Ascension: Drawing Cards

Sep 06 2011

I’m still playing Ascension a fair amount, and still trying to figure it out. I went through a big “trash your cards” binge, and in general that’s clearly a good idea. I had a game recently, though, where I managed to get a bunch of cards that let you draw more cards: after five or so rounds, I had two cards that let you draw two cards, one that lets you draw three cards, and as the game went on I got a few more that let you draw a single card. (And I also got a card that lets you draw two cards and banish one.)

In fact, such a high percentage of cards in my hand let me draw other cards to replace them after playing them that, as the game went on, I ended up going through all of my hand (or almost all, maybe all but two cards in my hand was a little more realistic) in most of the rounds in the second half of the game.

And, as you might expect, I steamrollered my computer opponent—I could buy or (usually) kill whatever I wanted every round, so I ended up with high value card after high value card. If I’m remembering correctly, the final score was 104 to 52, which is a ridiculous total and a ridiculous margin of victory.

Clearly I can’t count on such luck at the start of the game; but at least now I realize the potential when the possibility appears. And it’s yet another reminder of the value of dense hands. In fact, I’m thinking now that I should experiment more with not buying cards even when I have the opportunity to do so: yes, I’ll lose a few victory points in the short term by doing that, but the density benefits could easily outweigh that.

What I don’t have any feel for at all is how to balance profit versus capabilities. In general, I lean towards purchasing power rather than killing power, but ultimately killing monsters is the easiest way to rack up victory points, and they have the advantage that they don’t clog up your hand. Something to work on…


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