It's a pity Pocket Book Adventures wasn't out in time for this year's summer holiday season as it's an ideal travel game. No matter, it's also a great companion for the daily commute (as long as you're not driving!) as it's eminently portable. It will quite literally fit in your pocket.
Each of the double-page spreads shows a campaign area around which you can trace your movement with a pencil. There are slightly different movement rules for the various 'scenarios' so, for example, in the Wilderness area you must always move exactly four spaces without changing direction unless you encounter an enemy or are impeded by terrain. You'll try to collect coins and other treasures but you if you reach a treasure chest, you can't open it unless you've previously picked up the key. You can see then that this aspect of Pocket Book Adventures is a puzzle optimisation game. What then of the monsters and other enemies you encounter along the way? This is PBA's stand out feature...
Pocket Book Adventures substitutes a literal dexterity check for the randomness of a dice roll. Each double-page spread includes a target circle. When you have an encounter, you place the tip of your pencil on the target as your starting point and, without looking at the page, you lift the pencil and try to place it at the centre of the target. Where your pencil tip lands on the target circle determines what happens in your battle with the monster. It's a simple enough idea, it's fun to use and it works! And, what's more, if you find your spatial awareness is so finely honed that you easily avoid the areas of the circle where the monsters dish out damage, you can readily step up the difficulty by raising the pencil an inch or two more before placing it down.
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Pocket Book Adventures ahead of its launch on Kickstarter on 4 October. The version that will go to backers will have a sturdier cover and will be printed on thicker more opaque paper. Click here to check it out.