The Conflict of Faith Update

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 Conflict of Faith Campaign

Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 9.08.05 AM.png

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.  

New Cards

The remaining 15 new cards can be obtained by spending coins.  All 18 new cards:

Layer 4.png
  • Barduk’s Bonewall - You bring the bodies and Barduk will build you the wall.
  • Royal Academy - See the Moneylender for a student loan.
  • Standard Bearer - Don’t mess with the mascot.
  • Martyr - Sometimes death is only the beginning.
Layer 3.png
  • Martial Law - Culture smulture...just attack!
  • Acid Spitters - The sworn enemies of The Undying.
  • Exotic Trinkets - Shells, beads, and the occasional dragon egg.
  • Princess of Thieves - Her leadership will bring the underworld out of the shadows.
Layer 2.png
  • The Sentinels - No shenanigans on their watch.
  • Eternal Gardens - A whole grove of giving trees.
  • Faithless Bannermen - Your earliest allies are not always your most reliable allies.
  • Exotic Expedition - Riches beyond compare...if they ever make it back.
Layer 1.png
  • Smoke and Mirrors - It’s not a trick..it’s an illusion!
  • Monolith - A mysterious construction for anyone confused by the damage splitting rules.
  • Stone Table - Broken - When the table cracks, death itself begins working backwards.
  • Scavengers - Waste not, want not.
Layer 0.png
  • Sacred Relic - An artifact that should never have been uncovered.
  • Open Borders - Keep the big door open...everyone will come around.

Card Rebalancing

  • Graverobber Baron can now only steal a maximum of 2 coins per turn instead of 2 coins per Ruins drawn
  • Sun’s Sisters now gives bonus culture based on ruined card’s attack, and cost increased by 1
  • War Drums ability reprogrammed to work more reliably
  • Myrmidons cost reduced by 1
  • Conquistadors attack increased by 1
  • Assacani attack reduced by 1

Gameplay Changes

  • Both players are guaranteed to draw at least one Economic card during every draft in Round 1
  • Guaranteed cards will no longer ever show up in the very first draft
  • Early phase guaranteed cards may now draw during any draft in Round 1 (instead of just the first 2 drafts)

This update also includes several bug fixes.  I hope you enjoy the new content!

Age of Rivals Selected as a Finalist for the Google Play Indie Games Festival

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!  

The Age of Rivals AI: A Behind the Scenes Look

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.  

Goal

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:

  • Which card to draft out of a possible pool of 3 or 4 cards.
  • Which cards to assign any opponent damage to.

Drafting

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:

  1. Discounts
    1. How much of a discount am I getting on this card?
  2. Taxes (negative factor)
    1. How much tax do I have to pay my opponent for this card?
  3. Affordability
    1. How affordable is this card given how much Gold I have left and how many cards I still have to buy this round (so I won’t end up with Waste).
  4. Resources
    1. How many new resources will I get with respect to how many resources I and my opponent already have and which round we are in.
  5. Income
    1. How much income will this card generate with respect to how much income I and my opponent already have and which round we are in.
  6. Gold
    1. How much immediate gold will this card give me this round?
  7. Culture
    1. How much culture will this card give me with respect to which round we are in?
  8. Conquests
    1. To what extent does this card allow me to win additional conquests?
  9. Damage
    1. To what extent will this card allow me to make a dent in my opponent’s current armor?
  10. Armor
    1. To what extent will this card help me deal with my opponent’s upcoming attacks?
  11. Field Combos
    1. How well does this card combo with my other cards currently in the field this round?
    2. How well does this card counter my opponent’s cards currently in the field this round?
  12. City Combos
    1. How well does this card combo with other cards I have drafted for my city so far?
    2. How well does this card counter the cards my opponent has drafted for his/her city so far?
  13. Draft Combos
    1. How well does this card combo with the 4 cards my opponent might pass to me next turn?
    2. How well does this card counter the 4 cards my opponent might draft this turn?
  14. Field Counters (negative factor)
    1. Does my opponent have cards in the field right now that counter this card?
  15. City Counters (negative factor)
    1. Does my opponent have cards from previous drafts that counter this card?
  16. Draft Counters (negative factor)
    1. How well do the other 3 cards I must pass to my opponent counter this card?
    2. How well do the 4 cards my opponent might draft counter this card?
  17. Special Abilities (both positive and negative)
    1. Special card-specific weighting to help the AI understand when to use cards with abilities that are not covered by the default combos and counters logic.

