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Author Topic: Prismata  (Read 59815 times)

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amalloy

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Prismata
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:18:54 am »
+13

Prismata is a really interesting game that appeared on the horizon recently, and just a couple weeks ago alpha access became available to the general public via a Kickstarter reward tier. I picked it up and have been having a great time. I don't imagine every Dominion player will love Prismata, but a lot of them seem to, and I was surprised to see nobody discussing it here.

I recommend watching the Kickstarter rules-intro video, which does a good job of explaining the mechanics, but I'll also make my own effort at summarizing the game. They used to call it MCDS, for Magic-Chess-Dominion-Starcraft, and you can really see the influence of all four of those games clearly.

  • Like MtG, you're building up a board of attackers and defenders that you use to damage your opponent's board.
  • But instead of constructed decks, the game starts Dominion-style, with similar starting boards and a "base set" of 11 standard units purchasable every game (analogous to Coppers, Silvers, and so on), and an additional random set of "kingdom cards" either player can buy this game.
  • And there are no decks, indeed no randomness or hidden information at all: like chess, every turn can be planned ahead of time, if you can think fast enough (hint: you can't). I get the feeling that this is a turn-off for Dominion fans, which I totally get: removing the randomness is a definite trade-off that some people might not like. I wasn't sure at first, and of course I still appreciate randomness in card games, but it's also nice to have Prismata available as a choice where I am really in charge of my own destiny.
  • Last, it's like Starcraft in that you're balancing economy, technology, attacking, and defending; and because you have to make tactical decisions about what units to trade for what, the timings to attack at, and stuff like that.

I'd say if you like at least two of those games, Prismata is worth at least checking out; there's a free single-player-only demo you can try if any of this sounds interesting but you don't want to immediately buy it. If any of you do decide to try it, I'd be happy to play some games with you: I'm Mountebank in game.
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Titandrake

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 03:31:01 am »
+1

I've heard good things about Prismata. I remember reading a blog post a while back when they decided to start working on the game full time (I am a Facebook friend of a friend of the developers and it showed up on my News Feed.)

They claimed it was the best card game in existence, which I have trouble believing, but I'm sure it's still very good, since most math PhD pursuers I know play an oddly large number of board games, meaning the makers can at least recognize quality. I've yet to hear anyone say something bad about the balance of the game, so that's a plus too.

Anyways, I'm definitely interested in trying it out, but it probably won't be until after my finals in a couple of weeks.
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blueblimp

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2014, 11:59:55 am »
0

I know the devs and was involved in some very early play-testing (back before the client even existed), so it's cool to see this picking up buzz recently. In my view, the key idea of Prismata is bringing recent game design innovations to the non-random no-hidden-information genre of Chess and Go. For example, the random kingdom mechanic injects variety into the matches and reduces the importance of memorizing openings.
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eHalcyon

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2014, 01:07:10 pm »
0

Chess960 is worth mentioning as a chess variant that adds setup randomness for exactly that reason. It was invented by Bobby Fischer in 1996.

Prismata sounds interesting. I'll look into it more!
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qmech

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2014, 04:21:12 am »
0

First Google maps, and now you enticing indie game?  Why is the internet suddenly telling me to upgrade my laptop?
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Kirian

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2014, 09:50:40 am »
0

Well fuck, there goes the remainder of my free time.
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Kirian

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2014, 12:38:17 pm »
+2

Holy shit.

I just... holy shit.  Why is this not already funded?  Why is this not on every gaming news site?  Why isn't this bigger?

I haven't been this psyched for a game since I first touched Dominion.

Listen.  Seriously, you guys have to try this.  As soon as you have half an hour, you must go try this.  Go click on the demo.  Watch the video if you think you need to, but I think any Dominion or HS player can sit down at the screen and figure things out immediately.  Go.  Just... go do it.

Amalloy, I'm Kirian there... I can't figure out how to add friends yet though.

Edit:  Figured it out.  Friended!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 12:53:02 pm by Kirian »
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pacovf

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2014, 01:20:34 pm »
0

I've played the complete demo. Seems interesting but mmm I'm not as hyped as Kirian is (which is not saying much). It's kinda lacking the combo factor for me.

It wasn't entirely clear in the demo, how many "kingdom" cards are there? I get the first page is the common pool for all games, but do you "only" play with 5 extra cards in the full game? How many different cards are there?

Another question: the Kickstarter reward levels are super confusing. What exactly do you get for 1CAD (one Canadian Dollar)?
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theory

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2014, 01:56:30 pm »
+2

Backed at the supporter level.  The creators seem like gigantic douchebags (I have no idea if they actually are, but oh my god their bio page was nauseating) but the game was fun.
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2014, 02:21:56 pm »
0

I've played the complete demo. Seems interesting but mmm I'm not as hyped as Kirian is (which is not saying much). It's kinda lacking the combo factor for me.

It wasn't entirely clear in the demo, how many "kingdom" cards are there? I get the first page is the common pool for all games, but do you "only" play with 5 extra cards in the full game? How many different cards are there?

