24th June 2021
It's a Thursday evening and we're round Simon's for a couple of games.
The first game of the night was Paper Tales.
As the name implies, create the tale of building a kingdom and warring with your neighbours over 4 generations or in Paper Tales' terms - 4 rounds!
What's in a game?
The quality of the game's components is to the usual standard as you would expect, which is fine.
The building and unit cards feature some bright, colourful and stylised artwork which I found quite charming.
How's it play?
On to play
Paper Tales is played over 4 rounds and there are 6 stages to each round. Other than the drafting in the Recruitment stage, each stage is played simultaneously by players
Play continues until 4 rounds have been completed.
Then players then tally their victory points on the score board with the victory points on their constructed buildings.
Highest score wins.
So, Paper Tales is something of a curious beast.
It feels like a deliberately small scale game that merges a little bit of card drafting, a little engine building and card combo mechanics with a little bit of resource management.
The game broadly presents 2 routes to scoring victory points.
Using unit cards with high combat values in war can theoretically score a player 24 victory points and in a game if this scale, that can be a sizable score.
The other way to generate victory points is from the abilities that unit cards may possess, maximising the usage of those abilities can require careful consideration.
It's also a somewhat challenging game, not that this is a bad thing. That's because when playing Paper Tales, it never feels like there's enough gold to deploy all the cards you want or enough turns/resources to construct buildings you want. There's 5 buildings to construct and only 4 turns, and that's not including upgrades!
It's worth noting that decisions made in the 1st round may have a significant impact on options and decisions in the final round.
Players are forced to make tricky, meaningful decisions, which is always good.
The aging mechanic is unusual and represents the transitory passage of time and is something players need to watch out for, those unit cards are only around for 2 rounds! However, there are also ways for a player to exploit this mechanic to their benefit with card abilities.
For a game that only gives players 4 or possibly 5 cards to work with, there's quite often a combo that can be created.
Paper Tales has in terms of rounds a quite short playtime, yet somehow feels a little fiddly for a game of this scope and the handful of times we played it, the short playtime made the game feel a little unsatisfactory.
It's all about maximising resources and exploiting card combos, but as I said above, because it's a challenging game, it can be hard to optimise your strategies in early plays, i.e., it has a steep learning curve despite it's apparent simplicity.
That's not to say it's a bad game, because it's not, but it sits towards the heavier end of a what might be considered 'light' or 'filler' game in my opinion, which is considering what I'd consider it to be.
I'd have no reservations about playing it again.
It's worth a look, but I think it needs playing at least a couple times before passing judgement on it.
I play, I paint.