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Limited-Run, High-Quality Bicycle Playing Cards with 16-Bit Art from Pixel Lincoln, the side-scrolling deckbuilder by Jason Tagmire.
Limited-Run, High-Quality Bicycle Playing Cards with 16-Bit Art from Pixel Lincoln, the side-scrolling deckbuilder by Jason Tagmire.
363 backers pledged $10,614 to help bring this project to life.

Pixel Lincoln Playing Cards Game Design Challenge

Update Composed by Jason Tagmire, Designer of Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game

Hello! I would like to thank everyone for backing this project and spreading the word. It's amazing to have such a supportive group.

One of the things we're doing with this campaign is a little game design challenge for those who like to make their own games. You don't need to be a game designer to participate.. you could start right now!


Submissions must be posted in the comments here by Midnight on April 15, 2013. You can submit more than one game if you would like. Games cannot use any components outside of the Pixel Lincoln playing card deck.

We're going to publish the rules for the best games, along with my design, Big Head Mode, is a free PDF for all backers and will make the PDF available on the Game Salute page for the Pixel Lincoln Playing Cards.

We're looking for submissions of games that use the theme in some way. It can be any style of game (trick taking / set building / solitaire, etc), it just needs to incorporate the theme. What is the theme? Well, it's a few things.

It's 16 bit retro video gaming with Pixel Lincoln. It's also a deck of good vs. evil with Lincoln on the black cards and enemies on the red cards. Which characters are good and which are evil is totally up to you.


The Pixel Lincoln playing card deck functions is a standard 54 card deck with a few bonuses that may assist in creating a ruleset.

  • There are 2 additional Jokers for a total of 4 Jokers in the deck. Each Joker has both red and black colors as well as all 4 suits.
  • The black cards all feature Lincoln facing to the right, and the black face cards (King, Queen, Jack) feature various Lincoln faces close-up.
  • The red cards all feature Booth and various enemies facing to the left, and the red face cards (King, Queen, Jack) feature various Booth faces close-up.
  • The face cards have a background color that could represent money. King (Gold) Queen (Silver) and Jack (Bronze).
  • The Aces do not have any characters on them.

To get you started, here are the preliminary rules for my game Big Head Mode. I'm still playtesting it, but I wanted to share it with everyone.

PLAYERS - 2 players. (3-4 players using a second deck.)

OBJECT - Out-bluff your opponent to gain powerful items and score big points.

SETUP - Each player chooses a black suit (clubs or spades) and takes the 3 Lincoln Face cards (J, Q, K) and sets each card face up in front of him. These are known as his "Big Heads". Each player then takes the A, 2, 3, 4, and 5 card in his suit and forms his starting hand. The remaining red and black cards are shuffled together and placed into the center of the table. Draw the top 25 cards to form the game deck and place the remaining cards back into the box.

GAMEPLAY - A player flips the top card of the deck. It will either be an enemy (red - provides points at the end of the game) or an item (black - provides power during the game). Players will then bid on this item using a card from their hand. Both players will chose which card they would like to bid with. Ace is the lowest, 5 is the highest. The cards are placed face down and revealed simultaneously.

The high bidder will take the card. If the card is red, he will place the card into his score pile. If the card is black, he will place the card into his discard pile. In the event of a tie, the card is not claimed by anyone and it is removed from the game.

BIG HEAD - After the high bidder of a round is determined, a player may yell out "Big Head Mode" and throw in a big head from his supply of face cards to then become the high bidder. His opponent can yell out "Bigger Head Mode!" and play a bigger head from his supply. This continues until a player does not or cannot play a bigger head card. All used Big Head cards are removed from the game, and the player with the biggest head takes the winnings.

This will repeat until the players run out of cards in hand. Then both players draw 5 new cards. If a player cannot draw a card from his draw pile, he must shuffle his discard pile and create a new draw pile.

BOSSES - Bosses can provide big points! They are red cards with big heads (J, Q, K) of John Wilkes Booth. A boss is defeated as usual but will score differently than the other cards. See below for scoring.

