Monday, 18 May 2015

Scrolled

I had a couple more games of Scrolls over the weekend but for some reason the game just doesn't click with me. I've enjoyed most of the collectible card games that I've played (which is what Scrolls is), but this one just doesn't quite do it. The main difference with Scrolls to other card games is that here instead of defeating a single opponent's life pool, you instead have to destroy 3 of his 5 idols - with each idol having a set amount of health. When you play your own creatures to attack, you can play them into one of 5 lanes, so they can only attack one idol at a time. Also, by default, creatures don't deal damage when they're defending and they don't heal between rounds, so matches rapidly devolve into wars of attrition where you play a creature only to have it killed next go, so you play another creature and the same thing happens, etc., etc. You go on for a while doing this until a) you draw the right card to break the stalemate, or b) you draw the wrong card and die. You could argue that it's the same thing in most other games of this type, but with Scrolls there isn't really any other strategy, and the lanes mechanic really encourages the attrition mentality - you can't play it any other way except by dropping creature fodder. Obviously I didn't play it long enough to discover all of its intricacies, but those were my impressions. Presentation-wise, it's great, you get to see every monster attacking and the animations and art style are lovely, it's just not very interesting. None of the cards I saw inspired me or made me think about deck construction in any meaningful way - compare this with games like Magic, which has a mass of different mechanics and strategies. Sure, you can build some theme decks with synergies, like a rat deck or a knight deck, but you can't really mess with your opponent or react to anything they do (you can only play cards on your own turn), and I didn't see many 'meta' game cards. Maybe this stuff does exist and it's a better game than I'm giving it credit for, but the fact that this was the follow-up game from Mr. Minecraft, and the whole 'scrolls' thing with Bethesda gave it masses of extra publicity, and it still pretty much sank without a trace makes me think that actually my summation of it isn't that far off the mark. It's a perfectly okay game if you're bored and have nothing better to do, but mechanically it's just not very interesting at all. A bit of a disappointment. Onwards!

Next up on the randometer is...Baal! It's a platform run'n'gun from Psygnosis in the late 80s. I don't remember the game at all, so it'll be interesting to see what it's like. I also noticed there were a couple of games I hadn't marked as complete on the list, so there's a bonus couple more on the stats page.

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