Theme and What is it?
Paper Tales is a game that takes on the role of telling a tale of fantastic creatures, epic wars, grand constructions, and brings the legendary past to life again. It is a card driven game where players compete against neighboring kingdoms to tell the most legend worthy story. What that story entails depends on player choices and will be different each time it is played. Open your imagination, draft your cards, and tell your own epic tale of adventure and heroism.
Paper Tales has 4 rounds with 6 unique phases. Players will draft cards, pay for and deploy units, and then fight wars against their neighboring players. In the aftermath of the war, players will collect income, construct buildings, and age their units. Any unit that has already aged will die unless some special powers save them. There are a number of ways to gain legend points with winning wars and constructing level 2 buildings being the most usual. The other ways are through specific card combos or building abilities that reward certain play strategies.
Paper Tales has a unique cover art that I immediately appreciated. The rulebook is particularly well organized. Stronghold Games often has great rulebooks but this is a particularly good one. There are great image examples that are easy to follow and understand and easy to reference section headings for each of the 6 phases.
Game Build Quality
Nice quality cards, a good center scoring board, some punch out money tokens and age tokens… Paper Tales has no astoundingly great surprises in the box. That said, it is exactly what should be in a game with this price point and I cannot imagine a better experience with more expensive parts.
Paper Tales gives you a great taste of the art style right on the cover with many small pieces of card art arranged to make the outline of a king. The art is exactly from the cards in the game and shows off the simple, clean style being used.
We were very happy with how good Paper Tales was for a 30 minute experience. Each draft was a debate between passing a card an opponent really want and a card you really want. Giving up on wars to gain points other ways might be worthwhile if you think both neighboring opponents will have a huge power. These simple decisions make for a really good game.
Age Range & Weight
12+ is a little too high. With just 4 rounds of plays, Paper Tales offers a quick game with simple mechanics but plenty of enjoyment. There are some tactics to drafting cards and planning which buildings to construct; but, these features offer opportunities for skilled play more than they increase the difficulty of learning to play.
I was talked into playing this game. I regret my reluctance as Paper Tales offers several of my favorite mechanics in bigger games but delivers it in a fast repeatable experience. If you like card drafts, battles against other players without killing each other, and attempting to build a better engine than the other players, Paper Tales is an excellent pick for you. It will be back on my table again in the future.