Play NYC 2019: Prism's Multifaceted Fun

Published: August 16, 2019 11:30 AM /


prism lions play nyc 2019

I’ve always been a fan of traditional card games. While I’m not the poker enthusiast like my co-writer or an Atlantic City high-roller, I’ve always enjoyed some solitaire and blackjack. So, when I was snagged by the Prism booth at Play NYC, I was intrigued by their idea of an open-source, customizable card game. Naturally, I grabbed my co-writers to experience this with me.

Prism is developed by AWA, Artists, Writers & Artisans. Headed up by former Marvel Comics personnel Axel Alonso and Bill Jemas, their forays until now have mostly been in publishing indie comics. As explained to us by Art Director Stan Chou, Prism is their idea of making an accessible and open-source card format, able to play any game and map the cards to any theme you’d like. The packs we were shown were themed for Marvel, DC Comics and an original Prism design of Goldilocks and the Three Lions, wherein Goldilocks is a monkey.


The cards of Prism are numbered A, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and the suites are diamonds, crosses, circles and stars. First up, we decided to play one of the simpler games, called Speed. Speed involves each player distributing their cards as fast as they can, in order of number and sorted by suite. While that sounds relatively simple, when you’re trying to race against your coworker because you hate to lose, it actually involves a lot of slamming of tables and much panic when you mix up stars and crosses. Would I want to play the game for four hours? No, probably not, but as something light and fun to pass the time, it was excellent. And I’m not just saying that because I won almost all of the rounds. In particular, it struck me as a great game for kids to play, as it involves the tactile features of the cards and doesn’t require much reading.

Next up, we decided to play High 6s, which involved being the first to clear your hand by topping the other player’s card or cards as the case may be. It might as well have been called “One upmanship: The Game.” While this game took a little longer than Speed, it was still pretty quick, but the variety of options as well as the ability to add multiple players gave it a lot of versatility. It took a round or two for me to fully grasp it, but I found it much easier than trying to learn Bridge or Hearts. Again, a great card game for beginners, though a little outside of the grasp of young children.

Our last game that we got to play was Easy Pass, which was a bit of a watered down version of Gin, which I’d never actually played before. Knowing how to play Gin probably helps with your grasp of Easy Pass, but alas I’ll never be that innocent again. It seemed to me like a cross of card games and bingo, as the goal was to collect cards in each round, enough to fill out an entire suite from A to 6. We had a tougher time than with high 6s, but it was still great fun. Again, I’m not saying that just because I won.

After playing all three games, it was quite clear that Prism is a very versatile card set. While it seems simple, that is actually deceptively so. The different cards give you different game options as opposed to the standard 52 card deck, while also letting you play classics like Go Fish or a basic version of Solitaire. It being open source is even more exciting, and I think the accessibility and attempts to reach as many players as possible are a definite plus. It’s great for all ages, and the ability to map your own cards has a lot of potential, and I can’t wait to see where Prism goes in the future.

Would you be interested in giving Prism a test run? What would you map on the cards? Let us know in the comments below! Check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our <a href="">Play NYC 2019 Coverage Hub</a>

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