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, structure, and spell. Creature cards permanently summon a creature to one of five lanes on the battlefield and are the primary form of attack. Structures behave similarly to creature cards, with their function generally being to bolster the player's creature or hinder the opponent's creature occupying the same lane. Spell cards are one-off effects that may impact one or more cards on the battlefield.
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. 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 Asynchronous Swiss tournaments via Event Tickets purchased with Gold (in-game currency purchased via microtransactions), Silver (in-game currency earned via daily rewards), or earned at random via the daily free-to-play reward system. After entering a queue, they are matched against other players with the same score over a total of three rounds.
Rewards earned are based on individual performance, and can include Event Tickets, booster packs, and individual cards. An undefeated record of 3-0 is guaranteed to earn enough Event Tickets to pay into another equivalent tournament, allowing skilled players to compete indefinitely off of a single entry.
- 3 Event Tickets
- Any legal deck built from the player's collection
- 7 Event Tickets
- A 30-card deck selected from a set of randomized cards
- Drafted cards are permanently added to the player's collection
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 (random reward of a smaller amount of 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 Basic 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.
A series of dice rolls is made to determine the rarity of each card. For example, when earning a single card as a free-to-play reward which can be any rarity, the first roll would be for a Legendary with a 2% chance of success. If this fails, the game would move on to roll on Heroic which has an 8% chance of success, and so on until reaching Common, the minimum rarity and a 100% guarantee.
| (Daily Reward)||100%||33%||8%||2%|
| (900 Silver; 70 Gold ~$0.27)|| || || || |
|Card 1||100%|| ||3%|| |
|Card 2||100%|| ||3%||0.1%|
|Card 3|| ||100%||3%||1%|
|Normal Booster Pack (560 Gold ~$2.15)|| || || || |
|Card 1||100%|| || || |
|Card 2||100%|| || || |
|Card 3||100%|| || || |
|Card 4||100%||10%|| || |
|Card 5||100%||10%|| || |
|Card 6|| ||100%||10%|| |
|Card 7|| ||100%||10%|| |
|Card 8|| || ||100%||12.5%|
|Premium Booster Pack (3250 Gold ~$12.50)|| || || || |
|Card 1||100%|| || || |
|Card 2||100%|| || || |
|Card 3||100%||10%|| || |
|Card 4|| ||100%||10%|| |
|Card 5|| ||100%||10%|| |
|Card 6|| ||100%||10%|| |
|Card 7|| || ||100%||5%|
|Card 8|| || ||100%||5%|
|Card 9|| || ||100%||5%|
|Card 10|| || || ||100%|
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 methods cannot be traded to other players. However, there are plans to implement a system to allow players to convert their excess free-to-play cards. Whether they will convert into Silver, other cards, or something else has yet to be determined.
For cards obtained via Gold transactions, there are plans to implement an auction house as well as straight player-to-player trading. As long as a minimum of one Event Ticket used to enter a tournament is paid for with Gold, all prizes including cards and additional Event Tickets will be considered to be paid for with Gold well. In order to avoid confusion between free-to-play and paid tickets, upon entering a tournament the game will first apply one Gold ticket if available, attempt to fill the remaining slots with free-to-play tickets, then return to Gold tickets for the remainder.
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 1 "Alpha" - Released August 13, 2013; 184 cards
Mini-Set 1 - Released December 18, 2013; 24 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