Category Archives: Ashes


Ashes First Play

Yesterday I finally got round to playing a couple of games of Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn. Jonathan founding member of Fenland Gamers (if you live in the Wisbech area and love board games you really should be giving it serious thought about joining, they are a really friendly bunch of gamers.) kindly said he would play the game with me.
Before we met up I had already built two of the suggested pre-built decks for two of the Phoenixborn (well over a week before actually). The basis for deciding which two to play was “oh they look cool”.

Our first game was a learning game, with constant referencing to the rules as we both embarked on a steep learning curve. In the first game I played Aradel, while Jonathan played Noah.

Neither of us knew the cards in each deck, didn't know the combos, or how we should be playing them. What should our five starting cards have been?

Wow what a mismatch. Noah was all about reacting to the actions of the opposing Phoenixborn with the odd bit of direct damage from his allie character. While Aradel was all about the offensive building up her forces, clearing the opponents battlefield and swinging in for her damage.

It wasn't long before I had six mist spirits out on the battlefield, doing six points of damage in total to Noah each time they attacked. With Aradels spells, every time Jonathan got a unit on to his battlefield I was sending them straight back. I was starting to feel bad about doing this.

Aradel was certainly the much stronger Phoenixborn to be playing. It was easier and quicker to get units out on the battlefield, and much easier to control the opposing Phoenixborns battlefield.

It also seemed that Jonathan was getting through his thirty card deck a lot faster than I was.

Our second game saw Jonathan and I swap Phoenixborn. Jonathan was playing Aradel, while I was playing Noah.
We both looked through our new decks, working out which five cards to use as our starting hand. I spotted a combination that bought on two spider units when a unit of mine was destroyed. I also loaded up two of the same spell that would allow me to focus the spell and summon a wolf unit cheaply.
I got a wolf and a couple of spiders out early. I also noted a combination between a smoke type demon that with a spell I had could become real and be even more harder to get rid of.
Sadly I had a hard time keeping forces out on the battlefield, I did a reasonable job of slowing down the mist spirits engine. But the inevitable happened and my Phoenixborn was knocked out.
Afterwards Jonathan commented how he found Aradel a lot easier to play, and he had also paid attention to how I had played her.

Reflecting on Noah and the pre-constructed deck, I think the decks they suggest in the manual are there to teach/illustrate different playing styles/techniques. Noah's I believe is to teach about reaction and counter spells. But in doing so I believe the Noah pre-constructed deck is under powered. It will be interesting to see how he does against some of the other Phoenixborn.

I have to say that I owe Jonathan a really big thank you. This living card game/collectable card game format is not one of his favourite style of games. So I really appreciate the fact he tried the game.

Finally New Arrivals

First up the latest expansion for Machi Koro arrived Millionaires Row

The latest Love Letter, Love Letter Adventure Time also arrived but no photo, because that has gone straight out as a present for a friends daughter who seems to be a big fan of the show.

The Lego Star Wars Advent Calander also arrived and has gone straight into safe keeping until the start of December. Otherwise I would have opened it all up already. Yes for some things I have no self control.


The Phoenixborn

In this the second post on Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn and the first of my posts looking at the content of the stunning box in more detail, we start off looking at the Phoenixborn themself.

In the base game, for that is what this gorgeous box is, we get six Phoenixborn. Additionally if you got the game direct from Plaid Hat (not sure if it also made it to retail too) you got an additional promo Phoenixborn.

In the rule book for each of the base game Phoenixborn there is a suggested pre-built deck for people to get playing with straight away. For the promo Phoenixborn you will have to make use of the deck building guidelines in the rule book to build a deck.

Naturally the art on the cards we are about to look at is stunning. You will probably get fed up with me saying this. But it takes my breathe away. I hope Plaid Hat games does an art book at some point.

Anatomy of a Phoenixborn card

So before we look at the actual Phoenixborn themselves it's probably best that we look at a card and what information is given on each one.

a) Name of the Phoenixborn – do I need to explain this? No really isn't it obvious?
b) Battlefield Value – this value determines the how many units a Phoenixborn can have on the battlefield at one time. In the example above that means Dimona can have a maximum of five units on her battlefield.
c) Ability – an effect that the Phoenixborn has on the game. It can be constant or needs to be activated.
d) Flavour text – oh come on I don't need to explain this.
e) Activation cost – the cost to activate the Phoenixborns ability.
f) Spellboard Value – similar in effect to the Battlefield value, the Spellboard determines the number of active spells you can have in your Spellboard. So in the example above Dimona can have a maximum of five spells in her Spellboard.
g) Life Value – nor should I have to explain this. If this reaches zero guess what? You're dead.
Ok so that is the anatomy of a Phoenixborn card. Shall we meet the Phoenixborn?

