Rewind 20 Years. Beanie babies are all the rage, the world wide web was officially born and Nirvana were making music that inspired a generation. What almost went unnoticed however, except by those kids who got atomic wedgied hourly, was the birth of a small Collectable Card Game named Magic : The Gathering. The game was played out between players taking turns to lay down cards by drawing from their deck and annihalating the other player (Wizard).
Magic eventually achieved cult status in geek circles, with cards trading hands for a surprising ammount of currency, and would kickstart a craze in kids collectible cards in just about anything with enough characters, buildings or plot devices worth emptying your parents wallet for.
Fast forward 20 years, and we have reached a time where being nerdy is no longer something to be shunned for, it’s fairly commonplace, and this is the crowd which is currently salivating over Mojang’s second contribution to the gaming scene – Scrolls.
Scrolls is a Collectible Card Game with a twist. In Most collectible card games, turns are broken into moves/interupts/buffs/attacks, and where you lay your cards is where they remain. In Scrolls however, the ‘scrolls’ you lay down are to be placed on a 5×3 Hex Grid, and your turn allows you to move, buff, attack and enchant your cards during your phase, helping it flow better, and appeal to more casual players.
There are a choice of three decks – Growth, Order and Energy, all with their unique cards and traits. While all three factions have particular traits built into the deck (e.g : Energy have high defensive properties), the use of enchantments, buildings and debuffs unlocks many different methods of playing a hand. When starting out, you get to choose your starter pack which consists of a 50 card preconstructed deck, and off you go to play.
There is a very intuitive tutorial for newcomers to the game which takes you through all the basic mechanics involved in combat. On completion of it, you are awarded coins with which you can unlock more scrolls from the in game store. The game store also accepts real currency, and while it is pretty much top of my pet hate list having benefits purchaseable in game, the game is so tactically poised that by playing smart, you can beat virtually any deck, regardless of how stacked it is, and even then, sometimes the best strategies can be formulated with the worst cards.
You can also earn gold through single player AI challenges, which scales up depending on the difficulty you play at (Easy, Medium or Hard), but the real draw of this game is the multiplayer – pitting your carefully constructed deck against a random strangers for a shot at climbing the ranking ladder. This is made even more enjoyable by the genuinely friendly community within the game. While there isn’t much chat in the lobby rooms, most players are happy to converse while playing.
I must profess, my first 6 PvP games have resulted in losses, but i’ve persevered and i’m up to a distinctly average 28/24.
For me, scrolls is a thoroughly enjoyable title. It runs on low end systems, the visuals are simple but slick, it really engages your brain, and in its multiplayer feature you’ll never play the same game twice. My only criticism of scrolls for now, is there isn’t an enormous ammount of content available, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that a) This is very early beta, and b) It’s made by the guys who brought us Minecraft.
I’m off to pull the atomic wedgie out of my arse. Fancy a game? Add me on Steam! – Specineff713