JOKERS - Jokers get in your way. They have both red and black on their cards, so the high bidder will choose to place a Joker into his discard pile or score pile.

If placed into a discard pile a Joker will count as a "0" when bidding.
If placed into a score pile a Joker will count as −5 points.

GAME END - The game ends when the deck runs out and the score is tallied. The winner is the player with the most points. In the event of a tie, it's the winner with the most pairs.

SCORING - Aces through 10's - Each pair is worth the value on the card, but a single card without a pair is worth nothing. Example: A pair of 5's is worth 5 points. A single 9 is worth zero points.

FACE CARDS (J, Q, K) - Each card is worth 10 points, but only if you have a pair or a set of all three in the same suit. Example: A pair of Jacks is worth 20 points (10 points each). A single King is worth 0 points. A set of all three Red Hearts Face Cards is worth 30 points.

3 PLAYERS - choose one red suit, one black suit and two jokers from a second deck. Two of the players will play as the same suit, otherwise the game is played as normal.

4 PLAYERS - Play with 2 full decks. All of the players will share their suit with another player as the same suit, otherwise the game is played as normal.


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    1. Mike Mullins
      on April 16, 2013

      Battle grid formatted strange, dumb cut & paste. A clearer version is on the google doc.

      UXX __ XXX __ XXX __ XXX __
      UXX __ XXX __ XXX __

    2. Mike Mullins
      on April 16, 2013

      Forgot to include a description of Pixel Lincoln: Resurrection when I posted the google doc link.

      Players: 1-2

      Goal: Fight your way past enemies and a determined JWB to face Death himself and be resurrected!

      Separate clubs, spades, red cards, jokers. Also set aside Death and the red J,Q,K, A. Shuffle black cards, and create a 2x3 grid with the cards. The first two on the end should be face-up, the rest face-down. Place a face-up red J next to the grid, this forms Stage 1. Repeat the process for the next 2 stages, but each time use 5 red cards and one random joker, all face down. A face-up red Q and K are the bosses. Shuffle the remaining 2 red cards and joker, and create a path to Death, the final boss.

      UXX _ XXX _ XXX _ XXX _
      UXX XXX XXX U= face up, X = face down, underscores are bosses.

      Each player chooses a black suit, removes the J,Q,K, and shuffles the cards to create the play deck. Place the J next to the battle grid above as your character marker, and draw a 5-card hand. Both players choose and reveal a card; the player with the higher card discards it and goes 1st. On a tie, discard both and choose another card.

      >> Gameplay
      Each turn, a player may take up to three of the following actions
      - Move 1 space on the grid (if you havent been in combat)
      - Reveal a face-down card in the stage you are in
      - Discard any number of cards
      - Refill your hand to your hand limit
      - Engage in combat (with an enemy, boss, or another player)

      Special cards
      - Aces are a modifier, increasing or decreasing the value of a single card played by 1.
      - As an enemy, you must play cards equal to 1 or 11 to put the Joker in your discard pile and move onto its space. Once obtained, a Joker may be played as an action to draw three cards and discard down to your hand limit.

      >> Actions Explained
      - Move in any orthogonal direction onto a new space. You can move into an empty space freely, but you must play a higher value card to move onto a heart, a lower value card to move onto a diamond. Moving onto a face-down card reveals it, and you must play a required card to remain there.
      - Defeat an enemy by playing a card from your hand of equal value, placing the enemy in your discard pile, and moving into the empty space.
      - Battle a boss by playing the required combo from your hand, then moving onto its space.
      J: run of 3, Q: run of 4, K: pair and run of 3
      Once you occupy a boss space, you are considered to be on the next stage and you gain a reward.
      J - place a red Ace in your discard pile
      Q - Level up! Use the Queen as your new character marker; hand limit is now 6
      K - Level up as above, hand limit 7
      - To move onto a space occupied by another player, both players choose and reveal a card. If the attacker is higher, the players switch places on the grid. Aces may be played after the cards are revealed if desired. Defender wins ties.

