Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Shady Brook: Twin Peaks like Visual Text Adventure

Welcome to Twin Peaks
I still remember the Twin Peaks series from back when I was a teenager and all the fear I felt after watching each episode of this horror mystery drama. I was quite surprised and excited when I found out that Showtime started a new season of this TV series in the spring of 2017. To be quite honest, I don't remember most of the old show, but I recall that it took place in a small town where almost every resident had some kind of strange secret. Add some supernatural phenomenons such as a killer demon, who moves from the body of one citizen to another as he pleases, and an FBI agent, who is trying to investigate a murder of a young girl up there in the mountains and you would get the basic idea of what the show was about.

About 18 months ago I read a post on facebook by one of my friends announcing the release of a "Twin Peaks like game" that takes place in a small, peaceful country town where everything seems idyllic until some mysterious deaths start occurring. Being a follower of the TV show, I was naturally interested in playing the game. Add the fact that I live in Chicago now and I miss the small community feel of my hometown very much, I just couldn't wait for the game to come out on the market.

Welcome to Shady Brook
When I purchased Shady Brook for the very affordable price of $3.99, I was immediately teleported to a quiet small community and quickly met with the very few residents there. I was fascinated with the depth of the characters and the fact that I was able to start relating to them on the spot. I quickly developed favorites and I was hoping to make some friends while exploring the map, but strange things started happening and soon I realized that it was better to keep to myself until the mystery was unfolded. However, my curiosity was already triggered and I felt that I had to investigate and get to the bottom of a master plan as evil as it gets.

As I mentioned above, the storyline is very immersive and it is very easy for the player to get sucked into it. As the story evolves, more clues are presented to the reader and it gets more and more interesting until the very end of the adventure. Just keep in mind that not every choice changes the final outcome. As a matter of fact, the decisions you make during the game alter the experience, but they don't affect the very core of the story and there is only one available ending. The only reason I mention all that is to avoid the feelings of guilt you will inevitably feel after making some difficult choices. Those bad things would have happened to some good people anyway, so just relax assured that you haven't done anything wrong and enjoy revealing the dark secret of this small country town by solving the very well designed logic puzzles.

I must add that the existence of a love triangle, which causes a whirlpool of feelings due to the decision to sacrifice one of two very important people, provides further depth and involves the player to a point where this game almost starts feeling real. I believe that this is probably the strongest design trick of the whole Shady Brook experience.

The only serious complaint I have about the game is that at the very end, the player is stuck in a 'Game Over' loop until he or she finds the right action and the exact moment to get to the very end of the adventure. Even though, as a fellow game designer, I have a hard time finding another way of looping the game sequence at that very moment to avoid the 'Game Over' message, but I still think that such approach must be avoided at all cost, especially in a game where the player associates with the protagonist to such extent.

On a positive note, I truly enjoyed deciphering some of the cryptogram puzzles in the game. Those definitely were my favorite, but there is plenty of other kinds of puzzles built into the game. Most of them are challenging, but not impossible and a player with just a little bit of experience and a lot of logical thinking would be able to solve all the puzzles without external help (such as a walkthrough). The story is extremely well written with some completely unexpected twists and turns. The music suits the virtual environment very well and the limited graphics are very pretty as well as perfectly balanced without taking the attention away from the storyline and text based engine of Shady Brook.

So, if you are a fan of gamebooks or adventure games, or even if you aren't, I strongly recommend playing this visual text adventure.

Published by Peter Agapov,
innovator and game designer at

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

New Tunnels and Trolls solo

Hello all! Long time no blog. Just a wuick one to say that I have finished a Tunnels and Trolls solo. In this one, you go on a great quest to make your own personalised magic weapon that grows with you. It works with Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls rules and can work for ANY level and ANY class.

And it is Pay What You Want.

You can get it here.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Game Tale - kickstarter for gamebook aimed at children aged 3-9

Hello all! There's a new kickstarter in town. This one is called Game Tale, a beutifully illustrated children's gamebook aimed at 3-9 year olds. It looks absolutely delightful and you should definitely check it out and back it over on the kickstarter page.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Want to write a gamebook? Then here's a reading list.

Whassup! Here is the fruits of my labours on a little project I was working on. I wanted to collect a definitive  list of gamebook analysis that anyone who wants to write a gamebook has to read. So far, I have come up with the following blog posts and links to give you a good grounding in the art and science of gamebook writing. Enjoy!

