New game ascending

G'day folks. I'm delighted to bring more news about the standalone sequel to Tranquility, titled Tranquility: The Ascent. As noted in our February update blog, The Ascent is a new take on Tranquility's non-communication co-operative experience in which 1-5 players are now attempting to scale a mountain.

Card artwork in development Card artwork in development by Tristam Rossin

Gameplay

Starting at the bottom of the mountain, players are tasked with completing a pyramid-shaped grid from the base to the summit. The base of the mountain is nine cards wide, the row above that is eight and so on until the top row which consists of a single Summit card played once the rest of the grid is complete (like the Finish card in Tranquility). On your turn, a player may do one of two things: play a card or discard two cards. In Tranquility: The Ascent, cards are numbered between 1 and 12 and also in three different terrain types/colours. When playing a card next to another in the row, the player must discard the difference between the two cards e.g. placing a '7' next to a '4' would require three cards to be discarded.

Red 5 A red '5'

Rows are completed from left-to-right and the numbers on the cards can ascend, descend or remain the same. Rows can start with/be made up of any number with only one restriction: the number must be equal to or higher than the number of the row. For example, a '1' can only be played in the first row whereas numbers 8-12 can be played on any row. You also cannot play two cards of the same colour next to each other in a row.

A new row can be started once at least the first two cards in the row below have been placed. Cards must always be 'supported' by the two cards immediately below them but they do not relate to the rows above or beneath in any way i.e. the first row could start with a '10' and the next row start with a '1'.

The players win the game by completing the grid and then topping it with a Summit card. They lose when a player cannot take an action on their turn.

Difficulty level

Tranquility: The Ascent is arguably more difficult than Tranquility. Whereas in the original cards may be played anywhere in the grid (allowing for appropriate discards), the gameplay in The Ascent is more restrictive as explained above. To counteract these restrictions, there are two types of powerful cards included in the base game that are designed to aid the players: Campfires and Bridges.

Campfires and Bridges

There are three Campfire cards, one of each colour, and they are used to move cards up the mountain thus helping to fill tricky gaps. Players may also play Bridge cards which are divided between the players at the start (depending on player count) with the remainder shuffled into the deck. These are temporary locations used to help the players traverse the mountain. However, they must be covered by a legal card before the players can win.

Expansion modules

As per Tranquility, we're including three mini-expansions to provide replayability and extra levels of challenge for players who start to win more frequently. The easiest to add in is the Green Path module in which players must create a continuous trail of green cards from the bottom of the mountain to the top. Next we have Panorama cards which highligh specific card sequences that must be captured on camera. And finally, Mountain Goats provide the sternest challenge. When cards with the mountain goat symbol are placed, a goat is spawned on it and the majority of goats must be herded to the summit by the end of the game. This module introduces a new action: discard a card to herd one group of goats up one row in the mountain. Pleasingly, they work very well together and could actually be combined to provide the most epic (and difficult) Tranquility: The Ascent experience.

Kickstarter plans

We are currently aiming to launch Tranquility: The Ascent on Kickstarter in May. The artwork featured in this blog is not final, and still in development, while playtesting is 99% complete. We can't wait to show you more of the art and physical prototypes when they're ready.

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