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 30 January 2018

Slice, but no Dice:- Papà Paolo

Game: Papà Paolo

Publisher: Quined Games

Designer: Fabrice Vandenbogaerde

Year: 2016

Papà Paolo is a 2-4 player tile laying and delivery game in which you compete to be the best pizza delivery company in Naples. You'll have to fight the other pizza companies for the best delivery routes over the best districts of Naples. Making sure that you have made enough pizza to deliver, but then bidding to get the best pizza delivery boys to take the pizzas to your valued customers. As you begin to succeed in business you will gain experience in the different aspects of pizza delivery, allowing you to be more efficient.

Papà Paolo is a 5-round game, each round consists of a phase where you select new tiles to add to your district/actions to perform, followed by a bidding phase to determine which delivery boy you hire, and finally using that delivery boy to bring pizzas to happy customers. During the first phase a 3x3 or 4x4 grid of tiles, depending on player count, are laid out on the board. Players then take turns to place one of their 4 workers onto this grid to either claim the tile or use an action. If you claim the tile then you can add it to your growing city, tiles have road networks which must not be cut off as you build, they also have a number of coloured houses, each coloured house can accept one pizza over the course of the game, while the colour dictates what skill you improve once you finish the tile.

Papà Paolo set up for a 2 player game, each player creates their own district by claiming tiles from the board.

Alternatively you can use an action, each row and column is associated with one of the 4 actions, so every time you place a worker you will get a choice of 2, or 1 on occasion, actions to perform. Actions are either gaining some money, making some pizza by paying money for ingredients, using your plane to deliver some pizza at any range, or building a brand new pizzeria, increasing the number of pizza you can hold. Most of these actions can be improved over time as you gain experience.

Once all 4 of your workers have been placed you begin the bidding round, there are a number of delivery boys to hire depending on the number of players. You take turns bidding until a winner is decided, that winner chooses a delivery boy to hire and then takes a bonus tile, allowing them to upgrade one of their abilities, or instantly perform the related action. The delivery boys each have a limit to the range they can reach from a pizzeria, and the number of pizzas they carry, since delivered pizzas are the main source of points in Papà Paolo it's important to try and get the best delivery boys every round, but you also need to ensure you have enough pizzas, and houses in range to utilize them.

Papà Paolo's bidding system is probably the best 2-player auction I've tried. While you know how many coins your opponent has bid, each coin could be a 1,2 or 3, making bids hard to predict past 2 coins.

Papà Paolo is a game which does a lot of things, and it does them all well, but it doesn't do anything brilliantly. The tile laying is acceptable, but since everyone has their own district there is no player interaction with it, and the tiles aren't so complicated that which tile to get is a difficult choice. The experience tracker is meaningful, but as there are end game points based on your lowest ability you naturally end up being a jack of all trades rather than a master of one, which takes away from some of the strategic options. The bidding is a little confusing, but actually for the 2-player variant is a great bidding system, you bid a number of coins one at a time and pass when you are done, but the value of those coins remains unknown, giving you a good chance to bluff with a couple of ones, while your opponent overbids.

It's fair to say that Papà Paolo was a bit of a disappointment for us, it combines so many of our favourite gameplay elements into one game, so my hopes were pretty high. While Papà Paolo is a good game, it didn't live up to my expectations. I have enjoyed every game, and will happily play it more, but I am left thinking that it could have been better. Still if you like delivering pizza, or simply like applying over a hundred stickers to all the little wooden pizza boxes, then Papà Paolo is the game for you!


Papà Paolo was a review copy provided by Asmodee UK. It is available for an RRP of 44.99 at your friendly local game store or can be picked up at http://www.365games.co.uk/.

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