EDIT: The links weren't working because I had pasted hyperlinks in from a Word document (!?) but I have re-inserted the links so they should all work now.

Grey Wiz
Andrew Drage

Ashton Saylor

Sam Kabo Ashwell

Jake Care

Paul Gresty
Dave Morris have-downside.html

Richard S. Hetley

Jon Green write-adventure- gamebook-part-1.html

Heather Albano from Choice of Games

Adam Strong-Morse from Choice of Games

Dan Fubilich from Choice of Games for-designing- great-stats/

Emily Short

Peter Agapov 

Just about anything on his blog. It's all so in depth.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Coils of Hate - cutting the Gordian Knot

Hello all - this is about the free reboot of Coils of Hate that I have created with Mark Smith's permission. It contains all the best bits of the original with more added on. And it's freeeee!

In case you don't know, Coils of Hate was the 3rd Virtual Reality Adventure, written in 1993 by Mark Smith. It was set in the city of Godorno, a fantasy analogue of rennaisance Venice. You are a member of the Judain religion, a group persecuted by the overlord of the city. One day, you are forced to flee Godorno. However, eventually you return (if you don't it's game over) and find that Hate itself has become a physical form and is bent on destroying the city.

As Dave Morris writes, the book had a really strong atmosphere, but it also needed the flowcharts sorted out. They were a tangled knot which lacked logic at times. Of course, someone could have tried to unravel the knot to make it easier or, like the Gordian Knot, someone could have just cut it. That was my approach. Instead of making sense of what was given, I went through the books, took all the stuff I thought I should keep, added my own threads to link these pieces together and retied it to make the creation I have to offer you (for free!).

Ironically, I had to remove the bit where you get the codeword Gordian, however. As Per Jorner points out in his review, it is quite unrealistic to be carrying around a huge chain used to link together a bunch of prisoners.

I will be writing more about Coils of Hate and how I wrote the reboot in the future. For now, enjoy the new version (for FREEEEE!).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mechanics of GAMEbooks (input - test of performance - feedback)

Before we start talking about Gamebook Mechanics, we should first recognize the very basic elements of any game. In theory, a video game (or any other game) consists of two major events: input and feedback. In simple words, the player takes any action such as tilt the joystick, hit a button or move the pawn in a board game, etc and we have an input. For every input, there should be positive or negative feedback such as moving the character on the screen, hearing a sound or something else that provides the player with a clue if he or she is doing well or not.

Here is the basic structure of any game: INPUT - PERFORMANCE TEST (test of the input) - FEEDBACK

In my previous blogpost, I already mentioned that one of the most disturbing articles I've seen so far is the one named narrative is not a game mechanic by Raph Koster and based on his theory many people consider that games and story don't mix coming to the wrong conclusion that it is impossible to write a book which is also a good game.

Just take another look at the basic game elements! Narrative is a form of feedback, isn't it? I think that, not only narrative IS a game mechanic, it actually is the best form of feedback. Raph Koster argues that "games can and do exist without narrative". He is absolutely right, they do, but... Remember the old arcade games where the gameplay was always the same except the opponents speed increased in every consecutive level? Sure, that did make the game more challenging, but how much closer to the final goal did it make you feel and how much feeling of accomplishment did that design approach provide to the players? "Kill as many enemies as possible and move on to the next level" was the motto of all games back then and there was no ultimate goal for us to achieve. My personal opinion is that having some storyline and narrative such as "You just left the Old Village on your way to the Ancient Forest. You can see the mountains standing proud out there beyond the tall trees and you are now a step closer to finding and killing the Dark Wizard, who has been terrorizing your people for centuries... You won the battle against the Dark Wizard and you are successful in your mission to free your people from evil! Everybody in the Old Village will live happily ever after"? Sure, a good narrative limits the replayability of the game as nobody wants to read the same paragraphs multiple times, but how many times do you want to replay the same scenario in the countless levels of a jump and run or a shooting game that doesn't have any narrative? We, the human beings, like diversity and we love having a final goal to reach, and the answer to those challenges in the art of making games lies in providing the player with an interesting storyline that includes diversified encounters and a clearly defined ultimate goal. Those vitally important needs were hardwired in our brains by mother nature through the evolution process of our species (you can read more about my views on that subject in my earlier post about psychology of games).

