Age of Rivals has been nominated for Best Mobile Game at Playcrafting's 2017 Bit Awards!
Official Event Page: https://www.thebitawards.com/awards
Congratulations to all the nominees!
Age of Rivals has been nominated for Best Mobile Game at Playcrafting's 2017 Bit Awards!
Official Event Page: https://www.thebitawards.com/awards
Congratulations to all the nominees!
A soldier’s death sets in motion events which may lead to the end of an age…
Age of Rivals’ next content update is here, featuring 18 new cards, new story/challenge levels, and several gameplay improvements. Read on for details.
The second campaign includes 6 new story/challenge levels vs. custom decks for Ziana, Theophilos and Nairi. Beating these levels will unlock 3 of the new cards.
The remaining 15 new cards can be obtained by spending coins. All 18 new cards:
This update also includes several bug fixes. I hope you enjoy the new content!
We are very happy to announce that Age of Rivals has been selected as one of the 20 finalists for this year's Google Play Indie Games Festival! We have been invited to present our game in competition in San Francisco on September 23rd, and we would love for our fans to join us there.
The event is open to anyone and free to attend, as long as you register now while there's still space: https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2017/08/announcing-20-finalists-and-open.html
Out of the 20 games selected to exhibit, 10 will be chosen by audience voting to present on stage, and then 3 winners will be chosen by a panel of judges.
In Google's words: To celebrate some of the latest innovative indie games on Google Play, we’re hosting the second Indie Games Festival in North America on September 23rd in San Francisco. At the festival, Android fans and gamers will have a unique opportunity to play new and/or unreleased indie games from some of the most innovative developers in the US and Canada, as well as vote for their favorite ones.
It's great to have an opportunity to work with Google to bring digital-first board games to more players. We are thrilled to be a part of this event, and we hope to be able to meet some of our fans there as well!
One of the things players seem to like about Age of Rivals is the quality of the AI opponent. A small minority of players have even jumped to the conclusion that the AI must be cheating (it’s not). I’ve been asked how it works behind the scenes, so I’m dedicating this blog post to that topic. I will go in-depth on the AI logic and also provide some interesting stats.
The initial goal of the AI was to provide a good learning experience for new players, at which point players would transition into playing multiplayer exclusively. But as we realized that there was a significant number of players who wanted to play single player, I kept improving the AI to play at a higher level.
During the course of any AoR game, there are basically two kinds of decisions a player must make:
To make the first decision (what to draft), the AI scores each card across 17 different categories. For each category, a function examines the card and the current state of the game and returns a score between 0 and 1. Then the AI weights each of these results, averages them into an overall score, and drafts the card with the best overall score. Weights for the categories range from 1 (not very important) to 20 (very important).
The 17 categories are:
The first 10 categories are fairly straightforward. The AI looks at the current state of the game (how much culture/armor/attack/economy each player has and what round it currently is) and tries to find the card that will best benefit it.
The last 7 categories attempt to handle Abilities, which are trickier. It is assumed that the cost of each card is fair and accurately reflects its value under ordinary circumstances, so the AI is basically looking for extraordinary circumstances to take advantage of. If it has a lot of Infantry cards, then Shieldwall is a high value card since that ability represents a combo opportunity with Infantry cards.
Categories 11-16 (combos and counters) handle most card abilities, and for a long time that seemed okay enough. But it eventually became obvious that for some cards it’s harder to describe what a combo or counter is, and so category 17 was added to provide custom logic for those cards. Examples include Plaguebearer, Master Thief and The Oracle. These are cards that you should only buy under very specific circumstances, and if the AI buys one when it shouldn’t, it can ruin the illusion of intelligence completely. About 25 cards have such custom logic.
The first version of the AI probably only had about half of these categories. Whenever I embarked upon a series of AI improvements, I would simply play a game and wait for the AI to do something that seemed obviously sub-optimal, and then I would analyze its logic to figure out why it made that choice. This usually resulted in a re-write of a category, the addition of a new one, or the adjusting of weights.
Combat damage assignment follows a similar pattern, but with only 10 categories. The AI randomly assigns damage and then calculates the total value of the cards left over. It does this 1000 times and then picks the permutation that resulted in the highest total value. I probably could have done this in a more rigorous way, but in practice it seemed to work pretty well so I never improved it.
