Armies of Riddle, An In-Depth Review

6.7 TCG RATING
Gameplay: 6/10
Sounds: 7/10
Graphics: 7/10

Excellent visual effects during combat.

Lacks variety. | Battles can be slow and drawn out.

iOS and Android.

Free to play, with in-app purchases.

December 13,2014

English

We have been given a free code to give out to our readers! You will get 200 Gold if you download the game and enter the coupon code: AC4E42

Armies of Riddle is a free-to-play, fantasy-themed Combat Collectible Card Game (CCG) where the player commands an army in order to protect their Crystal Shard from attack. Armies of Riddle also uses a dice combat system to determine the victor of each battle fought.

Armies of Riddle was a successfully funded Kickstarter project back in September 2014 for its developers, Game Scorpion. Since then it has been released on Steam, iOS, and Android systems. The developers took on a huge challenge to make a game that was both enjoyable and visually impressive by using 3D rendered models and backdrops for the battlefields instead of the more common digitally-painted art style.

Does Armies of Riddle’s Crystal shine bright, or will it crack under scrutiny? Read on to find out…

More-die-rolls-more-randomness

The Armies of Riddle uses a die rolling combat system. You will need to beat your opponent’s die rolls to gain victory in this game.

GAMEPLAY

Armies of Riddle uses cards to represent your army’s units. Instead of opting for traditional artwork for the avatar, and the cards, the developers have chosen to render 3D models for everything. This works well in some instances, but a bit strange in others. I found some of the models to look a little quirky in their facial expressions.

You will play these cards in one of 6 available slots on the battlefield, which utilizes a lane combat system. Your avatar can be male or female and can be upgraded in attack and defense, though the only purpose appears to be to increase the health points of your Crystal Shard.

The cards themselves require resources to summon to the battlefield. The main resource in the game is ‘Usage Level’ and this will apply to every card except the Crystal Shards. Your Usage Level as the commander of the army will increase once per turn. This allows you to summon more powerful units to the battlefield, or just swarm it with less powerful, cheaper units.

Cards also have up to 3 more numbers on them in addition to their Usage Level. Attack value represents the number of Attack dice you can roll when resolving an attack. The more dice you can roll, the greater the chance of victory. Only some cards will have a Defense value. Just like the Attack value, this determines how many Defense dice that unit can roll. The Crystal Shard also has a number for the amount of Defense dice that can be rolled, but no Attack dice number.

*gasps for breath* Okay, did you get all of that? Good. Let’s move on before I drown in a sea of dice.

Next up is the Magic attribute that each card carries. This time, instead of rolling that many dice, you will need to roll that exact number for the card to be able to use one of its Magic abilities. Each card will have a number of Magic abilities, including the Crystal Shard. You will be able to choose the Magic ability to trigger as long there is a valid target for the ability. Some of the abilities include being able to retrieve a fallen unit to your hand, destroy an opponent’s army unit, or gain an extra attack. Some may hate the randomness here, but it adds an unpredictability that I find exciting and tense.

Both-players-place-their-tokens-to-say-they-are-ready

Both players have 6 slots to place their cards. If there is a card in the opposing slot, the two cards will battle. Anything else is a direct attack on the opponent’s Crystal Shard. Can someone tell me again, why do I want to smash this guy’s Crystal up?

Placing your units takes a little bit of planning, as combat is resolved from left to right. Each player will indicate their readiness to begin battle by placing their token on the field. As mentioned before, if your unit is opposite an opponent’s unit, they will battle. If not, then the combat resolves as if you are attacking their Crystal Shard directly. If successful, you will damage the Crystal Shard by one point and once that number is reduced to 0, you win.

I found the combat sequences to be a little bit slow, with no means of speeding them up. Additionally, the dice mechanic often made a round last well over 30 minutes simply because the die rolls cause so many deadlocks (when the defense roll is higher than the attack roll, or equal attack rolls between cards).

I’m not suggesting that the gameplay is bad. I just wish that more focus was put into it with regards to eliminating elements of randomness and giving the player a bit more control over what happens. While I enjoy the random aspects, not everyone will, so it will be up to you to see what you make of this style of gameplay.