If I have to summarize, I'd say that for the purpose of reaching the final goal of the adventure, the actual form of the feedback in games doesn't matter all that much as long as the player is given a clear idea if his performance is satisfactory or not. The feedback could be in the form of a sound, movement of an object on the screen or simple description in the form of text narrative. That being said, the real difference in mechanics between gamebooks and all other games is found mainly in the input methods, so next I'd like to compare for you how overcoming an obstacle in video games drastically differs from overcoming the same obstacle in the genre of gamebook adventures and to do so, I am going to use as an example the all-time-favorite Super Mario game and more specifically, how to test the player's performance when jumping over a deep chasm.

Jumping over a chasm in Video Games

Here is the way artificial intelligence would test the gamer performance by checking his speed and coordination:

1. IF the jump button is hit too soon THEN Super Mario will fall into the chasm;

2. IF the jump button was hit too late (after Super Mario walked off the edge) THEN he is going to fall into the chasm;

3. Ideally, IF the jump button is hit at the correct time (between too soon and too late) THEN Super Mario will make it safely to the other side.

Leaping a chasm in a Gamebook Adventure

Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of testing coordination and speed of the player in this genre. The only input method available to the author is the logic of the reader. Since it would be dumb to ask the gamer if and when he would like to jump, to make gamebook adventures dependent on the input, at this point, the designer must test the stats of the protagonist. The same stats that would have been built up earlier in the adventure through meaningful choices based on strong logic.

An example of such test looks like: If your strength stat is greater than 10, you successfully make the jump. Otherwise you fall down to your death.

A more complicated example would be: Add the number of your Stamina stat to your Strength skill. If the number is higher than 15, you make it to the other end and the adventure continues. If you fall short, your protagonist dies here.

It is also very common to integrate some randomness: Roll 2 dice and add your strength skill to the result. If the number is equal or greater than 20 then you succeed and your adventure continues. If the number is lower than 20, you fall down in the chasm and die.

Please note that skillchecks, dice rolls, flipping pages and so on, are not game mechanics. All of the above examples would be completely meaningless if the author failed to provide proper ways of increasing the protagonist stats earlier in the adventure. This is where the game part of a gamebook happens. For an example, there could have been an option to purchase a headband of strength earlier in the adventure or there could have been a paragraph where the reader had to choose between eating a good meal or picking up a fight in the tavern and the outcome turns out to be increased strength stat from eating the meal or loss of strength points due to the injuries suffered.

See, the input in Gamebooks happens in the form of choices and decisions. It is up to the author to make sure those choices and decisions are meaningful and that they are based on strong logic rather than random dice rolls and player's blind guessing due to lack of relevant information.

I believe that there are two forms of narrative feedback in gamebook adventures: instant and delayed. In the examples above, leaping over the chasm is a form of delayed feedback (the gamer performance up to this point would be considered satisfactory if the protagonist is successful in the jump). A form of instant feedback is the instructions to increase the character strength by 2 points after making the choice to eat the meal instead of picking a fight at the tavern.

As I already pointed out in my previous post, I am not claiming that Gamebooks represent the best of all game genres nor I am claiming that they are any better than video games. All I am saying is that due to the lack of other game mechanics, Gamebook Adventures provide the most diverse storyline and force the player to make the most meaningful choices, because they provoke critical thinking and force the gamer to assess different situations and then select the most rational action for the best possible outcome. I just wish that more of this kind of game mechanics, providing a lot of learning and personal improvement value to the player, would be implemented in video games. Just imagine how much more interesting and exciting an adventure like Diablo 2 would have been, if it was putting the gamer in situations that require certain meaningful and important choices altering the outcome of the story one way or another.

In the next post I will talk about the most important Gamebook Mechanic: Meaningful Choices.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The great potential of Gamebook Adventures and what is wrong with them

The following article is an excerpt from Peter's Gamebook Theory blog.

Let me make it clear, I am not claiming that Gamebook Adventures is the best genre of them all nor I am saying that it has the greatest potential. I am simply stating that I have found Gamebooks to be teaching the most meaningful lessons of all the games I've played so far. This genre, probably for the lack of other game mechanics, puts the character in many different situations and the player is given a limited amount of possible actions to choose from. Making such a choice must be based on critical thinking, educated guessing and calculating the risk of possible negative or positive consequences for the character on the way to achieving the final goal of the adventure.

