Friday, 16 June 2017

Sticks and Stones . . .

Thursday... the poor man's Tuesday. Or maybe it's the millionaire's Tuesday... I don't know. In any case, Sam and I met at his for a little bit of head-to-head gaming, and I came armed with some favourite two-player stuff, new and old.

Despite Sam's plan to inculcate me in the ways of Feast for Odin, he graciously agreed to have a crack at Paperback - the marvellous game of words and deck-building.

Paperback's roots are very obviously in Dominion, from the starting hand, the points cards (in this case not entirely useless, as they function as wild letters, but offer no cash for purchases) and market of more powerful cards available for purchase. But to these it adds the endlessly engaging challenge of creating a word, and in doing so soars far and away above its inspiration, in my opinion.

Sam here: I managed one photo of the game half-set up

An optional rule is that if your opponent is stuck for a word, you can offer help for a small reward, though the benefit to your rival is probably much greater. The fact that this is almost impossible to resist is testament to the huge attraction of word games to those who like them. You get to play the game on your opponent's turn too! Sam offered to help me with my N Y P D (ha!), plus four wilds - and did so with spectacular ease. It might just have won me the game. (I'll put the word in the comments later, so you can all have a chew on it in the meantime).

We moved on... to Manoeuvre! An all-time favourite of mine, and a game that never fails to impress me with how easy it is to remember the rules, even when you haven't played for over a year. We chose the classic armies of France vs GB, and were off and running in no time.

The early stages of the game are cagey, with very quick turns as both players manoeuvre their troops into good spots, whilst trying to form a coherent hand of five cards. I was trying for a powerful assault from the start, while Sam pecked away with a few bombardments and skirmish assaults. Both strategies are viable, because although the latter won't necessarily do lasting damage to your opponent, it does ensure you to get a stream of fresh cards, until hopefully you've assembled something nearing a plan.

Running for the hills is a good idea

I love the elegant combat system, and the choice of whether to retreat (or force a retreat) rather than take damage. A well-timed retreat might force the attacker to advance in your wake, leaving them surrounded just in time for your turn - though if you try this against cavalry they might just do for you with a lucky pursuit roll or two.

It was a pretty even-handed game, and the sunset was nearly upon us with four kills each. In what would have been my last turn before a nightfall victory was assessed, I got very lucky and drew two cards for my 1st Foot Guards from a freshly shuffled deck, allowing me to lay waste to Sam's hobbled Guard Cavalry. Oh what a lovely game! And evening. Thanks Sam!


  1. sYNaPseD is the best that I could do....

  2. Sorry I couldn't make it, but if I had, you wouldn't have been able to play those games.

    Paperback sounds like fun, but I'm sure I'd be sorely beaten most of the time. I got as far as "pondy" for the word. As in "the lake looks very pondy this evening" but Chris is probably closer.

  3. That's not it, but just as good! You'd kill at this game Chris

  4. Replies
    1. In fact the U was visible I think