My full review of can be found here:
A full list of my board game reviews can be found on the same site here:
(Thanks to Dad's Gaming Addiction for the layout idea)
What do beard-a-rangs, laser sharks, morning stars made of meat, and puking turtles with rockets on their back all have in common? No its not my insane imagination, its this game Pixel Lincoln by Jason Tagmire.
Published by Game Salute and Island Officals LLC in 2013 this game is set in an insane world where you play as President Abraham Lincoln attempting to restore the balance of time corrupted by Wilkes Booth, traveling to different places in search for certain “pieces”. This is all done beautifully as a deck-building game with, as the name suggests, an 8-bit side-scroller theme. Of all the deck-building games I have played, this one is quite unique.
Behold My Beard-a-rang and Tremble!
In Pixel Lincoln, players take on the persona of a 8-bit style Lincoln who is trapped in a side-scroller arcade game with other villainous arch-enemies. Defeat the bosses and their minions, scoring points along the way to win!
When the game starts, each player is dealt 10 cards – 5 beard-a-rangs and 5 jump cards. The jump cards can be used to purchase items you find along the way, or to “jump” over cards in your way (you will understand this a bit later). Beard-a-rangs are used to attack monsters that might block your path and are ranged. The object of the Pixel Lincoln is to make it to the end of the level, defeat the boss, and score the most points. Almost like other deck-builders we hear of right? With a shop and what not? Wrong. This game actually plays as a 2D 8-bit side-scroller! Instead of choosing what cards to buy via a shop, you battle through the shop in one of 2 levels, defeating monsters and picking up items along the way!
There are even checkpoints in the game that will reward players for reaching them! You can progress the level in several different ways. Regardless, each card that you are in front of must be dealt with. If the card you encounter is an Item, you can either buy the item with the jump card (the jump cards have a coin value on the top left) or use a jump card to actually “jump over” the card, moving on to the next one. If the card you encounter is an enemy (red) you must defeat them on the start of your turn or lose a life using beard-a-rangs or other items you find along the way, like maybe a chicken cannon. Once defeated, these enemies go on your score pile for later.
NPC characters also appear in the level, which give quests for additional points at the end of the game. They are purchased with coins. Checkpoints like I said will give you and everyone on the level a bonus and are collected automatically (like the flag at the end of super mario). The 2nd and 3rd checkpoints will have a boss behind them that you have to defeat and cannot “jump” over.
Did you use up your 3 lives fighting this super hard boss? No problem! Just like most side scrolling adventures, you may purchase a “continue” to get more lives and continue playing. All you need to do is pay a measly 5 points and you are back in the game. If your friends were rude and horded all the points, you discard 5 cards from your deck in order to continue (ouch!) so be careful and make sure you have at least some points before dying!
Four Score and About Two Years Ago…
This is a very unique deckbuilding game with an amazingly hilarious 8-bit theme that any gamer is sure to love. Jason Tagmire did an amazing job putting this game together, including organizing the box for the “A” type folks out there. Everything in the box just seems to fit perfectly, making setup and cleanup a breeze.
Matter of fact, the design concept of this game is what I dig the most. From the cool 8-bit scrolling mechanics to the design of the box, Pixel Lincoln really nailed down the look and feel of what it’s like to play a 2D platformer as a board game. Sometimes game designers can forget about this, opting to latch on to kitsch or a gimmick to sell the game. Pixel Lincoln has some pretty decent replay-ability in the level creator, so you can change up the experience each time or “save” your levels for later by placing them in 2 custom deck-holders.
Anyway you look at it, its clear that this game was designed with great attention to detail and love. It’s these kinds of games that will last forever and make the most impression to hardcore and family gamers alike. So if you are looking to smash down some slimes and exploding rabbits in a well-designed-8-bit-2d-action-side-scrolling-adventure-deckbuilder board game, then grab your Abraham Lincoln beards, extra lives, and cheat codes and start playing. (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, a, b, start!)