SESSION REVIEW: Paperback App from Tim Fowers

SESSION REVIEW: Paperback App from Tim Fowers

Paperback, the smash-hit game from designer Tim Fowers (of Burgle Brothers and Wok Star fame), has come to mobile devices and I couldn’t be more delighted. Thematically, Paperback has players trying to finish a pulpy paperback novel by constructing words throughout the game, which is pleasantly brought to life with the amusing artwork and quick game play.

Paperback the original board game is typically described as the baby of Scrabble and Dominion, which is apt. Players get to make words from a hand of letter cards drawn each turn in deck-builder style. Each letter has a value and whatever you construct for the turn gives you money to buy new (often better, higher value) letters, some of which have special powers. You can also buy victory point cards if you have enough money. Despite being the key to winning, they clog up your deck with wild cards that have no buying power. There are also special powers on certain letter cards that do cool things like double word scores, draw extra cards and other nice things. There’s a way to get points for longer words, too. It’s a load of fun for wordsmiths and casual players alike.

You want a detailed description of play? This guy wrote it out (although he added an ‘l’ to Tim’s surname, which I expect isn’t uncommon). You can also watch this video. You didn’t think I was going to explain it rule-by-rule did you? Come on. Where are you?

What I Love About The Paperback App

I need to disclose something. I’m a recovering iOS deckbuilding addict. I’ve played SO many games of Ascension and Dominion on my iPhone that even my careful documentation of plays ceased to have Paperbackmeaning. The quick play of these games against a single AI player is almost too compelling. Playing them swallowed all my little bits of time on my device and I finally had to stop so I could read books and get back to completing mini-workflows in those odd moments. But Paperback has me back off the wagon and loving it.

Normal Paperback as a board game has the same challenge that word nerds face when trying to find opponents for Scrabble. Simply put, if you have an excellent vocabulary, you just have a natural advantage. Like being tall in basketball, it isn’t everything but it sure helps.

While modern players have Qwirkle as a good alternative that levels the playing field with color/shape combos instead, those of us who just love words still yearn for the opportunity to build them from a jumble of letters. With the Paperback app, I can indulge this passion with the AI player when no one else is available. Furthermore, the game has helpful setting options to allow players to adjust the length of their games. I’ve often opined that some mobile app games are simply too long because I have other things to do (the opposite of how I feel when I’m at a table with excellent people). I welcome Paperback giving the player control over the length of their experience.

Furthermore, Paperback rides on the Loom Game Engine and it works really well. Animation and game speed are all excellent. Fowers isn’t just a brilliant board game designer – he has a background in technology so I’d expect nothing different from his apps.

What I Didn’t Like

A prompt update eliminated one of my pet peeves – confirmation windows – ugh! Just because that was considered good coding in CS classes, it’s a nightmare by modern UX standards…okay, rant over. However, Paperback still makes me listen to its theme music instead of letting me bring in my own playlist. As a passionate music-lover who carefully curates what goes into my ears, this is a problem. The theme music is pleasant and appropriate but it isn’t going to make me not want Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star to serenade me while I play my word nerd games. That sultry voice just gets the little gray cells going. Full rules are now available, too – not just a video link. Some of us still read, including those who want a Paperback app! I feel sure Tim is addressing those issues in future releases.

The Final Word on Paperback for iOS

Paperback is a well-implemented version of a game that is ideally suited for the mobile device play. I love it and certainly recommend you give is a download. I’m sure it is available for Android somewhere, wherever those things happen.


Boardgame Babylon Rating for Paperback for iOS

BIN (Buy It Now) PIN (P)lay It Now TIF (Try It First) NMT (Not My Thing)

Disclosure: An app code was provided for review by the publisher.

PRESS RELEASE: Excalibre Games Launches Mythic Wars on Kickstarter

PRESS RELEASE: Excalibre Games Launches Mythic Wars on Kickstarter

Unique tabletop card and dice game depicts battles between the gods

Charlotte, NC, October 18, 2016 – Excalibre Games, long-time publisher of high quality historical board games, is pleased to announce the launch of their first fantasy Mythic Warscard game, Mythic Wars, on the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform.

Mythic Wars is a new tabletop game series designed by Eric Woodward, where up to 8 players can join in a battle between the gods for control of the universe itself. The first title in the series, “Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods”, features 72 gods and goddesses from among 6 different pantheons, including such legendary figures as Zeus, Osiris, Amaterasu, and Thor, and is recommended for 2-8 players, aged 14 and up.

