TGN Interview with Justin Gary from Stone Blade Entertainment
Stone Blade Entertainment’s Justin Gary was kind enough to sit down with me while at GenCon 2014 and talk a bit about the latest releases for Ascension and Sol Forge, plus a bit about where they’re headed with future Ascension expansions.
We even got a sneak peek at some other fun stuff they’ve got in the works.
So grab your Militia and shuffle up your deck. It’s time for another TGN Interview.
Tabletop Gaming News: So, Justin, what’s Stone Blade Entertainment been up to lately? You guys have had quite a busy year.
Justin Gary: Indeed! Things have been very exciting. There’s the latest Ascension expansion, Realms Unraveled, which has seen the best response to an Ascension release we’ve had. Sol Forge has come quite a long way, being available on many different platforms. We’ve also created drafting and constructed formats for the game.
TGN: What sort of things do you have planned for the near future for the two games?
JG: For Ascension, for the holidays, we want to have a Premium Collector’s set. It’ll be a special set designed to be a great way to introduce players to the game with a very high-quality box and pieces. With Ascension Online, there will be expanded formats there, as well as getting the latest sets integrated into the game.
TGN: You mention that set 7 for Ascension has had the best response from any set. Why do you think that is?
JG: I’m very proud of that set. I was really able to sink my teeth into it. It’s got some great mechanics in the form of the Transform and multi-faction cards, but is still really easy to teach to new players. I think that’s what’s really been bringing the new players to the game.
TGN: And how about Sol Forge?
JG: Sol Forge is coming along really well, but it’s sort of at a stage where it’s polishing up that last 5-10% of the game. I’ve been working on it for a very long time and am very happy with the “chaos into order” of the game creation, but it’s at that stage where it’s making the game look and run perfectly that we’re at. This is one of the most important steps, but it’s not in that “creative” zone where I, personally, work best.
TGN: Talking about the Transform effects from the last couple sets of Ascension, how did those come about?
JG: That was originally an idea taken from Sol Forge. It was something we could do in the digital, obviously, but I thought, “why not do this in the tabletop game, too?” It’s interesting because Sol Forge takes elements from Ascension and Magic: The Gathering, but now Sol Forge is influencing Ascension. It’s this sort of circle of influence. Every game adds their own twist on certain mechanics, and they’re always giving and borrowing from one-another.
TGN: The art style for Ascension has always been very unique. In some of the latest sets, though, some of the art has been changing to integrate more styles into it. How has that come about?
JG: Ha! Basically, we overloaded our artist! We were giving him so many projects, plus other projects he was working on, that we had to start spreading out our artist base. It was always meant to be this sort of “storybook feel” to the art. It’s designed to give you an otherworldly, fantastical sense of the universe. We’ve also been retooling the card layout and design to make it easier to read, which we feel adds a bit more mass-market appeal to the system.
TGN: So, what sort of secret projects does Stone Blade have in the works?
JG: Well, I can’t say much, but we’ve got a new physical (as opposed to digital) game in the works. It’s got card mechanics to it, but I’m still having to be a bit tight-lipped about things. More to come next year. As for Ascension, we’re working on the next set. It’s meant to pair well with Set 7 with a continuing theme of multi-faction cards. Plus, we have some new mechanics we’re working with. One of which will make it so players don’t all start out with the same starting deck. … and it was probably too soon to tell you that, but there we are, then. Ha! The set will be another “big” box set, as will most expansions from here on out. We’ve just found that people seem to be more receptive to those.
TGN: Well, that all just sounds awesome. I can’t wait to find out about the new Ascension set! Anything else you’d like to say before I let you go?
JG: I just wanted to say that I’m incredibly grateful to everyone that plays Ascension and Sol Forge. I’ve been making games for a long time, and it’s always great to come to shows and interact with the gamers who love to play our games. It’s great watching people get excited about something you’ve done like that.
TGN: Thanks for taking the time away from the booth to talk to us. Keep making awesome games like you’ve been doing, and I promise we’ll keep buying them.
JG: Thanks to you, too.
And there we have it. I really can’t wait for the new Ascension sets. I was able to pick up the latest set of promos while at the show, once again completing my Ascension collection. It really is one of my favorite games to sit down and play.