The 10 combat categories are:
Over the past year I’ve released several sets of category weightings, including ones that favored more combat, more culture, and everything in-between. I’ve measured their various win rates and removed poorer performers over time. There is only one AI out in the wild currently.
So what’s the difference between the Normal and Hard AIs? They both use the same set of weights and the same categories of logic. But the Normal AI just chooses to ignore some of the logic some of the time, randomly. This is an attempt to simulate a human player occasionally missing something.
So how well does the AI actually perform? Over the last 6 months:
So both AIs become more “beatable” as players get more experience. But the Hard AI in particular has the potential to stay fairly competitive.
But of course there are some players who beat the average and crush the AI 80-90% of the time. They have probably come up with a play style that is particularly effective against the AI's logic and weights, and over time I can try to improve the AI by analyzing their games in particular.
In my opinion, the AI’s main advantages are:
The AI’s main disadvantages are:
Some next steps towards improving the AI could be to analyze games against players that have high win rates vs. the AI, teaching the AI about more abilities, teaching the AI to be more strategic with the Guaranteed Cards system, and continuing to test alternative sets of weights.
And I’ll say it one more time. The AI does NOT cheat in any way whatsoever. It has no access to extra information. It does not manipulate the random draft. It does not know which card you drafted before it makes a decision.
I hope this has been interesting, and as always I’m happy to answer any questions!
The short version of this post is that our newest update (3.8) increases coin rewards in all game modes by 30% and adds coin rewards for losing to all game modes (even Normal AI and Friend games). Now you can gain access to all the content even faster! We also fixed some bugs. Read on if you're curious about why we even have card packs in the game.
So one of the more controversial aspects of our game (from a player feedback perspective) has been the fact that you have to unlock all the cards and playable characters (rivals) over time. Some players don't like that a premium boardgame does not come with all the content available upfront. Others appreciate that the game grows more complex and varied over time and that there are long-term goals to work towards.
Even when I was debating whether or not Age of Rivals should be a premium or free-to-play game, I was reluctant to have all the content available from day one. I knew from early play-testing that that would have been overwhelming, and that the starter deck of 71 cards made for a good game. And I thought it would be fun for the game to evolve over time, encouraging players to adapt to the changing deck and to try new strategies as they gained new cards. Also, I had too much fun watching my 5 and 7 year old daughters opening cards packs. "Daddy, I unlocked Arsenia!". It was (and still is) too priceless.
Most games (premium or not) do this. As you progress, you gain new skills and and weapons and encounter new challenges. The metaphor varies from genre to genre. Sometimes it's leveling up, sometimes it's getting to a new world, sometimes you earn a new seed packet to counter a new type of zombie. And the paces varies as well. Sometimes it's steady and linear, and sometimes it's fast at first but then slows down to something more tedious.
And that's where Age of Rivals runs into problems. Our metaphor is the dreaded card pack. And it's normal to assume that card packs equal a slow and tedious grind. Many CCGs these days are free-to-play with card packs, and it takes forever to unlock everything.
Our original metaphor long ago was a linear progression of unlocking cards one by one as you won games. But we switched to the more easily recognizable card pack system so we could release a free-to-play version of the game on Kongregate. And when we switched back to premium for Steam/iOS/Android, we decided to keep it. (The whole premium vs free-to-play thing can be a future blog post).
Maybe this was a bad idea, but by then it was fully developed and we didn't really want to redo it. The important thing was that we changed the pace of content unlocking to linear by eliminating redundant drops. You never get a card you don't need, so you're unlocking content as quickly on day 30 as you did on day 1.
But while the pace was pleasingly linear, it was definitely still too slow overall. We still had one foot in free-to-play-economy land. Our early Steam players gave us some great feedback, and so we quickly doubled the coin rewards, added rewards for more game modes, and added unlimited missions.
Today we're going the rest of the way. We're speeding up the pace again by increasing coin rewards in all modes and (more importantly) adding rewards for loss in all modes. Everyone should now be able to earn all the Level 3 Rivals and all cards after a pretty reasonable number of games.
Hope you all like the new update. As always, keep the feedback coming!
Well, one week into mobile and we've already got a feature update! Now you can play most of the game offline without even registering an account. I've also fixed the screen rotation issue, made the first 10 missions dismissable (once every 24 hours), and added better handling of failed network saves. All of these also apply to the Steam version (except auto-rotate, although that would be funny).
Don't forget that today is the last day of our launch week discounts for iOS and Android! I also think today is the last day of the Steam Summer Sale discount. So now is the time!
