How to plAI

Mar 1, 2024
8 min read

Table of Contents

Whether you need a way to blow off steam from work, are waiting for your model to train or want to be able to talk to your family about the things you do, this game, developed in Barcelona and designed in Mallorca, is the ideal one.

Use it as a catalyst to make your witty comments about that boss who gets on your nerves, AI hype or simply as a pretext to explain to your nearest and dearest what is NLP, MLOps or why all the work comes at 6 o'clock.

Welcome to the plAI card game rule page. If you see this page, it's probably because you are testing the game. Thank you!We would love to directly hear from you, to know if it was easy to understand and start plaiing, if you find it fun, entretaining or just plain and boring. Or it might be you don't share our socarrat sense of humor and just want to correct us and tell us how wrong we are.You can also just let us know if you are feeling OK or we can help in any way.

1. Rules

plAI is a game designed for 2 to 5 players (we call them plAIers). More might also play and it will be more challenging. For 2 we recommend playing with less cards in the deck. See the extra modes section.


Be the only startup alive. If you went bankrupt, fight against the monopolies together with the other individual contributors.

How to plAI

It’s a turn based game where the cards in your hand are your company's assets.

They allow you to attack to get more cards, defend yourself and mess with the other startups Do not let it reach 0, but beware of having too many!


Give each plAIer 6 cards. Then ask your Virtual Assistant who will start and the direction. Or just decide throwing a coin, by who has more cats or by random sampling, it’s more eco-friendly.

Now it's time to decide if you want to follow any of the extra modes and/or make your own rules. If it’s the first time plaing the game, we do not recommend it yet.

If it is not your first time playing, decide if you want to follow any of the extra modes and/or make your own rules.


On your turn, you can do one of the following:

  • plAI one special card.
  • Do a funding.
  • If you have more than 9 cards, challenge a rival to a Hostile Takeover battle. The winner will get all of the loser's remaining assets.

Company elimination

To end the turn, check if any startup has 0 cards. If this is the case, their company is bankrupt and can't continue on the market.

This can lead to some interesting strategies with a couple of special cards if you are creative.

In the case a startup has no cards, the plaier becomes an individual Open Source Maintainer.

All Maintainers keep their turn and act in collaboration for wining over the Startups. On their turn, they can:

  • plAI one special card
  • Do Charity funding (1 card)
  • Coordinated hostile takeover of a company where everyone MUST collaborate. In case of winning, assets will be distributed randomly amongst all.

Being a part of an Open Source project has its drawbacks though:

  • Max of 3 card on your hand (just discard the extra ones).
  • You can’t communicate your cards or intentions with the colleagues.

Otherwise, you can still dispute funding and companies can still take your resources with a hostile takeover.


To be a successful startup you always need more funding! There are 3 types you can end your round with:

Funding name Assets Raised Can be attacked by
Family funding 1 card Nobody
Regional Pitch 2 cards Next plaier
Venture Capital 3 cards Anyone
Remember not to take the cards right away. Leave them next to the deck in case someone wants to attack you.

If no one wants to attack you, recover the cards.


It’s how you can discard extra cards and crush other startups. You can plai up to 4 cards. Use ‘Attack’s if you are on attack and ‘Use Case’s if you are on defense. In both cases you can also add Buzzwords and Specials.


  • For an attack to be successful, you’ll need to have at least one Adversary card.
  • For a defense to be successful, you’ll need to have a Use Case card.
  • If no one has the required types, defendant wins.
  • You can ask for help to any other plAIer.
  • You can choose not to defend yourself, loosing the battle.
  • Some buzzwords have effects that completely change the outcome.
  • Some special cards can be thrown at any time within the battle, but they do count for the max number of 4 cards.
  • You can bluff and defend or attack with just Buzzwords.

Battle Resolution

  1. The defendant turns its plAIed cards face up and applies the effects.
  2. Attacker turns cards face up and effects are applied.
  3. The attacker wins if it has more points than the defender and at least an attack card.
  4. The winner takes the drawn cards if it’s a funding or all the looser remaining hand if it’s a hostile takeover.
  5. All cards plAIed in the battle are discarded.

Receive 2-3 alerts when the campaign goes live!

End of game

If there are no more cards available in the draw pile and there are more than one plaier you are in the Trough of Disillusionment. No one will remember you.