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.  

Abilities

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.  

Assigning Damage

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:

  1. Culture
    1. What is the scoring value of the leftover card?
  2. Value
    1. What is the overall value of the leftover card, as defined by its base cost?
  3. Armor
    1. How much armor does the card have leftover after damage has been assigned?
  4. Waste/Ruins (negative factor)
    1. Is this card Waste or Ruins? (Such cards should have been sacrificed typically)
  5. Buffing Culture
    1. Is this card currently buffing the culture value of other cards?
  6. Economic
    1. Is this card currently contributing resources or income?
  7. Post-War Ability
    1. Does this card have a post-war or end-of-round ability that will trigger?
  8. District Combos (same as above)
  9. Deck Combos (same as above)
  10. Special Abilities
    1. Custom logic to account for certain cards that you should or should not sacrifice under very specific circumstances. One example is Shock Troops, which should almost always be sacrificed since it’s going to ruin itself anyways (unless it received a Culture buff). Currently six cards have such custom logic.

Normal vs Hard AI

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.   

Performance

So how well does the AI actually perform?  Over the last 6 months:

  • The Normal AI wins about 40% of games against all players.
  • The Normal AI wins about 37% of games against players who’ve been playing for at least a week.
  • The Hard AI wins about 61% of games against all players.
  • The Hard AI wins about 54% of games against players who’ve been playing for at least a month.

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.  

Summary

In my opinion, the AI’s main advantages are:

  • The ability to consider all these different aspects of the game. Humans can do this as well though, and the best players do.
  • The ability to remember cards that were drafted in prior rounds that aren’t currently on-screen.
  • The ability to ignore prior strategies and adapt to changing circumstances. Sometimes humans (like myself) try to play out a particular strategy and are too slow to adapt when it’s clear that it’s not going to work out.

The AI’s main disadvantages are:

  • It still doesn’t understand the nuances of every ability perfectly, and it over-simplifies many of them.
  • It makes no attempt to Guarantee cards that work well together, or that are even known to be useful cards. Most humans know over time which cards are better Guarantees, but the AI always chooses these at random.
  • It has no understanding of the current “meta” or which cards are perceived to be better than others. It does not have access to any card win rate data, even its own. Humans remember which cards served them well in the past and can take advantage of that knowledge, but the AI plays every game as if it was its first.

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!

Update: To Grind or not to Grind

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!  

Age of Rivals Goes Mobile

Age of Rivals launches on Android and iOS on Thursday, June 22!

blogMobileLaunch.png

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!

Launch Sale

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!

Includes All Content

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!

 

Update: Balance Changes and More

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.  

Balance changes:

  • Warmonger -1 attack
  • Silencers -1 culture
  • Patrons -1 gold cost
  • Arms Dealers -1 armor, +1 attack, -1 gold cost
  • Brilliant Tactic -1 gold cost (now free)
  • Blind Bolt Throwers -1 base attack (ability unchanged)

Other changes requested by players:

  • Friend games no longer have a turn timer.
  • You will now hear an audio warning during timed games when you only have 5 seconds left.  This will only happen if you have Sound Effects turned on.
  • The Normal AI is now a little easier.  The Hard AI is still the same.  

We hope you enjoy these changes!  Our next big update will be to get this game onto mobile finally.  

Update: UX Improvements

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!

Age of Rivals Launches on Steam March 14

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.  

The release date is March 14 (Pi Day!).  You can check out our Store Page now and add the game to your Wishlist.  You can also check out our Community Hub.

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!  

