On the battlefield, your cards come with a cost that you’ll have to fulfill to play them. However, where plenty of other deckbuilding games use a form of mana to have you play cards from your deck, Inscryption will either have you pay for cards in either blood or bones. Blood can be obtained by sacrificing creature cards already on your side of the battlefield, whereas you receive bones when one of your creatures dies by your opponent’s hand. At the start of a turn, you can draw a card from one of two piles: the squirrel pile, which consists entirely of powerless squirrel cards with the sole purpose of being sacrificed or killed for bones, and the pile containing all other creatures with an attack and defence stat. These creatures are the ones that come with a cost to be played, either in blood or bone. Every turn, creatures on both opposite sides of the battlefield will attack each other. Any unblocked damage, is dealt directly to the player, and is represented by teeth being knocked out of your — or your opponents — mouth. These teeth are then transferred to a set of old-fashioned scales sitting next to the cards, with one side of the scales representing you, and one side representing your opponent. The person who gets weighed down by the most teeth the quickest, loses the game.
While the premise of the scales and sacrificing some cards to play others was certainly spooky to me, it felt like a clever way to take some traditional card mechanics and turn them on their head. Where things start to deviate from traditional card games, however, is Inscryption’s sublime environmental storytelling. Aesthetically, Inscryption reminded me of a blend between Loop Hero, Card Hog, and Othercide, and overall, the graphics strike a creepy note.