Remember Mojang? They’re the scrappy outfit behind a little known game called Minecraft. Yeah, you probably haven’t heard of it. They’re not a one trick pony, though. Back in 2014, they released Scrolls, a collectible card game that isn’t a straight up copy of Magic The Gathering. At the time, this was unheard of. Sadly, the game didn’t manage to find a big enough audience to justify further efforts, so it was left in a vegetative state, with server shutdown being all but certain. But now it’s back, and it’s free!
They’ve decided to go with a new name – Caller’s Bane – presumably to avoid further legal spats with the likes of Bethesda. It’s the same game, though, and you can download it from the official site. There’s currently one community server everybody’s playing on, but you can download the tools that will allow you to host your own server. It’s the ideal solution – the company cannot profit from the game, so they’re letting it go, but they’re also not going to lose money on server hosting, which would inevitably result in a shutdown.
I took it for a spin, and there seem to be two to three thousand players online at any time, so there’s no shortage of opponents. You can’t beat free. It’s a curious thing – there’s a playing board, and positioning your units is a pretty important aspect of the game. The other big thing is sacrificing cards – you start off without resources which would allow you to play your hand, but you can get them by burning what you already have. Do you sacrifice that high level card in order to get more resources, or pass a turn in order to keep that particular ace up your sleeve? If you do sacrifice, do you go for more resources, or another draw, which might grant you some lower level minions?
It can be a bit overwhelming, but thankfully, there’s a pretty hefty tutorial. Make sure you play through it before trying to play an actual match, and you’ll be set. Additionally, there’s a bunch of trials that will show you some of the more advanced tactics. You can then move onto AI skirmishes, and once you’re bored with that, jump into the deep end – playing other people.