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Scrolls turns two!
Author: kbasten
Date: Sat 2 Mar, 2013 9:59 AM Views: 5158
Well hello there, dear Scrolldiers! We find ourselves on the eve of a momentous occasion. For those that don't know, Scrolls is only hours away from its two year anniversary! With the beta closer than ever, we thought it would be a great time to recap the past year's events. In addition to the recap, we have an exclusive interview with the Scrolls art & development teams ready for you. If that wasn't enough, we also have details about a new tournament with some amazing prizes up for grabs. Prepare yourself for a story that's been a year in the making! :)

One of the biggest changes from the game we had was the game board. Right after an interview we had with lead designer Jakob Porser, a new board layout was revealed. Previously units wouldn't attack in a straight line, and would instead choose a random path from two possible directions. At Minecon 2011, it seemed to work fairly well, however the team chose not to introduce another random factor. The hexagons were rotated a full 90 degrees, resulting in units only attacking in straight lines. A small but important detail went with this: the board originally consisted of 22 hexagons, and that number lowered to 15 shortly after. Think about all the unit placement possibilities you could've had! In hindsight, these two changes have had a huge impact on the learning curve and difficulty of the game, and we believe they were for the better. The board layout hasn't changed since, but custom-sized and stylized game boards have not been entirely ruled out. Wouldn't it be neat to have a huge game board with different terrain types and obstacles to make the game even more interesting?

Screenshot of the new Challenges.

Until some time after Minecon 2011, we hadn't seen any in-game footage that included the new board features (see above). This all changed when Mojang felt comfortable enough with the progress of the game to give early access to friends & family in what became known as the Pre-Alpha. Fifteen people could play Scrolls to their heart's content, albeit without a lot of the features introduced later on. Roger Karlsson was the first person to let us in on some of the early GUI layouts. Jnkboy did a wonderful job with the first iteration of the login screen, the main arena, and the deck builder.

First iteration of the main menu.

Probably the biggest joy of last year was the introduction of the Closed Alpha. The game had progressed up to the point where Mojang felt confident about new people fiddling with their creation. From the pool of users who had signed up on the official Scrolls website months earlier, a select lucky few were randomly picked and given keys. Of course, from that moment on, plenty of in-game footage was to be found on YouTube and the like. Over the next couple of weeks, more keys were distributed to the community through forums and contests.

To-date, the stream of updates from the side of Mojang has been great. A brief glance at the version history reveals what the devs have been up to. The last patch brought us an improved store and Challenges. Challenges are what most people believe to be the start of a single-player campaign: currently, they are just matches against the AI where the initial game state is altered in one or more ways. Example: The Tower Challenge (which was spoiled a month ago). This, along with the other challenges, will eventually be integrated into the main campaign with a more coherent storyline.

This past year, artist PoiPoiChen and developer Mans Olson reinforced the Scrolls team. PoiPoiChen did a wonderful job drawing the all-new female avatars & beautiful splash screen, while Mans helped recode the front-end of the game yielding the elegant interface we have now.

Of course, our own website hasn't gone without changes either. A plethora of new features were introduced to help you get excited for the game if you hadn't grabbed alpha key yet. The most popular new feature was by far the Deck Builder. This handy little tool has allowed you to create decks just like you would in-game, and share those decks with your friends. Also, when you don't have access to a computer or internet connection, you can now pick up your phone and fire up the Deck Designer app to keep on creating. Speaking of apps, the Deck Designer is not the only Android app we've created in the past year. Make sure to check out A Guide To Scrolls which is jam-packed with everything related to Scrolls, much like a wiki (but better). If you have seen enough of the official scrolls and want to create your own, the Scroll Designer will help you bring your ideas to life. If you think your creation is worthy of sharing with the community, feel free to post it in our dedicated scroll creation topic and see how other people rate your Scrolls.
The complete in-game Scrolls ranking can be accessed on the web as well; these useful pages even have graphs showing the rating progression for each player.
Last but not least is a game element Mojang definitely hopes to implement in a future release of Scrolls: Drafting. Avid Mt:G players will definitely recognise this type of play. In this format, players each simultaneously open a "pack" of scrolls and select one scroll from this pack to form their potential library. The remainder of the pack is then passed along to another player. Players continue to rotate packs after selecting one scroll at a time until all scrolls from all packs have been selected. This process gets repeated for multiple packs until each player has a stockpile of potential scrolls for their library. This pool of scrolls is then used to build a deck which you use to battle those same opponents you drafted with. The result is a format where the playing field gets leveled, and any level of skill has a shot at taking down anyone else. In the Scrollsguide draft (which will be updated in the future) you pick from 6 packs and when the dust settles your potential library is exported to the deckbuilder where you can practice building a draft deck.

