Auto Chess, the game that inspired an entirely new genre, is Google Play’s Best Innovative Game for 2019.

The distinction is made more notable considering that the game actually got off to a rocky start in 2019. Auto Chess started off as a pioneer of Auto Battlers with Valve, but then broke off the collaboration. After that, it became an exclusive, stand-alone title for Epic Games.

The initial partnership that produced Dota Auto Chess went on to inspire similar new concepts from competing game designers. This included the refresh to Dota Auto Chess — Dota Underlords, Teamfight Tactics from Riot Games, and Hearthstone’s Battlegrounds.

The award from Google Play recognizes Auto Chess as the game that started the entire auto battler genre. This includes setting up the framework and mechanics of a brand new game style and figuring out what can be done to make the genre stand out even further.

“Initially, we were super excited to be shortlisted for this global and authoritative award. Now, we’re very honored to have received the Google Play 2019 Best Innovative Game Award and have also been shortlisted the Google Play Best Game Award of 2019 in South Korea,” Drodo, the game’s developer, wrote in its latest announcement.

Having pioneered the auto battler genre and then setting the benchmark for the rest to follow — all within a year — Auto Chess’ achievements are certainly remarkable.

“We are thankful to the Google Play Store [and] we are most thankful to the players who have supported us to this day. You, dearest player, are our motivation to keep going. Thank you for being with us regardless of our shortcomings, and encouraging us while we improve the game,” Drodo added.

READ MORE: Jinsoo takes first place and US$450,000 at Drodo Studios’ first Auto Chess Invitational