Paperback Adventures is a solo rogue-like card-based word game in which you fight against an array of pulp novel characters. It will launch on Kickstarter on May 18.
You start by picking one of the two characters that comes with a starting deck of eight cards, and a set of core items. You also set your HP at 20. Then, you face one enemy after the other until you’ve gone through the whole adventure.
The letter cards are the core of the gameplay. They feature a single letter, and two vertical bands on each side of the card, listing icons (Attack, Block, Mana). They also come with a special ability. Enemies have a health value, a vowel you can use each round, and a set of actions they will perform on their turn. Each enemy also features two stages with a separate HP value; once you’ve beaten the first stage, the enemy is “stunned” (skips their next turn) and then you must deal with the second stage.
Each round, you start by drawing four cards from your deck. Whenever the deck is empty, you may reshuffle the discard to form a new deck. You must then play as many of your cards as you can to form a word with the letters depicted (you can also use the enemy vowel). You can stack the cards from left to right or from right to left so that only one band will be visible (with the exception of the top card). You then count all the visible items. Attack items deal hits to your enemy (they also first absorb a number of hits equal to their Block value). Block will absorb enemy damage on their turn. Mana allows you to activate your special items. You also activate the special ability of the top card. However, the top card of the word becomes “fatigued”: instead of going to the discard, it is removed for the entirety of the encounter!
Then, the enemy takes its current action and may deal damage to you. At the end of the round, the action marker of the enemy goes to the next action of the set, so that the different actions are played each turn one at a time sequentially (note that this can be manipulated to some extent with specific effects).
Once the enemy HP is down to 0, you receive a reward. You can get additional cards, replace some with alternative cards, get items or McGuffins (that look like items but activate automatically when their condition is triggered). Some cards can also get upgraded by flipping them over.
If you manage to beat all your foes without dying, you win the game!