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Prismata: the card game that almost didn’t exist

A group of insanely talented nerds from MIT (their own words) got together to create the most exciting, most compelling and most addictive game they could. The result: Prismata.

In short, what is Prismata?

Prismata is like Magic: The Gathering without a deck, or more like Starcraft without a map. As you might have guessed by now, it’s a turn based strategy game, with a strong focus on the strategy part.

You play it with cards but not with your own prepared deck. You get to buy them with the resources you get from your already played cards. There are 2 ‘main’ resources, gold and energy, and 3 specialized ones, green, blue, and red (they have different names, but you’ll use the color as their name). With the colored resources you buy special cards that can improve your attack or defense, and it’s up to you to find the perfect balance. Maybe you prefer to grow your economy first, so you can afford the stronger types later on and then blow your opponent away.

The Prismata Kickstarter video

Prismata always starts with a basic set of cards, and each game has a randomly selected set of cards as well. This means that every game you play is different. It’s really important to check the available cards first and then set your strategy.

Reddit to the rescue!

Prismata almost didn’t exist. Elyot Grant, one of the founders, explained on Reddit. The team spent a lot of money and time to go to FanExpo, a convention in Toronto to promote Prismata. Visitors played the game, loved it, added their email addresses to the mailing list and then….. the list disappeared. A bug in Google Docs erased all the entries. Out of frustration he shared this experience on Reddit (/r/tifu) and someone picked it up, figured out which game he was talking about and the thread went viral.

All of a sudden, they had more sign-ups than they could handle and Prismata became a big hit. You now have to apply for beta keys and wait, because of limited server capacity (avoiding Sim City-like problems that even a big company like EA couldn’t handle). When all of the drama happened, there were no more than 10 people playing the game. Now there are hundreds of gamers online 24/7 wanting to play Prismata. And for a good reason.


The game is challenging and diverse, every time you play it. Prismata makes you doubt your own intellect, until that one time you make a killer move. We’re still waiting for that to happen a second time though. It is a typical easy to learn, hard to master type of game.

Prismata does get really addictive, it’s even a wonder this article got written. Lunarch Studios, the company of the insanely talented group of nerds from MIT (again, their own words), has even started a Kickstarter campaign now. The gameplay is already set, but they are working on graphics and making Prismata a long term project that will keep gamers hooked for many years to come.

If you’re really excited about the game, you should take a look at their project and find out how to acquire direct access to Prismata.

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