SolForge is the second game from Stone Blade Entertainment (SBE) and is co-designed by Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering. Being a digital collectable game (DCG), SolForge is the first purely digital product from SBE. SolForge is played, either solo against AI or competitively against other players, using a deck of virtual cards representing various spells and creatures.
The game of SolForge is a free-to-play DCG, allowing players to earn cards simply by playing the game, or through the purchase of decks and booster packs via the in-game store. Using these cards, players build decks and, as "Forgeborn," pit them against the AI and other players in the game's various modes. A player's collection is linked to a unified SolForge account, allowing them to take their cards from platform to platform provided they have an internet connection available.
The core game of SolForge pits two 30-card decks against one another in a race to do 100 damage to the opponent. The player that goes first draws five cards off the top of their deck, then plays one card before discarding the rest. The next player draws five cards, then plays two before discarding. From this point on each player's turn consists of a draw of five cards, the playing of two, and a discarding of the remainder. Every four hands, players shuffle their discard pile back into their deck and continue the cycle of draw, play, discard until one player's life total falls to zero.
Cards are split into three varieties: creature, spell, and Forgeborn. Creature cards permanently summon a creature to one of five lanes on the battlefield and are the primary form of attack. Spell cards are one-off effects that may impact one or more cards on the battlefield. Forgeborn are special creatures with four levels of power, as opposed to the standard maximum level of three for all other cards.
The five-lane structure of SolForge makes creature positioning just as important as deck composition and card selection. Each turn, once they are able, creatures will attack the creature opposite them in the lane or the other player directly if the lane is clear. Unlike most Trading Card Games (TCG's) and DCG's, creatures attack on both the player's turn and the opponent's turn, making dramatic swings in momentum a significant probability.
Taking full advantage of the DCG format, cards have the unique ability to level-up over the course of a game of SolForge. At the start of the game, each card in a player's deck starts at level one. However, as a player plays cards, they enter the discard pile as a leveled-up version of themselves. Every four turns, these leveled-up cards are reshuffled back into the deck where they can be drawn and played again. This increase in overall deck power is represented by the player's level increasing with every reshuffle.
Cards can level up twice to a maximum level of three, with the exception of Forgeborn creatures that can reach a maximum level of four. This provides players with interesting decisions to make, as they need to weigh the disadvantages of playing a defenseless dragon egg early on against the potential for a powerful dragon on a future turn.
Beyond a basic play mode, SolForge offers players additional options should they want to expand their collection through solo play or partake in organized events.
Upon it's release, the campaign mode will become one of the primary ways for players to obtain new cards without purchasing them through decks and boosters. During the campaign players will do battle against the AI while unfolding their story on the planet Solis. Player choice will be a factor, as different decisions will alter the way the story develops.
Players are able to participate in 4-round asynchronous Swiss tournaments via Event Tickets purchased with Silver (in-game currency earned via daily rewards) or earned via the daily free-to-play reward system, or by paying the entry fee directly with Silver or Gold (in-game currency purchased via microtransactions).
Rewards for standard tournaments, including Silver, booster packs, and Elite Tickets, are earned based on individual performance. A winning record of 3-1 is guaranteed to earn enough Silver to pay into another equivalent tournament, allowing skilled players to compete indefinitely off of a single entry.
By earning 20 Elite Tickets, players become eligible to enter a monthly Elite Tournament which is a 6-round asynchronous Swiss constructed tournament. All participants are guaranteed an alternate-art card, in addition to various prizes including packs, Silver, and Gold.
- 4 Event Tickets
- 80,000 Silver
- 720 Gold
- Any legal deck built from the player's collection
- 7 Event Tickets
- 140,000 Silver
- 1,260 Gold
- A 30-card deck selected from a set of randomized cards
- Drafted cards are permanently added to the player's collection
- 3 Event Tickets
- 60,000 Silver
- 540 Gold
- A 30-card deck selected from a set of randomized cards
- Drafted cards are not added to the player's collection
- 20 Elite Tickets
- Any legal deck built from the player's collection
First introduced on April 4, 2014, Weekend Warrior events are special tournament queues deviate from the standard tournament guidelines. These deviations include modified prize-structures and alternate deckbuilding guidelines. Some examples include four-faction singleton constructed and mono-faction draft.