Aradel Summergaard – The Mist Guardian

Stat wise Aradel can have the largest battlefield of all the current crop of Phoenixborn. Aradel is one of the weaker life values of the Phoenixborn, so she needs to be a bit more careful and make use of that superior numbers on the battlefield to protect her.
Her Spellboard is on par with the majority of the Phoenixborn. But it's her ability that excites. Don't underestimate being able to do direct damage. This could knock out a potential defending unit before you swing your attack, or deliver that killing blow to the opposing Phoenixborn.
You can read the Plaid Hat look at Aradel and her pre-built deck HERE

Jessa Na Ni – The Bloodwoods Queen

Jessa has an ok Life Value, kind of in the middle. She also has the average sized Spellboard and Battlefield. So even though her Life Value is better than Aradel, Jessa still needs to be protective of that Life. Based on her stats I would describe Jessa as average.
Now Jessa's ability is interesting because as long as you have the dice you are able to chip away at your opponents Life Value even when it's not your turn.
You can read the Plaid Hat look at Jessa and her pre-built deck HERE.

Noah Redmoon – The Shadows of Viros

Noah is interesting. His Battlefield and Life Value are better than average, but his Spellboard Value is below average. So while he can take a little more damage, he has to think carefully about which spells he is keeping out.
Now I like it when I can mess up my opponents plans, and I like this ability precisely because of that. Interfering with your opponents plans like switching off a spell when they are counting on it for their turn could be enough to throw them off and give you that edge you need for the win.
You can read the Plaid Hat look at Noah and his pre-built deck HERE

Saria Guideman – The Cloudsea Siren

Saria has an above average Life Value, and average Battlefield and Spellboard values. These stats for me make Saria a nice all rounder.

Now you have seen my tactic for my Noise deck Windy, which is milling. I can't see why you wouldn't force a card from the opponents draw deck into the discard pile. It denies them valuable cards that could screw up their strategy, and it means them are getting through their thirty card deck quicker and to that point where having no cards to draw will hurt them. I can't see a downside at the moment because I can't see anything in the rule book limiting the maximum hand size. If you find anything out that gives a maximum hand size then I may have to re-evaluate how powerful this ability is. At the moment I love this ability.

You can read the Plaid Hat look at Saria and her pre-built deck HERE

Coal Roarkwin – The Iron Men

Good grief Coal has the lowest Life Value going of all the Phoenixborn. Luckily he has above average Battlefield and Spellboard values, because he is going to need them to protect his precious Life Value.

Coals ability is interesting. To use it you discard a card and use a side action. So as long as you have the cards you are still able to inflict damage. You aren't reliant on having the dice available. I'm not sure how Coal would fair going up against Saria and her ability, especially if they were trying to use it a lot.

You can read the Plaid Hat look at Coal and his pre-built deck HERE

Maeoni Viper – The Snakes in Silver

Ok I love this card theme wise. The art and name are so perfect. Snakes and a Cleopatra type character, brilliant.

Maeoni has the highest Life Value of all the Phoenixborn, an average Spellboard and the weakest Battlefield Value.

Her ability is nice and allows a nice boost to one units attack when you most need it.

You can read the Plaid Hat look at Maeoni and her pre-built deck HERE

Promo Phoenixborn – Dimona Odinstar

Dimona is another card I love because the art matches the name.

Dimona has an above average Spellboard and Battlefield, but not a great Life Value.

Her ability is a nice one. Being able to remove an exhaustion token is massive. It means you could attack more than once a turn with a unit. Or if a second exhaustion token has been placed on a unit, you could remove the second token meaning you can get that back the next round instead of losing it for another round. That's massive in my book.

So I hope you enjoyed this look at the games Phoenixborn. These really are beautiful cards. I'm undecided which one is right for me at the moment.


Ashes finally arrives

Finally the joyous day has come that Ashes Rise of the Phoenixborn arrived. And boy that box is even more beautiful in reality.

The art work is stunning, and the white box as the background just makes it pop. I think this has to be the best looking game box I have seen.

So let's look inside this beautiful looking box. The first thing you are treated by is even more beautiful art work. This time the cover of the games rule book.

Below that are the tokens waiting to be popped out. I love popping the tokens out, it's almost as therapeutic as popping bubble wrap.

Then at the bottom there are several packets of cards, some empty plastic bags and the dice that the game uses.

Below the promo Phoenixborn Dimona Odinstar Phoenixborn of Rayward that comes with the game when ordered from Plaid Hat Games.

In my next post on Ashes I'll start looking at the contents in more detail.


An Unofficial Fanpage for Ashes

Ok I've not got the game yet (I'm hoping Plaid Hat are posting real soon). However that hasn't stopped me starting up a new Facebook group called “The Unofficial Fanpage for Ashes Rise of the Phoenix Born“.

I'm hoping that this will become similar to the fan pages for Star Realms, Netrunner and Dicemasters a hub for fans of the game.

At the moment it's pretty lonely on there because it's just me. But then hey I only created the page five minutes ago.

I also need to find some photoshop skilled people to create a header image for the page.

So if you are interested in Ashes or a fan of the game come join me over on the new fanpage.