Last night my son and I tested the new version of the basic game. It was dubbed an immediate success. Not only did he really enjoy the game, but as soon as we were done, he lept into his ideas for cards for the advanced game (the collector/deck building game). The cool thing was that his suggestions showed that he understood the scripture stories because the card effects he was talking about reflected the scriptures! He was thinking, for example, of how a "Nephi" character card might interact on the table with a "Laman" character card. It was thrilling to watch! And the dude's only ten!
Anyway, I want to test it a few more times before I remake and repost the cardsets, and I haven't rewritten the new rules, yet.
Basically, it's the same game. The verses are still chosen from the Scripture Mastery lists. In fact, I didn't change any of the scripture quotes or excerpts I'd been using. I've done a few things to streamline play, and especially to streamline learning the game.
1. Now, instead of numbers representing the various Strength, Faith, etc.. points, there are simply letters: S, F, etc.. Ultimately, in the published version, these will be replaced with visual graphic icons, in a similar way to the "mana" symbols in MTG or the Pokemon/Energy types in Pokemon. Instead of trying to get 12 points in a certain theme, now you simply accumulate icons. This keeps you from having to add up what's on the table, and all you have to do is count. Most cards now have one or two icons/letters. Some have more, and some will even have a "FF" double icon, counting as two. I found this makes play much faster. In fact, I was surprised just how much faster it is. I still haven't decided how many icons you have to have in the chapters to close up a book. I'm thinking 5 or 7, but the jury's still out.
2. The card effects for the Basic game have changed, but only a little. I went through all of the verses and counted the number of repetitions of each word (except for the "and"s and "the"s). The most common words were the ones I set up for the "Keyword" effect. One of the goals is that someone can grab the whole stack of basic game cards. Split them in half, shuffle them, and play. With these keyword verses relating to more words, then there is a greater likelihood that the combinations will actually come up. I also had to re-write the wording of a few verse effects to reflect the new icon style of play.
3. To streamline learning, there are only 4 standardized effects: Quote, Prayer, Keyword, and Discard. Everything else will be in the advanced cardsets.
Other than that, it's pretty much the same game. It played much more quickly, much more smoothly. It was very easy to teach it to my son. That may well have been because he was a bit familiar with previous versions, and he's also fluent in playing more complex collectible games. I'll have to try and teach it to some folks that have no CCG background and see what they think.
I'm getting re-excited to see how it might fit into the world of LDS games, and help people learn their Scripture Mastery.