Plus, as a special bonus during the campaign, Excalibre Games will also be offering the first expansion set in the series, “Mythic Wars: Cthulhu Rises”, which adds 16 new cards based on the writings of HP Lovecraft. When combined with the Clash of the Gods base set, the expansion allows up to 8 players to join in a co-operative battle against such classic horror icons as Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and Cthulhu himself.

“Mythic Wars will offer players a superb, action-packed, and playable game,” said Robert Mosimann, head of Excalibre Games, “while maintaining Excalibre Games high standards of quality, depth of play, and well-researched authenticity. It’s a new and major change of direction for us which will help bring us into the 21st Century.”

“Mythic Wars: Clash of the Gods” & “Cthulhu Rises” are on Kickstarter now at:


Excalibre Games has been in business since 1975, and has produced a number of award wining games including 2 GAMA Best Games of the Year (Ironclads and Wings), a Games Magazine Top 100 Pick (Trax) and a Fire and Movement 5 Star Game (Kaiserschlacht). The underlying philosophy for Excalibre Games has always been to maintain authenticity in the products they produce, an athenticity that this extends to this, their first foray into fantasy card gaming.


Eric Woodward is a software and web designer who lives outside Charlotte, NC with his wife and two children. He is an avid gamer and hobby game designer, and Mythic Wars is his first published game.

For more information, contact: Eric Woodward (

PRESS RELEASE: American Dynasty: A Grassroots Board Game Takes a Jaundiced View of Our National Politics

PRESS RELEASE: American Dynasty: A Grassroots Board Game Takes a Jaundiced View of Our National Politics

“Oh, the board game. I DO remember . . . ” —Chelsea Clinton, second time meeting a member of the American Dynasty team

AUSTIN, October 11, 2016 – After being forced to suspend a promising Kickstarter campaign earlier this year due to the threat of legal action, New Tectonics brings American Dynasty—the unsparingly irreverent board game about American Politics—back to Kickstarter. American Dynasty is a darkly satirical game of player negotiation and politicking at its most dastardly.

Assuming the mantle of either the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes, or Clintons, players campaign their (in)famous family members in 5 key swing states as they vie to build the strongest legacy (through victory points) using every available opportunity to manipulate demographics, get family members elected to congress, pass bills, win the presidency, and completely dominate the nation. Over the course of the game, players may witness everything from Hillary Clinton passing an abortion ban, to the strategic waterboarding of Eleanor Roosevelt.

While many engine-building games see players spend the early game building their own momentum to make big late game plays, American Dynasty has a unique twist: players are all trying to manipulate the same system in their favor, providing abundant opportunities for unholy alliances and surprise upsets. The game features open negotiation of almost any game resource at any time (read: bribery will get you EVERYWHERE), and urges players to consider the political fallout of reneging on a promise, as all deals are non-binding.

American Dynasty is for 3-4 players, ages 35 and up (you’ve got to be eligible for the top position, naturally, though it’s suitable for ages 16+), and takes about 2-3 hours to play. The Kickstarter campaign asks $40 plus shipping for the game, available worldwide.

This is the debut game from Neil Zumwalde, a software engineer from Minnesota living in Austin, TX, and Scott Doughty, an Austin native and graphic designer for the game, and is being released by New Tectonics, Zumwalde’s LLC for his creative outlets. “This game is a classic labor of love project,” says Zumwalde, “it’s strategic but funny, modern but not obnoxious, opinionated but not preachy. It’s the game I want to sit down with my friends and play.” The Kickstarter is intended to cover production costs. All development, marketing, prototyping, and other preliminary costs have come out of Zumwalde’s own pocket.

See the game on Kickstarter now.

Media Contact: Micah Mackert

PRESS RELEASE: Ascended Kings Board Game & Graphic Novel “The Thirst for Power is Never Quenched”

PRESS RELEASE: Ascended Kings Board Game & Graphic Novel  “The Thirst for Power is Never Quenched”


Revealed at Gen Con 2016, this debut title by Incarnate Games is launching on October 20 on Kickstarter with two amazing products!

PUEBLO WEST, CO – October 10, 2016 – Jason M. Allen of Incarnate Games, will be launching a Kickstarter to raise money to publish a Limited Collector’s Edition of Ascended Kings, and the companion graphic novel, Ascended Kings: The Fall of Empyrnea

Ascended Kings has been play tested by over forty game industry and creative professionals. Now in its finished form, the game will launch with all the final artwork and design completed. Gamers looking for a socially engaging and competitive experience will be intrigued by this unique and satisfying game.