Earning, Buying and Trading
Free-to-play players can expand their collections on a daily basis by completing the following tasks:
- Daily log in
- First win of the day (vs. AI counts)
- Win three games (vs. AI counts)
- First online win of the day (static reward of 1 Event Ticket)
- Each online win up to 20 wins (static reward of 100 Silver)
These daily rewards are refreshed at 12:00 AM PST, regardless of the player's location, and for completing each one players earn a single card or pack of cards, in addition to a random amount of Silver. While only standard and Legendary booster packs can be purchased with Silver, the cards or packs that are earned can be of any quality.
Cards fall into four rarities, Common, Rare, Heroic, and Legendary. Each tier of packs allots a specific amount of cards with certain minimum rarity thresholds, and there is also a possibility for certain cards in each pack to be upgraded to a higher rarity.
|Booster Pack||5,000||-||6 cards with at least 1 Rare, and a chance for a Heroic or Legendary|
|Imprisoned Heralds Booster Pack||-||560||8 cards from Imprisoned Heralds with at least 1 Heroic and 2 Rare cards|
|Legendary Chest||100,000||2,500||10 cards with at least 1 Legendary, 3 Heroic, and 3 Rare cards|
|Rise of the Forgeborn Legendary Chest||-||2,500||10 cards from Rise of the Forgeborn with at least 1 Legendary, 3 Heroic, and 3 Rare cards|
|Secrets of Solis Legendary Chest||-||2,500||10 cards from Secrets of Solis with at least 1 Legendary, 3 Heroic, and 3 Rare cards|
|Imprisoned Heralds Legendary Chest||-||2,500||10 cards from Imprisoned Heralds with at least 1 Legendary, 3 Heroic, and 3 Rare cards|
|Event Ticket||20,000||200||Used for tournament entry|
|Event Ticket x10||-||1,800|| |
Players can also purchase individual cards from the SolForge store for Gold. These cards are offered on a daily rotation, with pricing that scales based on rarity. Additionally, each week a card featuring alternate artwork can be purchased.
In order to discourage the use of bots and preserve the economy of SolForge, cards earned via free-to-play are bound to the player's account. However, through the Forging system, players can take any excess cards in their collection and convert them to Silver. This Silver, along with Silver earned via other means, can then be used to create any cards a player is looking to play in their decks. While forging cards from new sets was initially blocked for the 30 days after a set's release, this was changed with the release of "Imprisoned Heralds" to permit forging immediately, albeit at a higher cost until those 30 days have passed.
|Card Rarity||Sell Value||Purchase Cost (First 30 Days)||Purchase Cost (After 30 Days)|
While trading does not exist in SolForge in a traditional sense, a special sharing system exists for certain cards in a player's collection. Any card obtained with Gold, be it through pack purchases or the direct payment of tournament entry fees, is flagged as shareable once it enters the player's collection. These cards can then be shared with another player, putting a bound (unshareable) copy into their collection and turning the original sharable copy into a bound copy in the original owner's collection.
SolForge takes place on Solis, a planet that has gradually frozen under the diminished warmth of a dying sun. The last ray of hope for this dying world is the SolForge, an enormous spire of power, warmth and magic with origins predating history. Forgeborn, powerful wizards allied with the four warring factions struggling for survival, have taken home in a neutral zone around the SolForge. There they duel and hone their skills as they wait for the time when the SolForge is ready to bend its will to the one it deems worthy of its awesome powers.
As Forgeborn, players build decks drawing upon the power of one or more of the remaining four factions in the world of SolForge. Beyond thematic differences, each faction has different strengths and abilities to offer the player.
The Alloyin are concerned with one thing: the pursuit of knowledge through science, technology, and technomancy. Eschewing tradition and spirituality, they focus their time building, testing, and researching from the tall metal towers of their capital. While they may lack the savage brutality of their enemies, their cybernetic enhancements and robotic soldiers have made allow them to match the other factions on the battlefield.
Preparation, duability and upgrades are the focus of the Alloyin style of play. Their robot creatures excel when used together, as they have numerous ways to improve other robots on the battlefield. Alloyin technomancers, on the other hand, are generally weak on their own but gradually boost the overall effective of the deck through buffs and by allowing players to level additional cards each turn.
