Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have more money than God? Me too. And while only a call to his accountant could verify this, it seems that Minecraft creator Notch should have a pretty good idea of what it’s like. He may not be Gabe Newell rich, but after independently creating one of the most successful video games in history, he should be financially primed to retire anytime he wants.
Like all good creative types though, Notch would never settle for a “one and done” scenario. His team at Mojang have been hard at work on their second game, Scrolls, for some time now. A wildly different beast that Minecraft, Scrolls is a collectible card game that released into public beta earlier this week. We’ve spent a bit of time with it. Here’s what we think so far.
First, it’s important to understand what “beta” means in the world of Mojang. Like Minecraft before it, the game that has launched into beta is in a perfectly polished state. Most other developers would call this a final release candidate and demand you pay the full price for entry. Scrolls only lives up to half of this equation – they may not call it final, but you’ll still need to pay a close-to-final price. The ante on this card game is $20.95.
What makes it a beta, though, is that Scrolls will no doubt undergo numerous additions over the coming months. To quote the official site, “It’s not feature complete, but there’s still plenty to get your teeth into.” After only a dozen or so matches, I’ll definitely verify that second part. In fact, there’s so much to sink your teeth into that we thought it best to share this “first impressions” post rather than make you wait for the full review (expect it in the next week or so.)
The gameplay should feel instantly familiar to CCG gamers, but not in a way that makes Scrolls feel unoriginal. The card types and resource requirements will remind you of Magic: The Gathering, while the way cards turn into units on the board brings about memories of Summoner Wars.
The objective is simple enough – destroy three of the five idols on your opponent’s side of the board to win, while at the same time defending your own. You’ll play cards to summon units, enchant units, damage opposing units. Little touches, like having the choice to either sacrifice a card to create a resource or sacrifice a card to draw two new ones, manage to keep the game moving quickly so long as you can think fast on the fly.
Those who prefer deeper strategy will want to purchase new cards and build their own deck. And while you’ll earn plenty of gold to do so by completing matches (both online and single player), there’s also a premium currency that can be bought via – you guessed it – in-app purchase. This may turn a lot of players off, but since it doesn’t really affect the balance of play (good cards mean nothing if you don’t know how to play them well), I’m finding little reason to complain.
Having said that, there’s a reason that I’m calling this a “first impressions” article and not review. A few dozen more matches under my belt and I might just change my tune.
My initial thoughts on Scrolls are largely positive – it’s accessible without sacrificing strategy, has a tight single player mode for learning the game, and knocks its presentation out of the park. I’m not sure if I’d say I’m enjoying it more than I did Summoner Wars, which really is the closest comparison, but I suppose I’ll need to spend some more time with it before I can settle on my opinion. Stay tuned for our full review in the coming days!