A Paper Tales Solo Session Against the Lich King

February 23, 2020 | Sessions | 8 comments

Take a look at the solo mode of Paper Tales with the expansion, Paper Tales: Beyond the Gates, in a detailed session report.

I wanted to start sifting through the rest of my unplayed games the other day, but it was Paper Tales that cried out to be played! My initial plays in December 2019 were surprisingly enjoyable, especially since this is a bit of a hidden gem. With the expansion properly mixed in and the solo mode ready to go, I was prepared to make my own little tale!

Game Overview

Game Name: Paper Tales
Publication Year:
2017
Designer:
 Masato Uesugi
Artist:
 Christine Alcouffe
Solo Mode: Included in Paper Tales: Beyond the Gates

The multiplayer version features a drafting mechanic, which can be difficult to replicate in a solo mode. Fortunately, it works very well in this case.

The game is played over a series of 4 rounds. Drafted units provide benefits for wars and production, but also age.

A Unique Art Style

Artwork is a very subjective quality about board games. I try to hesitate to label anything, although my preferences are usually pretty clear! Spoiler: I love this style.

It’s not just about the color palette and overall design, though. The elements seem to be crafted from paper to match the theme. Almost every illustration is different.

The game box itself is also quite unique. From afar, it looks like the outline of a king standing against a white background. The expansion follows suit with a large key.

Up close, these images are collages of many elements!

The Lich King

The solo opponent is a skeletal sort of nemesis known as the Lich King. His depiction is far from jovial, though he isn’t particularly terrifying… Except for those eyes!

He earns bonuses from the units that are not drafted. In effect, there is a combined strategy of choosing beneficial units and denying the Lich King extra legend points.

Various difficulty levels can be used by giving him special bonuses during setup. Up to 4 may be used… Yikes!

Random cards ensure that each play features a slightly different Lich King. And that makes for a challenge!

Setting Up the Game

Paper Tales features a variety of components that don’t take up an enormous amount of table space. The visual styles also contrast… Can you spot the Lich King cards?

Setup is a pretty quick process. I had to reference the rules to double-check a few elements, though I remembered nearly everything. Not too bad!

The expansion also introduces a randomized method to have several unique buildings available during each play.

I was ready to go shortly after laying the components out. The Lich King would be tricky, but I had a plan. Possibly.

A Short Set of Chapters in a Paper Tale

My previous plays saw me start to go up against the Lich King with 3 starting bonus cards. That was when I was on a fairly good winning streak, though, so I bumped him back down to a pair of bonuses. It still looked rather daunting!

Figuring out how to manage each draft phase is very challenging. It progresses through a series of steps with fewer and fewer options. Claiming the most useful units is important, but the Lich King is always lurking in the background. He drafts anyone else to his side, which usually gives him immediate bonuses. And his luck is always so good. How rude!

I started off well enough. Food production became the spotlight of my little town. Units helped a lot, yet buildings also sprang up to provide extra bonuses. Offensive units, like knights and archers, took to the front lines to help fight off the Lich King during the pivotal wars. It all looked positive, and I was confident that I was about to win.

The Final Chapter

The final chapter looked like it would be a lucrative one. I saved up plenty of gold to pay for fresh units, owing to the fact that everyone else had aged to die or retire.

But it was not meant to be. My best options were a pair of imps and a demon… Was I turning into the Lich King?! Ha!

I still had a good strategy in mind. A mysterious palm reader granted points for every aging token on removed units. That was worth a wonderful 10 points. Thank you!

Still, the lack of offensive strength meant that the wars were impossible to win. Time and time again, I fell behind.

Session Overview

Play Number: 9
Expansion: Paper Tales: Beyond the Gates
Solo Mode: Included with the Expansion
Play Details: Level 2 Difficulty Level
Required Play Space: 22″ x 22″
Setup Time: 5 Minutes
Play Time: 25 Minutes
Outcome: 42-43 (Loss)

I enjoyed working through the challenge of every round. The draft was tricky at times with few options, yet I still made the most of the units that I chose. Well, mostly!

%

1 Play

Affordability

Price & Value

1

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

8

Quality

Components & Rules

6

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

6

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

9

The Ending to a Tale

Have you ever felt so confident in your ability to pull off a victory, only to have it stolen? The Lich King beat me by a single point. Oh, the agony! I had to laugh, though, because I thought I won before I gave him his final 9 points.

I managed the draft well enough, but it got increasingly harder and harder. New ways for the Lich King to earn legend points appeared every round. Perhaps it boiled down to my focus on production over war. Still, I bought a lot of point-generating buildings. I earned legend points during each round, which were helpful when I lost some of the wars.

So close! Although this was a loss, I still felt happy with the outcome. No runaway win for the Lich King this time!

More Paper Tales

Explore related posts about Paper Tales and Paper Tales: Beyond the Gates!

Continue the Conversation

Have you played Paper Tales recently? Perhaps you had a great outing against the Lich King or suffered from his foul sense of unhumanly good luck. Leave a comment, possibly even with recommendations for other solo players. I have at least one other post coming up related to the game. If you’re a fan, be ready to see more of the game soon!

8 Comments

  1. Hey Albia

    Are you not doing your ratings on here?

    Reply
    • Good question! I actually have an idea for how to implement them here. Likely they make the most sense with reviews, but if I can get something to cooperate, I can show the overall score and a breakdown with every related post.

      Likely there will be an update to this post eventually. The coding is being a little uncooperative, and I didn’t want to delay posting just for that. Suffice to say that ratings will definitely be featured… Once I get the backend working. I think it was infected by the Lich King. Ha ha!

      Reply
  2. Nice, concise review, Jessica! Now that I see a Lich King exists in the game, I now have to add another game to the list of desires. 🙂

    What are your thoughts on replayability of this game?

    Reply
    • Thank you, Derek! And there I go again, living up to my name as the Breaker of Wallets. I plan to have a more detailed review in the future that provides a summary of some key features. Reusability is one of them!

      In a nutshell, though, there are a vast number of available units. With the randomized draft, it’s rare to see the same combination twice. Choosing between them is also difficult, and depends on what cards the Lich King has in play.

      One interesting thing is how consistent my scores typically are. Even with a wide variety of units, there are different ways to make the most of each group. Add the customizable difficulty level of the Lich King into the mix, and the experience can be very challenging!

      I’m still only at 9 plays so the long-term reusability might be something I can’t comment on just yet. All the same, I enjoy what the game has to offer and look forward to my continued plays in the future!

      Reply
  3. Stealthy Elephant!

    Reply
    • Yes, indeed! Nicely done. I don’t know what this one was doing… Trumpeting from the background to celebrate my loss? Simply cheeky. I’ll have to be sure he pays more attention to his hiding skills in the future. Ha ha!

      Reply
      • Well, he came in 3rd, with 40, so maybe he was just upset about his own luck 🙂

        Reply
        • Ha ha! That sounds about right for a Stealthy Elephant. And this comment made my day, Forrest!

          Reply

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