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Interview with Justin Gary, Creator of the Ascension Deck Building Game

OK. So here’s another side to my geekiness. Board games.

I’m hooked on Ascension. It’s the staple board game (sorry, Bang!) I play with my regular gaming group next to 7 Wonders. It’s fast, easy to understand, doesn’t require much setup, and you can play with 2-4 guys. A 30 minute game is already long. So I was thrilled at the chance to interview Justin Gary of Gary Games, creator of Ascension. For those who enjoy deck building games like Dominion, Ascension takes direct precedence as a more compact but still epic deck builder. This interview talks about how Ascension was conceived as well as the latest expansion, Storm of Souls.

1. Ascension was built by pro tour Magic players — how were they inspired to come up with Ascension and what are they doing now?

I originally came up with the concept for Ascension after playing Dominion for the first time. With my background in Magic, I immediately recognized the excitement and opportunity that comes from being able to build a deck and develop a strategy during the course of a game (and without spending tons of money to collect all the cards).

After playing several games of Dominion, I noticed that once I became familiar with the piles of cards, I could plan out my entire strategy from the beginning of the game and the rest of the process was a kind of boring simulation to see what happened. Ascension spawned from the idea that you could combine the randomness of Magic booster drafts with the deckbuilding concept of Dominion. Then, I brought in my many talented Magic Pro Tour friends to test it out and refine to make the game as fast, fun, and strategically interesting as possible. I’m happy to say that all of the talented Pro Tour players involved in the initial development of the game (Rob Dougherty, Brian Kibler, John Fiorillo) are still on board today making new sets for Ascension!

[Full interview]

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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