What is this game about?
Ascension is an early deck building game designed by former pro Magic: The Gathering players. It is a game in which players begin with the same cards available to them, but quickly build differentiated decks as they acquire new cards from different factions. The main currencies of the game are power (used to defeat monster cards) and runes (used to buy hero and construct cards). The ultimate goal is to acquire cards that allow you to end up with the most honor points at the end of the game. Cards are purchased from a market row that is formed by drawing cards from a common deck. Part of winning the game is being flexible and responding to what cards are actually available, regardless of any overarching strategies you want to try.
There is an entire story behind Ascension, which has released several internally consistent blocks of expansions over the years. I have only played games from the first block: Ascension: Deckbuilding Game, Ascension: Storm of Souls, and Ascension: Return of the Fallen.
How does it play solo?
Ascension has an official solo variant that was released with the Storm of Souls expansion. To play solo, players battle against an "opponent" who gains points by consuming the two rightmost cards on the market row at the end of each turn. Strategy in the solo variant of Ascension heavily depends on being able to deny high-value cards to the opponent, as well as to acquire them yourself.
I used to really enjoy the solo variant of Ascension, but I almost never take it off of the shelf anymore. I have discovered too many other, more thematically robust deck builders that I would rather play instead. The solo variant of Ascension is light and can be entertaining, but I would not purchase the game just for solo mode. Because your opponent in that version of the game endlessly devours cards, you don't have the time or space to develop interesting strategies or experiment with card interactions the way you would when facing off against a human player. That ultimately made the solo game less appealing to me.
One way to play Ascension solo without the physical game, however, is to play it on the app—an experience I do still recommend. The app has all expansions and decent AI, as well as the option to play against other people online if you are curious about branching out from solo play.
Do I recommend it?
I do not recommend that you purchase Ascension with the intention of playing it as a primarily solo game. I do recommend the app, and I think that Ascension is fun when played against other people.
Overall Rating: 2 stars (3 stars if you're playing on the app)
5 stars: I love it!
4 stars: I really like it.
3 stars: I like it.
2 stars: It's okay.
1 star: Meh.