Review: Pix – world painted in pixels

Pix - packaging

Figure rose to its feet. „Charles, my name is Charles,“ said the doll. He probably did not realize, that he is made only from several squares on the computer. „Tell me, what to do. I can walk, lift, put down and turn.“ STEP, Charles, you wrote. A figure moves one square to the right. TURN RIGHT, STEP, STEP. Charles world consists only of squares, on which is he able to move.

Everything is composed of pixels. In the real world, we will not meet with such raw raster, because all items in here are composed of such tiny objects, they are completely outside our distinctive capabilities. Computer world, however, needs always resolution and in history, they were really bumpy. Resolution in pixels is still rising. Is it enough? Has the object really smoothed edges? And how many megapixels has this camera? Questions, which accompany us in our modern age.

But what if we go back into history? Pixels are part of everyday life in computer then. It is the year 1993. Squares in the graphics are everywhere and Windows are only dreams of the future, while king DOS rules world of computers. Computer decpicts image pixel by pixel and you have to use a bit of imagination to recognize, what this object should be. Do you enjoy it, that little abstract feel? That is good, we will talk today about pixels a lot.

Pix - game is ready

Two-dimensional world is seemingly easier. The characters do not even have to deal with vertigo of new 3D fashion wave. But some things in two dimensions are simply impoverished. Just like our character Charles. Although he can walk, but it is not easy for him to avoid obstacles, because he lacks one dimension.

All this and much more will you realize, when you play a new board game , which introduced the Swiss company . Authors of Pix game are and . Game started selling just a few months ago, as its publishing date is year . Its theme and idea is approaching party games and this also corresponds to the minimum number for the game set to four players.

Pix is hidden inside a giant cube packaging. Its the largest box of regular shape with all sides having the same length, we have reviewed till now. And what game is requesting such huge dimensions? What game gains in size, does not lose even in weight, because the box is surprisingly heavy. You say, what weighty may be in a party game? Let’s look at the contents.

Pix - game in progress

Once you lift the lid of the box, you will notice, that on the inner side, there are some pictures. And even on the box itself. One more thing will definitely surprise you. On the outside of the bottom part of the packaging is a pile of text in French – these are the rules. There is no handbook inside, and all the needed text to explain Pix gameplay is found on these four sides of a cube. This surely means, that the game should be simple, right?

But at the same time, last paragraph presents us with one major problem of Pix – it is only available in French. And because game is focused on words, its quite inconvenient. Fortunately you should not mind, because English version of Pix rules and cards can be downloaded from the server BoardGameGeek. And they are available even in German! More problems pile up, when you find out, that the game includes 230 square cards with task written in words. But yes, even these cards can be downloaded, but you have to print them out on about 40 A4 sheets.

There are two words on each card – two black and two red. It is your job to picture the black, while red serves only as a help, when nobody of other players know, what have you drawn.

Pix - game in progress

However, back to French, which is on the original cards. We had also downloaded those english cards and played with those. You just have to be aware of the fact, that the game does not look so nice and professional then. So on our photos, you will find the original french ones. But on the other hand, you need these cards in Pix always only at the beginning of a relatively long turn.

In addition to the cards, there is also plenty of other things in the box. Above all, there are large boards measuring nine by nine squares. These tables are larger, than the box and have to lie crossways inside. Then there are bags with accessories, consisting of the actual pixels. These small squares are of the same size as those 81 boxes on the player boards. At first glance you may not notice it, but they are magnetic and they stick on the table, when you put them there. That’s very important for the game, as well as for your convenience in their use and quite interesting for players as a novelty idea.

In that second bag, there are foam cubes serving here as victory points tokens. And underneath it all is yet another red hourglass, which fortunately will not serve to measure round time. There is no razor on your neck, you have all the time, which.. opponents give you. We welcome that, because hourglass distract players, rather than help them, at least in our experience.

Pix - game in progress

At the start of every match, players get one colored table in front of him. There are a total of four colors – black, gray, white and red. The system of allocation among players can you easily see on the box – for each number is a little different. For example, in four you will be using only two colors – red and white. The basic idea is that there should be teams with a minimum of two members in each game, and still a maximum of three with the same colored game board.

