Paperback

paperbackPaperback is a neat little game based heavily on Dominion, so of course, I like it.  But, oddly, I like it for rather different reasons than I do Dominion; I like it in large part because it’s an entry-level game.  I can play it with friends who I normally wouldn’t play board games, in the hope that that might change.  Like Ticket to Ride before it, it’s an excellent gateway game.  People can play it who are used to playing Scrabble on Facebook, and they can enjoy it for the word-game aspects, whilst I enjoy the deckbuilding aspects, and hopefully, they learn a bit about them as well.  Plus, I actually quite like word games anyway.

So, the meat of the thing:

Size and price. The game is small enough to be chucked in a backpack and brought out at need, though it’s a little large for that compared with say, Hanabi or Love Letter.  It takes a bit more room to play, but that’s not usually a problem for me.  It was also cheap enough to be an impulse purchase, and one I was glad I made.

Speed.  It’s a word game, so it could go a bit slow if people aren’t creative/vocabulacious, or the luck of the draw happens to be against you, but mostly it’s a lot quicker than, say, Scrabble.

Quality.  I got both the first Kickstarter printing (then donated it to the Hackspace), and the later retail printing, and aside from some cosmetic damage to the box on the first, and a couple of errata being needed on it too, they were both excellent.  Solid box construction, nice, weighty cards, some nice cubey cubes, well-printed and well-written rules and, well, some space for expansions, I guess.  There’s not a whole lot to the game, but what there is, is good.

Balance.  It feels like a game that’s been well playtested and is mostly well balanced, though there are some issues in places.  The kickstarter bonus Common tiles feel a bit off, in particular the space bar one, to the point where I’ve stopped using it, because it just makes the person who gets it SO much better.  And the (kickstarter bonus) special power tiles are similarly a bit off-balance.  So I guess the lesson here is that kickstarter bonus stuff in a game like this is often less carefully playtested and less well-balanced.  And that’s borne out in a lot of games.  Meh, it plays well just fine without the bonuses.

Errata.  The errata were only minor, but they were kind of irritating nonetheless.

That about covers it really.  A short, sweet review for a short, good game.  It’s of less value for my gaming group, we don’t play it much and tend to go for crunchier mechanical stuff over word games, so in that context not more than a 6 or 7, but it gets 9 out of 10 for me personally, as a gateway game my wife is willing to play!

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