All Hands On Decks: Scrolls Alpha “Rapidly Approaching”

Scrolls, the collectible card game in development at Mojang, will soon be in closed alpha state and once stable enough will switch to a purchasable beta. The alpha will have AI opponents, allowing for the single player to test out his decks, but it won’t include the campaign mode, a world through which the player travels, picking fights to add new cards to his/her collection. Scrolls’ website has also been updated with the first footage of the game in action, which makes me think of a cross between Magic: The Gathering, HOMM and a two player version of Plants vs Zombies without the zombies or plants. It does seem to have tracks onto which creatures and powers are summoned though, and idols to defend at the end of those tracks. Watch it below.

The post-release plans are extensive, including tournaments and online trading, although maybe referring to an ‘auction house’ isn’t the greatest idea at the moment. It also sounds like the 100+ cards in the game can all be found by playing, using gold earned through victories to buy them or through the single player campaign, but purchasing also provides a ‘free subscription’ that provides a new scroll every week.

Once we’ve had a shuffle through the cards we’ll find out exactly what all of that means in terms of plans for exchanging cards, building collections and post-release content. My fear of being constantly bested by more dedicated and knowledgeable opponents might lead me to wait for a single player mode with some form of progression and narrative before I really dig in.


  1. MythArcana says:

    Get those credit cards handy! Here we go again! I wonder if they are going to finish this game, though.

    • Brun says:

      Define “finish”. If “finish” means an end to patches and free content updates (like Minecraft has), I’d prefer that NONE of my games get finished.

    • frightlever says:

      Minecraft is still in development. That’s not a bad thing.

      Scrolls the game I have no interest int, but given that it’s primarily an online fee-based affair I can’t help but wonder how they’re going to keep it secure.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      If I got millions and millions overnight and became a game publisher, I really hope that I’d make sure the first game I’d release would be one known for its incredible artistic merit and the love and readily available finances invested in it, not for its dubious payment structure…

      • Premium User Badge

        FhnuZoag says:

        Pay for the game as it is, and view any future improvement to the game as a happy bonus. Do that, and you’ll never feel cheated. That’s what I did with Minecraft, and I’m pretty happy with the many hours of entertainment I got in return.

        Purchasing a game on the basis of hope that it might one day get better is just asking for it, IMHO.

  2. byteCrunch says:

    I had completely forgotten this game even existed.

  3. pakoito says:

    12 minutes full game and full ruleset-mechanic rundown by me on the forums: link to

    The game is very basic ATM, lacks a bit of spark or depth we have seen in other card/boardgames or puzzlefight games Clash of Heroes.

  4. Chris D says:

    Warning: Contains nit-picking over abstract points of game design.

    It seems a slightly odd choice to use a hex-grid given the gameplay is (apparently) based around attacking straight lanes. I think a square grid might make more sense conceptually and be clearer to understand at a glance. Looks a little bit like it’s been tacked on because that’s what strategy games have, rather than what would be best for the design. Never be afraid to do something simple if that’s what works.

    • lasikbear says:

      The only reason I can see to use it (unless there are AOE effects) is that it makes it easier to see multiple creatures in the same column. The staggering between rows keeps the creature in the back row less covered.

    • pakoito says:

      Hexagons disallow to advance + swap lane in a same movement. You can fall back + swap lane, or advance, or swap.

      Make a drawing and test it yourself, hexagons is a smart solution. Squares without diagonals allows for a maximum of 4 moves, with diagonals 8, hexagons only 6.

      EDIT 2: This is not completely correct. You can advance + swap lane, but only in the center hex of lines 1, 3 and 5.

      • Screwie says:

        Okay that is rather clever.

        • pakoito says:

          You can blame Mojang for poor implementation, but never for lack of design.

      • Chris D says:

        Ok, fair enough. Still seems an odd juxtaposition between two different styles of games but maybe they have thought it through.

        • pakoito says:

          Have you tried Summoner Wars? The game is ace, I am trying to get RPSers addicted to it, but nobody follows me :(

          • Chris D says:

            I have heard good things about Summoner Wars but never actually played it. I should probably do something about that.

          • Malk_Content says:

            I’ve got it! But sadly my box fell off the shelf and all the cards got muddles (they should really come in mini boxes) and everytime I’ve taken it out to play we end up looking at the cards, realise it’ll take sometime to sort and and instead get another 2 player game out.

          • pakoito says:

            I have at least one forum thread on the subject. Vassalengine is up-to-date expansion wise and plays pretty decent. There is also a small community from the official forums, but most of them are way over my level :(

          • jrodman says:

            Can Summoner Wars be acquired in a digital form? I don’t want another game I don’t end up playing in physical variation :-(

          • pakoito says:

            You can play on Vassal Engine for free, and they have been preparing an iOS (Android?) version for more than a year.

