Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Game: Prism

New Game: Prism
Creators: David Noa, Nick Vanderkolk, Seth Vanderkooy, and Joshua Maguire

     Prism is a strategy piece laying game similar to Blockus for 2-3 players. Players draw a hand of 3 Sierpinski triangles (four triangles making one bigger triangle). Each of the four triangles has either a star, square or circle. Then players take turns placing their triangles on top of each others and across the board. Triangles must be placed with at least one shape matching one on the board, and at least one shape must touch the surface of the board (not overlap a different triangle). This forces the board to expand and eventually fill up.
(early prototypes. Triangles were small and blew away when players sneezed or bumped the board)

 (beginning of the game, players overlapping opponents)
(End game, board filled out, lots of overlap, little overlap in corners)

     Players score single points for every showing smaller triangle, an extra point for the white special shapes, and for biggest clump (largest clump of triangles touching edge to edge rounded down/2). In the above picture, Red won. Red was also the second player to place, showing that going first or third doesn't improve your chances of winning as the board fills up at different rates every game. 

     The game felt like it was missing something until we installed the toothpicks to hold the triangles in place. Before that, we kept trying to add new mechanics but always removed them as simplicity is golden. Once players didn't have to worry about keeping the board neat and accidentally bumping it, they could focus on the light amount of strategy: Covering up opponents, overlapping your own pieces in order to get a big clump, going for corners (especially with white special shapes), and going for the current leader. 

     The hardest part was trying to think of game mechanics that were fun, fair, and simple. We actually decided to switch to this game after the first week of working on Space Triangles in Space, a triangle tile laying dungeon crawler game like Dungeon! We bagged it because we lacked the time to ever finish it and because we felt we weren't getting past the brainstorm step. With such a large game, a lot of thought is needed before you can actually start getting a physical grasp on the game. 

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