During the production of Ascended Kings, the backstory developed to such a detailed level, we developed a 60-page companion graphic novel. The graphic novel is an action packed, gripping read, and a stunningly gorgeous book by some of the best talent in the comic industry.

The Kickstarter campaign will feature the game at $85, and the graphic novel at $25, with a bundle offer for both at $100, and various limited offers to early bird backers, including signed copies of both the game and book. Ascended Kings is in pre-production with the manufacturer, Liya International, and the game comes with a money-back guarantee to all our backers. Prolong Press is ready to print the 60-page hardcover graphic novel when the campaign is completed.

The game was designed by Jason M. Allen with graphic designs by Anthony Benedetto of Humble Beast, miniatures by Andrew Martin of Monster Caesar Studios, and concept/illustrations by Dylan Pierpont from Elder Scrolls Legends and Assassin’s Creed Rogue. redirects to the Kickstarter on October 20.

About the Story: As one of the four Ascended Kings, you sensed this day was inevitable. The High King is dead. Your own immortality dissolves before your eyes as the power of the bloodstone rings fades.

A surrounding army of stone giants march from the oceans intent on laying waste to all Empyrnea. Only one hope remains. A single chance for the four kings to restore power to the bloodstones. The ruling power of Empyrnea’s high city, the Enclave, secretly summons forth the kings. In the immolation chamber high above the city streets below, the Enclave reveals the alarming news—The power of the stones may be returned only by blood… The blood of ascended kings.

About the Game: The thirst for power is never quenched. In the game of Ascended Kings, you have been set with an ultimatum; face each King in combat to the death or let Empyrnea and all you hold dear, fall. You and up to 3 other players take to the arena… prepared to decide the fate of all, on the outcome of a single battle.

The Ascended Kings board game is a high fantasy battle royal game with no player elimination. As walls of fire close in around the combatants, the Kings engage in free for all combat to the death—their sights set on taking the bloodstones from their rival Kings. As Kings fall, players are reborn in the fight as powerful entities known as Revenants. The Omega Stone, fabled to hold ultimate power, will be revealed only to the King or Revenant able to possess all four bloodstones.

Will you face the arena with shear force? Will you negotiate with your rivals to achieve dominance? Will you survive to become the Last King Standing? Discover who among you is strong enough to claim the Omega Stone, in the battle of Ascended Kings!

Number of players: 2-4

Time required: 60 min – 120 min (depending on number of players)

Recommended ages: 14+


About the Graphic Novel: Ascended Kings: The Fall of Empyrnea is a 60-page, fantasy graphic novel based on the arena combat board game centered around the four kings of Empyrnea. The graphic novel follows each king separately, before weaving the four story arcs together in an unforgettable arena combat climax. Each king originates from a completely different land and culture and has dominion over a unique form of energy. Multiple layers of detail and story lore make the graphic novel an extremely rich and engaging experience.

Conceived by Jason M. Allen and Nick Macari, written by Nick Macari and illustrated by Renae De Liz & Ray Dillon (artists from A Game of Thrones and The Legend of Wonder Woman).

Ascending Kings


Ascended Kings website:

Incarnate Games website:








PRESS RELEASE: Adversity Games is thrilled to announce the Kickstarter campaign launch for Nightlancer

PRESS RELEASE: Adversity Games is thrilled to announce the Kickstarter campaign launch for Nightlancer

A challenging new competitive cyberpunk board game by independent designer Joseph Norris

Oxford, England, Oct 4th 2016

Today Adversity Games announces the launch of Nightlancer, the challenging new competitive Cyberpunk board game from the mind of independent game designer Joseph Norris.

Control one of eight unique Nightlancer characters and guide them through the underworld of dystopian 2099 England.

Survive their dangerous world. Overcome tough challenges, multiple-path missions and other Nightlancers. Use the black market and contact networks to get ahead. Build up your prospects so they can give up the underworld life.

The Kickstarter campaign will run from the 4th October at 14:00 GMT until the 8th November 2016 at 14:00 GMT. Successful funding covers artwork, printing and fulfillment costs to backers worldwide.

Backers can pledge from a token of support or a copy of the game up to existing within the specially designed game artwork.

Vital statistics:

2-4 Players, with optional co-operative and solo game rules

120 mins+ per playthrough

8 Unique Nightlancer cards, 36 mission cards, over 200 playing cards

Find out more:

Join the campaign!