Each-quest-is-against-an-AI-opponent

The campaign is where most of the gameplay action will take place. This is largely due to the fact that the multiplayer system is down (at the time of writing), unfortunately.

MODES AND FEATURES

Armies of Riddle features a campaign mode that sees you facing off against some random opponents. They all appear to play the same way, and seem to have more or less the same deck. You will need to defeat a key holder before you can defeat the main target for the campaign. It all sounds simple enough, but each location is a random opponent with no leads as to what level the enemy is. With no information as to what you can expect to face, you’ll have to play quite a number of lengthy games before you can proceed.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review the multiplayer PvP system was down, making it unavailable for review. A notice on the official message board that was posted quite some time ago says that it is down, with no indication of when it would come back again. I would have liked to see how the game plays against a real opponent. For now, the game will have to be considered as a solo game only.

Lastly, the store. You would normally be able to buy packs, upgrades, and the game’s premium currency, Gold. I could only buy one pack that contained four cards, three of them units and the last a Shard. However, they went up in price with each purchase and I ended up getting to a point where I couldn’t buy more. I decided to look at the developer’s forum as to why it is this way. The explanation is that once you have one copy of all the units and Crystals in the game, you can’t buy any more packs. I would have liked to own more than one copy of a unit in order to construct a stronger deck, but it isn’t currently possible.

Deck-editing-is-quite-simple-yet-has-no-way-to-narrow-the-search

You may only have one of each card in your deck. This makes building a deck with a consistent strategy quite difficult. Just try to enjoy even more randomness, I guess!

DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY

Deckbuilding in Armies of Riddle is a short affair. Each unit card you have acquired can be placed into your deck, up to a maximum of 30 cards. Due to the current nature of the game, there only exists one copy of each card, so you can’t own multiples of any one particular card. I found this to be disappointing as it reduced the amount of strategy I could employ.

Once you are done building your deck, you can switch to the Crystal Shard deck and construct that. However, you will only ever need one Shard. It is best to pick a Shard that gives you more Defense dice as this’ll mean you can deadlock more attacks against you. In the early part of the game, you will be able to fend off almost all cards that’ll attack with one or two dice.

When I managed to collect enough cards, I built a deck that required a minimum Usage Level cost with maximum Attack dice. It is safe to ignore the Defense dice for these cards, as you will sometimes be able to retrieve them from Magic effects if they are defeated by another card. If you obtain a card that has 3 Attack dice, use it, even if it has no Defense dice. This is because the more difficult opponents will have Crystal Shards with 3 Defense dice and you’ll need a way to beat them, unless you want to spend hours trying your luck with one or two dice.

When-you-defeat-another-moster-they-are-destroyed

I can see all the care and love that the developers put into the game. They wanted to make a game that was visually striking. With such a unique look you’ll either love it or hate it. However, in doing so, the game lacks refinement in other areas.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I sincerely wanted Armies of Riddle to be an excellent game. The effort the developers went to clearly show that this game was a labor of love. The game is quite a large download when you consider the lack of content in terms of cards and the current lack of a multiplayer mode. It appears as though all the attention went into making 3D renders of everything, including the battlefield.

I would have liked more attention given to refining the battle system and I really wouldn’t have minded a more traditional approach to the artwork, and perhaps this would have fit its theme more. There are aspects of the game that I thought were cool, though. The combat system, despite being an overly long affair, was interesting and innovative for a digital CCG, mostly. The visual effects that occurred when it came to the dice rolls and battle animations were a pleasure to look at as well.

As it stands, Armies of Riddle will need a lot of work and updates if it wants to compete with some of the bigger titles out there. The game shows promise and the developers do seem to pay attention to people’s observations of the game, from reading some of the game’s forum. This is something that the larger game studios lack and hardly ever take action on. I get the impression that these guys really want to improve and will listen to feedback. I can only encourage more people to play this so they will get the feedback they need to make this an amazing game to play.

We have been given a free code to give out to our readers! You will get 200 Gold if you download the game and enter the coupon code: AC4E42

For more screenshots, click here.

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by

Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

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