We were sent a copy of Prisma Arena by Hub Games, along with Flip Over Frog and Blank for our review.
Hey, friends! This week we’ve been playing a few new games – one of which we’ve been especially excited to unbox – Prisma Arena, designed by John Fiore and Rory O’Connor over at the very talented Hub Games. When a game tells your to Suit Up as soon as you open the box, you know you’re in for something amazing. So we suited up, and jumped in. Here’s what we thought.
What’s the storyline of Prisma Arena?
The game is set in Beacon, home of the Prisma Arena, where each player is a student of the ancient martial art of Prismakata, learning to channel Prisma – their inner light – as they train to become a hero, a guardian, and protector of hope in a time of despair. By forging bonds with Mo’kons, which are colourful physical embodiments of human emotions, players hone their skills in the Prisma Arena, waiting for the day to come when they are called up in the fight for hope, and against despair.
Who Can Play Prisma Arena?
Prisma Arena is deemed suitable for ages 10+, and can be played by 2, 3 or 4 people. Game play lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
Is Prisma Arena Suitable for Children?
Prisma Arena is recommended for children age 10+, but our middle son Lyoto has just turned 9, plays tabletop games a lot and truly loved it. I probably wouldn’t recommend it for anyone younger than 8, but every child is different and some are going to be more ready for strategy games than others.
Not a Co-Operative Game
Some younger children [and some really big “kids” too, haha] aren’t ready for head to head style competitive games and find them too emotional. For this reason, when friends ask for tabletop games ideas for their children, we generally recommend co-operative or euro-style games where players aren’t directly confrontational. Prisma Arena is very different in this respect – instead of battling, characters are sparring and essentially training with each other. Being bounced in and out of the arena is how points are gained, but no one loses a life or dies. Yep, NO ONE DIES. Hooray! The chance for tears is very minimal as heroes are sent back to their entrance ready to come on again in the next turn – it doesn’t feel like a potential defeat each turn, just a chance to improve your own sparring.
What’s in the Box?
Ohhh, so many beautiful bits and pieces!
Here’s what you can find inside:
- Game Board, 2 pieces [dormant and active] and 2 sided
- 8 Action Dials
- Advantage Token
- 12 Standee Bases
- 12 obstacles
- 4 original hero standees [see the bit about the promotional pack below]
- 8 Mo’kon standees
- 36 Combo Cards
- 50 Prisma Power Cards
- 4 Hero Cards
- 4 Guest Hero Cards
- 8 Mokon Cards
- 4 Hero Sticker Sheets
- 4 Hero Lockers
- 4 Hero Storage Bags
- 4 Player Aid cards
- 4 Score trackers
- 64 Hit Tokens
How do you play Prisma Arena?
Although each game is a sparring match inside the Prisma Arena between Heroes and their Mo’kons, there are four stages to mastering the art of Prismakata and becoming a Guardian of Hope. These are Hero Registration, Basic Training, Advanced Training and Gaining Prisma Powers.
Hero Registration – before playing any games, players decide on a Novice Hero from the four in the box – or 8 if you have the promotional pack – and the accompanying sticker sheet. This standee becomes the player’s Hero and may not be used by another player without their permission. Players also receive a Hero card, locker, and storage bag. Due to the legacy style of Prisma Arena as the characters level up and gain powers, there are also Guest Hero Cards for when you have friends over to play so that scores and levels aren’t affected.
Before play, name and customise your Hero with the stickers which are not marked as relating to levelling up.
Basic Training – Each round, players move themselves as the Hero and also their Mo’kon[s] and activate any combo cards, strike or blast their sparring partners. The choice of action is yours alone and indicated using your hero’s Action Dial. Points are scored against others by blasting and striking, which deal hits to your opposition. Actions have different ranges and sometimes you can get caught up grappling, but it’s all part of the fun!
How Do I Learn the Martial Art of Prismakata?
In Advanced Training – this is the part where Heroes level up. When enough games have been played and/or won, the circles on your Hero card will fill up. Once a row is complete, your Hero levels up! There are new uniforms and abilities to be discovered! There are five grades of Prismakata – Novice, Seeker, Attuner, Channeler, and finally the coveted position of Guardian.