Age of Rivals on Steam Greenlight and New Trailer

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:

  • No in-app purchases in this edition. All cards and characters unlock at a fast pace just by playing the game. 
  • Challenge yourself with bonus DLC single-player content (pre-included in this edition)

(If you have spent $10 or more in the Kongregate version of the game, please email support@robotogames.com to receive a free copy of the Steam version when it launches.) Thanks in advance for your help!

New Trailer

Learn how to run a great civilization in 10 easy steps with our new trailer. 

Age of Rivals Featured on Kongregate

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.

Three Guaranteed Cards are Greater Than One

Today's update brings some small but often requested changes to the game.  

Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.33.19 AM.png

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!

 

Age of Rivals Kongregate Launch

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 contact@robotogames.com and tell us your old account name and your new account name.

Thanks!

AoR Update: Ranking, Alliances and Campaigns

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.

Screen Shot 2016-12-18 at 9.11.40 AM.png

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!

An Update on the AoR Beta

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.

Theophilos prefers to chat with his enemies on Kongregate.com.  Nairi prefers the quiet solitude of RobotoGames.com.

Theophilos prefers to chat with his enemies on Kongregate.com.  Nairi prefers the quiet solitude of RobotoGames.com.

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!

Why did I build Age of Rivals?

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?

  • It has all the mechanical depth of a great strategy boardgame, but:
    • It’s digital so there’s no setup or rule tracking, and players take simultaneous turns.  Less downtime, more fun time.  Games last about 15 minutes.
    • Unlike many digital board game ports, it’s designed to fit on a single screen, large or small.  No panning the screen or squinting at small text.  
  • It has all the tactical depth and replayability of a CCG (200 cards and counting), but:
    • There’s no deckbuilding required.  It’s all about the moment-to-moment tactical decisions.  You design your strategy as you go.  
    • Any card you own might show up in any game, so all games end up being surprising, unpredictable and unique.  
    • The interactions are simple.  Just choose 1 card out of 4.  Abilities are always automatically triggered and targeted.  

We’re hoping this might also be a great game for other people.  Specifically, we think it would work well for:

  • A strategy gamer to play with a more casual gamer.  Players start the game on equal footing.  Just draft the best 16 cards you can.
  • CCG fans (Hearthstone) who just like trying to outwit an opponent more than they like building a deck, and who want every game to be surprising and have maximum variety.
  • Board-game fans (7 Wonders, Dominion, Through the Ages) who want a quicker experience with no setup, cleanup, or rule tracking, and that fits well on a phone-sized screen.  
  • Fans of civilization-building games (Civilization) who like to try to balance the concepts of culture, economy, offense and defense, but want to do it in a distilled, 15 minute experience.

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!  

Age of Rivals Launching on Kongregate soon

Age of Rivals, our 2-player competitive civilization-building card game, will be coming out of beta and launching on Kongregate in early November. In preparation for the launch, we have just released a major new update. Check out and play the latest update here!

Age of Rivals' new Main Menu screen

Age of Rivals' new Main Menu screen

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.

Rival Leaders allow you to bring up to 3 cards with you (art is not final)

Rival Leaders allow you to bring up to 3 cards with you (art is not final)

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:

  1. Log in to (or create) a Kongregate account to play the game (your existing Age of Rivals beta account will no longer work).
  2. Write in to support@robotogames.com and give us both your old username and your Kongregate ID and we will grant you a gift in the form of card packs in the Kongregate version of the game.

Until the launch in early November, this page is still the way to play Age of Rivals. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter or Facebook (@ageofrivals) or join our newsletter to be notified of changes.

Three Swipes Selected by Audience at Google Play Indie Games Festival

Three Swipes is now live and available for download in both the Google Play Store for Android devices and in the App Store for iPhone and iPad. 

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.

Team Three Swipes at the Google Play Indie Games Festival.

Team Three Swipes at the Google Play Indie Games Festival.

We were thrilled that Three Swipes was selected by the audience as one of the top 15 games to present on stage.

Three Swipes selected by the audience as a finalist.

Three Swipes selected by the audience as a finalist.

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.

We also wanted to offer our congratulations to the winners of the festival: bit bit blocks, Numbo Jumbo and Orbit and thank Google for organizing such a wonderful indie-focused event!