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Deckbuilding game Paperback Adventures is like Slay the Spire, but with spelling

Explore worlds using words.

Travel into dangerous lands with multiple playable characters in Paperback Adventures, a deckbuilding board game with roguelike elements.

A solo board game in the Paperback series, Paperback Adventures has players becoming different protagonists who embark on various expeditions into settings inspired by classic pulp novels. In the game, depending on which character boxes they have, players can choose between either Damsel - a sneaky and aggressive swordswoman who deals in poison and critical hits - or Ex Machina, who is a sentient robot who can heal themselves and inflict damage with their laser. There will also be a third character box whose identity will be revealed on the game’s Kickstarter campaign page on May 25th.

During the game, players will control their protagonist as they face a gauntlet of enemies. In a similar fashion to the video game Slay the Spire - which is seeing its own tabletop adaptation hit Kickstarter later this year - Paperback Adventures challenges players to defeat these increasingly difficult waves of enemies on the same health total, with the opportunity to power their protagonist up using randomised drops from vanquished enemies. Should players be overwhelmed by the enemies they encounter, then they will have to start from the beginning with the knowledge they’ve acquired from their journey.

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Defeating enemies in Paperback Adventures requires players to use their letter cards to spell words in order to deal damage, as well as block any incoming damage or acquire additional mana to unlock the use of the protagonist’s items. Whenever the player wants to spell a word with their cards, they’ll have to splay the selected cards either left or right, with the letters showing making up the completed word. Whichever ability that’s shown on the card on top of the stack is activated, with the combined symbols displayed on the corners of all the cards making up the damage dealt, blocked or mana gained.

Certain abilities - both for the protagonist and the enemies - will result in hex or boon tokens being dealt out to the relevant parties. Whilst boon tokens will provide benefits to the character they’re on, hex tokens will cause negative effects such as limiting the player’s card draw or accelerating damage. Should the player manage to make it through the deckbuilding game’s three books - each with its own boss - then they win. However, if the player ever wants to stop part way through, then Paperback Adventures has a save function that will retain the player’s current deck, items and rewards for the next session.

Paperback Adventures was co-created by Tim Fowers - the designer behind the original Paperback and the co-op stealth board game Burgle Bros - and Skye Larsen, with Paperback Adventures being their debut tabletop release.

Paperback Adventures cards

The publisher behind Paperback Adventures is Fowers Games, a studio founded by Tim Fowers and the company responsible for releasing several of Fowers’ previous titles such as the aforementioned Burgle Bros and its sequel, Burgle Bros 2: The Casino Capers.

The Kickstarter campaign for Paperback Adventures is live until June 8th, with a pledge of $35 (£25) getting backers a copy of the core game and a character box of their choice, that’s set to be released in February 2022.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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