Ego Check: Craig Plazony, SolForge Featured Streamer

I previously reviewed SolForge and presented some of the reasons why I have launched myself into the game. It is one thing to play the game casually but quite another to get ahead in the more competitive aspects of the game. To learn about strategy, I searched for people talking about SolForge online and stumbled into the efforts of Craig Plazony. He has been playing SolForge since the beginning, volunteers for Stone Blade Entertainment, and streams live games while dispensing strategies for the audience. I reach out to Craig to see if he would be willing to talk briefly about the game, and he kindly agreed.

How did you first learn about SolForge? What motivated you to dive headfirst into the game?

Craig Plazony
Craig Plazony

I had been playing a couple of different TCGs like Shadow Era but I really didn’t like their systems. I was wondering through the floor area in GenCon and I found the game on display. I ended up coming back and playing 7-8 times before I put it down so I could do other stuff. I had so much fun and the game got me very excited. I use to play MTG but the expense was the biggest turn off so game really appealed to me. I could see the depth and complexity that the game could offer right away so I backed it for 100$ and started to become involved in the community.

Once I started being active in the community and enjoying the interactions with the other backers I became hooked. I wanted to be good at the game, know everything about it, and spread the word to others so it could grow big. Even now, after playing many of the other TCGs out there, I think SolForge has the best system and I really like their card design choices. All of this convinced me that this is the right place for me. Continue reading “Ego Check: Craig Plazony, SolForge Featured Streamer”

Iddy Approved: SolForge

My health is quickly draining away as fallen heroes on both sides of the conflict litter the battlefield. My trusted ally, Tarsus Deathweaver, who has been providing bonuses to attack and health to my party, was vanquished by the relentless Zimus, The Undying, a powerful undead soldier who earlier dispatched my female cleric in flowing white robes. The tension mounts as I know Zimus will be the death of me soon. I shift my attention to the diminutive Arboris Dragon, who has been quietly accompanying my party. He plots his next move and sends a Glowhive Siren to block Zimus’ next charge. The crafty Arboris knows her death will not be in vain. As Zimus splits the Siren in two with his mighty battle axe, her life force grants me and the party new life. Arboris absorbs this life and swells to enormous size and now towers over the battlefield. My pulse rises as I cast the perfect spell for such a moment, and it grants the mighty dragon the power to breakthrough all defenses. Even the legendary champion, Oros, the Chosen with his majestic two-handed sword is not enough to fight off the dragon’s onslaught. Arboris unleashes a devastating attack to vanquish my foes. I take in the outcome of the battle, and exhale. It was a close call for this group of adventurers but more glory awaits. There is always another foe to conquer.

Forge-&-DragonAt the moment, I’m not sitting around a table playing Dungeons & Dragons with a group of friends. I’m in the passenger seat of my wife’s car as she is driving us to a family gathering, and she is quite annoyed with the fact that I’m buried knuckles-deep in my iPhone playing a deck building game against a stranger.

Welcome to SolForge.

SolForge first came to my attention around the time I interviewed Justin Gary about his previous brainchild, Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. I had gushed about that game after playing it at Gen Con in 2011, so when I heard Mr. Gary was working on another game – I totally dropped the ball and did not back the Kickstarter.

I was a fool!

Considering I have been playing SolForge on a daily basis for the past few months, the magnitude of regret I have for missing out on the Kickstarter is considerable. Let me explain why.

Continue reading “Iddy Approved: SolForge”

Ego Check: Justin Gary, Creator of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer

Last Spring, my Twitter feed became slowly infested with #Ascension tweets. I was busy playing in two Dungeons & Dragons campaigns at that time and did not know what the hashtag meant. But one thing became clear; people were having a great time playing a specific game called Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. My first exposure to Ascension came at Gen Con 2012, where I was able to play the game at the Gary Games booth. As someone who only played a few rounds of games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dominion, the game play was familiar enough to quickly grasp the rules. I played several games of Ascension at the booth and soon after returning home from Gen Con, I bought the iOS version – I’ve been hooked ever since!

Ascension Immortal Logo
Recently, I learned that Gary Games – the company that launched Ascension and its numerous Expansion Sets – is now Stone Blade Entertainment. The company is in the process of releasing a new game, SolForge, and I was able to communicate with the CEO of Stone Blade Entertainment and creator of Ascension and SolForge, Justin Gary. In the interview below, I pry into the development of his self-contained deck-building game and how it is both similar and different to the Magic: The Gathering behemoth. I inquire about the mechanics of Ascension and how they have evolved throughout the expansion sets. He also discusses the collaboration with Dr. Richard Garfield, creator of Magic: The Gathering, on their new game, SolForge.

Thank you for agreeing to answer some questions. Diving right in, I became hooked on Ascension after playing it for the first time during Gen Con 2012. The game felt more alive and interactive than previous deck-building games I’ve played like Dominion or Thunderstone. How much of this was purposeful during your design process?
Certainly game variance and excitement were some of the key goals of designing Ascension. One of the problems I always had with games like Dominion, is that once the available cards are determined, there is very little excitement and drama left in the game. Every game of Ascension is different and card valuations change dramatically based on when they are revealed and what your opponents are playing.

Continue reading “Ego Check: Justin Gary, Creator of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer”