Base Game Review
Play Time (Box): 15-30mins
Play Time (Goof): 20-60mins
Producer: Plaid Hat Games
Designer: Isaac Vega
I’ve played a variety of different constructed deck games in what I loosely refer to as my gaming career. I’ve played some of these at competitive levels, but most as a casual interest. Magic: The Gathering, Android: Netrunner, Arkham Horror: The Card Game, Yu Gi Oh: Felt This Needed a Colon Too… so much time spent playing, refining, and becoming obsessed about cool cards and combinations.
We can now add Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn to this list.
Before I decided to get myself the base box, I started having a look around at what various people felt about Ashes. The general vibe I got from reading these were “yeah it’s fun, but where does it fit in this saturated format?”… I’ll tell you were it fits.
It fits on my gorram table. Coz Ashes is fun!
HAVE YOU SEEN THE ARTWORK FOR THIS THING! DAMN IT LOOKS GOOD!
HAVE YOU SEEN THE DICE FOR THIS GAME? THEY’RE AWESOME AND TACTILE! HAVE YOU SEEN THE GAMEPLAY FOR ASHES! IT’S SO MUCH FUN!
Okay. Sorry. I’ll calm down now.
EXCEPT NO I WONT BECAUSE THE BASE GAME COMES WITH SIX DIFFERENT CHARACTERS TO PLAY AS! AND THEY’RE ALL SO UNIQUE!
Sorry. Sorry. This time I reckon I’ve NOPE I’M STILL EXCITED!
The amount of tactics and unique directions Ashes can go in is amazing. Admittedly it took me a little while to wrap my head around it. And watching some competitive matches on YouTube helped to cement a few ideas for me (check out this intense match here) But generally, Ashes is fun right out of the box.
I don’t know if anything will ever truly top my love of Android: Netrunner but an issue A:N has is the inability to decipher it right out of the box. Ashes was fun the moment we rolled our first lot of dice.
I want to spend more time messing around with various deck construction and different Phoenixborn before I give my full review. What I will mention is I’ve played every one of the basic characters which come in the set. And while I’ve got my favourites, they’ve all been enjoyable and vastly unique.
I think the idea of not only having different amounts of creatures you can have on the field, but also different amounts of spells you can keep ready to use each round, different abilities, and different signature cards keeps things fresh with Ashes. The ability to have any combination of ten dice, and the huge amounts of manipulation in those dice allow for some incredible strategy and hard choices.
There are only two elements of Ashes which I find frustrating. And look, one of them isn’t even really the game’s fault. But we’ll get there in a moment.
Excuse me again readers, I feel a yelling coming on:
WHY DOES YOUR RULEBOOK SUCK EGGS! SERIOUSLY! IT MIGHT AS WELL DOUBLE AS AN OMLETTE MAKER!
I hate this so much. Ah! Look, I spoke before about how I learn games. But I have some major issues with the Ashes rulebook. There’s so much which isn’t clear. I feel the Attacking and Defending section of the rulebook really needed to be fleshed out, with more examples. I wouldn’t even worry about the rulebook to be honest. Just go see Watch it Played:
And Plaid Hat… listen. You cannot give me some of the coolest artwork I’ve seen on a game and then not give me much in the way of story in the box. I had to go trawling through your forums to find tidbits. Not good enough.
The second issue I have is the fact Ashes doesn’t have a large community. There is a community, but it deserves to be so much bigger. Look, I understand there are a lot of collectible and living games out there, but I cannot urge you enough to give Ashes a try. I would love to see this community grow.
I’ve already started tearing decks apart and constructing them in new ways. I’m excited to start really getting into Ashes more. My biggest worry now is not being able to find enough people to play with.
I got my copy through Tabletop Wonderland
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