The center of the table should now be filled with pile of foam blocks and eight random cards out ot the incredible 230 cards offer. The number of rounds is then based on number of teams – four rounds in two, three rounds in three and two with four teams. But these groups of players do not work together and they change during the game. On the contrary – players with the same colored board are your greatest rivals! Sounds crazy, but fun, right?

Before we start playing, all participants must get pixels to draw from. Out of the 180 black squares, you deal each player twenty of them. Therefore all will be used only in a maximum nine players game. Each of players get also one red pixel and a red arrow – tools for marking important parts of the picture.

Pix - cards

The color boards have players divided into several teams, each with at least two members. They draw together one card from the common deck of eight cards. This card has two words on it, dividing each round in two equal parts. Team members will remember the first word and puts the card down on the table text near one of them.

Once everyone is ready, players begin to paint a picture from their available twenty pixels. It is important to hold the board up, so other players (and especially from the same team!) cannot see your images. Just like in other drawing games, you must not write words or numbers and magnetic cubes have exactly defined grid, you must use. You should try to use as few blocks as possible.

The moment one player thinks he has finished, he calls out loud „Pix“, lay down his board with picture down (yes, magnets hold everything in place!) and turns over the hourglass. Other opponents have thirty seconds to complete their work. When the time expires, they must all lay down their pictures. Still all pictures must be hidden.

Pix - game in progress

And now it’s time for guessing and giving out victory points. This happens gradually for individual teams. You can start with any color, it depends on the players agreement. All members of a team must now calculate, how many pixels they needed to draw the image. Black pixels count for one, red arrow for two and red pixel is worth four.

The player, who has the smallest number of pixels used, has the opportunity to show his picture first to others. He turns over the hourglass and shows his picture to all other teams. Everyone tries to guess (they may shout over, not to wait for anything). Author could only listen, no help is allowed. Once someone guessed right within thirty seconds, both the author and the one, who guessed that picture, get victory point. Second player in team did not get his shot with his picture and gains no points this round.

Otherwise (if they did not guessed it), player with second lowest pixel count gets his chance. In case players are ties for pixel number, they show images simultaneously and both receive points, if the other players shout out the correct answer. When no one guesses even after the last team member, the artist can read help word written in red on a card. This usually gives people right direction and leads to guessing of drawing. However, this time, cartoonists gets no points, they are awarded only to player, who correctly answered.

Pix - box

This way, you cycle through all the teams, each showing their pictures. Then it’s time to draw the second word on that card. Players draw, guess and earn points once more. After these two drawings, players have to switch teams. Each player sends board to his neigbour on the left. This brings a completely mixed composition of the teams, so players will have a different opponent, than last time. Entire game ends, when cards in the middle run out. Winner is that player, who scored the most foam victory points bricks.

Pix is a drawing party game full of amazing ideas. It is incredible, how drawing of things we know from life with only several pixels can be fun. You have to be really creative and use arrow or red pixel cleverly to highlight some parts of the drawing. But again, you must handle those red tiles carefully, because they are costly in words of pixels, when evaluating number of pixels used.

In addition, pixel tiles are magnetic. This means, that you draw without any problems, although you have to keep the board in front of yourself at an angle, so that other players can not see, what are you working on.

Pix - game in progress

Game system, where multiple players each compete not only in drawing skills, but also in speed and efficiency is absolutely awesome. Someone can draw beautifully recognizable apple, but his turn will not come, because he used too many pixels. That’s great hidden beauty in this game.

At one time (about two years back), I complained that the market contains only few interesting drawing games. Now we have Pictomania from Vlaada Chvatil (we are preparing a review), older Bizzaria (review in Czech) by Jiri Mikolas and now Pix. Yes, we are in Czech Rebulic. Abroad, you can get other games, like Identik, but they are not easy to get in here as they are language dependent. Drawing games are now in course and I like that, because they bring a lot of fun to those thinking tables.

And all that goes for the Pix in double. When playing, you will have a lot of laughs, because there is more to drawing from pixels, than when you are using pencil. Space consisting of nine times nine squares is just too small to make some graphically sophisticated picture. However, the more difficult it is for you as a player, the more fun you will have.