      >> Final Boss: Death

      To move onto Death's space and have the chance to defeat him, you must first play a run of three or a pair. Once on his space, you may not be challenged by another player.

      Defeating Death requires the use of 6 cards (with the option of the Ace modifier)
      You may play a run of 6 cards, a run of 3, a set of 3, or three suited red cards.
      There is one special attack that can defeat death using only three cards from your hand: a suited run of three red cards. Carefully consider which enemies you run past and which you choose to defeat on your way to face Death!

      formatted rules along with gameplay variants cam be found at…

    3. teachermook on April 15, 2013

      I was hesitent about posting again... but here goes...

      Pixel Lincoln DX
      During the era of the Game Boy, it was a popular thing to take NES and SNES games and "port" them onto the system. This game hints on that idea. It takes the basic idea of the Pixel Lincon deckbuilding game and makes a lite version for the inexperienced and the young.
      PLAYERS: 2 to 4.
      MATERIALS: The deck with all four jokers. Yeah, that's it.
      SETUP: Seperate the decks into a players deck (made up of the black suits and the aces), a boss deck (made of the red face cards), and the level deck (made of the enemies and the jokers). Shuffle each of the three decks well. From the level deck, lay out ten cards face down. Then place the stack of boss cards at the end. Finally, deal each player three cards. Your ready to go.
      THE TURN: On a players turn, they take one of their attacks, a card from their hand, and place it on the first card in the line. They then must say if the card is higher or lower than their attack, then reveal the card. If they are right, they take the card and add it to their score pile. If they are wrong, the card is removed and replaced with another from the level deck. If a character is revealed, the card is taken automatically. The player then draws a new card ajd ends his turn, discarding the attack card he just used.
      When the players reach the boss, they place a card on it and say jack, queen, or king. As before, the card is revealed. If they guess right they take the card, but if they are wrong the card is returned to the bosses, and they are shuffled up. When a boss card is taken the game ends. Players then score their piles.
      SCORING: All non boss cards are worth their face value from two to ten. The boss is worth ten, plus the value of the card used to attack it. (For this, face cards are 10, aces 1, all others their face value). Characters are special. Depending on how many you find, the value increases:
      1 character - 2 points.
      2 characters - 4 points each
      3 characters - 5 points each
      All 4 characters - 25 points!
      Whoever has the highest point total is the winner!
      VARIATION: For a longer game, deal out two rows of seven to the boss pile, and have the requirement that two bosses must be beaten.

    4. Bradley Rose on April 14, 2013

      I didn't end up with a completed design, let alone a playtested one. But I'll post the concept and what I have, anyway!

      Four Score
      A secret-decision-making game

      PLAYERS: 3-4

      OBJECT: Make tactful choices to score the most points by the end of the game

      SETUP: Lay out in a row in any order each Ace card. Set aside the face cards and Joker cards. Separate the Lincoln face cards from Booth face cards and Joker cards. Take X random cards from the rest of the cards to form the player deck. The Y remainder of cards is the "other" deck. Shuffle the Lincoln cards into the X player deck, and shuffle the Booth and Joker cards into the "other" deck. Each player draws four cards from the player deck. Draw face up four cards from the "other" decka nd lay each of them out right above or below each Ace.

      GAMEPLAY: Each player takes simultaneous turns. At the beginning of each turn, each player chooses a card from his or her hand and puts it face down in front of him or her. Choosing a card with a spades suit will correspond to the face-up card that is next to the ace of spades. And so on and so forth with the rest of the aces (they are just suit indicators). If you end up being the only one playing a spades-suited card, you obtain card that corresponds to the ace of spades and add it face down into your score pile in front of you. If there are more than one spade-suited cards played among the players, then the highest value wins out and gets to score the card next to the ace of spades.

      Then all the played cards are put into the player deck's discard pile and each player draws new cards. And each ace missing a card gets a new card drawn from the "other" deck.

