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Sanctum is a two-player online computer collectible card game for Windows, originally developed by Digital Addiction in 1997. Since 2000 it has been run by Nioga LLC, a company founded by players and fans to save the game when Digital Addiction closed down.
As with real-world CCGs, players buy packs of random virtual cards (owned and traded in an online account) from which they construct a deck used for play. Cards represent orders or magic spells, and their "casting" manifests on the game map, affecting other aspects of play.
The game is played on a board of square tiles, roughly diamond shaped. Each player sees his or her own Sanctum at the bottom of the board and the opponent's Sanctum at the top. The rest of the board is semi-randomly generated. Each square on the board can be one of a variety of terrain types, or can contain a town. Each Sanctum and owned town produces recruits, which can be trained as Swordsmen or Archers to fight for their player, to attack monsters summoned by the enemy, to capture towns, or ultimately to capture the enemy Sanctum, thereby winning the game.
Every player has a collection of virtual cards (maintained online, not printed). Before play begins, each player chooses from this collection to make a deck of at least thirty cards. Players have a five card hand of spells, drawn randomly from the deck. Mana to cast these spells is generated by the Sanctum, by towns and by some of the spells. A card that is played from the hand or discarded is randomly replaced from the unused cards in the deck.
As with many fantasy games, spell-casting in Sanctum is constrained by a limited resource called Mana. In this game, mana comes in six types, in three pairs of opposites:
- Strife / Order
- Clarity / Mystery
- Will / World
There are also twelve "houses", each holding claim to a specific pair of mana types, one major and one minor for that house, and a nation of beings who serve it with a special power:
|House Name||Major Mana||Minor Mana||Nation||Special Ability|
|Abomination||Will||Strife||Imps||+1 Hand Damage|
|Body||World||Mystery||Cyclopes||+2 Hit Points|
|Death||Mystery||Will||Keepers||+1 Hand Damage|
|Justice||Order||Mystery||Gargoyles||+2 hit points|
|Life||Clarity||World||Elves||+1 Missile Damage|
|Nature||World||Order||Satyrs||+1 Missile Damage|
|Unmaking||Strife||World||Misfits||+2 hit points|
|War||Strife||Clarity||Humans||+1 Hand Damage|
Decks of at least 30 cards are constructed and assigned a specific house, though cards from other houses can be included.