  • Monopoly: When one startup is left, it must resist a coordinated attack (can’t be blocked) from the Open Source maintainers. If the company wins, congrats, you are now a corporation.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work: Well done! The open source project resisted and it’s a collective win for all.

If a game finished with Monopoly situations and there are cards left, you may start a new game this way without reusing the discarded cards. That’ll be great for the card counters.

​Card types

There are five types of cards, each one with a different role:

  • Adversaries: Used for attacking other startups and crushing them.
  • Use Cases: A description of "the problem" (you sell–) you solve. Use them to defend against adversaries.
  • Buzzwords: popular words or phrases in the AI world. Use them with adversaries or use cases to step-up your battle.
  • Special: Wild effect cards to play in your turn, and some of them at any moment. The description will explain more what each card does.
  • Market Event: Capitalism is unpredictable and will affect you. Throw those immediately (even outside of your turn).

2. Extra modes

We've designed it so it can be used in more than just one way. Try them out (alone or combined) and if you invent any other mode, share it with us!

  • 2 plAIers: see "Bear Market" or "Botifarra"
  • Bear Market: You want to innovate in the midst of a global crisis. Play with less cards (~54 per 2 people) instead of the full deck.
  • Botifarra: Do multiple rounds. The winner of each round gets all used cards and when the deck is finished, the one with more cards wins. TIP: strategically loose rounds if you don’t have a good hand at first.
  • Truth-teller: When attacking, you have to do a “pitch” explaining what you attack with. Use your imagination to bluff or tell the truth to make them back down, but if you get caught, you’ll lose one of the plaied cards.
  • Speed plai: you have a 10 minutes to become a monopoly, if not, the hype has passed and you all loose.
  • Consultant: once a plaier has lost their startup, provide consultancy services to other plaiers... for a fee! Like giving you a card next round. It’s your call.
  • Cosplay: the plaier dressed more like a startup owner starts with an extra card. Just remember to tag us in any photo you upload to any social media site!
  • 10x Data Scientist: Not really a card game, but an exercise for you, eager data scientists. Split use-case and buzzwords. Mix them. Select 1 use-case and 2 buzzwords. Build a model to “solve” the use case and think about the ethical implications.
  • Fish Bank: If a big plaier declares a Hostile Takeover against you, merge your company with another willing player and act as a bigger fish to scare them off. Build your strength through unionization.

3. Product Roadmap

As PO I always tried to give the teams and stakeholders a transparency of where the product is going. And now I want to share with you the different options I have in mind.

Design timelines

Core gameplay is play tested and in a ready to go state. Minor tweaks and balance might happen.

The overall design style of the cards is done, and 20/24 il·lustrations are finished. However, ruleset and box design still needs to be done waiting for the crowdfunding campaign.

The content of the cards is in a state I am happy with, though I have some room for community ideas. That way, you can laugh about the situations you faced at your real life startups.

Kickstarter campaign (Q1/Q2 2024)

September-October the date I'm aiming to start the kickstarter campaign. It will depend on several factors but follow our social media accounts at @plai_cards to be up to date.


I've selected a widely known european card manufacturer. It will take 10 weeks between the approval of the final designs to the product arriving to our warehouses.

General availability

After finishing the kickstarter campaign and delivering the product to all backers I'll start to fullfill orders to everyone. I still have to decide the platform to use.

Receive 2-3 alerts when the campaign goes live!

4. Technical Sheet and Card statistics

Number of plaiers 2-5
Playing time 19-58 min
Age 14+
Fight probability 52%
Players that will help you clean-up 0-1
Probability of doing role-play 68%
Social Vanity 20-50 ig. likes

It's possible to play up to 7 people though its recommended they already know the mechanics to avoid long rounds.

Change History

Version Date Changes
v.1.0 2023-02-17 Initial version
v.1.1 2023-02-18 Number of players
Clarifications and reminders
Battle bluffing
Extra mode
v.1.2 2023-07-07 Simplified and reordered sections
Tweaked Hostile Takeover
Added Bear Market extra mode
v.1.3 2023-09-14 Updated charts
v.2.0 2023-11-17 New card type (Market Event)
New Open Source Software ending
Updated card type colors
v.2.1 2024-03-17 Tweak Hostile Takeover condition
v.2.1 2024-06-08 Tweak Hostile Takeover condition

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