Now, time to talk about the moment you're all here for, shall we? Beta! Is it here yet? Sadly, no. Is there an ETA, you ask? Again, we have to disappoint you...but! the end, you'll end up with a great product after the hard work of the Scrolls development team. It cannot be long now: the last patch was truly amazing feature-wise, making leaps forward toward beta. The feats of the good people over at Mojang haven't gone unnoticed, and we're all very confident the end result will be an amazing work of art. What we now know for sure is that Decay will not be included at beta launch; instead, it will be released sometime afterward. Progress on this fourth resource is great, insiders say. Up to a total of 40 scrolls have been designed already. This compares nicely to the other three resources, which have about 45 scrolls each. What's left is implementing all those scrolls in-game and balance-testing them. Also, the few scrolls that had been removed from the game a few months back will reappear in this new resource.

Community efforts have been at the forefront this year, the spotlight being taken by the ever popular Scrolls Show. This podcast-like recording with three prominent Scrolldiers (Blinky, Acidjib, and Tinfox) has informed and entertained the Scrolls community over the last few months with news, competitions, reviews, and even a few cheeky spoilers. This initiative shows that a strong powerful following is being created, even before the game is out. If you haven't seen any of the two episodes yet then check 'em out on The Scrolls Show Youtube channel.

Speaking of competitions, Scrollsguide held a design competition a while back where over the course of a few months we challenged you to design your own scroll including name, statistics and descriptions. We are glad to say that this competition will be returning as soon as beta hits the shelves, so get those creative juices running. Prizes are yet to be decided on, but they will be worth it (we promise).

The Interview

This is the part where we ask a few quick questions to the Scrolls development team, congratulations for making it this far into the post! PoiPoiChen was kind enough to ask around the office for some answers and we are pleased to say that she did an excellent job.

SG: What has been the hardest challenge for the scrolls team over the past year?

Mans: One important challenge for us has been balancing multiresource and monoresource decks and making sure multiresource decks are a viable option in competitive play. We're still tweaking this, but I feel we're getting there. Another important challenge has been finding our resource identities and making them show through the different
Bomuboi: Making the actual scrolls and figuring out how they fit together and how they create flavorful and fun gameplay. It is still the greatest challenge.

SG: Which Scroll has been changed the most and why were those changes made?

Mans:Quake has been changed a fair bit. Unleash Inner Power was originally intended to be a scroll that let you sacrifice your own idols for damage, and Pother was originally a cheaper version of Flip that could only be used on your side of the board.

SG: What is your favorite Scroll and why?



Mans:Pother. Because it's fun, reasonably balanced and has a random element. I especially like that you can counteract the randomness by playing it cleverly.
Carnalizer:Iron Ogre or Bunny. I like extremes.
Jon:Desperation, because I love the opponent's chat comments after a single innocent Gravelock Raider takes out an entire row.
PoiPoiChen:Quake. Double quake. The best thing there is.
Bopogamel:Honorable General defines the Order faction for me. He looks like a badass and can dominate a battle if left unchecked. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing six tiles flashing in unison, before watching the resulting carnage.
Aron:Hellspitter Mortar, because you're always nervous when he's about to fire.
Junkboy: I basically like any cheap scrolls I can summon to turtle up and delay my unavoidable defeat at the hands of a superior player (which is pretty much 99.9% of the players out there). It makes them angry and frustrated. It makes me happy.
Bomuboi: I think I'll have to pick Kinfolk Brave, he's ridiculously satisfying to play with.

SG: What is your favorite Scroll artwork and why?


