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Why You Should Play: Paperback

To tell you the truth, I’m not very good at Scrabble. I don’t know every little word you can make up with three-tile combinations or even have the luck to pull them out. Word games like this make me anxious as I run through my lexicon just to find the right word.

Paperback, on the other hand, let’s you work up to those meaty words with special powers and wild cards for just enough wiggle room to keep you moving. Imagine Dominion-style deck building with the word forming twist. You feel smart. You feel empowered. And better yet, you don’t feel like you need to dive for the dictionary every time someone comes up with a word. If you want, you can even help them come up with a better word.

You’ll set up stacks of cards like you see here with letter cards of similar value with the top card of the stack face up and one in front. Paperback covers are at the top and a community pool of cards will be off to the side.

Each player gets R, L, N, S, T along with wild cards that can stand for anything. Put it together. Shuffle them up. Dole out five cards and on your turn you have to use the cards in your hand and community pile to make a word. Now, you don’t need to use all the cards in your hand, but the more you use, the more money you get from the letters you use.

Money you earn can be used to buy one card from the offer. You can buy either the single card in front of the stack or the top card. Some cards have abilities to give you more money or even give you more cards. Creating a word with multiple cards like this can trigger off multiple abilities at a time. Buy out two stacks of the paperback cards and the game is over.

There are a lot of optional rules you can play with such as if you don’t buy the front card in the stack, it becomes one cent cheaper. If you are stuck with a bad hand, you can put a bounty on your hand and other players can figure out the best word for your hand. You get the coins, but the person who helps you gets a cube to make any card cheaper. There are theme cards for extra points. Power cards for money.

This is a game where you start off easy with lots of wilds cards in your hand and build up to some rather impressive feats. We’re not just talking about words but powers sparking off every letter you dole out. There’s a reason behind creating big beautiful words rather than tiny ones. If you ever found yourself intimated by Scrabble, Paperback is the kind of game you can find yourself playing through cover to cover.

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