This article is addressed, largely, to those readers who are exclusively videogame-players, and haven’t entered the world of designer boardgames. There really are two worlds, and each has their own understandings and knowledge and biases, a surprisingly small amount of which are shared among the two.
For instance, in the boardgame world, it’s pretty well-understood that Monopoly is a god-awful game (it’s ranked #8,009 / 8,025 currently on Boardgamegeek, which is basically the board-game Mecca). You’ve probably noticed though, that with videogamers (and non-gamers), actually, the consensus on Monopoly is pretty mixed. I’ve heard a bunch of people say they “love” Monopoly, despite the fact that there really isn’t anything there for an adult to love.
I’ve never heard a board-gamer say they “love” Monopoly. The strongest defenses I’ve heard board-gamers give for Monopoly were things like “naw, it’s not *that* bad” or “it’s better than Candyland” or “the original version of it is actually pretty good” (which is silly, because that’s a different game).
Of course, it doesn’t matter how many people like or dislike something – but I think that people do have to be invited to question things, and if they’ve never met someone who feels a certain way about something, it can be difficult for them to wander down that path. It’s even more difficult when all you’ve heard about “X” is that “X is awesome”, to come to any conclusion other than “X is awesome”.
So back to Scrolls. Firstly, the gameplay itself looks pretty interesting – more interesting than 99% of any new videogames coming out I’ve seen. Looks one part Heroes of Might & Magic, one part… well, Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes. Both of which I like… ish.
Honestly though, gameplay wise, this could be better than either of those. There appears to be some system where you’re trying to attack the other player’s stones, which seems really interesting and could have a lot of emergent complexity. I would absolutely LOVE to get a nice tactical online multiplayer game, with a healthy playerbase. Like a turn-based Starcraft, or something – that’d just be fantastic.
So… why can’t Scrolls be good? Because it’s a collectible card game (or CCG).