Divine Mark

Mans:Divine Mark - because of the great illusion of depth - and Vengeance Veil are two of my current favorite card images. Also, throw Bunny in for good measure. For units on the board, I really like Clock Library. Ack, I couldn't select just one.
Carnalizer:Shrine. Aside from card art, I'd also like to point out Bomuboi's amazing work with the animations.
Jon: It's got to be Bunny. Also the sliding background in the start screen.
PoiPoiChen: I really like Faith Blessing, because of the dramatic and unusual source of lighting, and Bunny.
Bopogamel: Art-wise, I'm a fan of Vaettr of the Wild's twitchy in-game animation. Clock Library is pretty classy too. Oh! And the card art for Desperation.
Junkboy: I like the ham leg that Gravelock Elder fires from his staff. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Other than that I'm in constant awe of Mattis' animations, Henrik's paintings and Poi Poi's everything.
Bomuboi:God Hand. It's very majestic.

SG: How do you feel the scroll aesthetic compliments the overall feeling of the game?

Carnalizer: Since a turn-based board game is an abstraction of real-life conflict, cartoonish art seems a suitable complement (as cartoons are an abstraction of real-life visuals).
Carnalizer: Scratch that. We like beards.

The Tournament

Of course this second birthday doesn't go without treats: we have a tournament full of prizes! After a semi-successful user-organized tournament, we're starting up another one. Unfortunately, participation is limited to the people currently in possession of an alpha key. Register before Wednesday 6 March to make sure you don't miss out on your chance at these amazing prizes! The tournament will take place from Friday, 8 March onwards. Each round will be 40 minutes and consist of one match per round. Players will be required to register their decks prior to the start of the tournament and will have to stick to that deck throughout the event.
For this tournament, we're going with a Swiss pairing style. What this means for you is that even if you lose your first round you still have shot at getting a prize. At the end of 4 rounds of play, the top three players will reap the rewards below. The tournament will be covered by Grumpcat and Rastien from Hurr & Durr. If you would like to participate, please post your application here.

The Prizes
This is why you're here, of course! Placing first, second or third in the tournament will win you these prizes:

First prize: 50000 gold
Second prize: 30000 gold
Third prize: 20000 gold

This concludes the second birthday of this game (as well as this website, of course)! We hope many good years lie ahead and we will report back when we know more about the upcoming beta!
Thanks to every member of the community for continuing to follow us on this journey to release. Thank you to Mojang for supporting our community, giving us a very transparent development system and keeping us keenly in the loop, as well as supporting our content. This community would not exist without either of you.
Keep an eye out for the next Scrolls Show, hosted by Blinky, Acidjib and Tinfox, as they have secured an exclusive interview with Scrolls developer Mans Olson and we can assure you, its a good one :). Until then, bye!

- Acidjib, Blinky, Tinfox, Kbasten

Your honorable Scrolldiers.
deltiniSat 2 Mar, 2013 12:13 PM
Great post. I look forward to hearing the exclusive interview! Exciting!
NeereusSat 2 Mar, 2013 12:14 PM
Happy Birthday to Scrolls!
Wheres the cake?
AcidjibSat 2 Mar, 2013 12:54 PM
You should be excited for that interview. There is some really good stuff in there.
LordBandaidSat 2 Mar, 2013 6:37 PM
My card got used in the post*! Yay Harvest Parts!!! :D:D:D
But seriously, I love that you guys did some Q & A with them. I always love to see insight into the developers and artists of a game I love! I need to get me a deck ready for this tournament! GAH! Excitement! I see what you meant now Blinky!

* Which means it should totally go in game... Slight sarcasm... Hint hint Mojang......
DeludeSat 2 Mar, 2013 10:35 PM
Yey this is awesome :) Pretty much includes everything i feel the earlier tournament could have had
ArkantheawesomeSun 3 Mar, 2013 12:25 PM
Neereus wrote:
Happy Birthday to Scrolls!
Wheres the cake?

The cake .... is a lie.
NeereusSun 3 Mar, 2013 12:49 PM
Arkantheawesome wrote:
Neereus wrote:
Happy Birthday to Scrolls!
Wheres the cake?

The cake .... is a lie.

MalachiaSun 3 Mar, 2013 6:09 PM
Neereus wrote:
Arkantheawesome wrote:
Neereus wrote:
Happy Birthday to Scrolls!
Wheres the cake?

The cake .... is a lie.


Hidden Ability - The Cake is a Lie:
When countdown reaches 0, you actually lose.