Another question: the Kickstarter reward levels are super confusing. What exactly do you get for 1CAD (one Canadian Dollar)?

In custom matches, you can play with Base+0 up to Base+11, your choice. In competitive play, you can choose Base+5 or Base+8. The total pool of kingdom cards is like 70 right now, and more are being designed: they've added three in the two weeks I've been playing.

For 1CAD I think you basically get a "thanks, mate". Supporter tier is the first tier where you get an alpha key.
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theory

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2014, 02:25:29 pm »
0

Also I'm worried about the comeback mechanics in this game, or rather, the lack thereof.  It feels like a game where you build up, and one person breaches and wins, and then has a few turns of finishing up the game while the other person sobs.  I don't know how you're supposed to come back from a setback.

There's also no apparent adjustment for p1 advantage.
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blueblimp

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2014, 02:32:24 pm »
0

Yeah, it's the kind of game where if you're far behind, it's best to just resign and try again, kinda like Starcraft.

The adjustment for P1 advantage is that P2 starts with an extra Drone.
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2014, 03:30:20 pm »
+6

Also I'm worried about the comeback mechanics in this game, or rather, the lack thereof.  It feels like a game where you build up, and one person breaches and wins, and then has a few turns of finishing up the game while the other person sobs.  I don't know how you're supposed to come back from a setback.

There's also no apparent adjustment for p1 advantage.

The lack of comeback in breach-vulnerable games is a big time savings: instead of "sobbing", you just resign because you've clearly lost. I wish this happened more in Dominion games, but instead games that are clearly over keep going on for another twenty minutes because "well if my opponent stalls three turns in a row and I get perfect draws...". You can also play a breach-ambivalent strategy, by getting a lot of resilient green units. See http://play.prismata.net/?r=VltKD-YhIxM, for example, where Temron threatens big breach potential with Frost Brooders: I elect to open the doors and just let him into my Drone line, basing my military might on sturdy Gauss Cannons so I can keep applying pressure while being breached.

P1 and P2 are well balanced, in an interesting way, because it's very symmetric. P2 starts with one extra Drone, so it's 6/7. If P1 doesn't like his position, he can opt to "become player 2" by buying two Drones (as happens almost every game) and starting 8/7 instead of 6/7. Usually at this point P2 buys two Drones and it's 8/9...at some point, someone decides it's more important to be aggressive than to build, which kinda makes them the effective player 1.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 03:34:13 pm by amalloy »
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Kirian

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2014, 04:45:35 pm »
0

I just played a game (vs AI) where we both breached each other at the same time, which creates a base-race situation, much like what happens in Starcraft when both players' economies drop to zero.

And hey, replays if you have access!  kOaQi-ovGa5
« Last Edit: December 04, 2014, 04:49:47 pm by Kirian »
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2014, 04:55:45 pm »
+2

I just played a game (vs AI) where we both breached each other at the same time, which creates a base-race situation, much like what happens in Starcraft when both players' economies drop to zero.

And hey, replays if you have access!  kOaQi-ovGa5

Anyone can watch a replay, without an alpha key. Here's yours: http://play.prismata.net/?r=kOaQi-ovGa5 - you can get this from the Replay tab: it's the "Get Link" button.
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theory

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2014, 06:53:35 pm »
+2

Finally had a game against a human where I didn't embarrass myself!

http://play.prismata.net/?r=XC08U-jQPwa
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Kirian

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2014, 08:07:53 pm »
+1

I do wish they had used something other than Flash, though.  Flash is so... 2005?
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theory

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2014, 10:23:30 am »
+1

I don't know why I'm so bad.  I feel like when I start off attacking, MasterBot just puts up a wall and then builds his own attack overrunning me.  But when I try to do that, he overruns me and I'm just nonstop building walls and can't afford any offense. 

Example: http://play.prismata.net/?r=o8pnF-zZY6U

I start off aggressive and he just puts up a wall and ignores me, eventually overrunning me.
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pingpongsam

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2014, 11:12:04 am »
0

Does anyone know if they plan to go mobile? No way I'm buying a computer game when the only time I really sit at a computer any more is at work.
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2014, 03:02:11 pm »
+1

I don't know why I'm so bad.  I feel like when I start off attacking, MasterBot just puts up a wall and then builds his own attack overrunning me.  But when I try to do that, he overruns me and I'm just nonstop building walls and can't afford any offense. 

Example: http://play.prismata.net/?r=o8pnF-zZY6U

I start off aggressive and he just puts up a wall and ignores me, eventually overrunning me.

I'm no expert (you can find some on /r/prismata), but Tesla aggression looked like a reasonable counter to his heavy-economy opening. The execution looked non-committal, though: you kept droning, when you already have enough to churn out Teslas and Engineers forever; and then you built an Animus: you don't really have the economy to support all that tech. All this diversification takes off the pressure of your Tesla rush, giving your more-economic opponent plenty of time to outpace you.

