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iPad Game Review: Paperback For iOS Review
      #49751 - 12/01/16 06:38 PM

Paperback, by Fowers Games, is one of a growing list of physical board games that are making their way onto iOS. The great thing about this particular trend is that their gameplay has already been battle-tested so if the developer can get the interface right, they stand a pretty good chance of at least a modest hit (assuming that the physical version was any good to start with). That is, of course, if the game doesn't get lost within the quagmire that is the App Store. At the time of this writing, Paperback appears to be doing pretty well on the charts, but if you're a bit late to the party and can't find it on Apple's front page (mobile gamers are a fickle lot), I strongly urge you to search for it; you'll be glad you did.

The game's basic mechanic will feel pretty familiar; use the letter cards you're dealt each turn to construct the best word you can. Although there is no tutorial, there is a quick "how to play" slideshow available from the home screen. Here it is in a nutshell: Making words will yield points (upper right corner of each card). These points can be used to purchase cards to add to your deck for future use. The purchase cost of each can be found on the lower left corner. Some cards will also have fame points, the total of which decides the winner. However, the game doesn't end until at least two stacks of the Novel Cards (hint: they look like paperback books) are depleted. These can be purchased each turn with points, but they are quite expensive so you will need to make a word worth a lot of points so they don't go very fast (points are not carried-over). These Novel Cards also act as wild cards, and have significant point and fame values. Once cards are added to your deck, they are there for the duration of the current game. Fortunately, you will receive some helpful reminders as you play to get you pointed in the right direction, and the easy AI is pretty darn easy. Paperback offers both single and multiplayer modes, however, multiplayer is limited to same device pass-and-play.

Fowers Games describes Paperback as a word-building and a deck-building game, and I'd have to agree. The thing to remember here is that each game is self-contained so unlike many deck-builders, any cards you earn in the course of play will not be available for future matches unless you purchase them again. To be clear, all purchases are done with currency earned in-game. Paperback has no microtransactions of any kind.

If you enjoy word-building games, I strongly recommend Paperback. Not only is the basic word-building mechanic as familiar as an old sweater, it feels perfectly suited to the mobile platform.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: - 3 - The visuals perfectly capture the minimal style of the physical board game.
Sound: - 3 - The music is appropriately unassuming for a game that requires concentration, and the sound effects won't distract you either.
Controls: - 5 - A great interface brings this game to life on the touchscreen.
Gameplay: - 4 - Word game aficionados should grab this game without a second thought. If you aren't in that group, it's still worth a look as the multiplayer aspect may bring it to life for you.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Wild cards can make word-building easy, but remember: they score no points unless they are one of the purchased "Novel Cards." Pay attention to what you feel you are missing from your deck as you play. Purchasing new cards blindly is not a path to victory. Read the special abilities of some cards, and use them appropriately. If you're behind, try to select Novel Cards from fuller stacks to avoid ending the game before you have a chance to catch up.

App Facts:

Developer: Fowers Games
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Price: $3.99 with no in-app purchases
Buy App: Paperback

Reviewed by Tom Slayton


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