The ranks of the Nekrium care little about the decline in their planet's climate. While those who serve loyally are brought back as members of the undead elite, a majority of the Nekrium forces are mindless skeletons and zombies of outsiders and the less loyal. While there is little activity among the ruins of their ancient city, the ground underneath has been carved out to construct vast tombs for the undead legions of King Varna.
Nekrium strength lies in sacrifice and debilitation. Rather than bolster their own forces, their spells and creatures have numerous ways to weaken or outright kill their targets. Their focus on death allows many of their creatures to have powerful effects or even become stronger with their own death or the death of others. This synergizes particularly well with their most powerful abilities that require a sacrifice to be activated.
As elementalists, the Tempys are particularly well-equipped to weather the harsh cold, and some have even managed to draw strength from it. Although they are nomadic by nature, there is one place that all Tempys clans call home, a font of elemental energy known as Kadras. It is there that the clan leaders vie for dominance, a privilege most recently won by the champion of the Earth clan.
The Tempys use speed and agility to quickly overwhelm their foes. With numerous creatures that can attack instantly and maneuver around the battlefield, they find victory by efficiently dispatching defenders and maintaining pressure on the opposing Forgeborn. Their spells and abilities are all about dealing as much damage to as many things as possible, making the Tempys the best suited for attaining a quick victory.
The existence of the Uterra is a unbelievable as it is mysterious. They reside within a vast subterranean network of caverns teeming with life thanks to the light and warmth radiating from the cavern walls. Masters of plant, animal, and fey-spirits alike, the druids of Uterra believe it is their destiny to once again bring life to the surface of Solis.
Uterra's mastery of life grants them the flexibility to flood the battlefield with smaller creatures or plant one unstoppable behemoth in the center lane. The regenerative and healing abilities at their disposal make their forces particularly resilient. On the rare occasions when they are outmatched, Uterrans have the spells necessary to inflate their creatures to a size larger than any foe.
SolForge was first introduced to the public with the release of their Kickstarter campaign on August 1, 2012 with a target goal of $250,000. Despite strong initial showings of $75,000, the future of SolForge became unclear with funding slowly to a relatively steady creep four days in to the campaign. Still $50,000 short with only a week left before the end of their campaign, SBE launched a PAX promotion and extended their Gen Con promotion to provide backers with a slew of bonuses for pledging at higher tiers. This bolstered interest and accelerated funding, allowing SolForge to hit its goal three days later on September 7, 2012 and surpass it, bringing in a grand total of $429,715 at the Kickstarter's close on September 10, 2012.
With the game still in development, an updated version of the demo used to showcase the game during Gen Con and PAX was released for free on December 12, 2012 for the iPad. This demo featured offline play either vs. AI or pass-and-play against another player. Included were two dual-faction decks, Alloyin/Tempys and Nekrium/Uterra respectively, with one of the two decks assigned randomly to each player.
On March 19, 2013, in preparation for PAX East and the roll up to the closed beta, a new version of the iPad app was released with numerous significant updates. While play was still restricted of offline only, players could now select the deck the wanted to play, quit out of games, and have multiple games running simultaneously. Additionally, players could now purchase and use four starter decks. Each of these starter decks focused on one of the four playable factions and was priced at $4.99, with many backers receiving one or more of them for free as part of their Kickstarter rewards.
The PC version of the beta released on April 4, 2013, and was identical to the original iPad demo. It received its first update on May 24, 2013, bringing feature parity across both platforms. As SolForge neared its closed beta, development shifted almost entirely to the PC version.
On July 1, 2013, the deckbuilder feature became live for PC players. Non-backers were able to participate in the beta as well via Steam Early Access for $19.99, which included 20 booster packs upon the game's release. The next feature to be added was online play on July 17, 2013, allowing players to play against random opponents, search for opponents by name, and run multiple games simultaneously.
The morning of August 13, 2013, the servers were taken offline for a large update that would turn out to be the launch of Set 1 and the open beta on both PC and iPad. Players were able to create free accounts, giving them access to two demo decks, and start earning random cards by completing daily tasks or purchasing them through microtransactions.
The tournament patch arrived on Steam, alongside the iPhone version of the game, on the evening of December 18, 2013. The update came to the iPad version the next day as well, adding constructed and draft tournaments, an infusion of 24 new cards, and a number of balance changes and client improvements.
On January 16, 2014, an update was released server-side which incorporated a "Card of the Day" in addition to a "Weekly Special" alternate art card into the store. The free-to-play rewards were also expanded with small amount of Silver now being awarded for every online win.