Offline mode support combined with automatic syncing across multiple devices and platforms is a bit tricky, so I added a new FAQ with more details, which I will also flesh out with other topics of interest.
Every new platform has brought new fans and new kinds of feedback to Age of Rivals. And since this is my (me personally, not Roboto Games) first mobile launch as an indie, it has been a fantastic learning experience for me. Trust me, I will never launch a premium mobile game again without auto-rotate and offline support. :)
Many thanks to the Touch Arcade community for providing excellent feedback, conversation and even volunteer testing.
Many thanks to David Neumann of Stately Play and iOS Board Games for being an early supporter of the game and helping us get our first round of beta testers almost a full year ago when it was just a web game on this web site.
Some other recent coverage:
And thank you to everyone else who's provided feedback, bug reports and encouragement on this long road. Especially Curt and Mathilde of Roboto Games who are always willing to help me tackle the really tough problems.
There is still much to do, so keep an eye out for future updates!
Just like the Dragoons of old, Age of Rivals is going mobile. We finally have a firm date for our mobile/tablet launches: June 22. We've been quietly beta testing for the past few weeks to make sure everything looks stable, and now we're ready to go!
In celebration of these launches, we've reached out to our Moneylenders and convinced them that for the first week the game will be on sale for $.99. Make sure to grab it and take advantage of this launch discount!
Just like the Steam edition, these mobile versions will be premium versions of the game with no in-app purchases. This means that all content unlocks at a linear pace, and you never get duplicate cards you don't need. As long as you keep playing, you will regularly receive new cards and rivals until you unlock everything. Remember that as long as you play vs. Anyone or vs. the Hard computer, you earn coins even when you lose the game. That is certainly a Good (Trade) Deal! (Sorry, had to do it!)
We hope you enjoy being able to play from the convenience of your phone or tablet! We'll post the links to the stores on Thursday when the game goes live. Thanks!
Today's medium-sized update aims to address a few player-requested issues before we officially launch on mobile. This also includes our second round of card balance tweaks. We analyzed game data and read all the comments on both Kongregate and Steam forums before deciding which cards to change.
The biggest source of controversy recently has been Graverobber Baron. We agonized over this one, but ultimately we decided to leave it unchanged. There were good arguments on both sides, but we were more swayed by the players who wanted to keep it as-is. We think this card plays an interesting and somewhat unique role in the overall composition of the game. The game benefits from having dramatic late game cards that can turn the tide in big ways, and GB is not really one of the more OP ones. It has almost exactly a 50% win rate, which is lower than several other cards. But we still might change our minds in the future, so keep letting us know what you think.
We hope you enjoy these changes! Our next big update will be to get this game onto mobile finally.
Age of Rivals players have always been able to see their monthly rankings in a limited way in-game. We show you your Tier, and the top 100 players can see their exact rank.
Now we're making historical top 100 lists publicly available to all players on our website. You can see them at http://robotogames.com/age-of-rivals-leaders/.
Today's update brings more player-requested improvements to the game, mostly involving tooltips.
1) We now highlight buffed stats in green and debuffed stats in red. If you mouseover these stats, the TOOLTIPS will show you where the buffs/debuffs came from and whether or not they are temporary. This should make it much easier to figure out why a stat changed.
2) The tooltip for a card's gold cost will now show you what the original cost of the card was before it got discounted.
3) The tooltip for resources will now tell you which type of card that resource is most helpful for.
These improvements should make it even easier to learn the game and the relationships between the various cards and elements. This is live on both Kongregate and Steam. Thanks!
It's been a long road, but we're finally on the verge of bringing Age of Rivals to a second platform: Steam! The game officially made it through Greenlight on February 16, and we've been preparing for launch ever since.
We will be having an initial launch sale of 10% off. And as we mentioned before, if you've been playing on Kongregate, you may be eligible for a free Steam copy and we can also copy your account over if you want. Details here.
This is good news for all our players since the game will support cross-platform play. We're excited to welcome a new group of players to the Age of Rivals community!
Help Age of Rivals get on Steam by voting for the game to get through Greenlight.
The Steam edition of the game is a little different than the Kongregate version:
(If you have spent $10 or more in the Kongregate version of the game, please email email@example.com to receive a free copy of the Steam version when it launches.) Thanks in advance for your help!
