Zafty Games had a small booth setup at PAX East 2016 with tons of copies of Pixel Glory stacked all over their table. The minimalist black box and game’s 8-bit art immediately drew me to the game, and I was lucky enough to get a copy for review not too long after the show. It’s a super simple game that plays in two phases: a deckbuiling phase and a dungeon phase. It’s quick, easy to play, and overall light fare. The art is mostly 8-bit, with a bit of 16-bit mixed in when it comes to the monsters.
Like I just stated, the game is played in two phases. The first is an auction phase where players are taking turns picking up face up spell cards to build their deck. Each player has auction cards labeled 1-9, and will play one each turn to determine the order in which players can choose cards from the table. Once an auction card is used, it’s discarded. When players take a spell card, they also get to take any number of basic elemental attack cards listed on that spell. All cards obtained are placed in a pile for the next phase. As players go through the rounds collecting spells, monsters are flipped over from the pre-constructed monster deck, giving the players an idea of what they’re up against.
Once the players have exhausted their auction cards, the dungeon phase begins. The monster deck is shuffled with the Dungeon Keeper added in, and then the Dungeon Lord is placed at the bottom of that deck. Players remove all the unused cards from the auction phase and shuffle the cards they took into their deck. Three monsters are flipped over, each player draws four cards from their deck, and the game continues.
Each turn a player must play all their cards, with the exception that one card can be kept in reserve. Monsters are attacked with basic attack cards and spells, with bonuses being applied for spell’s and attack’s elements. The goal here is to kill the monsters. Only the player who deals the killing blow to a monster gets the points at the end of the game. You need to juggle doing damage to monsters, but not so much that another player can steal the kill after your turn. Combo counters can be earned by meeting certain criteria on monster cards, or not killing a monster on your turn. Exchange three of these to draw four cards or kill any elemental monster.
A cool rule here is that anytime you kill a monster you have the option to reshuffle your deck. This let’s you get powerful cards you’ve already played back into rotation. Also, having one card in reserve may give you the boost you need to pick off a monster before someone else.
The game ends when the Dungeon Lord is defeated. The player with the most points from their killed monster wins.
Pixel Glory is pretty much just cards with a few wooden cubes and hearts. The cards are flexible and sturdy, but nothing overly special. The wooden hearts are cool, and the cubes are your average wooden cube. A few of my cubes had chips/defects in them, but nothing that really inhibited gameplay.
My kids and I had a good time with this game, but I can’t say it’s something that’ll hit the table very often. While simple and fun to play, it didn’t really stand out as something we couldn’t get somewhere else. It’s by no means a bad game, just not a memorable one for us. The deckbuiling phase is very light, and the dungeon phase’s main challenge was not weakening monsters so much that other players could kill them. A few cool mechanics here and there are what pull this game into the “good” category, but aren’t really enough to make it shine. Monsters don’t do anything except take punishment, and there’s very little player interaction in the cards. At $30 I’d pass by this one.
A copy Pixel Glory was provided free for review by Zafty Games
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.