The latest rules for Ambition are here. Mostly, the changes are simplifications to the scoring system in order to increase the game’s mass appeal and, hopefully, virality. I don’t believe that I’ve compromised on the game design in doing so; the intrinsic strategic complexity remains, but the cognitive overload associated with the scoring system has been trimmed back a bit.
I’m planning, after years of delinquency on this matter, to release an online version late this year, but I’ve wanted to get the rules to a steady state before doing so. This iteration, I am pretty sure, is or is near the final one, at least as far as the core rules go. There are a few unresolved questions that I have about the scoring system, but I’m going to wait until I have real data (from players, not simulations) before making those calls.
The roadmap from here looks like this. Currently, I’m working on a command-line console version– an embarrassing minimal viable product (“MVP”)– that I plan on releasing this August. The source code will be on Github and open-source; card games themselves are rather trivial to implement, so there’s no point in hiding that code. The first iteration will be a tutorial (with players making random legal moves) more than a game, designed with the intent of helping people learn Ambition interactively rather than from a dry rules document.
After “launching” this MVP, the next project will be to create real players for a single-player version. As for AI, I have a machine-learning approach in mind that I think will work. That might take a month or two (since this is purely a weekend side project) to implement and run, but I’d like to have that together by mid-autumn. This means there should be real AI players. I have no idea whether they’ll be any good at the game. I may crowd-fund this by creating a KickStarter project to solve the AI problem and giving a percentage away to the person who writes the best player.
After that, I’ll start working on the front-end (like, a real app) of the game, noting that most people are not interested in downloading a command-line card game, and also that people prefer to play against real people rather than AI. I’ve been doing back-end software for my whole career so I have no idea what that will entail or how difficult it will be, but I look forward to the learning experience.