Learn how to run a great civilization in 10 easy steps with our new trailer.
Age of Rivals was featured on the front page in the Hot New Games section for the past 2 weeks. We are so thankful to our Kongregate users who have responded very positively to the game and rated it a 4.2 out of 5 with over 100,000 plays. It's been wonderful seeing so many people in the chat and so much activity in the forums.
Today's update brings some small but often requested changes to the game.
One of the more common feature requests in Age of Rivals is for slightly more control over strategy by way of more deck-building. However we also often hear that players like that there is less deck-building in this game, and that they would prefer it stay this way.
We are also aware that most players don't even get to fully try out the current level of deck-building, because most players never get to the point where they can Guarantee more than one card. Playing with 3 Guaranteed cards feels pretty different than playing with just 1 (we think).
So before we make any changes, we want to allow more players to play the game as intended. To that end, we have reduced the number of Rival Cards you have to get to unlock the 2nd and 3rd slots on every rival. It used to be 2/10/25, and now it is 2/5/10. This means that many of you will likely have more slots unlocked the next time you load up the game.
Another frequent request is to be able to earn coins by playing the computer. So we have also added a reward for beating the computer, including Easy, Hard and Campaign games. It's not as much as for beating a human (and you get nothing for losing), but it's something.
Finally, we have removed the intro Friend Mission, because many players have a hard time completing it. If you already have it in your Mission List, it will be dismissible.
Thanks for all the feedback! We hope these changes improve everyone's experience. We have also been working on bringing Age of Rivals to more platforms. More news on that soon!
We are now fully launched on our first real platform: Kongregate! Check out the full version of the game at http://www.kongregate.com/games/RobotoGames/age-of-rivals/.
This officially marks the end of our web beta phase. Thank you to everyone who participated and helped us get to this point. The game is much more fun thanks to all your feedback.
If you'd like to move your account from our website to a Kongregate account, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your old account name and your new account name.
Today’s update brings three big new features to the game as well as several smaller improvements, many requested directly by players. Here’s a roundup of the most important changes:
Empire Rank - Stats are now being tracked for all “Vs Anyone” games, and players can earn up to 1000 Science each month based on how high they rank. This is our first take on tournament-style play, and we will continue to improve it over time. You can see your stats in the Empire view (Rank VIII is the lowest and Rank I is the highest).
Empire Alliances - Players can now form Alliances with up to 10 members, and each member can earn bonus coins every day based on how active the Alliance is. Over time, we will expand what Alliances are used for (let us know your ideas), but for now it’s a great way to earn coins faster and find friends in the community. Every member in the Alliance gets 10 coins for each member that won a game (Vs Anyone) the previous day (up to 100 coins per day).
Campaigns - Our first Campaign is here! Campaigns are custom single-player levels that players can master to earn new unique never-before-seen cards. They are designed to be challenging but fun, and may require several tries (with different guaranteed cards) to win. This first campaign rewards Lorenzo, Xiong and Soraya rival cards (2 each) plus 3 new Epic cards.
More Missions - A new mission will appear every 12 hours now instead of every 24 hours. So that means two missions per day instead of just one. Just like before, missions will accumulate even while you’re away (up to 3) so if you only play once per day, you will still get two new missions when you return to the game.
Fast Mode - For advanced players who want faster games, we’ve added a “Fast Mode” button in-game next to the menu button. This will speed up all animation in the game, but is currently only enabled for single player games (Vs Computer and Campaign games). We’ll possibly add it as a matchmaking feature too if it is popular.
Shop Specials - We will be trying out various special deals in the shop (Kongregate users only). Right now every player can get a bundle of 25 card packs for only 50 Kreds.
Epic Card Drop Rate - We’ve made it a little easier to get epic cards in card packs.
Rule Change - Multiple guaranteed cards of the same phase will now try to draw on different turns instead of always drawing on the same turn.
Updated Art - Lots of new art throughout the whole game.
Rival Stories - Character backstories in the Rivals view for most rivals.
Card Fixes - Multiple card tweaks and fixes. One notable change is that “Maracena Dancer” and “Another Horseman” can no longer be drafted by the other player. They will now get replaced if passed.
Hope you enjoy the new stuff! Let us know what you think!