Pix - cards

Interesting information is, that the game goes in pixellating everything to the very extreme. Everything has a square shape here. Perhaps only the hourglass are exception, although we wonder, why the bases of this time measuring device are not square too. You will realize authors literality, when you start reading the rules. Reading is not so easy, because the words are written in special pixel font, as you can see on the surrounding pictures. The same applies to the text on the cards.

Pix has a very unusual range of players from four to nine. Although it may seem limiting cutting off lower numbers, it is very important for the game to have at least two teams of two players each involved. The length of time you need to its completion, remains unchanged, no matter player number. All pix (draw) simultaneously and the number of rounds with more players is lower, so the longer can be only the guessing part.

You’ve probably noticed, that you will use only eight cards from total of 230 for one game! This means, that you must play a minimum of 29 games, provided that you do not mix the cards, to test them all! Incredible! And you even do not draw all of them. Their number is understandable, because players will certainly remember, how to process this picture next time. So you have to come up with better image each time the word comes out in the future, otherwise painting and guessing would be easy.

Pix - box

The advantage of the guessing is, that players can shout all they can think of at once. From that view, thirty seconds is rather long time to guess the picture, when its at least a bit similar. If nobody will guess, cartoonists give help. This is a great idea, because they can not prevent others from getting a point, even when they drew badly.

Processing is absolutely outstanding. Everything is clear, although you might have a little trouble reading the pixel font. The only concern we have is, that the magnetization of squares can eventually dissipate. Because of price tag, English edition remains a mystery – production costs are too high. This should not stop you, however, because everything important can be downloaded in English from Internet!

Pix is the perfect party game, that includes everything such light game should have and so much more. Above all it is a great idea. Drawing from pixels is just totally different, than doodling with a pencil or marker. You have to really think hard and work with your imagination. In addition, there will be much fun and entertainment from matches, especially guessing, because the results often look like something else entirely. If you are looking for a great drawing game, then you can not decide otherwishe – buy Pix!

DesignerLaurent Escoffier, David Franck
PublisherAsmodee, GameWorks SàRL, Hobby Japan
Year Published2012
# of Players4 - 9
User Suggested # of Players Best with 9 players
Recommended with 4, 5 players
(5 voters)
Playing Time30
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
Language DependenceExtensive use of text - massive conversion needed to be playable
(2 voters)
CategoryParty Game, Real-time
MechanicPattern Recognition
FamilyComponents: Sand Timers
Primary NamePIX
Alternate NamesPixelstücke, ピックス

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Pix – world painted in pixels
Final word
Pix is a new drawing game, offering amazing and unique experience for larger player numbers. Its a party game, because at least four friends have to meet to play it. On the other hand, it can be played in up to nine people, each drawing his picture every round. But great fun starts in four players, because players are divided in teams at least with two players each. Every group has boards of one color and this one team draws same picture, but each player separately. And only one of these team members can acquire victory point for this drawing together with one correctly guessing member of another team. It is important to use as few pixels as possible, when drawing the picture. Number of pixels used decides, which team member shows his drawing first to others and if they guess it right, others will not have their chance to show theirs. This means, that people in one team compete. And these teams switch members with every new card drawn by rotating color boards around the table. This inner-competition brings unknown tension into the game, because you have two tasks – draw a picture in a way, that someone will recognize it, but still use fewer pixels, than others! This combination of requirements is tough, although you can use two special red objects. You will have many laughs, when trying to guess, whats on the pictures. Few pixels sometimes does not suffice and players have to have quite vast imagination. Every match has its length set with number of word cards and you will use around eight from an enormous 230 in total. Originally, the game was published only in French, but you can download rules and cards in english or german for free! Pix brings a whole new idea to a drawing board game and uses it with absolute perfection. So if you like drawing at least a little, then Pix should not be missing in your collection!
Reader Rating0 Votes
box is a giant cube
drawing with pixels made perfect
magnetic pixel tokens
unusual foam victory points tokens
great game mechanics
enormous cards number
quick gameplay
all players guessing at the same time
hint in case player got his drawing too simple
font is hard to read
only in French in box
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