Here is my feedback for Peledgathol, the Last Fortress by Ashton Saylor who won a merit award in this year's Windhammer competition
If you make the right choices then all combats you fight
would involve enemies having a skill 2 higher than yours, making it easy to
defeat them with a 1d6. The exceptions
are a giant spider with a skill 4 higher than yours but only 1 strength,
meaning that you have 3 chances to roll a 5-6 on 1 die and a giant goblin that
you don’t have to fight.
When determining the success of a military mission or the
number of dwarves who come to your fort or the number of battle points your
get, 2d6 may be a big range.
The book is quite difficult to win. It is a strategy game in a gamebook and I
failed a few times, but I was satisfied with my success. It is a good challenge, not too easy or
First time died fighting goblins paragraph 93.
Died on 82
Died on 89.
Turned into Devra on page 20
Died on my next go because by battle score was too low.
I won on my next go because I realised that the way of
winning is by getting the resources in the right order (ore first so that you
can make weapons and then get 80 extra warriors and a general if you use the
apprentice craftsdwarf) to upgrade my fort then obtaining lots of extra
commoners and warriors.
There are plenty of options for you and decisions for you to
make – where should you make your fortress?
What should you do with each season?
Which part of the caves should you escape through? There are plenty of things that you can do.
The puzzle comes when you determine how to deploy your
forces and obtain as many battle points as possible. It also comes with the order in which you do
things over the seasons in order to maximise your defences and get as many
warriors as possible.
The solution to the puzzle is working out what to do at the
beginning (so you have the correct resources to start with), where to put your
fortress and in what order you do the seasonal actions.
It’s good that you don’t get rewarded for taking too many
risks and that fits the situation – your character is a responsible king, not
some lone adventurer. You also have to
lose resources or people on your journey and that is something that the king
has to deal with. Berek Stonewhisper
doesn’t make it so sacrifice is inevitable.
You need to know how to minimise the losses.
There are plenty of interesting characters and your
interaction with them is a big part of the book as you have to lead them and,
in some cases, be responsible for their deaths.
The story itself is quite an archetypal one – you are thrust
into a huge role of responsibility and have to complete a long journey then
kill your family’s killer.
This year, I voted for Peledgathol, the Last Fortress for
its strategy system and having a story where you have to make difficult choices
and A strange Week for King Melchion the Despicable for its puzzles and story
with a great twist.