With almost 10 years in the making, Sanctum from Nioga is a very unique game. The best way to describe it would be to say it's like combining chess with Magic the Gathering in a miniature game board setting. It could be one of those classic board games we played as a child, except this game is all digital and played only online.
Players get to choose one of the 12 Houses from which to deploy armies: War, Abomination, Hope, Death, Despair, Body, Justice, Life, Making, Mind, Nature or Unmaking. With each having its own unique style, the other half of the battle is choosing the individual spells you want to add to your customizable deck. There are over 500 cards in your arsenal to choose from, including spells that can do anything from creating monsters, towns and cities, to pumping up your minions, or causing destruction on a massive scale.
After downloading the game, it may take a little bit to get used to moving the pieces, casting spells and so forth. Once acquainted to the game, it feels a lot like two generals planning out and executing a war. Nonetheless, each game involves a good amount of strategy, a little bit of mind games, foresight and some good ol' medieval fun.
Now, granted this is a collectible card game, but that doesn't mean you have to spend much to play or to be competitive. The game can be downloaded and played without cost; however, with just $10 you can be permanently ranked and able to trade cards with others. There are no monthly fees or anything that makes you keep going into your pockets. And one of the best parts about the game is that the community is friendly, warm and often giving away free cards.
So if you have a little patience and are someone who enjoys good strategy games, then Sanctum may be right for you. It may not look all flashy or high tech, but Sanctum is a very enjoyable fantasy medieval game.
Update: The game is back(!), and players can now temporarily play with ALL the cards for free!
Download the free full version