Tony has been selfishly reviewing the excellent Pixel Tactic game series for Board Game Quest for almost a year now. He has previously reviewed both Pixel Tactics (PT1) (see here, which I would recommend reading if you have not previously read the review), as well as the newer Pixel Tactics 2 (PT2).
I have taken the responsibility of reviewing Pixel Tactics 3, the newest offering in the Pixel Tactics universe, away from Tony. I know, I know, it is a tough job…well, actually, in no way is it a tough job. I quite enjoy doing reviews, and I, similar to Tony, quite enjoyed both PT1 and PT2. I felt it was time another reviewer at Board Game Quest stepped up and provide his thoughts on Pixel Tactics. So how is Pixel Tactics 3? Read on to find out!
Pixel Tactics 3 is a (primarily) two player tactical card battling game that plays in about 20 minutes (or up to 60 minutes if you play best out of three).
Pixel Tactics 3 (PT3), similar to PT1 and PT2, comes with 25 new hero/leader cards in two identical decks. The new cards can be combined with the cards from any of the two previous Pixel Tactics games (there is a small “2” and “3” on each card to track which cards are from PT2 and PT3), or PT3 can be played standalone – it is completely up to you and how you want to customize your Pixel Tactics gaming experience. The game play is almost exactly the same as the previous games, but includes an updated rulebook (version 1.2) that has some clarification on keywords as well as a new method for tracking and discarding Ongoing Orders.
The game is primarily played with two people facing off with identical decks of 25 cards. Now that the Pixel Tactic universe has expanded to three separate games, the card count has increased to 75 unique cards (not counting promos) if you own all three games. This increases the number of options available to the player when playing Constructed or Duel Draw games (see www.pixel-tactics.com for rules for these modes).
There is a 4-player game, but, for full disclosure, I have only played Pixel Tactics as a 2-player game.
PT3 provides more options for those familiar with the Pixel Tactics universe. The 25 new cards increase the number of “what if” options that are already prevalent in this game. New leaders, such as Minyard Milquetoast, who allows ANY of your heroes or leaders to make a melee attack, even if they are not in a melee eligible position, will frustrate your opponent. New heroes, such as the Galaxy Mage, who allows you to discard three cards to immediately defeat ANY hero, will provide you with more options for eliminating your opponent. The new orders, such as the Mercenary order, allows you to recruit to any wave for the next four waves, are sure to please any Pixel Tactics fan.
I simply love playing this game. The game is highly replayable. Every card can be used for one of four different options. The decisions can, and will, be agonizing. How should your card be played? To which row should your hero be recruited, or should you use it one time for its order now? But will I be better off waiting to see what card I draw next…..grrrrrrrrr *mind explodes*
Games will be tense, and you will think that your opponent’s leader is overpowered or “broken” and that your leader is nowhere near as good…except your opponent will say the same thing about your leader. For a game with so many options, I can honestly say I think it is very well balanced. I have seen many different leaders win. I have been decimated by cards that I thought were weak, and I’ve seen cards that seemed over-powered become neutralized.
Finally, I would like to stress the portability of this game. It is the same size as a deck of cards with some life tokens. Once you are familiar with the layout, you do not need to use the instruction manual. It is the perfect vacation game.
I highly recommend Pixel Tactics 3 to both those familiar with Pixel Tactics and those that are new to the game. The updated rulebook is great, you get 25 more cards to add to (or start) your Pixel Tactics collection.
The only downside is that, unlike Pixel Tactics 2, which introduced Ongoing Orders, there are no additional game mechanisms added by Pixel Tactics 3. If you did not enjoy the previous two games or were hoping for something new, this game will not change your opinion on the series. But for fans of the Pixel Tactics series, Pixel Tactics 3 provides another level of customization and an increased replay value.
If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself, it’s about $15.
• Same great portable game play, same great agonizing decisions
• More card variety (mmmmm…Galaxy Mage)
• Deck construction options expanded by more cards
• No new game play additions