Meaningful choices haven't always been part of the Gamebook Adventures. Just take the arcade approach of the first Fighting Fantasy books for example! They are filled with "Which Door", "Cake or Death" and "Shell Game" choices (more on this terminology can be found in the blog about Gamebook Theory by Ashton Saylor) and the only way to get to a good ending in those books was to explore the adventure land, filled with countless instant death chapters and way too many battles (too much of the adventure outcome was left to pure chance), through trial and error until the ultimate path was eventually discovered.
The very first Fighting Fantasy Gamebook: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Fighting Fantasy Book 1

Please, don't get me wrong! I have a lot of respect for the pioneers in the genre, the legendary writers Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. They laid down the basic foundation of something that captured the hearts of millions around the globe and has been keeping the love for adventure alive in many generations now. All I am saying is that gamebooks have come a very long way since the dawn of the genre back in 1982 when "The Warlock of Firetop Mountain" was released in Great Britain. I believe that the ultimate example of how much gamebooks have improved since then, is the great work of Stuart Lloyd presented at the Windhammer Competition for Short Gamebook Fiction that is ultimately leading to his mobile platform game Asuria Awakens developed by the computer and marketing geniuses Neil Rennison and Ben Britten at Tin Man Games, for (not to be confused with my current project Visual Gamebook Adventures).

So, what is wrong with Gamebooks? While I was doing my research on the genre, I ran across quite a few posts that discussed the problems with Gamebooks and how we could fix them. Some were even saying that they can't be fixed and we should leave them in the past. Especially disturbing is the theory that narrative is not a game mechanic and therefore it's impossible to create a book that is also a game. Not only narrative IS a game mechanic, it actually is the best possible form of feedback! (see my next post)

This is what I have to say about it: There is absolutely nothing wrong with Gamebooks and they don't need fixing. The problem lies in the countless amateurs, who want to write a game, without willing to put enough effort into research and without willing to invest time in learning the techniques of a good adventure. That is exactly what happened in Eastern Europe in the late 90s when the whole genre there was brought to a halt, simply because there was too much junk on the market. The situation is the same with the mobile platform games of all genres right now. There is way too many mobile games available and most of them are just plain horrible, so the consumers often get lost in the huge variety and they become disappointed with the questionable quality. The bottom line is that the market suffers, because people quickly lose interest after a few failed attempts to find something worth their time, but instead they discover nothing else besides pure frustration.

There is another aspect of video games which I dislike very much nowadays. The "free to play" games with in-app purchases are the worst thing that has ever happened to the gamer, because winning the game is now based on the amount of money you spend rather than on the skills and qualities you learn and apply. These games are despicable money generating machines that focus on the economic aspect instead of rewarding the gamer for good performance. Put in other words, they could be "free to play", but they are definitely not "free to win" and I am very glad that this system can't be implemented in the genre of Gamebook Adventures.

To summarize this post, I am going to say that narrative and gameplay mix just fine, given that we have the right author to mix them correctly. Just take a good look at the amazing adventures written by Ashton Saylor and Stuart Lloyd and you'll see exactly what I mean. Both of them have excellent blogs on Gamebook Theory that I would strongly encourage you to read if you are planning on writing a short adventure or even a long gamebook. Their thoughts about how to start writing an adventure, how to approach the design process and what NOT to do to the player (such as instant death and many other bad things) are priceless, but for some reason they don't talk in detail about the mechanics of a good Gamebook Adventure. That is the exact subject of my future posts as I will be trying to build on the foundation Ashton and Stuart have already laid down for us.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

#AtoZChallenge Z is for Zines and news

Hello lovely people! The last April A to Z post is a couple of places to find the latest gamebook news. The first is Fighting Fantazine, a high quality Zine full of great stuff which is FREEEE!

Second is an awesome looking website called Gamebook News which has all the latest err, gamebook news for you. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

#AtoZChallenge Y is for YOU ARE THE HERO 2 and other wonderful things

Jonathon Green is doing great things for the gamebook world. First, he is organising FIGHTING FANTASY FEST 2 on the 2nd September in London which will be AWESOME!

Also, you should look out for the Wicked Wizard of Oz, an awesome gamebook based on Frank L. Baum's the Wizard of Oz. You can pre order it from Amazon and it will be available from the 1st May.

Also, Jonathon is writing YOU ARE THE HERO part 2 which was recently funded on Kickstarter.

