Sunday, November 25, 2012

Goblin's Bounty is full of goodness and we're not just talking about the coconut and chocolate

Our heroes and Dianamh,
the ugly goddess of nature.
She doesn't even have any warts.
For those of you who haven't seen my vlog, I am working on a great little project called Goblin's Bounty, an Android app, which combines two of my favourite things - gamebooks and collectable card games.  I've not been this happy since the release of the Ravnica block or Blood of the Zombies.

So basically, you play it like a gamebook and when you get to combat, you draw a load of cards that deal damage to an opponent, or protect you from their attacks and they do likewise.  You can see some examples of card combat here.

This is a challenging thing to do where we not only have to create a gamebook that provides lots of options and branching paths but also a set of cards which are balanced and fun to play both individually and as a deck.  And if my creative guru, Mark Rosewater (lead designer at Magic the Gathering) knows one thing, its that doing such a thing is no simple process (if it was, he'd be designing Magic the Gathering sets on his own in a shed)

A screenshot of combat.
So what's been going on with Goblin's Bounty?  First of all Emil (originator of the idea to have an app with a gamebook and a collectable card game in one), Ashton and I have been discussing the ins and outs of what kinds of cards we want and what combinations of cards we want.  One of the things we've decided on is that  we are not going to have too many defensive cards.  They will have their place but too many defensive cards will stall the combat and make it no fun.  We're also going to have opponents with themed decks and strategies.  This way, you are able to think about how you will fight them and beat them.  What strategies are there?  We can reveal that later.

There's also the story side of things.  Basically, your world is being threatened by a terrible danger where heroes of great strength and resolve are needed to save it.  Except the world will have to make do with four smelly goblins to save them.  Hopefully, despite, or even because of their goblin ways, they can save the day.  

This is going to be a crazy journey that will take our heroes to places beyond their wildest dreams (so in this case, better than a fresh steaming jacuzzi of ogre poo) in order to face terrible enemies.  Will our goblins have it in them to save the day?  You will have to find out.

Goblin's Bounty is going to be awesome, but you can make it even more awesome by supporting our kickstarter and also getting cool rewards!

You can also visit Emil's site, Attic Squad, here!

I'm also going to be at Dragonmeet where we can chat about Goblin's Bounty.  Come over and say hello!

Here is a Thordon machine.
See those things its holding onto?
They're mountains.
And you're going to have to stop it.
Good luck.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Arcana Agency preview - The Case of the Unghostly Ghost review

It is a great time for gamebooks as there is something new every week going on.  The end of the Windhammer competition was just the beginning of November's gamebook goodness.  Megara Entertainment is looking to release a gamebook written by Paul Gresty called Arcana Agency:  Thief of Memories via Kickstarter and just to give us a taste of what we have to look forward to, it has also released a free preview with a short 57 paragraph adventure.

Here is what I think of the preview.

First impressions:  The layout and the illustrations of the book are gorgeous.  It certainly has high production values and it really gives the gamebook a slick and polished look.  The book also comes with a foreword by Dave Morris who talks of how gamebooks have moved on since the 80s and how Paul Gresty, author the Arcana Agency gamebooks  has taken full advantage of the medium in order to deliver everything a gamebook can offer.  I certainly agree with him here.

The book certainly immerses you in the world of a 1930s New York detective agency world.

The rules:  The rules cover a mere two pages of the book but they have a lot of versatility and also enhance the depth of the characters.  The stats are strength, reflexes, knowledge, insight and charm.  They follow rules similar to fabled Lands' system where you are presented a task with a difficulty score and it is resolved if you roll 2d6 add the pertinent score and get equal to or over the difficulty. 
Your state of health is not given an abstract score, but rather five statues - perfect health, shaken, hurt, badly hurt or close to death. 

The characters:  Few gamebooks offer such depth to its characters as Arcana Agency.  In this book, you control the actions of Humphry Brown, the head of the agency who is accompanied by his two associates, Joe Strelli and Tom Shanigan.  Each character has their own page with their stats and also a little history about themselves.  Each character also has their moments during the book and you get a real feel for them through their interactions and opinions. 