  5. wccrawford says:

    If you hadn’t specifically called out the auction house, I wouldn’t have through of it.

    Is this game going to require being online like D3? I would think the auction house almost demands it.

    I could see playing offline with the latest download of cards from the server, but actually earning new cards would need an online presence. Otherwise, rampant cheating will occur and the only people buying from the auction house will be those without the means to cheat.

    • LTK says:

      Mojang aren’t stupid. Battles against AI will most likely be able to be played offline, while you need to be online and verified to be able to play against other people. I don’t know what they’re going to do against cheating, though it probably won’t be Blizzard’s approach of ‘monitor EVERYTHING’.

  6. x1501 says:

    I can already see Notch on Twitter: “Just got a letter from Obsidian Entertainment’s lawyers. They claim “alpha” infringes on their trademark and everyone will confuse the alpha build of Scrolls with Alpha Protocol.”

  7. Quasar says:

    Is this that new Bethesda game? What’s a moe jang? I’m so confused, and have therefore decided to throw all my money at passing traffic.

    • Iain_1986 says:

      Oh goody.

      These jokes again.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I bet everyone concerned is glad they spent their time in a court over the name of this game.

  8. Gothnak says:

    Weird, i’m very slowly working on a game at home that uses a bunch of similar mechanics as this, expect it’s squares rather than hexes, it’s not collectable and it’s a cross between magic, a wargame and tetris…

    This looks a little simple at the moment…

  9. Vexing Vision says:

    It actually looks a lot more interesting than I was afraid of. There is a lot of placement strategy there.

    However, I am a lot more interested in the similar-but-much-better-looking CardHunter, to be honest. Now that’s a game I am very much looking forward to.

    • pakoito says:

      Not so similar, gameplay-wise. This is a faux-tactics game, where CH is a card reimplementation of D&D.

    • abandonhope says:

      Yeah, the demonstration at MineCon was distinctly lacking in thrills. This looks significantly improved. I think I’m actually warming up.

  10. Tei says:

    This looks good in a “I would pay 3€ for this ipad game, 4€ if everybody recomend it”-kind of way.

    The music and the gameplay was sorta detached. These canons want to sound BOOOOOMB, sssssh GRRRHWHWHWHWHWHW. And all the other creatures want his own sound effects.

    I have to say *congrats* to this team to produce a game of this quality.

  11. Namos says:

    Rather reminds me of Guardians of Graxia at the moment, but looks like a better implementation of the idea.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I absolutely agree with this. Guardians of Graxia is one of the very few games in my regret category on Steam.

      • magnus says:

        Regret Category? I’ve got 49 in my ‘WTF was I thinking’ one, is Guardians of Graxia that bad? I really don’t want to be adding another to the list.

        • pakoito says:

          Guardians of Graxia is not bad, the idea is good but the implementation lacks a lot. Lacks cards, lacks scenarios, lacks intensity and a bit of depth, playing it feel pretty dull.

          It’s something about a couple of design changes (can’t point which, or won’t for free) that would have made the game a lot more enjoyable.

          This looks the same alley.

          • Makaze says:

            “(can’t point which, or won’t for free)”

            Yes, because the internets are so short on people with extensive opinions about how they’d make games better that it’s time to start paying you for yours…

          • pakoito says:

            Apparently you can’t get jokes. Or won’t for free.

  12. LintMan says:

    So basically, this is mainly an online fee-based CCG. Wow, really disappointing. I had hoped Mojang’s follow-up to Minecraft would be more original/uinique (and less monetized).

    Maybe they can integrate this game with Facebook. Then they’d really have something.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      The mention of Plants versus Zombies made me think they could at least have gone for a slightly more interesting setting than ‘generic fantasy’.

    • MortalWombat says:

      I think you misread about the “fee based” part… it will most likely be the same payment model as minecraft: pay 5-10 bucks for the alpha/beta or more for the full game and never worry again.

      I could be wrong though, so point me to where it says that it’ll be subscription-based in that case.

      (Notches next game will probably be having a monthly fee for online gaming but it will be god-damn-awesome and worth it if it works out the way it’s announced…)

  13. RaffyS says:

    Why are they making these Skyrim games in 2d now?

  14. Frank says:

    I take it by “HOMM” you mean “Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes,” which looks just like this?

  15. Bpy6 says:

    I’ve always thought the biggest problem with PC CCG-likes was that they most of the time required unit positioning. Every single CCG that had unit positioning became unbalanced, interactiveness becomes too shallow after you spend some time playing it.
    A shame Mojang seems to be repeating the same mistakes.

    And I’m speaking about turn-based here, not real time.