Ascension deck-building game publisher Stone Blade Entertainment continues to build on the success of its game with an aggressive release schedule for the rest of 2013.  ICv2 spoke with company CEO Justin Gary at Gen Con last week, who provided details of the company’s plans.  "We’ve only had two products a year for the first two years of the life cycle of Ascension," he said.  "And now this year we have five.  It’s been a good thing to see it grow, and we’ve hit a lot of different price points and a lot of different things."
A new entry-level starter set for two players is scheduled to release in the first week of October.  The Ascension Apprentice Edition will have a suggested retail price of $9.99, and features new art and cards, as well as a streamlined and simplified ruleset designed to bring new players up to speed.  This will be the lowest entry price for any deck-building game. 
According to Gary, the idea for the Apprentice Edition grew from the company’s success with its iOS app.  "Stores really have a lot of success with Ascension, and once people start buying into the line everybody really enjoys it," he said.  "But, $40 to just sort of enter the game is difficult for some people.  We’ve learned this with the app on the iPhone for only $4.99; [there] has been a huge influx of players.  So now we’re going to be able to have a physical product that’s in the same ballpark of price point."
In addition to helping drive the company’s strategy on the tabletop game, the iOS game has been stimulating sales.  "It’s translating into board game sales." Gary said.  "There’s always that fear in the beginning that maybe it will be cannibalistic, but in fact it’s been the opposite."
The Apprentice Edition will follow the core game’s fifth set, the Darkness Unleashed expansion currently scheduled to release in the second week of September.  This $29.99 expansion carries on the storyline of the Rise of Vigil expansion and introduces a new "transform" mechanic.  Cards that transform are replaced by new versions in response to certain game events.
In November, the company plans to release into distribution four Ascension Theme Packs based on some of the games most popular characters, such as the "Rat King" and "Leprechaun."  These 12 card packs will retail for $4.99 and were previously available only by direct sale.