      FACE OFF: Each Lincoln face card in the player deck not only can be used to choose certain cards during gameplay, but they can also be used by players who didn't play the highest value card when vying for the same card. The losing players can challenge the winning player and "Face Off" by playing a Lincoln face card that is higher value than the played card. Then the winning player can decide to play a Lincoln face card from his or her hand that either counters this face card (same color) or is of higher value. Face Off repeats until players stop playing cards. The player with the highest value card (countered cards are discarded)

      BOOTH CARDS: These cards are dangerous and appear next to the suits. They require the cooperation of the players. I don't know what it requires, but I would like it if at least two players need to play the same suit of the ace that corresponds to that booth card. Then the booth card is defeated. However, there are no points gained from defeating the booth card. But for each turn the booth card is out, it somehow steals away cards earned by players, one at a time, determined randomly.

      JOKERS: These represent a random value. When chosen by a player, a card is drawn face up to replace it. This is its actual value. (If a new JOker is drawn, it is replaced again.) Joker is discarded.

      GAME END: Play continues until there are no more cards in the "other" deck.

      SCORING: Count and total all the cards in each player's face down score piles. The player with the highest score wins!

      CONCERN: I'm thinking that there is too much complexity when players are trying to make decisions for which card to choose and selecting a card with a suit that matches the ace that corresponds to the card they are trying to pick. It can be confusing when that 10 of Hearts is next to the Ace of Clubs. Players who want that 10 of Hearts need to play a Clubs card, not a Hearts card.

      I couldn't just use the suits of the cards that are laid out themselves because then when a player makes their secret decision with an Diamonds card, and there are two Diamond cards layed out, which one of those cards did the player mean to choose?

    5. Mike Mullins
      on April 4, 2013

      Pixel Lincoln: Resurrection

      A one or two player adventure game where you try to escape the afterlife by defeating death himself!
      Viewable on Google Docs for improved clarity:…

    6. Jason Tagmire
      on March 25, 2013

      Awesome ideas everyone! Thank you all for participating!

    7. Frank Alberts on March 25, 2013

      Pixel Lincoln: Beard V.S. Mustache!
      A fast-paced dueling game.
      Game design by: Frank Alberts.
      (Formatted Rules:

      I don't have a beard. I hate people with beards!
      See that bearded guy over there-who happens to have most of the black cards shuffled up in front of him and five cards drawn-you can't let him get away with sporting that, mustaches are so much freaking cooler.
      His deck has the face-cards separated into a face up pile. He did not seem to care about the order-I guess the kings, queens and jacks do not have a specific difference between them. You go to confront him. Suddenly, a wild Symmetry appears!
      You have all the red cards set up the same way, and have five cards in your hand. You are ready to kick ass, and chew bubble gum but--

      Wait a minute! What exactly are we doing?
      You are trying to K.O. your beard sporting opponent!

      LET'S DO THIS! How do I K.O. My opponent?
      By successfully striking the opponent three times or if they run out of face cards.

      Sounds solid! How do you successfully strike an opponent?
      By playing a card that that has a higher value than the one your opponent played! [e.g. He plays a 5, you play a ten-Boom! Head shot!]

      Does anything happen when I successfully strike an opponent?
      You take one of their face-up face cards! If you collect three, or their stack runs out, you win!

      How do you play a card?
      From your hand that starts with five cards, silly. You place a card face down at the same time as your opponent. Then reveal.

      What if you wanted to improve the value of the card I played so my opponent does not successfully strike me?
      You can play more cards from your hand to reach or exceed the value of the one your opponent played; however, if you exceed the value of your opponent playing cards this way, it's simply a tie.

      What happens if it's a tie.
      Nothing; you move on to the next turn

      Cool. What happens on a new turn?
      You draw one card. Rinse and repeat.

      Wait! So, if I played more than one card last turn, I do not draw back up to five!
      Correct. (e.g. Opponent plays two fives to tie Booth's 10. Opponent ends his turn with three cards; You ends his turn with four cards. Start of turn, both players draw one. Opponent currently has four cards; you currently has five cards.

