Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of the game, and may receive a production copy should it fund in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this preview you can check it out below. Get your own copy here.
One of my biggest disappointments last year was that Tessera from BoardGame Hub did not fund. I will go so far as to say it is the best game I have previewed to not fund. So when BoardGameHub reached out with another game to check out, this one the spiritual successor to the wildly successful Tranquility I was down.
In Tranquility Ascent you, and your co-players are striving to build a mountain together. Now before you say anything, I am aware that the building of the mountain represents you actually climbing the mountain, but I am trying to paint a picture here! Then depending on which, if any modules you are playing with you might be moving goats around the mountain, or seeking to create a path of green tiles from the bottom to the top.
Each turn a player will either play a tile, or discard. If at any point you are unable to discard or play a tile then you lose. It is as simple as that. Well not really. You see you have to place a tile next to an existing one, and you can never place a tile above one, without having built out everything below it. Then each tile has numbers on it, and you have to discard the difference between the two numbers. Not only that, but you can never place a tile with a number that is lower than the current level of the mountain.
This creates a situation where you not only have to look at how many cards you will have to discard when placing a card, but you have to look ahead to see how many cards this new one might make you discard in the future. If you are able to place the top piece of the mountain you win!
So what do I think?
Simplicity, and portability. This is a small box game, that only has a few rules to it, though with its variable modules, there is quite a bit of variety in the box. For those who prefer a solo challenge, this game has it. It works well, and is only margianally different than the core gameplay.
The art is lovely, and it lives up to its name “tranquility”. Not only is the art lovely, but the graphic design makes it easy to read and understand what is going on.
This is a coop game that battles the ever looming issue of “alpha-gamers” with its limited communication rules, which I think keeps the game nice and challenging.
This game takes up a lot of space on the table. Yowsa. Now, I have been talked that the tiles will be significantly smaller in the final version, but having not seen that yet, I cannot comment as to whether or not it will still feel ginormous or not. Additionally, I find that you all need to sit at the base of the mountain to truly appreciate the lovely artwork, which might feel odd when playing with more than two players…or if the other player ate a lot of garlic recently.
Bringing it all together
Tranquility Ascent is a soothing puzzle game, with lovely art in a small box. It takes up a lot of table space, but if you are looking for a gentle, but challenging coop that you can play in half an hour this is a strong option. I think this is a game that will shine as you play with the smaller modules that come with the game, as they allow to you to really choose your difficulty.
Not much oxygen all the way up here…talk less
* Lovely looking game that lives up to its name
* Challenging puzzle, that works due to its modules and limited communication rules
* Takes up a lot of table space, and to truly appreciate that art you will want to sit on the same side of the table