Scrolls, Mojang's Collectible Card Game

Scrolls is the next PC gaming effort to emerge from indie game monolith, Mojang, otherwise known for their successes with Minecraft. Scrolls will be an online PC CCG, in which players will buy a starter 'deck' of randomized cards and then venture forth into the world to battle monsters and other players with the power of putting cards on a virtual board. I'm already attempted to grow my hair into a strange shape and be possessed by a daemon dragon, but that's really neither here nor there.

Scrolls isn't available yet, it has yet to go into the first closed alpha, in which a few lucky players will enjoy the PC gaming equivalent of a long trip to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Unlike Minecraft, Scrolls won't be available for purchase in alpha because of potential balance issues.

With any CCG balance is a tricky thing to work out. As one might expect, there are more cards than potential fathers for a baby on the Jerry Springer show, and with options such as the ability to arm your card creatures and to lock down areas of the board, balance is not going to be easy to attain. It's safe to say that Notch and his crew will probably have reached Nirvana and come back again by the time this thing makes it into the public eye.

Scrolls is essentially going to be a collectible card game played in a Massively Multiplayer Online environment, and like any collectible card game the biggest spenders are likely to be the biggest winners. This is a concern for anyone who prefers that pc games be based on skill power, not wallet power. Creators Jacob and Markus claim that won't be the case because "it's all about how you put your deck together". Apparently there will be random elements to the game play, not to mention the ability to not only choose the best deck, but also to control the board itself. However compelling this argument might appear to be on the surface, it strikes this lowly writer as fairly obvious that the option to buy more cards will only be attractive if it gives the buyer some advantage. To say that cards are for sale and simultaneously say that they will make no difference to your game if you buy them is counter intuitive and would probably make the baby Spock cry.

All in all, this is an exciting project for Mojang, and quite a departure from Minecraft. Fans of CCG games are likely to be excited by this news, fans of open worlds in which you can build replicas of the Arc D'Triomphe and then ride a pig through them will probably be more than slightly underwhelmed by the prospect.

Check out the official Scrolls site.

Read an exclusive RPS interview re: Scrolls with Notch, Carl and Jacob.



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