The awesome Lone Wolf gamebook series now has an RPG!

Megara entertainment is releasing great new gamebooks including Autumn Snow - a new Lone Wolf spin off. It has also released Templre of the Flame - the 2nd Golden Dragon gamebook - with 100 extra sections written by Mark Lain.

Micabyte continues to kick ass with its awesome apps - you should check them out.

Also, check out the Explore-A-Quest series by Anthony Lampe.

#AtoZChallenge V is for very large numbers of gamebook stuff

Hello all! Here are more links in the world of gamebooks.

Tunnels and Trolls is an awsome RPG system which I have loved for many years. The classic solo Arena of Khazan has been updated and rereleased on RPGNow.

It was also Ken St. Andre's birthday yesterday, so be sure to wish the creator of Tunnels and Trolls happy birthday!

If you fancy writing your own gamebook, try out GBAT! - the Gamebook Authoring Tool.

Also, Dave Morris is still very active on the Fabled Lands blog, so check out all of his AWESOME stuff.

Also, check out Delight Games and Unimatrix Productions.

Also, Ivailo Daskalov has written the Hwarang and Kumiho an awesome gamebook app.

J Pingo Lingstrom is writing some awesome gamebooks for the Random Solo Adventure series.

#AtoZChallenge X is for EXtra help needed for gamebooks

Hello lovely people! Demian Katz, the mastermind behind and the Vupop 2 academic conference on interactive fiction has been updating his lovely site. However, he has a huge amount of data to put into gamebooks, such as various editions of other boks and deal with titles that change from series to series. If you would like to help, email Demian at


Thursday, April 27, 2017

#AtoZChallenge W is for Michael J. Ward

Hello all! Today, I have some very exciting news from Michael J. Ward, creator of the Destiny Quest series. So far, there are 3 wonderful books full of exploration and awesome combat, but now there's more...

Who are you and what have you written?
I’m Michael J. Ward and I’m the author of the DestinyQuest series of gamebooks that launched back in  2011 with The Legion of Shadow (gosh, was it really that long ago?!). There are currently three books in the series, with a fourth soon to be in the works. 

So book four is going ahead?
Short of any major disasters, then yes I am due to start the writing in July with the aim of completing the book by Christmas (that is my optimistic timeline, anyway). As it has been a while since I penned any fiction then it may well take me some time to get back into the swing of things! 

And the new book is going to be published by Megara Entertainment?
Yes, while I was attending Manticon in Germany last year, I was lucky enough to meet Dave Poppel who was there representing Megara Entertainment. He asked me what my plans were for Book Four and explained that they were very keen to publish the series.
Obviously, I was over the moon with the news. Megara produce some beautiful gamebooks; real collectors’ items, with hardback covers and colour maps etc., so I am extremely excited by the possibilities. 

You mention maps. In Book One and Two there were three maps/acts, but in Book Three there were only two. Will Book Four continue the trend of only having the two maps?  
I found the two act structure very difficult from a story-telling perspective. The only reason I dropped to two maps in Book Three was because my publisher wanted to print the maps on the inside covers. I have been assured by Megara that I am allowed to have three maps and return to the normal three act structure. 

Each book introduces something new and different. In Book Two it was team battles and in Book Three we had the special death moves and the sled races. Can we expect new mechanics in Book Four?
Oh yes, there are going to be a lot of exciting new things. Obviously, it is early days and I can’t go into too much detail, but pets and summoning will be making its debut, giving you further tactical choices in combat. There will also be a ‘vault’ where you can store weapons and equipment, so you no longer have to suffer the soul-crushing loss of destroying that favourite item when you swap it out. There is lots of other new stuff too! 

With each book it feels as though you have been refining the combat and the character classes. What can we expect from Book Four?
My goal with DestinyQuest was to always have the three paths (rogue, mage, warrior) play very differently. It was a difficult aim to achieve and I wasn’t satisfied with the results in the first three books. This time around, I went back to the drawing board and planned the three paths from the ground up, so to speak, especially how their abilities interact. I am pleased to say that I think I have cracked it – and all three paths should genuinely ‘feel’ very different to play now. Each path now has a couple of dedicated builds (i.e. playstyles) that have abilities that play into that. So you could focus your character into one playstyle or take a mix of the two. I think this approach offers much more synergy with abilities and I hope will be much more satisfying to play. 

