A few days ago, I discovered this game called Prismata, and was incredibly intrigued by the concept. So I backed the kickstarter to get into the alpha, and ever since, the game has got me hooked.

Prismata is a unique game by combining aspects of collectable card games like Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone with real time strategy games like Starcraft. You can also say they sprinkled a bit of Dominion and Chess on top as well. What it does it takes the most interesting aspects of all those games, and cuts many of the parts that people don't like, or are intimidating.

For a quick overview of the main concepts this game was built around, here are some points straight from their kickstarter:

  • No real-time pressure. Prismata uses turn-based gameplay with a fast timer, but your dexterity will never hold you back.
  • No decks. The pool of units available for purchase is the same for both players and is chosen randomly at the beginning of the game. You'll never need to pay or grind in order to be competitive.
  • No randomness. No unlucky draws, no tournaments decided by coinflips.
  • No fog of war. You'll never lose to a rock-paper-scissors "build order victory" that you were unable to predict.
  • No fixed opening book. Prismata's random unit pools force you to plan a new build order every game. You can't memorize your way to victory.
  • No unit-on-unit combat. Combat math is greatly simplified but depth is preserved.
  • No map. We've found a way to emphasize the core economic and strategic ideas in RTS games without the cumbersome unit positioning found in other types of turn-based games.

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In real time strategy games, there's a lot more skill involved, but the barrier to entry is incredibly high. You could have the theory of what to do in any situation down to a tee in Starcraft, but if you don't have the execution to pull it off, it's essentially meaningless. Prismata takes the crazy high initial execution requirement out of it by replacing the real time strategy with a cardesque game but retains the high level of theory and strategic thinking. This lets people immediately be able to play the fun strategic part of outplaying your opponent without having to work on your reflexes to get to the point where you're actually able to perform strategies effectively.

People like the casual appeal of card games and how they're easy to get into and not demanding to play, but dislike RNG elements such as card effects like Mad Bomber in Hearthstone, or simply card draw in almost every traditional card game. Sometimes if Lady Luck doesn't favour you, it doesn't matter how good of a player you are, you're screwed.

If you've played Hearthstone before, against a decent opponent, you're chance of winning in this situation is almost 0% and the game has barely started.

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Additionally, the game is one of perfect information, meaning that you always know what's possible for your opponent and can plan accordingly, similar to a game of chess. You'll never have a moment where you call BS because everything that is possible in that match could have been foreseen if you had the insight to see it. This leads to wins feeling incredibly gratifying because you know that it was your skill that beat your opponent and not any other factor such as luck. Likewise when you lose, it's never to a BS reason. If you watch the replay, you'll notice that you either made mistakes, or got outplayed. You don't lose in this game because someone draws the perfect card at the right time, or RNG happened to favour them. A good player in Prismata will beat a bad player every day of the week.

But you can't just memorize build orders like in Starcraft and play monotonously. You get a base set of units that are always the same, but there's the "random" set which changes from game to game. If you've ever played Dominion, Prismata essentially uses the same idea to keep the game fresh. However, this "random" set is shared between both players, so both players have exactly the same resources and potential at the start of the game. If you've ever seen a cooking competition show where they give the contestants a random set of ingredients and ask them to make a dish out of that, it's kind of like that. Despite having the same resources, people will choose to go different routes with different strategies, and your strategy will evolve as you try to counter your opponent. Furthermore, when all's said and done in that game, when you play a new game, you might get a completely different set of units in the "random" set and you'll have to come up with a new strategy.

This game combines some of the best of multiple genres leading to a game that is easy to pick and play, but has an incredibly high skill ceiling. It's rewarding to play in itself, and once you start, you might find that it's very hard to stop.

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You can play a single player demo of the game here: http://play.prismata.net/?demo=1

You can back the kickstarter here(if you back at one of the early bird tier, you can get access to the full alpha within 24 hours): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lunar…