Paperback Review

Posted February 16, 2015 by Crystal Pisano in Nerdy Bits

Designer: Tim Fowers

Artist: Ryan Goldsberry

Publisher: Self-Published

Number of Players: 2-5

Duration: 45 mins

“You are a paperback author trying to finish novels for your editor.” This description of the goal in Paperback may sound a little intimidating and somewhat vague, but there is a lot of fun to be had in this small box.


This Dominion-meets-Scrabble card game tasks each player with building their own deck of cards with letters on them, using those letters to spell words of increasing length, and earning victory points. Your deck starts with the most commonly used consonants of the alphabet along with a number of wild cards.



On each turn, you draw five cards from your deck, use those cards to spell the best word you can, then use the points earned from that word to buy additional cards to add to your deck. In addition to the cards in your deck, all players have a single “common card” they can utilize when spelling out their words. The common card changes throughout the game as players are able to play longer words.

Certain letter cards have special abilities that will help you build your deck more quickly or allow you to play more intricate words on future turns. Some cards look like the cover of a novel and have victory point values assigned to them. The higher the victory point value, the more expensive the card is to add to your deck. The player with the most victory points in their deck at the end of the game wins.


Technically not a legal play in the game


There are also a number of optional cards that can you can utilize to add flavor and variety to the game. These include attack cards, which let you penalize your opponents; theme cards that will give specific words to play to earn extra points; power cards that give special abilities; and award cards that will give out bonus points at the end of the game. There is also a set of rules to play the game cooperatively if your group of friends is feeling especially friendly and small wooden cubes that can alter the game by allowing players to help each other or buy cards at a reduced cost.


The box looks like books. Ha.

 Final Thoughts

I know that the phrase “word game” is off-putting to a lot of people, including some hardcore gamers. I can honestly say that no one I’ve played this game with has disliked it and most of them plan on adding it to their game collection ASAP. Even if you typically aren’t a fan of word games, give this game a shot and I’d guess you’ll discover that Paperback is really enjoyable to play. Unlike a lot of tabletop games, it works incredibly well with it’s entire range of suggested players. To find a game that plays as well with two players as with five is certainly a treat. It is a must-have if you love deck builders, word games or want to introduce your Words With Friends-addicted buddies to the world of board gaming.

About the Author

Crystal Pisano