It’s sure to say Forge of Empires LOVES Halloween!

The spooky roots of Forge of Empires are buried very deep – the first Halloween event consisting of a small quest line was playable in 2012, the release year of Forge of Empires. It took quite some years until the Halloween event featured a mini game, starting in 2019! Players were challenged to navigate through a foggy circus ground, collecting prizes along the way.
Much different to this tile mini game, the Forge of Empires Team took on a whole new take on Halloween, creating a very new card duel mini game mechanic!

Since creating a new minigame from the ground sure takes a lot of work, it’s not an easy decision to decide on replacing a minigame. Regardless, the card duel mechanic brings lots of improvements for players. Often in player feedback, opinions are divided, but the Forge of Empires Team agreed with everyone who felt the tile mechanic to be linear and unfavorable for players because of its randomness. A minigame should be fun for many, but the tile mechanic couldn’t engage players enough. The goal of the new minigame is to pick up where the tile minigame failed and bring the Forge of Empires players a new challenge.

Bringing a new challenge to Forge of Empires players isn’t easy though – the player base is so diverse that it’s impossible to make everyone happy: The minigame should offer enough space for those who have lots of fun to explore all possibilities and find out the best strategic approach to win as many rewards as possible. At the same time, many love to gain rewards on the get-go and as easily as possible. How has the team solved the issue?

The team decided on a foundation based on the classic rock-paper-scissors system. While pretty much everyone already knows how to play rock-paper-scissors, it’s easy to understand and remember. Werewolves are strong against Vampires, while Vampires are strong against Zombies. Zombies are strong against Werewolves. In addition to this triangle, the Forge of Empires Team included Witches that have no strengths nor weaknesses against the monstrosities as an easy pick for any opponent.
The last type of cards added to bring more depth to the minigame are the ability cards. Becoming very powerful when used correctly, the ability cards are inspired by the small and varied selection of cards players can buy from shops in roguelike games.

Speaking of roguelike games, players of the new card duel minigame are fighting their way through a dungeon full of monstrosities, mimicked by the enemy cards that the players must beat. Like any other dungeon, at the very end of the dungeon, players await a strong boss monster!
Helping players to beat the monstrosities, the Forge of Empires Team planned to add boosters to strengthen cards and a warning hint when players run low on health. Due to the nature of the huge effort required from artists, designers, and developers, those two planned features as well as a dungeon map to preview the rewards dropped by beaten monstrosities still have to be added in later iterations of the card duel mechanic.

We can’t talk about the new mini game without mentioning the beautiful yet spooky art that was created exclusively for Halloween! Especially spooktacular is the big new event reward, the Laboratory of Monstrosities. The goal was to create a “secret monster laboratory”. We think the artist nailed the challenge – the building looks like it could house Doctor Frankenstein and his monsters, especially the Thundering version:

Concept art of the “Laboratory of Monstrosities”
Final in-game asset of the “Thundering Laboratory of Monstrosities”

This brings us to think non-stop about our own theories: Were the monstrosities found in the dungeon released from the Laboratory of Monstrosities? Who is their creator? Are we playing the card game in the Tarot Card Caravan or does the quest giver and witch Hexora Toothbane send us to a sinister realm with her card game? Maybe we can find this out when playing the Halloween Event?

This year, the Halloween Event in Forge of Empires with its new mini game started on October26th, just in time for Halloween, and can be played until November 15th! Start your adventure in Forge of Empires and enter the dungeon after unlocking the Cultivation technology in the Bronze Age!

If you’re interested in more behind the scenes of our games, our interview with the game designer Micha about the German Unity Day in Rise of Cultures will be perfect!

– Vivien Redmann –
Trainee Community Management, InnoGames