Ad description

A paid-for X (formerly Twitter) ad for the game Evony: The King’s Return, seen on 24 September 2023, featured a video of a fighter character shooting different barrels. Each barrel had a different number on it. Roman centurions stood on top of some of the barrels. The caption stated “Navigate obstacles, unleash devastating attacks”.


The complainant, who understood that the gameplay depicted in the ad was not representative of the actual game, challenged whether the ad was misleading.


Top Games Inc t/a Evony: The King’s Return said that they did not believe that there had been any breach of the CAP Code. “Evony: The King’s Return” was a free to download and play mobile game available on iOS and Android game and did not have interstitial ads within it. Players could, if they wanted to, purchase virtual digital enhancements. However, all gameplay was accomplished by the player themselves. To progress through the game, players needed to engage in strategic city-building, tactical player versus player and player versus environment on the world map, and progress through puzzles. The main quest line guided players through the games, which required them to focus on each part of the overall game and rewarded them with more content.

“Evony: The King’s Return” offered a varied gaming experience with different elements to the game. The ad in question, which featured a fighter character interacting with numerically marked barrels, was indicative of the game’s puzzle solving aspect which was just as essential as the city-building and strategy to progress in the game. While players were not forced to play any specific part of the game, they would fall behind and not progress without playing all parts. The success of the game was based on the fact that it offered wide ranging freedom to engage with the specific parts of the game that players enjoyed.

They said that the ad showcased actual gameplay and mechanics, directly engaging the player in strategic thinking and action. They considered that this was different from previous ASA rulings on misleading gaming ads where there was a mismatch between the ad and the gameplay. The ad represented the interactive and strategic components that players actually experienced in the game across the puzzles. The puzzles were not mere mini-games, and they were designed to be challenging and rewarding, blending with the game’s overall strategy. They provided an electronic copy of the ad and two gameplay videos, to showcase the similarities between them.

They considered that players were sophisticated enough to determine quickly if a game was not similar to the ad, and that would result in them abandoning the game soon after installing. This would frustrate their goal of attracting players to the community and against their responsible app advertising initiative. The specific ads had over 80% retention rate from players who had installed after being shown the targeted puzzle ads. Given the game’s breadth and scope, it was difficult to showcase the entire game experience. Because the ads were targeting adults who had interest in puzzle games, they showed them the aspect that was most likely to be interesting to them. They pointed to their “Responsible App Advertising” initiative, which included the goal of ads authentically depicting the game’s content.



The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.

The ad included footage of a sniper character shooting different barrels that were rolling towards the character, each with a different number on it. Roman centurions idly stood on top of some of the barrels. The caption stated, “Navigate obstacles, unleash devastating attacks”. The ASA considered that consumers would understand from the ad that the game mainly featured a puzzle solving element that involved shooting targets, while having to avoid obstacles, such as the rolling barrels.

We understood that the ad included one aspect of the gameplay, namely the puzzle solving element. We compared the footage of the ad with the first gameplay video provided by Evony. While not identical, the gameplay and graphics were comparable to those of the ad and provided a similar gaming experience. We also reviewed a second gameplay footage video of another puzzle, which featured the character navigating obstacles to cross through a path, without shooting targets. We therefore understood that the game featured a puzzle similar to that shown in the ad, and that it was one of a number of different puzzles.

However, we further understood that Evony was not primarily a puzzle game. It also included player versus player, player versus environment and city-building aspects, with the city-building element being the game’s core gameplay. Although players could choose to play only one of the aspects of the game, such as the puzzles, they were not able to progress through the storyline without engaging with all elements. If players did not level up in the core gameplay, they were eventually locked out of the puzzles.

For those reasons we concluded that the ad did not reflect the game’s core playing experience and was therefore misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 (Misleading advertising).


The ad must not appear again in its current from. We told Top Games Inc t/a Evony: The King’s Return to ensure that their future advertising reflected the game’s core playing experience.

CAP Code (Edition 12)


More on