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 turn into cards you can play later for a one-time benefit, and most of the time there’s an active event which slightly modifies the current game and gives you a changing benefit for defeating a constantly available three-point monster. I won’t say that I wish either of these mechanisms had been in the original game—the original game’s purity is a real advantage—but they gave me something new to think about in the game, expanding my search space in an interesting way.

The new cards also worked well for me. At first, I was somewhat nonplussed by the new Mechana constructs—I found them hard to get to work together. I did figure out how to get them to work together eventually, though, and the increased difficulty of that is a good thing, because if you could load up on Mechana constructs in the earlier iterations, you were fairly unstoppable. The new Lifebound heroes worked well, enough so that I would at least consider whether I wanted to focus on a Lifebound strategy if I saw multiple Lifebound cards on the board (and, when you could pull it off, a Lifebound strategy would really dominate); and a couple of the new constructs turned into interesting strategies of their own if you could grab them early. The upshot was that I felt I had more choices both for my initial strategy and for my tactics as the game progressed; happiness all around.

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