Monopoly, Risk, Chess. These are all games that the majority of the population thinks of when you say “board games”. They are classics that have stood the test of time. But in all honesty, there are a bunch of games out there that are much more engaging and fun that most people don’t know about.
In this series, I will be discussing replacements for these classic games and why you should choose them over the classic stalwart. Today’s game is…
Credit: Balwyn Community Centre
Scrabble is the classic word building game where the right letters can bring you a goldmine of points and the wrong letters can make you freeze up as you try to think of any possible combination that you can make with a boatload of vowels and a Z. Not so in Paperback.
Credit: Board Game Geek
Paperback is a combination of a word game and a deck-building game, meaning that with the points you score when you create a word, you get to buy the letters you want from the ones available. No more being stuck with a Q and having no U. As well, these cards you buy have special abilities ranging from the familiar “Double Letter Score” from Scrabble to things like gaining an extra 3 cards to use in your next hand. These abilities activate once your word has been built. There are also wilds in this game that work similar to the blank tiles of Scrabble where they can represent any letter but score no points.
The object of Paperback is to gain the most amount of fame, acquired by buying fame cards which can be used as wilds, or by obtaining a card from the community pile by using it in a word of a certain length. What I like most about Paperback is that while it does encourage interesting word play, it is not necessarily the person who can create the longest or most obscure words who will win. With the abilities on the cards, even words as simple as “C-A-T” could secure you the victory.
Paperback adds a nice level of strategy but does so in a way that it is still family friendly. Working from your own deck that you build also eliminates the worries of having bad letters. I have never not been able to make a word. Paperback is a self-published game as well, therefore, by buying it, you are supporting an independent creator, instead of a huge conglomerate like Hasbro. Overall, I think Paperback beats out Scrabble on many fronts and is an excellent choice for those who love word games.
Paperback is rated for ages 8+, plays in about 45 minutes, and can be played with 2-5 players. The designer is Tim Fowers. The game can be purchased here. As well, there is an app available for Apple and Android devices, as well as on Steam.
Until next time, remember to play fair and have fun!