Our plan for releasing AoR has changed a little since our last update. We are currently running two beta programs in parallel: you can play the game either on our website (RobotoGames.com) or on Kongregate.com if you are a (premium) Kong+ user. The only in-game difference is that Kongregate users have the ability to spend Kreds in addition to coins to purchase card packs. Kongregate also provides forums and chat alongside the game. Otherwise the two games are identical, and it’s possible for users on one site to play games vs. users on the other.
Sometime soon we will move out of beta and launch on the free part of Kongregate. We may keep the game running on our own website as well, but if we don’t, we will provide a way to transfer your data/progress to a Kongregate account (if you have a Kong+ account and want to transfer now, email us). We are not planning on resetting data again, so no one in either beta will lose any progress.
We are still planning a mobile (iOS + Android) launch as well, but not until after we are launched and running smoothly on Kongregate.
Currently, we are working on 3 big upcoming features for AoR:
Monthly stats and tournament - This is a way to see how good you are relative to other players and to earn rewards for your rank.
Alliances - This is a way to join together with other players and earn cooperative rewards.
Campaigns - These are solo (vs the computer) levels that you can play through to earn brand new unique rare and epic cards. The first campaign will feature 6 levels, with more to follow on a regular basis.
So far the beta program has been fantastic, and we’re having a lot of fun talking to users and getting feedback. As long as you all keep playing, we’ll keep trying to make the game better! Thanks!
Our next major update is ready, and it introduces the concept of your Empire. Over time, we will expand upon this concept, but the part that we are releasing first is Missions. Missions are daily goals that you can complete for rewards such as coins and rival cards. By completing missions, you will be able to unlock cards and rival slots more easily than before.
The good news is that Missions make it easier to earn rewards for more varied play styles. Based on which Missions you get, you can earn rewards for playing vs. the Computer or vs. your friends. Several Missions also reward rival cards directly, so it’s easier to unlock rival slots now.
However, to balance the increased rewards you can gain through Missions, we have adjusted the coins that are rewarded through playing games. Now you earn 15 coins for a win, 10 coins for a tie, and 5 coins for a loss. This sounds like bad news, but as we mentioned before, we are in beta and we will have to adjust the game economy from time to time. The old rewards were temporarily high to make up for the fact that other features weren’t ready yet, but now it’s time to bring them back down to the amounts we originally planned. Also know that we are planning even more ways to earn rewards in the next few updates, through features such as Alliances and Campaigns (more info on them soon).
Today’s update also includes art improvements in the game screen. And finally, we have made several bug fixes related to several cards: Silencers, Master Thief, Bastion, Briliant Tactician, cards with blocking effects, and more.
As always, we want to hear what you think. Thanks for playing!
Late last year, I was trying to find the perfect game for my wife and I to play on any given weeknight after putting the kids to bed. Our favorite games to play together are strategy board games, but many of those are hard to set up and play on a weeknight if we’re already low on energy or time, and they're usually more fun with a group. I really like CCGs like Hearthstone because of how replayable they are, but my wife does not like the deck-building aspect. She doesn’t want to have to figure out a strategy before the game can start. We wanted to just be able to jump into something with no setup and have a fun, fair game where we try to outsmart each other. Over and over again without it getting repetitive.
So this is the game I set out to try to design, and with lots of help from Curt and Mathilde, we ended up with Age of Rivals. Why is this the perfect game for us?
We’re hoping this might also be a great game for other people. Specifically, we think it would work well for:
We think Age of Rivals combines the most fun aspects of our favorite board games and CCGs in a unique way. We hope you agree!
We added many exciting things to the game including new Rival Leaders which let you bring in up to 3 specific cards with you, card packs as a way to unlock new cards and leaders, emotes so you can share how you feel with your opponent and more! (See the game page for more details.) We feel the new changes add a lot to the game and we hope you will agree.
When we switch the game to Kongregate, we will be ending our beta period and removing our beta page from this site. We want to thank you, our existing players, for all your invaluable feedback and we will be giving you a gift for having participated in our beta testing.
How to get your beta player exclusive gift:
This past Saturday we were at the Google Play Indie Games Festival at the Terra Gallery in San Francisco. It was a fantastic event and we were honored for our game, Three Swipes, to have been selected as one of the 30 games to participate.
We were thrilled that Three Swipes was selected by the audience as one of the top 15 games to present on stage.
We had a great time meeting members of the audience and other game creators. In particular, we loved Coffee Pot Terrarium by the Brothers Flint, Antihero by Tim Conkling, and A Matter of Murder by Worthing & Moncrieff.