      If I wanted to draw more than one card on my turn, how would I do that?
      By discarding one of your face-cards! You can not discard your opponent's face-cards-they simply represent the amount of times you have struck them.
      What happens if I try to discard my last face-card?
      You lose! Don't do that.

      Hmm...Are there any other effects that could happen if I discard a face-card?
      Yes! If you discard a joker, you may discard both a face card and a card from your hand. You first draw a card from your deck, then search the top (X) cards of your deck and pick one. The unselected cards then get shuffled back into your deck. (X) is the value of the card you discarded.

      I think I get it. Anything else?
      Nope, just remember-the game ends when someone runs out of face-cards!

      Oh, and it was cool playing the Emperor's New Clothes with you at the Game Salute booth at PAX! Awesome game, awesome players.

    8. Paul Tate on March 25, 2013

      Not playtested:
      Game for 2-4 players
      Dealt 4 cards face down in two rows of 2 cards
      Dealer decides how many cards people can look at (0-4)
      The rest of the deck is placed in the center of the table and the top card turned over.
      Cards have the following values:
      Black Face Cards are 10 points, Red are -10
      Black Number cards have whatever value is printed, Red is Negative
      Aces are 0
      Jokers are automatic 20 points
      Play begins with the player left of the dealer
      Person chooses to either take the top discard or draw a card
      Player can then replace one of the 4 cards they have, or just discard it.
      If the player takes the top discard then whatever card they replace must remain face up. If the player takes one from the top of the face down deck, then they can keep that card hidden from other players, only if the card they replace was face down.
      Let the fight begin.
      Left two cards are the good side
      Right two cards are the evil side.
      Your goal is to get the highest score possible.
      When you think you have the highest score possible you will knock and every other player will get one more turn.
      Scores are calculated in the following way.
      You take the top row and combine the scores and you do the same for the bottom row and then tally those two scores.
      If the left card is black and the right is red then subtract the red from the black.
      If both are black then your game is boring and you get 0 for that row.
      If both are red, then you add the two red together and you get that negative score. (It doesn't pay to be evil)
      If a joker is there then you get 20 points, however if you have 2 then you get 50.
      if you have all 4 then you get 300 points
      If all 4 of your cards are the same then you get 100.
      If all 4 of your cards are the same and you have them with 2 black on the left and two red on the right, then you get 200 points.
      If any of your cards are face cards, then add points to your score in the following manner: Gold=10, Silver = 8, Bronze=5.
      After calculating scores, if the player who knocked does have have the highest score then their score is 0 for the round.
      First player to 500 wins.

    9. teachermook on March 22, 2013

      Damn my typing is lousy... but hopefully you get the basic idea. Here is a sample round:

      I turn over a card: its a 3 of clubs. That is pretty low so I will go again.
      My next turn: ten of spades. 13. I go again.
      My flip..... a jack of spades! Score doubles to 26! I stop.
      Just for fun I flip one more to see what would happen... and it is a five of diamonds. I would have gotten nothing for the round if I kept going!

    10. teachermook on March 21, 2013

      Admittedly my games are more like microgames which can be played quickly, but I got two done so far. Ill most my first one tonight. I playtested this a lot the past couple of days with a couple of my regular decks, and found this really works quite well. So, here it is!

      Lincoln Luck
      "Half of everything is luck James."
      "And the other half?"
      Lincoln Luck is a press your luck game in the style of dice games and card games like 21. It is a quick game that can have any number of players and needs only the special Pixel Lincoln playing cards.
      PLAYERS: 2 to 5 is best.
      WHAT YOU NEED: The card deck, and a way of keeping score.
      HOW TO PLAY: The cards are shuffled then spread out on the playing area. On a players turn, he picks a card and reveals it. If it is an enemy, his turn is over. But if it is a Lincoln card, he can choose to take the score (with face cards worth ten if the first card revealed) or press his luck. At this point, the cards mean different things. A numbered Pixel Lincoln is worth face value. A face card Pixel doubles the current round score. A red enemy card makes the turn value zero, and a boss card resets the players score go zero. When an enemy is drawn or when the player passes, the turn ends. When every player has had a turn, all cards are reshuffled.
      ENDGAME: The game ends when either a set score (usually 200) is reached, or if one of the four jokers is drawn. Players then total their score, and the highest score wins!
      FINAL NOTE: if a joker is drawn on anyones first turn, it does not count as the endgame. Instead, it is reshuffled and a new card drawn.

