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star realms

Star Realms is an awful lot like Ascension. It includes the mechanic of multiple cards in the same faction reinforcing each other that Ascension didn’t add until a later expansion, some cards let you trash them for a benefit, its equivalent of constructs can be attacked, and of course many of the card effects are […]

ascension: dawn of champions

I don’t have much to say about the latest Ascension expansion, Ascension: Dawn of Champions. The new mechanism never super grabbed me, and when I had spare moments, I was more likely to play Alphabear; I ended up not even giving the multiplayer a try. (Though, incidentally, Miranda and I have started playing the original […]

ascension: rise of vigil

Some of the Ascension sequels I’ve enjoyed as much as the original; sadly, Rise of Vigil was not one of them. The new mechanic this time is a third currency, called “energy”: unlike the other two currencies, though, this one doesn’t go away until the end of the turn. Instead, many cards gain special effects […]

ascension: immortal heroes

It took me a little while to warm up to Ascension: Immortal Heroes, but I eventually ended up liking it quite a bit, about as much as the second expansion. It first seemed like the new mechanic, randomly acquiring a card from the original game that was valid for one turn only, added a bit […]

triple town

Like I said yesterday, we’re in a surprising heyday for match 3 variants. Of the variants I’ve played recently, I like Triple Town quite a bit more than 10000000: I get the feeling that there’s a lot of depth to the gameplay, in the way that it invites me to plot out strategies that take […]

ascension: storm of souls

I really liked the original Ascension, but I got tired of its first expansion a lot more quickly. I assumed the second thing would happen with its second expansion, Storm of Souls, but I think I may have played the new iteration almost as much as the original. It introduces two new mechanics: certain monsters […]


For a game that impressed me as much as Journey did, I’ve had a surprisingly hard time getting around to writing my wrap-up post for the game. Most of this is because of my Orsay Games post: it said so much that I wanted to say about Journey that I wasn’t sure for a while […]

ascension: return of the fallen

I don’t have a lot to say about the Return of the Fallen expansion to Ascension. I enjoyed playing it (both alone and in combination with the original set of cards), and I’m sure I went through a couple hundred games, but it didn’t have the same effect on me as the original game had. […]


I stopped playing SpaceChem two and a half months ago, but somehow other blog posts intervened, so I’m only writing about it now. Which I could use as an excuse for the complete lack of insight that I’m going to display, but the truth is: I don’t think I would have anything useful to say […]

my year of contingency and narrative

While reading Lifelode, the character who could see others’ possible futures really grabbed me. After I put down the book, though, I realized: that character didn’t grab me because that image particularly stood out in the context of the book, she grabbed me because of where my head has been recently. Because, looking back, I’ve […]


I bought Ascension to have something to play with coworkers on the way to DEF CON: there’s no iPad Dominion port, so this seemed like the next best thing. That was a little over 100 days ago; how many games have I played since then? I’m pretty sure I haven’t averaged 10 games a day, […]

spider: bryce manor hd

I was impressed enough by Randy Smith’s GDC 2009 talk “Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface” that I’ve made a point to go to his talks the last two years as well; and I quite liked his 2010 talk “Increasing Our Reach: Designing to Grab and Retain Players” as well. Because of […]