A multiplayer game shutting down is always a sad thing. No matter how small the community behind it, there was a community, and undoubtedly someone is going to lose their favourite game or - worse still - their favourite buddy online. As such, it brings a smile to my face to see that Mojang's ill-fated CCG/Hex-based strategy hybrid Scrolls has officially relaunched, albeit under a different name. In order to distance itself from that whole legal kerfuffle, it's now known as Caller's Bane, and better still; it's absolutely free, albeit partially fan-run now.
The original version of Scrolls was shut down back in February. At the time, Mojang were making noises that they'd be releasing software to let fans run their own servers, and that's exactly what's happened here. While the official site goes into detail on how to start your own server, the owner of fan-site ScrollsGuide.com is currently hosting the new 'official' master server for the game, allowing you to just jump in and play right now.
While Caller's Bane is a full collectable card game, booster packs and all, it's entirely free and the only currency in the game is the one earned through regular play. There's no real money involved in any point here - presumably now that Mojang have dropped plans to further support the game, they're happy to release it as freeware. While it's a pity that they stopped updating it, it's great to see it alive and kicking again - perhaps this time I'll get round to trying it. I've always liked CCGs that let you move units around on a board.
Don't worry about being dropped in at the deep end with Caller's Bane either. There's a fairly gentle tutorial followed by an extensive single-player campaign that pays out generous sums of gold that can be turned into new cards to build into decks for multiplayer or botmatches. It's a beefy, polished little game that just never really caught on as a retail title. Here's hoping that this free relaunch brings in the crowds that it never saw before.
Caller's Bane is completely free and available here.