Suggested changes: on your turn 3, you built BDD, leaving you with 13 gold for turn 4. That means you won't be able to afford Tesla+Conduit, which is what you really need to be able to Tesla forever. I'd recommend cutting a Drone, just building BD, so that you can Tesla+Drone on turn 4, and then follow up with more Tesla+Engineers. This is enough aggression that your opponent really can't make use of all the tech he's built: he has to defend himself. He can maybe get out two Tarsiers, but those are slow enough that you can just build a Wall once you've got enough Tesla pressure.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 06:16:34 pm by amalloy »
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2014, 06:32:51 pm »
+2

I don't know why I'm so bad.  I feel like when I start off attacking, MasterBot just puts up a wall and then builds his own attack overrunning me.  But when I try to do that, he overruns me and I'm just nonstop building walls and can't afford any offense. 

Example: http://play.prismata.net/?r=o8pnF-zZY6U

I start off aggressive and he just puts up a wall and ignores me, eventually overrunning me.

I'm no expert (you can find some on /r/prismata), but Tesla aggression looked like a reasonable counter to his heavy-economy opening. The execution looked non-committal, though: you kept droning, when you already have enough to churn out Teslas and Engineers forever; and then you built an Animus: you don't really have the economy to support all that tech. All this diversification takes off the pressure of your Tesla rush, giving your more-economic opponent plenty of time to outpace you.

Suggested changes: on your turn 3, you built BDD, leaving you with 13 gold for turn 4. That means you won't be able to afford Tesla+Conduit, which is what you really need to be able to Tesla forever. I'd recommend cutting a Drone, just building BD, so that you can Tesla+Drone on turn 4, and then follow up with more Tesla+Engineers. This is enough aggression that your opponent really can't make use of all the tech he's built: he has to defend himself. He can maybe get out two Tarsiers, but those are slow enough that you can just build a Wall once you've got enough Tesla pressure.

Some elaboration on this advice: somewhere in the tutorial or a new-player guide, it's recommended to, in most games, build like 10-15 Drones, and then stop droning: building up an "economy" of attackers can be much more efficient than a real economy of Drones, in that it forces your opponent to spend money every turn to defend.

For example, in this game, your first Tesla Coil isn't very effective: it costs you an Engineer per turn, and your opponent an Engineer per turn because he can absorb the rest on his Wall. But every Tesla Coil after that is very valuable: he has to build a Wall per turn to defend, while you just have to build an Engineer to keep it powered. So each Tesla Coil is, in a way, worth as much as three Drones and a Blastforge: it lets you spend 2 gold each turn in order to cost your opponent 5 and a blue, for a net gain of 3+B. Efficiency like this is how an aggressive strategy defeats heavy economy; trying to catch up on economy yourself is not nearly as effective, because you're not positioned to do so.

Once you get your third Tesla Coil up, your opponent probably has trouble even treading water, and then you can put off the fourth Tesla to diversify: build a Wall if he's gotten some attackers, or maybe drone up, or get that Animus you've been looking at, to add in Sentinels; or switch into Chieftains since you've already got the tech for it. The important thing is to do all this only after you've put some real pressure on your opponent: one Tesla Coil is no pressure at all, but three is a lot.
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Kirian

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #21 on: December 05, 2014, 09:52:03 pm »
+1

http://play.prismata.net/?r=ameSj-6LEjh

My first win against a real person!  I actually used something much like what amalloy describes above, hitting the Tesla Coils really hard, getting my fourth one on T8 and just overrunning.
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Re: Prismata
« Reply #22 on: December 05, 2014, 10:06:21 pm »
0

The demo seems to like Ossified Drones. I don't know how to use them. But I like them anyway.

Some cards lead to excessively defensive setups. I just played a game with the Thermiticitiwhatever (the thing that makes Pixies/grenades) and the souped-up green energy field (the one that last one turn and has four defense). Man that game took forever.
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Re: Prismata
« Reply #23 on: December 05, 2014, 10:34:30 pm »
0

This is a cool game. Thanks for the point-out to it.

I love the symmetry of the opening. First turn, P1 is on the play, P2 has one more drone. If P1 buys 2 drones--now P2 is on the play and P1 has one more drone. Whoever chooses a tech color first has the initiative, but also telegraphs their options.

I can beat the Hard bot without much sweat; the Master bot is still beyond me.

However, a game with no luck is hard for me to play. It's difficult not to get emotionally attached to my play--to beat myself up if I lose, to go on tilt. So I don't know if I'll keep trying to play. We'll see whether or not I dream about it tonight.  :)
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amalloy

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Re: Prismata
« Reply #24 on: December 05, 2014, 11:29:02 pm »
0

Since a bunch of folks here seem interested, I thought I'd stream some practice games with Temron on Skype. We're live now at www.twitch.tv/amalloy - feel free to stop in and ask questions, or just hang out and listen.

Edit: Stream over.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2014, 03:33:18 am by amalloy »
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