About Adversity Games

Adversity Games is a specialist board games publisher. With the design philosophy of making unique and challenging games that encourage interaction and competition between their participants. Adversity Games harness deeply integrated themes and mechanics to help immerse and inspire their players.

Remember: Hard Games Are Fun!
Adversity Games and Nightlancer are trademarks of Adversity Games Ltd.

PRESS RELEASE: Smart device app Dized being soft-launched October 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Smart device app Dized being soft-launched October 2016

Dized is soft-launched just before the Spiel expo in Essen this October. The interactive board game tutorial application will be free to download for Android and iOS operating systems and hosts its first tutorial for the game Race to the North Pole, with others to follow.

“While rulebooks and manuals have little by little disappeared from many other products around us, they have not with board games. Instructional videos are helping with the situation but we believe that play-along, interactive tutorials are the way of the future. We have removed the need for the time-consuming and sometimes tedious studying that has been necessary before a game can start”, says Anna Lapinsh, the product manager of Dized.

Dized will offer other game enhancement features as well, such as comprehensive rule lookup tools, quick setup guides, updatable FAQ’s and extra digital mechanics such as custom deck builders. For now the tutorials and additional features will be built in-house by a team of designers and programmers.

“We’ve previewed the app at several events and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, people really love it. We are currently working with several publishers in order to provide players with great tutorials and other digital content. The toolset we’re creating will allow us to quickly produce quality content for Dized.”

Tutorials are also designed to be easily translated to other languages either in-house or, in the future, with the help of the community.

The application will have its official release in 2017 for iOS and Android devices. Until then the plan is to expand the tutorial library, highlighting different kinds of games and game mechanics, to show the versatility and scope of the teaching ability of the application.

Dized developers Playmore Games will be presenting Dized with the second edition of Race to the North Pole in Spiel at booth 2-D129.

Dized has been in development since 2014 and is a registered trademark of Playmore Games.

Further information:






PRESS RELEASE: HexWar Games Releases 1775: Rebellion

PRESS RELEASE: HexWar Games Releases 1775: Rebellion

HexWar Games has partnered with Academy Games to bring a digital version of the popular board game 1775: Rebellion to Steam.

The American Revolution has begun!


Now you and your friends can command the armies of the British Redcoats, English Loyalists, German Hessians, American Regulars, Patriots, French Regulars and Native Americans to decide the fate of the Americas. Players from each faction cooperate to gain control of key towns and forts. Share the fun in this light and fast paced game vs. the AI, hot seat or online!

Coming soon for the iPad

Special Launch Price: $19.99

Normal Price: $24.99, from 14th October 2016

HexWar Game Page –

Press Pack –

Key Features

1775: Rebellion features simple and unique game mechanics and special attention to his- torical detail.

Faithful conversion of the original board game.

3 Scenarios – 1775, 1775 (Short) and the Siege of Quebec.

Play solo vs. 3 levels of A.I. difficulty

Cross-platform online play or up to 4 player hot-seat multiplayer


Throughout its lifetime the 1775: Rebellion board game has achieved many awards:-

2014 Origins Awards Best Historical Board Game Winner

2014 Origins Awards Best Historical Board Game Nominee

2013 Meeples’ Choice Nominee

2013 Golden Geek Best Wargame Winner

2013 Golden Geek Best Wargame Nominee


Minimum System Requirements

Windows: OS: Windows XP SP2+, Memory: 2 GB RAM, Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities. CPU: SSE2 instruction set support.

Mac: OS: Mac OS X 10.8+, Memory: 2 GB RAM

About HexWar Games Ltd

HexWar Games is a successful developer of strategy games. Publishing 45 different games across PC, Apple Mac, Apple iPad and Android Tablet.

About Academy Games

Academy Games publishes historical board games. The games are quick to learn, tense and fast playing. Players concentrate on developing their plans and tactics, instead of looking up complicated rules and charts.

Each game attempts to give the player a sense of history. Games include write ups and maps that neutrally cover why the conflicts occurred, how they progressed and their histor- ical repercussions.

