Comprehensive Review of SolForge

OVERVIEW

SolForge is a digital card game, released by Stone Blade Entertainment on August 13, 2013. Its first expansion, “Rise of the Forgeborn,” was released on March 22, 2014. The game is available on PC and iOS, and an Android version is in development.

The game is a head-to-head creature battle set in an epic fantasy-meets-tech setting. The gameplay is light and quick; players’ decisions matter but they will only have a couple of them to make each turn. You can play untimed (with notifications when it is your turn, on iOS) or timed (with 20-minute “chess clocks” for each person).

SolForge uses a free-to-play business model, but purchases are basically-required for serious tournament play. All cards acquired are tied to a player’s account across all platforms, so you can buy on a PC and play on your iPad against other players, and vice-versa.

There is a story to SolForge, about the world of Solis and the four factions that fight for sport these days (the technical Alloyin, fiery Tempys, earthy Uterra, and underworldly Nekrium). There is some concern about a foreboding evil lurking beneath the frozen ice… but really the story is basically irrelevant at this point. Players cannot impact it, and player actions don’t feel like one is telling a story through play. Players aren’t coming to SolForge for the creative aspects, in my opinion.

Feedback is very welcome, of course, and the best feedback will lead to (noted) changes in the articles. At the end of the process there will be a PDF produced containing the full report.

  • Gameplay: Describing the rules, a bit of the strategy, and the lessons designers can take from the innovative game design.
  • Business Model: A complete overview and frank opinions about the rarity structure, pricing model, and “forging.”
  • Software and Interface: The look-and-feel of SolForge is distinct. It isn’t without problems, though, and we’ll talk through the pros and cons of the interface.
  • Organized Play: What is there is great, but I’d love to see more.
  • Closing Thoughts and Updates: Where does SolForge go from here?

A Comprehensive Review of SolForge is available as a PDF. If you like what you see, please contribute to my Patreon.

2 comments on “Comprehensive Review of SolForge

  1. hey there —

    remember me…?

    🙂

    anyway, i just got into SolForge, via the Android version… i notice, by the way, that your reviews seem to have been written before the Android version was released… for the record, it is, literally, identical to the Steam PC version in all regards [unfortunately, to include the occasional crash {but, like the Steam version, the game is very good at remembering game state through crashes}]… it’s a new game, still in its infancy, and i am sure that they will iron these kinks out as they come across them…

    for the record, i not only remember you from VtES, but also from MtG competitive play… i won’t dig up anything, but i think *maybe* you had a bit of an axe to grind, whether or not you were consciously aware of such, when you wrote your reviews, as it seems, from my point of view, that you were perhaps a little less than objective in how you scored them in the various areas of your comprehensive review…

    credit where it is due, your comprehensive review is, indeed comprehensive… you provide accurate and detailed information about the various aspects of the game, the business model, the interfaces & actual play…

    however…

    it seems to me that the interface score for the PC version [i cannot speak on the iOS version, i don’t do Apple [though, i am typing this on a MacBook Pro converted to Linux Mint — go figure] was unfairly low… i’ve been playing Magic 2014 on both Steam & on Android for over a year now, and if i use that as a measuring stick with which to gauge SolForge’s interface, i’d actually think it ought to have been in the B+ range, as opposed to the B- you afforded it…

    for what it is worth, the Android version, again, is literally identical… if i have any complaints about that at all, it is that i am getting older and my eyes have a little difficulty with the card text on a 7″ tablet [2nd generation Nexus 7]… what i will add is that a friend of mine inherited my old 1st generation Nexus 7 tablet and installed SolForge on it and has had significantly more crashes and memory issues, most likely due to the fact that the older tablet has 1 GB RAM, while the newer has 2 GB… it could also have a lot to do with interactions with the other software one has installed on one’s Android device, which is obviously much more of an issue than it would be with the PC version…

    i took much greater exception to the very low score that you gave SolForge with regard to their business model… i’ll tell you why… i am VERY poor… VERY, VERY poor… poor people seem rich to me… if you remember me, personally, it will probably not surprise you to learn that i have not got my shit together significantly since last we saw one another, although, i am actually making some inroads with regard to that issue — but that’s another story… in any case, every penny i spend on any game matters a great deal to me… i judge the business modelling of games using the original, Magic the Gathering, as my yardstick…

    these days, i only play magic very, very casually… my usual method of building a new funzies deck is to buy two identical precons and build a deck out of the contents of them both… with sales tax, that generally runs me from $40 to $45… that is NOT going to be a competitive deck at all…

    i decided to go ahead and drop the same amount, $45, on gold for SolForge… this, after having done the daily grinds for about 10 days… i bought 2 single-faction decks, a few legendary chests & some boosters… i have a solid Nekrium / Tempys deck built out of all of that that contains no legendaries, and i am now winning about 70% of my online games [tournaments notwithstanding]… i consider that to be pretty good, considering i’d get laughed out of a Magic tournament if i sat down with my two-precons-jammed-together joke… C- was rather harsh and subbjective, i think… i’d give them a B on their business model… you get A LOT for free, and can play very effectively without ever having spent a dime…

    these guys have done great work with a great idea, and i don’t think it’s right to disparage them, for whatever reasons you may have… they are working hard at making the game better, and constructive criticisms, suggestions, ideas will certainly make the game grow better than nipping at their heels…

    now, that said, what i really want to know is:

    what happened to ChronX…?!

    seriously, it seems to me like you may have a slight case of sour grapes… if you’re going to pose as an objective reviewer, a little more objectivity might be in order…

    again, credit where it is due: your analysis is thoughtful, considered & in-depth… if the conclusions you draw and present were equally so, your efforts would be of greater value to the rest of us…

    peace —

    — khs

  2. Kevin – your reply is epic and there is so much to reply to. For now, I’ll just say that I never said I was objective, and (imho) there is no such thing as an objective review.

    That said, I believe I am being fair, and I swear on the soul of the Great Gaming Gods that I do not have sour grapes. I want SBE to succeed — I contributed to this game’s kickstarter, I’ve met many of the people involved, and they seem like nifty folk. I just calls’em like I sees’em — tough but fair, ideally.

    (For whatever it’s worth, I am not rolling in the monies. But maybe with my upcoming Patreon, that will change? We’ll see.)

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