Set 2, "Rise of the Forgeborn", was released on March 22, 2014. The set brought 100 new cards, including the all new Forgeborn card type and the new "Allied" keyword. Additionally, the new Forging system was implemented, tournaments were expanded to four rounds instead of three, and a number of small tweaks were made to matchmaking, deckbuilding, and card balance.
April 4, 2014, brought the "Rise of the Forgeborn" Release Celebration Draft. The first of many different Weekend Warrior tournaments, the Celebration Draft introduced a separate tournament queue where players could play through a standard draft, but receive "Rise of the Forgeborn" booster packs instead of the typical rewards.
A 20-card expansion for "Rise of the Forgeborn" was released on May 12, 2014 alongside an update patch. Aside from a handful of balance changes and the normalization of creatures types, the option to pit two computer controlled players against one another was removed.
On June 10, 2014, the SolForge beta became available on the Android platform in Canada. This version was later made available worldwide on June 19, 2014. In the midst of this, on June 13, 2014, a second 20-card expansion for "Rise of the Forgeborn" was released.
As part of an experiment, a third 16-card expansion for "Rise of the Forgeborn" was added to the existing pool in two waves of 8 cards on July 15, 2014 and July 31, 2014. With each release, two new preconstructed decks were added to the store showcasing one of four new Legendary cards.
On the evening of August 19, 2014, the servers came down for an extended maintenance that signaled the release of Set 3, "Secrets of Solis". In addition to changes to the UI that allowed for new interactions with the deck, discard pile, and opponent's hand, a majority of cards in Set 1 were removed from the draft format. An update was also made to the deck validation rules which would open the door for more creative tournament formats in the future.
The servers were taken down once again on the morning of September 25, 2014 for the release of the first-and-only "Secrets of Solis" expansion, "Secrets of Solis: Unveiled". As with the third expansion to "Rise of the Forgeborn", each of the seven new cards was included as part of one of four new preconstructed decks that were added to the store. An eighth card, an Uterra Legendary, was also originally planned for release but had to be held back due to bugs that did not reveal themselves until late into testing. Alongside this update came a wide array of tweaks to various existing cards for balancing purposes.
A special tournament was held for Kickstarter backers on October 25, 2014. Players were able to participate in a 6-round asynchronous Swiss Forgemaster constructed tournament that rewarded players with a Legendary chest in addition to varying amounts of Gold based on performance.
November 11, 2014 saw sweeping changes come to SolForge. In addition to the 60-card release of Set 4, "Imprisoned Heralds", numerous adjustments were made to the tournament entry and reward structures, Casual Draft and Elite Tournaments were added, the remaining Set 1 Commons, Rares, and Heroics were removed from draft, and the new card sharing system was introduced. Various bug fixes, balance tweaks, and quality-of-life improvements also made in including a multi-forging tool for converting large portions of a player's excess cards into Silver and separate lists for friends and players played. Perhaps most importantly, adjustments were made to allow card updates to happen server-side, freeing the developers to quickly deploy fixes to individual cards without having to submit an entirely new version of the game.
Set 1 "Alpha" - Released August 13, 2013; 184 cards
Set 1.1 "Alpha" Expansion - Released December 18, 2013; 24 cards
Set 2 "Rise of the Forgeborn" - Released March 22, 2014; 100 cards
Set 2.1 "Rise of the Forgeborn" Expansion - Released May 12, 2014; 20 cards
Set 2.2 "Rise of the Forgeborn" Expansion - Released June 13, 2014; 20 cards
Set 2.3.1 "Rise of the Forgeborn" Expansion - Released July 15, 2014; 8 cards
Set 2.3.2 "Rise of the Forgeborn" Expansion - Released July 31, 2014; 8 cards
Set 3 "Secrets of Solis" Expansion - Released August 20, 2014; 60 cards
Set 3.1 "Secrets of Solis: Unveiled" Expansion - Released September 25, 2014; 7 cards
Set 4 "Imprisoned Heralds" Expansion - Released November 11, 2014; 60 cards
- OS: Windows Vista
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- Graphics: 256MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card
- Hard Drive: 200 MB HD space
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
- OS: Windows 8
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: 512MB DirectX 9.0c compatible video card
- Hard Drive: 500 MB HD space
- Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card