Prisma Powers – the final stages of becoming a Guardian of Hope! Once a few games have been played and at least one member of your group has reached Seeker level, Hope becomes active and players are able to gain Prisma Powers. I’d love to tell you more about this but I haven’t reached this point in our Prismakata Training to be able to talk knowledgeably on this. So I’ll update it when I do.
What are Prisma Arena Mo’Kons?
Mo’kons are the eight adorable, powerful emotion based allies who can help you in your fight for hope as you learn the art of Prismakata. They’re extensions of a Hero’s emotional state – choose wisely! Each has a special ability which can be used and they take a turn in the arena each round too. The story goes they’re descendants from the four Great Mo’kon – Hope, Wonder, Apathy and Despair. There are allegedly as many Mo’kons are there are emotions but Prisma Arena uses the following eight.
The eight Mo’kons for your to train with and learn who their abilities can help you are Agla [nervous emotion] who helps warn you; Dawna [Confident] to encourage you; Eenu [Distracted] who loses focus; Farg [Angry] who lashes out; Grawva [Affectionate] who loves to give hugs; Nuhoc [Jealous] who covets others’ abilities ; Peeyan [Hurt] who will sympathise with you, and Sunna [Happy] who helps to boost your resilience.
How Can I Win Prisma Arena?
The first player to score 20 points is the winner of Prisma Arena. Points are scored whilst sparring against other heroes and Mo’kons with blasts, strikes and combo cards. When points are gained, small coloured tokens are given to the player on the receiving end of the attack, and these are placed on their hit gauges. When these become full, the hero is ‘bounced’ from the Arena, the equivalent of being sent back to your corner in boxing, and the coloured points are paid back to the heroes who have scored points against them and registered on the points track on the board. Players can re-enter their Heroes into the Arena on the next turn.
Each game played awards all of the heroes 2 points, which are recorded on their identity card, and points are awarded for victories, and also for each different Mo’kon who has been used.
Inclusive, Gender Neutral Heroes
What makes Prisma Arena so beautiful is its heroes – this is a game which not only promotes but truly and joyfully embraces inclusivity and gender-neutral standards through the mechanism of the customisation of each hero in the game. It is SO refreshing that Hub Games have held tight to the belief that all of us should be able to see ourselves in the games we play – and we absolutely love that. It was instantly identified by our 9 year old son, and that gave us a chance to have discussions with him that made me quite emotional.
So before I start crying again at the beauty of the game, inside the box pack are three human heroes and one robot, who Lyoto was instantly drawn to. Each hero comes with a set of reusable hair, clothing and accessory stickers, AND a little sticker book in the style of a school locker for them to be saved in once gained. I’m going to go ahead and say it – this part makes me so happy and transports me back to my 1980s, sticker collecting days. haha. We spent around 15 minutes deciding how to customise our heroes and deciding what to call them. Just a word though – if your hero has decided to wear a full head of hair, remember to stick the back of your hero’s hair on too, or you’ll be laughed at like me and my poor Purple Reign were. *sob*.
Prisma Arena Promotional Pack
Don’t you just LOVE it when there are promotional pieces that not everyone has that make your game a little bit more special? We were bursting at the seams with happiness on my birthday when Rory sent us the promotional pack for Prisma Arena – containing four new hero characters and their stickers, and a poster too! Ask your local games store to contact Hub Games for them!
Our Review of Prisma Arena
Whilst we’d love to say that this game surprised us, we can’t. We knew it was going to be as phenomenal fun to play – and it’s clear Rory and John have poured their heart and soul into getting Prisma Arena into the Tabletop Gaming community. The sparring idea lends itself brilliantly to family play and gives a fantastic introduction to competitive style games without causing tears. It’s easy for children to pick up, fast to set up and looks gorgeous on the tabletop. Prisma Arena’s legacy style is especially appealing for our boys, and gives them a sense of ownership of the game and pride in their achievements of different levels – plus dressing the heroes in different costumes and with different expressions for each game is pretty cool too. Haha. We can’t say enough good things about it and we hope you enjoy Prisma Arena as much as our heroes Bob the Bobot, Epic OP, Purple Reign and Al Spectaculosa do!
You can buy Prisma Arena at all good tabletop gaming stores – or here on Amazon!