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!