Will team battles make a come-back?
I’m not sure yet, as there is so much going on with Book Four that adding in the team battles might just be overload for newer players. But don’t rule it out. One thing I can promise though – the legendary monsters are getting a buff for Book Four. Trust me, they are gonna be big, bad and ugly, and present a real hardcore challenge for the dedicated. 

Book Three had the death penalty system to add consequences to losing a combat. Will this see a comeback in Book Four?
The death moves and the death penalty system suited the character and the themes of Book Three, but they don’t really have a place in Book Four.  Instead, your character will have a new special ability (that will link to a new chain of abilities) , which they can use. Again, this will add to the tactical options you have in combat. 

With each book, the choices you make and the paths you can choose have become more complex. What can we expect from the storytelling and options in Book Four?      
I hope to push this as much as I can. I’ve learnt from games such as Telltale’s The Walking Dead, just how powerful character interaction can be – and how that can weigh heavy on your choices. I really want to offer readers a cast of characters that they care about, and choices that will have real and meaningful consequences. While I am still in the very early planning stages, I sense that Book Four will have more in common with The Heart of Fire, in terms of its structure and storytelling.
There was mention on your site of a kickstarter for Book Four. Can you tell us more about this?
Nothing is set in stone as yet, but I know Megara are very keen to run a kickstarter towards the end of the book’s completion. That could be the end of this year, all being well. Megara have already run some very successful campaigns, so I am hopeful and excited that it will be successful – and hopefully offer up some great rewards for DQ fans. We all love shiny loot right?

Sounds awesome. How can readers stay up to date with the latest news?
The news section of the DestinyQuest website is the best place to check - - as well as my Twitter and Facebook pages (you can find the links at the bottom of this page - ). As the book progresses I will be posting regular updates as well as some sneak peeks at the new paths/careers and build mechanics. Exciting times ahead folks!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

#AtoZChallenge S is for Scott Malthouse

Hello lovely people.

Today, I want to tell you about Scott Malthouse, writer of the Trollish Delver blog. Scott has made several RPG products including Tunnels and Trolls products, Quill, a solo roleplaying game about letter writing, USR (short for Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system) and In Darkest Warrens, a rules lite fantasy system.

Scot has come up with two recent products for PWYW.


TEQUENDRIA is a fantastical roleplaying game inspired by the works of Lord Dunsany, the grandfather of modern fantasy. In this game you may become a grim Gravekeeper of Zum, a soul-weilding Icur sorceror or even an artificial Doomgaunt. Travel the wilds of Yann where the winter will bite as fiercly as the wolves, or delve in to the ancient Pits of Snood and face the demons within. Magic coarses through the veins of Tequendria, meaning every creature is somewhat capable of casting spells. Above the clouds of the world adventurers can take to their aether in mighty vessels, visiting strange alien worlds like Dim Carcosa and the Snurk Pits of the Bounds of Leng. 
  • Play as 20 different weird and wonderful archetypes (roll them randomly if you like)
  • Everyone can cast spells 
  • Setting information for the world of Tequendria
  • A bestiary of deadly creatures
  • A selection of fiction by Lord Dunsany
TEQUENDRIA uses the Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying system, whose mechanics are streamlined and beginner-friendly, but allow for customisation.

Astounding Interplanetary Adventures

It's rayguns, aliens and swashbuckling amongst the stars! Astounding Interplanetary Adventures is a minimalist game of pulp sci-fi inspired by serials like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. Using the rules-lite system introduced in In Darkest Warrens, these few pages have everything you need to play a fun romp through space, including aliens, rocket ships and setting information.
All you need is some friends, some six-sides dice and an imagination to begin your life of heroism. Perhaps you want to be a daring pilot, a brave soldier or even a scientist who can build robots to help you out! With AIA it's quick and easy to get to the table and start playing.
What's included:
  • 5 classes: soldier, noble, pilot, scientist, and athlete
  • Alien bestiary
  • Roll random planets
  • Factions
  • Planets
  • Thrills and spills!

Friday, April 21, 2017

#AtoZChallenge R is for RPGs based on solo systems

The Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd edition series continues to grow - this year, we will see the sci-fi version, Stellar Adventures.

Lone Wolf also has an awesome RPG that lets you play classes mentioned in the books, such as Crystal Star magician, border ranger or Knight of the White Mountain.