    11. Jason Tagmire
      on March 20, 2013

      @Kevin thanks for the submission! So awesome. I'll contact you via email with any questions.

    12. Missing avatar

      on March 20, 2013

      A couple of quick corrections:
      Under Gameplay- “until all hands are depleted which ends the battle*”
      Under Special Rules- “each round counts as a bout towards their bet*”

    13. Missing avatar

      on March 20, 2013

      I haven't had a chance to play test this at all (I literally just thought it up..) but I'm glad to listen to crticism on anything I may have missed/messed up on (I encourage it actually). But for the sake of keeping these comments relatively entry focused please inbox me any such ideas. Thanks.

    14. Missing avatar

      on March 20, 2013

      Log Arena
      Players: 4 (2 teams of 2)
      The deck is split into two decks, the red suits and the black suites, with one joker in each. Each Bout the decks are shuffled and dealt by the team using it but cut (before dealing, obviously) by the opposing team. Each deck is dealt entirely between team members each battle.
      Objective: This is a bout (book) betting/taking based game with scoring and many mechanics the same as Spades (and a little bit of War thrown in there). The goal is to be the first team to accumulate a pre-determined number of points (250, 300, 500.. whatever you want)
      Points are taken during a serious of battles that are broken down into bouts.
      The first battle is bet free but every subsequent battle the teams must bet how many bouts they’ll win. Play proceeds in turns that alternate between teams in a circle. Each player fields (plays) their card facing the opponent’s card (like facing off in an arena). This is called a bout. Each teams cards fielded are totaled and the high strength wins:
      A. 3&10 = 13 vs B. 7&7 = 14 (B wins the bout)

      Whoever fields the last card for the winning team leads the next Battle. This is repeated until all players hands are depleted which ends the Bout. Scoring is then conducted. A new battle is dealt and the teams then place bets on this battle. And so forth until a team earns the predetermined points. If both teams cross this threshold at in the same battle the team that accrued the most points is the winner.
      The first battle there is no betting so each bout is worth 10 points.
      Bouts after this are bet on, meaning each team declares how many bouts they will take that battle.
      If each team gets what they bet then they get 10 points for each bout they took.
      If a team gets more bouts than they declared then they get a wound (bag) for each extra bout taken (tracked as a single point).
      If a team doesn’t win their bet then they are considered set and they lose the amount of the bet times ten.
      Here is an summary of 4 example battles to illustrate these mechanics

      1st Battle
      A takes 4 & B takes 9
      A = 40 B = 90
      2nd Battle
      A bets 5 & B bets 8
      A takes 5 & B takes 8
      A= 90 B = 170
      3rd Battle
      A bets 6 & B bets 6
      A takes 6 & B takes 7
      A = 150 B = 241
      4th Battle
      A bets 7 & B bets 6
      A takes 9 & B takes 4
      A = 222 & B = 181
      Special Rules:
      • Face cards are valued as: J = 12, Q = 14, K = 16, A = 18
      • In the case of a tie the bout goes into Round 2 which means each team fields another set of card, starting with whoever led the first round of the bout (this continues until there is a winner; each round counts as a book).
      • Wounds are a penalty to encourage/emphasize the importance of accurate betting. Players can agree upon (or house rules can dictate) the details of this penalty but some examples would 5 bags = -50 points or 5 bags = -100 points
      The Joker is the Champion:
      It is played one of two ways. Each battle each team will have one player with an extra card. If that player (with a larger hand) is holding the Champion he plays it at the end of any bout to add a bonus of 20 points to his team’s strength for that bout. If the Champion is held by the team member with one fewer cards then he plays it as if he were fielding a card and his teammate would play another card which would get a +20 bonus.