Since you are reading about three characters, the book uses the third person instead of the second person which works very well.

There are also two pages devoted to supporting characters and it pays to look at the details.  You are playing an investigator after all...

Design:  This 57 paragraph book has a lot of depth.  It manages to include the hidden motives of the characters as well as a red herring and a puzzle based on translation and reading carefully (you are an investigator, after all).  It will take a lot of effort to solve the case and work out the motivations of everyone there but it is not imporssible and there are several excellent reveals and at least one thread hanging.  Let's just say that the book will keep you guessing about the metaphysics of the universe that you are in.  If the full book is like this then I can't wait to read it.

So in summary, read this preview and then back the full gamebook in order to fulfil the potential of this delight.

You can find Paul Gresty's site here.

You can play Case of the Unghostly Ghost here

You can fund the Arcana Agency kickstarter here.

And while you're on kickstarter, why not also support a gamebook app by Emil Bakalinov, Ashton Saylor and myself called Goblin's Bounty.  It's a gamebook with a collectable cardgame based combat.  It is a delightful combination of two wonderful things.  Fund our kickstarter here.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Goblin's Bounty!

Do you like collectable card games?  Do you like gamebooks?  Then we've got the game for you!  Goblin's Bounty from Attic Squad.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Goblin's Bounty

Sorry for the delay, folks, but I have some breaking news to report!

What's going on in the gamebook world?  Goblin's Bounty, that's what!

Here are some links: 

Goblin's bounty from Attic Squad -

Attic Squad homepage:

Goblin's Bounty on Facebook!/WarlockEmil

Warlock's Bounty on Google Play (full or lite version) - get it!

Ashton's blog

Friday, November 9, 2012

More Call of Khalris analysis

Good morrow to you all!  I have more analysis on the Call of Khalris.  I think the take home message from this is that readers will do what they like with a book and so I should not try to impose what I find significant in a story on the reader as there is plenty of fun to be had in finding your own significance (for example, people seemed to love the whole 'camel experience').

Anyway, have a listen for yourselves and find out how I amuse myself on my commute home.

Call of Khalris analysis of character creation:

Call of Khalris analysis of the cheat score:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Call of Khalris analysispost Windhammer results part 1 - the journal

Hi all!  Here is the first part of my analysis of Call of Khalris post Windhammer results.  In my first installment, I talk about my journal idea and why some people loved it and some people didn't.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Windhammer winners announced!

I got this email this morning!

Congratulations to Zachary, Ashton and Marty!

2012 Windhammer Prize winners announced. is proud to announce that the winner of the 2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction is Zachary Carango for his futuristic sci-fi adventure, Final Payment. Merit awards have also been awarded to Marty Runyon for his magical fantasy adventure, Academy of Magic - The First Term, and to Ashton Saylor for his exciting sci-fi adventure, Legacy of the Zendari. Well done to all participants and congratulations to this year's winners.
This year's competition has been particularly hard-fought. With 22 quality entries, more than 4000 visitors to the competition webpage over the voting period, and greater than 8500 downloads considered, it proved the most competitive of competitions in the history of the prize.

It is no small thing to ask entrants to write original gamebooks for the Windhammer Prize. This year the quality of the entries submitted has been exceptional. I would like to thank all readers who voted this year for their commitment in evaluating such an extensive entry list. Special thanks must also go to those who provided feedback for authors. The amount of comment forwarded has also been the largest given in any competition year and all is greatly appreciated.
All entries have now been placed into the Windhammer Prize gamebook archive and can be accessed from that page along with all other gamebooks submitted since 2008.
All Information regarding the Windhammer Prize can be found at :
All entries can be found in the gamebook archive at:
Information regarding the sponsor of this competition can be found at
May Glory and Renown follow all who have found success in this year's Windhammer Prize.
Wayne Densley
2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction
Chronicles of Arborell

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My thoughts on my Windhammer entry - Call of Khalris - pre results

Good morrow to you all!  The voting stage to the Windhammer competition has closed and the results will be announced on the 7th November.  In the mean time, here are my thoughts of my entry, the Call of Khalris before I ehar what other people have said.  After the results, I will release a response to the results.