Tunnels and Trolls has always had a long and proud tradition of solos and it now has a Deluxe edition.

There will soon be an Orb RPG based on the gamebooks set there, such as Talisman of Death, the Duelmaster series and the Way of hte Tiger series.

Of course, there is Dragon Warriors, an RPG set in the land of Legend where the Blood Sword series takes place.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#AtoZChallenge Q is for things that begin with Q

First, we have Qanharren, a gorgeous gamebook that I backed on Kickstarter - I'm looking forward to seeing it!

We also have QUERP (short for Quick and Easy Roleplay) from Greywood Publishing.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

#AtoZChallenge P is for Click your Poison

Hello all! Today, I'd like to let you know about James Schannep, author of some great Click Your Poison books. Go and check them out :)

You can find his blog here.

You can find his author page here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#AtoZChallenge O is for our growing gamebook world

Hello all! I have a big list of new gamebooks that I want to tell you about, so here are a few to look at.

Megara Entertainment is producing gamebooks at a great rate. It is currently adding to and reprinting the Golden Dragon series, but it has also done the same with the Way of the Tiger series. There are also two new Way of the Tiger books - book 0, Ninja! and book 7, Redeemer! by excellent author and probably ninja, David Walters.

Delight Games have tons of interactive book apps. Check them out!

Unimatric Productions are also making awesome apps!

Prime Games Bulgaria are making awesome apps!

There will be more in the next few posts!


Monday, April 17, 2017

#AtoZChallenge N is for New stuff from Mark Lain.

Whassup, gamebookers! Today, we have Mark Lain, writer of the Malthus Dire blog and several great gamebooks. Today, we have an interview on what he's been up to.

Tell us about yourself
I discovered gamebooks when my parents bought me The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain for Christmas 1983 and I was instantly hooked. I strictly only ever got Fighting Fantasy books as a child, but now I collect any gamebooks I can find. I’ve got about 500 or so now but I still think that playing rather than coveting them is the most important aspect. That’s what drove me to create my review blog and, inevitably, to start designing and writing my own.

You do awesomely detailed reviews on your blog – what’s next for review?
I’ve had a few requests for Siege Of Sardath so that’s probably next.

Are you going to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2?
Absolutely! I was at the first one, which was fantastic. I just hope this one compares well.

What have you included in Golden Dragon book 2 Temple of the Flame?
Now that would be telling! I don’t want to give the secrets away, but, essentially, I thought about what I did and didn’t like about the original version, cleaned up some bits that seemed jarring to me, expanded some areas, and added some completely new material of my own. Hopefully people who know the book well with think the new parts add value and those who are new to the book will come away thinking it all gels as a coherent whole.

What gamebooks would you recommend to someone who wants to get into gamebooks?
It depends on the player’s age. Many younger people start with Choose Your Own Adventure which, as much as they are a very mixed bag, they do a good job of demonstrating the sheer variety of gamebook genres and concepts that are out there. Plus, they are fairly easy and don’t get soul-destroying as you try to win. Personally, I’d suggest The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is a good entry point though as it pulls together so many medieval fantasy tropes and is eminently playable. Or maybe even Combat Heroes as you mostly just have to look at the pictures which make it very fast-moving, plus you can play it with a friend.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to write their own gamebook?
Do it! There will always be someone who likes your work and someone else who doesn’t, but don’t get disheartened. Spend a long time planning and designing it to make sure it flows and works properly. Write in short sessions – if you are flagging, so is your text, which means the reader is probably getting bored too.

You have written your own gamebooks. What inspiration do you draw on to write them?
Little moments that I see in movies or tv series that I then expand on. Lyrics from songs  are a good source of inspiration as are things I see or hear as I’m walking to Co-Op. Nightmares are always ripe for plundering too.

What is your new gamebook series about?
The series is called Destiny’s Role. Each book will stand alone. It’s not an ongoing saga or anything like that. The same basic system and world links the books so they have that in common, but each book is self-contained. I’ve got about a dozen concepts already sketched out and the first three books are completely designed, they just need drafting. It will be a mix of approaches: some old school dungeoneering, some item hunts, and some higher-concept stuff

When is it planned to come out?
The first one, called Year Zero, is an introductory book containing four different adventures of various lengths to get players used to the system. Three are written and the art is done. The fourth is fully designed and just needs writing-up. Hopefully the finished book will be out by Summer.