First Impressions
Prismata

By Jorge Figueiredo - January 20th, 2015

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If you like competitive strategy games but don’t like to take hours to play them, then you might want to keep your eyes on Prismata from Lunarch Studios. Pitched as a deckless turn-based strategy game that distills real-time strategy down to a turn-based format, Prismata is all about strategic resource assignment and forward-thinking. Matches in Prismata don’t last very long, and there is a very thin margin for error, making it very challenging. Even though the game is in its early development phases and doesn’t look as great as it could, it is still compelling based on game-play alone and deserves some attention from the card-dueling set.

Prismata starts of opposing players with the same cards – a setup that is usually different than most card-battling games (unless the rules specifically state that players must start with the same cards. Once you get over the complexity of the setup, you’ll discover that the basics are pretty easy to learn: there is an acquisition phase, and a battle phase, and the last one standing is the winner. In fact, Prismata is somewhat similar to Magic: The Gathering in the sense that you need to keep your eyes on what you have at your disposal to defend while you attack your opponent. What is different, though is that you cannot take advantage of the element of card uncertainty, which may turn off some of the Magic and Hearthstone players.

It takes a few games to get going, but once you understand how things work, you’ll enjoy it a lot more. Lunarch includes a few tutorials to help players along, helping out with basic concepts and working up to a full game. While they could be better, players are not penalized for losing, so trial by fire seems to be a part of the overall learning process. Also, to change things up, each game creates a new pool of units to draw from, taking long-term planning out of the picture and forcing players to adjust on the fly.

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Some good work going on here…

At this point, the game is still chugging along in development, so it doesn’t look as pretty as people would expect (though it does look retro); however, the background art looks pretty fantastic, so I wonder if those sensibilities will be applied to the cards and the rest of the GUI. Core features of the game include tournament play, a campaign, replays and an analysis mode.

The developers of Prismata are definitely shaping this product to be something very appealing to the hardcore card gamer. You can see their main page here and their steam page here.

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