 27 May 2013 16:38)

    That's awesome, I'm glad you're enjoying it! Solitaire Ascension is highly underrated in my opinion and a great way to enjoy the game!

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