Okay Granddad, put Scrabble back in the cupboard, it’s time to learn a real word game! In paperback you begin the game with a deck of five letters R, S, L, N. T and five wild cards. On your turn you draw five cards and then must spell a word using your letters and a common shared vowel on the table.
You then score points for your word and can use those points to buy cards from the middle which go into your deck allowing you to spell different words and give you special abilities. As the game progresses you can use your word score to buy more letter cards or to buy victory point cards (which still count as wilds). When two of the four stacks of Victory Point cards run out the game ends and the player with the most VPs wins.
The beauty of Paperback is that you don’t have to be good with words necessarily to win. Yes, often, longer words score more points, but using the special abilities on cards to your advantage can mean playing simple words can still score high. There is no rule about playing the same word as someone else or playing the same word multiple times in a row.
Because the game uses the deck building mechanic you can sometimes be at the mercy of your cards. If you only draw consonants then it can be pretty hard to play a word but most of the time you will find you have a wild to help out and there is usually a common vowel on the table that any player can use.
Paperback is one of my favourite short games, packing a lot of meat into a very small package and play time. It allows for creativity as you build your words, but it also allows for tactical game play in the way you build your deck. As each hand is different and the letters change from game to game I find that the words you build will also change preventing the game from becoming stale and obviously also expanding your vocabulary at the same time.
If you can find a copy, Paperback is definitely one I recommend picking up.