Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-4
Amount of time to play: 45-60 min
Age requirements: 10+
Set-up time: 10 minutes
Pixel Lincoln mimics and old school side-scrolling video game in which you play an 8-bit President Lincoln. You gain VPs by eliminating your enemies and the player with the most VPs once the Boss Card is defeated wins.
Pixel Lincoln is a deckbuilding game. You start by setting up two levels with Enemies, Characters, Items and Secret Items. You select two mini-boss cards and two boss cards and set one of each next to a level. Then you insert three Checkpoint Cards into the levels grab your shuffled starter deck, take five cards and you are ready to go.
The board starts with five cards to the left of both the upper and lower level decks. You place your Lincoln meeple next to the left-most card of whichever level you want. Anytime you begin your turn next to an Enemy Card you must either defeat it or jump it. If you defeat the Enemy Card it goes in your score pile. If you cannot defeat the Enemy Card you lose a Life Card. You only have three Life Cards and they are worth 5 VPs at the end of game. If you start next to an item or character you may purchase it or jump it.
After dealing with the first card you can continue to explore cards by jumping, defeating or buying them. As you do your Lincoln meeple will advance to the right. Once he gets to the last card you remove any cards to the left of all players’ meeples, shift the remaining cards as far left as you can and refill any empty card slots from the level deck. Once you are out of cards you discard any you spent and refill your hand to five cards.
Your cards allow you to jump over or attack Enemy Cards and some get you coins you can use to purchase items or characters. Items you purchases go into your discard pile and characters go to your score pile. Items upgrade your deck and are worth VPs at the end of the game. Characters earn you extra points at the end of the game by collecting cards with specific icons on the bottom.
Once you reach a Checkpoint you must choose to either: draw a card, put a card from your hand in score pile or move to the other level. Every player on the same level as the reached Checkpoint does this. The player that actually got to the Checkpoint Card first may take any two of the listed actions (even the same on twice).
If you encounter a Mini-Boss or Boss Card under a Checkpoint you must defeat them. They cannot be jumped and if you are unable to defeat them you lose a life. Once the first Boss is defeated the level is cleared. You move all meeples to the un-cleared level and play proceeds. After both Boss Cards are defeated the game is over. You add up your VPs and the player with the most wins.
Pixel Lincoln has an excellent theme and art work that just adds to it. And the set up and mechanics are reminiscent of an 80s side-scrolling video game.
This game has high quality components and the Lincoln meeples are a really nice touch. As I said, the art is great and really adds to the theme and feel of the game. The rules are an easy read too. The game was funded on kickstarter so some of the swab is not necessary. The player boards are not very useful, and though not necessary the level board is nice.
The best thing about this game is the theme. I mean how can you not enjoy the thought of Abraham Lincoln running around fighting zany enemies with meat powered weapons? Though silly the theme really sets the stage for this game.
I also like how the mechanics really do create a side-scrolling video game with cards. You feel like you are sitting at your NES as you run along and shift the cards.
You should be aware that the game is pretty random. Unlike many deckbuilders, Pixel Lincoln, only lets you gain the card in front of you (unless you can jump it). Also some items are just better than others. If you go to the level with the better items you’ll do much better. I would not suggest this with three players either. Two players will fight over cards on one level while the other has their choice of what to add to their deck and more access to VPs.
Pixel Lincoln is really good for kids and families. The theme is fun and creative and it simulates an old NES game wonderfully. It may be pretty random, but if you are ok with that you should be able to enjoy it for what it is, a fun, light game with a fun theme. If you are looking for a game your whole family can enjoy pick this up.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 5 out of 6
Player Interaction 3 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 3 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6