Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Tuesday 12 April 2016

Pay-Per-Word writing:- Paperback

Game: Paperback

Manufacturer: Tim Fowers

Designer: Tim Fowers


Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer

Paperback is a 2-5 player deck building game in which you play as an aspiring author, by creating words with your cards you get paid, just like a real writer! Essentially it feels like a deck building Scrabble, though without the grid to play on and with a sense of progression. 

During your turn you get a hand of 5 cards with which to make words, at the start of the game you’ll have a few common consonants and a few wildcards which can be any letter, but are worth no money when you play them. Fixed letter cards are worth money which can be used to buy new letters which in turn will be worth more money or will have special powers on them. The special powers seem to be well balanced with easy to use letter having relatively weak powers such as drawing an extra card, while harder to use letters might double the value of adjacent cards or let you discard some of your less useful letters.

The game set up ready to play, some cards have 2 letters on them helping you make the number counts for the common letters.
With the money you can make you can buy more letters, with more difficult to use letters tending to cost more, but you can also buy books, or publish them I suppose. Books are wild cards, just like your starting 5, but are worth far more victory points, of course they also have the problem of being worth no money when you play them, so it’s important not to write too many books without enough letters to support yourself.

The other way to get victory points is to earn the common letters. The common letters are available for anyone to use within their words and tend to be vowels (though they also include a spacebar and the ability to change the order of double letter cards). If you make a long enough word (starting with 7 letters) then you can gain the common card for your deck and reveal the next common letter which requires 8 letters in a word and so on. The game ends when either 2 piles of books have been published or all of the common letters have been earned.

The powers, awards and theme cards add a bit of variety and goals to aim for to the game, the attack cards add more player interaction.
Paperback does suffer from the scrabble problem of players taking an age to work out their word, of course like scrabble this is somewhat alleviated in larger player games as you have the time that other people are playing to think about your word. Of course if someone takes a common letter your were betting on then all bets are off! I would say that it’s an improvement to the word building genre, allowing you to pick your own letters means that it’s no-ones fault but yours if you pick up a Q, though if you do and can use it you’ll get some nice money and abilities. The art is nice with the games imaginary author Mary-Sue-ing herself on every book cover which is a nice touch. I don’t think there is quite enough player interaction, though as of yet we haven’t used the optional attack cards so that’s our fault as much as anything.


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