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Pocket Pixel Artist

Designer: Richard Coote
Artist: Nicholas Coote
Publisher: Rampage Games LLC
Year Published: Coming to Kickstarter March 2021
No. of Players: 3-5
Ages: Knot Dice 13+
Playing Time: 15-30 Minutes
Main mechanic / Theme: Party Game

Unleash your creative side with Pocket Pixel Artist, the party game where teams face off by designing 2d pixel art.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

Overview:

Pocket Pixel Artist is a portable party game where players will work on teams to complete a series of design challenges for the Annual Pixel Platformer Design Competition. Players will take on 4 different design challenges throughout the game in hopes of scoring the most amount of points in the end. Be the best at arranging little cubes to depict the game assets on the cards and you will be victorious!

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Gameplay and Mechanisms:

Pocket Pixel Artist is a fresh take on classic party games like Taboo and Pictionary.  Pocket Pixel Artist uses the classic idea of a team working together with one person creating the art and one or more teammates trying to guess what it is.  What makes Pocket Pixel Artist unique is that each of its four rounds is played differently.  

In round 1, teams each nominate a builder who will select a card, pick a word of their choice from the card, and then everyone has 60 seconds to build their pixel art.  Then teams will have 30 seconds to quickly try and guess their teammate’s word.  Points are awarded based on who guessed the word correctly fastest.

For round 2, one person is the first builder.  They draw a card and choose a word and build in secret for 60 seconds.  Upon completion, they show their creation and teammates try to guess the word within the time limit.  If no teammate guesses the word, the other team(s) get a chance to guess it and steal the point.  This round repeats until everyone has been the builder once.

Round 3 is the Pallette Crash.  In the round players once again have 60 seconds to build and 30 seconds to guess.  Nominate someone to start as the builder and have them select a card.  The team to their left then picks a color and the builder must choose 1 of the 2 words that match that color and build that picture.  The even trickier part is they can only use cubes of the chosen color as well (though there are simplified rules for this for those looking for an easier game).  Then just like previous rounds, teammates have 30 seconds to guess the word and get two points if they are right.  However, if they don't guess the word in time, the team to the left automatically gets 1 point.  Continue through this round until everyone has been the builder once.

In the last round, players will once again take turns being the builder.  But for this round, the builder is not hiding their creation while it is being made.  Players will watch while the builder makes their art and try to guess what it is while it is being constructed.  Any player regardless of their team can guess and get the point if they are correct.  Each player gets one turn being the builder then final scores are tallied and whichever team is highest wins!

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What Worked:

There are a lot of things we enjoyed about Pocket Pixel Artist.  Similar to Rampage Games LLC’s other game, Swearmints, the first win for us is the convenient size of Pocket Pixel Artist.  Fitting in a mint tin, Pocket Pixel Artist is easy to bring with you to any game night.  It also takes up relatively little tablespace meaning that you can easily play it while you are out with friends.  We also appreciate that it can play with a wide range of player counts, keeping 10 people entertained with something as small as a box of Altoids is impressive.

As far as gameplay is concerned, we enjoyed that each of the rounds offers different ways to play and score.  We like that in some rounds, players compete for resources and face off while in other rounds it is more focused on just your team. One big plus for Pocket Pixel Artist is that players can score even on opponent's turns, decreasing the amount of time players sit waiting for their turn to come back around.  Pocket Pixel Artist does a good job engaging all players across all four rounds, which is something a lot of party games lack.  

Pocket Pixel Artist also offers a wide range of words to craft with a varying degree of difficulty. From things like cheese, to kangaroo, to toilet, to roller skates there are a lot of options to build.  Having to create your art in 2d also adds an interesting challenge as the cubes themselves are 3d and some might be inclined to build in 3d instead.  Limiting how a word can be designed adds a nice level of challenge to Pocket Pixel Artist.

PPA 3Final Thoughts:

Pocket Pixel Artist is a great choice for creative people looking for a game to play with larger gaming groups.  It is ultraportable, and easy to learn and teach.  We would also recommend Pocket Pixel Artist for those who enjoy playing on teams.  It is neat that it can be played with two teams of two, two teams up to five each, or multiple teams of two or more.  Pocket Pixel Artist is also ideal for those looking for a “cleaner” party game. The words included are mostly everyday nouns and you don’t need to worry about not being able to play Pocket Pixel Artist in front of younger kids.    

If we could change one thing about Pocket Pixel Artist it would be the font and background chosen for the rules.  While thematically the font pairs well with the 8-bit art theme, it is a bit challenging to read.  It is still legible but it takes more focus than we would like it to.  The font on the cards themselves is completely fine, likely because it is not italic, but we had no issues reading the cards while playing. While we are talking about the cards, we also wanted to comment on how adorable the card art is for the card backs.  The mint tin itself also features some really cool graphics.

If you are looking for a little game that will provide a lot of fun Pocket Pixel Artist is for you!

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