Contact Academy Games – email or phone

PRESS RELEASE – Pathogenesis – This Time You Are The Disease

PRESS RELEASE – Pathogenesis – This Time You Are The Disease

LENEXA Kansas, September 29, 2016 – WIBAI Games, a husband and wife game designer team, in conjunction with scientific illustration company somersault 18:24, have launched their second board game, Pathogenesis, on Kickstarter. The game is a fresh take on a theme explored by popular games like Pandemic and Plague Inc: a powerful bacteria begins to develop, mutate, and spread. Pathogenesis takes the theme further by bringing the battleground inside a human host on a cellular level. Players are bacterial pathogens attacking a human host. Designed for 1-4 players, with competitive, cooperative, and classroom modes, Pathogenesis has applied accurate scientific concepts and illustrations to a popular genre of game.

Unique combination of educational value and fun:

  • The game was designed by Jamie Cunningham who is a college professor and PhD. She created the unique mechanics based on pure science with the goal of creating a game that would help people understand how the immune system functions as a whole.
  • Pathogenesis is a center row style deck builder and game lovers familiar with mechanics in games like Star Realms and Ascension will feel right at home playing.
  • Pathogenesis takes the center row style deck builder to a whole new place. The game progresses in waves as players build up their deck, begin attacking the human body, and then have to defend themselves from the body’s two step immune response.

About WIBAI Games: WIBAI Games is a husband and wife board game design team based in Lenexa, Kansas. Their first game, Transylvania: Curses and Traitors, was published in 2015.

About somersault18:24: Scientific illustrator somersault18:24 is run by the artists/scientists Luk Cox and Idoya Lahortiga. Both of them have a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and have set out on an ambitious journey to bridge the gap between the artistic visual arts and science. They excel in helping scientists and teachers to prepare easy-to- follow yet professional scientific illustrations, and have partnered with WIBAI Games to bring stunning and colorful, yet scientifically accurate images to Pathogenesis.

Check out their video:


To learn more about Pathogenesis, please contact

Loren & Jamie Cunningham or visit their website:

PRESS RELEASE: Eclipse releases on Steam & Android 16 September 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Eclipse releases on Steam & Android 16 September 2016

Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy is coming to Steam. Based on the exceptional board game from Big Daddy’s Creations, the app on iOS has been around for a while and gets a ton of play. Now, it is coming to Android, Mac and PC via Steam. Improvements are also coming to the existing iOS app, which will see an update presently.

From the press release: Alliances are shattering, and hasty diplomatic treaties are made in secrecy. A confrontation of the superpowers seems inevitable – only the outcome of the galactic conflict remains to be seen. Which faction will emerge victorious and rule the galaxy?

Eclipse places you in control of a vast interstellar civilization, competing for success with its rivals. But instead of an overly-complex set of rules and overall epicness, it offers more accessible choices, more elegant mechanics and much faster gameplay. And it does all of that without reducing the strategic depth of the game – just like every euro-style board game should.


Also noted about the development on the BDC blog:  Online multiplayer was rebuilt from scratch using a third-party solution called GameSparks. The developer says this should be more robust and flexible, which means less downtime and more quicker enhancements in the future. This also allows cross-platform support so PC/Mac challenging iOS/Android players is now possible.

Eclipse other civilizations and lead your people to victory!


  • Official iOS version of the ‘Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy’ boardgame
  • Deep and challenging 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate) gameplay
  • 7 species with different strengths and weaknesses
  • Customizable star systems, technology tree and ship designs
  • Up to 6 players (human or AI)
  • Asynchronous, cross-platform multiplayer
  • 3 AI difficulty levels
  • In-game tutorial & manual

Check out this game play video:

Available on PC, MAC, iOS & Android.

Editor’s Note: Eric thinks Eclipse is among the finest 4X games out there and loves the app on iOS.

PRESS RELEASE: Darkly humorous history – The Donner Party is live on Kickstarter

PRESS RELEASE: Darkly humorous history – The Donner Party is live on Kickstarter
For release: Blacksburg Tactical Research Center is a little game company nestled in the Appalachian foothills, slowly and tediously handcrafting the finest role-playing games and supplements for a small audience of die-hard fans, and for new converts acquired through word-of- mouth advertising. Their first board game has now appeared on Kickstarter – The Donner Party.
“In 1846 the Donner-Reed party got snowbound in the Sierras a few weeks short of their California goal. Of the 81 settlers trapped there, only 45 survived until spring. Who will you eat to be one of them?”
From the BTRC site: “This is the Donner Party card game, a darkly humorous yet historical take on the tragic events of 1846, in which 81 settlers got trapped by winter weather in the Sierras a few weeks short of their California goal. By the time rescue arrived in the spring, nearly half of them had died, several were murdered and quite a few were cannibalized.” More details in their official video: