Gamasutra can reveal today that the second game from Minecraft developer Mojang -- a digital card game / board game mash-up announced by Markus 'Notch' Persson at GDC 2011 - is called Scrolls.
Scrolls, which Gamasutra was shown before GDC at the company's offices in Sweden, is set to be a collectible card game with board game elements. Players will build decks of 'scrolls' and use the various effects to cast spells and summon units for use against their opponents.
Gamasutra talked to Jakob Porser, the head developer of Scrolls, at the Mojang offices, in a lengthy interview regarding the game.
The available cards will change constantly as new packs are released, and players will be required to adapt with the changes and build new decks accordingly.
The playing area will resemble a chess board, with a grid laid out on which to implement your scrolls. The object of the game is to attack your opponent, and bring his or her health down to zero.
Scrolls can be used to attack or defend -- however, they are dispensable in action, as destroying your opponent's units will not directly harm your opponent. Hence, the idea is to break through his or her line of defense and attack their "king," in terms of chess.
Players will shuffle their decks at the beginning of each game, and so will have no idea what order the cards will come out in. At the start of each turn, one new scroll is lifted from the deck and placed in your hand, ready for use on the battlefield.
A single-player campaign will be included, allowing players the opportunity to build up their decks and learn the ins and outs of the game.
However, the main focus will be on the online multiplayer aspects. Players will battle one on one against each other, with both friendly and ranked matches available.
Mojang are hoping to hold huge online world championships for the game, and are currently looking for a big sponsor for the league.
Other than battling, players will also be able to visit the online auction house, where they can buy or sell cards to and from other players.
Those players hoping for an extensive backlog of statistics regarding their play sessions are in luck. The game will supply numerous useful information about your wins, losses, decks and more.
Other players will also be able to see how long you've been playing the game via creases on your cards. The more you use a particular card, the more it will begin to look dogged around the edges and the illustrations will fade a little.
Development is being headed by Jakob Porser, with art from Markus Toivonen, a.k.a. "jnkboy," and help from a backing developer. Eventually other members of the Mojang team, Jens Bergensten and Tobias Mollstam, will be helping out.
Porser said of the game, "Notch [Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft] and I started discussing the idea of Scrolls nearly five years ago."
"We are both great fans of the CCG genre, but we felt that there were some common gameplay flaws in the available titles. We’re excited to finally put all our thoughts into action with the realization of Scrolls."
Penny Arcade’s Jerry "Tycho" Holkins is also working with Mojang, collaborating on the back story for the new game. "Ever since Minecraft took root in the offices, it's transformed once vital staffers into shambling hulks, concerned only with the construction of monolithic structures," said Holkins.
He explained "When Notch said the Mojang guys had an idea for another game, I decided
it would probably be safest just to join them."
A private alpha build is planned, and will be made available later this year. The opportunity to join the alpha will be offered to a number of people who bought the original Minecraft alpha.
An open beta is then planned. Neither the alpha or beta builds will cost money, and will instead help the Mojang team to balance the cards and determine how the online play will work. Only the multiplayer elements will be available in these builds.
Gamasutra's full interview with Mojang's Jakob Porser -- in which he discusses the setting of the single-player story, the regular updates to the game that players can expect, and what kind of units and cards will come with the game -- is available to read here.