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Adventure Gamebooks Question

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Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Scurra wrote:
falloutfan wrote:
I'm familiar with Jackson and Livingstone, I consider them famous as far as I'm concerned. They contributed a lot to my early years of gaming. They are like grands-pères in the game industry.
They were at GenConUK a few years ago to sign copies of the newly reprinted FF books. So I took along my original 1st edition copy of Warlock of Firetop Mountain to note that I'd been waiting twenty years for this chance ;-)

You are very lucky indeed! I'm very jealous! :)

Solo games were a very big part of my childhood, as I didn't have too many people to play with. I spent a lot of time by myself going through those books. Firetop Mountain is arguably one of the best solo adventures written. As you are probably aware, it spawned a board game as well.

Sincerely,
Falloutfan

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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Scurra wrote:
falloutfan wrote:
I'm familiar with Jackson and Livingstone, I consider them famous as far as I'm concerned. They contributed a lot to my early years of gaming. They are like grands-pères in the game industry.
They were at GenConUK a few years ago to sign copies of the newly reprinted FF books. So I took along my original 1st edition copy of Warlock of Firetop Mountain to note that I'd been waiting twenty years for this chance ;-)

Did you ask SJ why he keeps producing such subpar board games these days?

-D

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

TrollBasher wrote:
Hi all,

Falloutfan (again): Is is worth me getting a hold of these Tunnels and Trolls gameboks. I've never played them before and was wondering if they would help at all in my creation. As to the random encounter/event. Yes I can do that.

P.S. Ramble away. Your posts are of genuine interest.

Sorry for the long post guys but I wanted to respond to as many of you as possible and to thank you for your interest - my gameworld is coming along nicely.

I don't think I'd recommend that T&T books to anyone other than a masochist. (Someone who enjoys suffering) They are brutally unforgiving. They typically have very little middle game, with a short distance between the beginning and an ugly death. Myself however, I take them as a challenge. I love solo games. The Fighting Fantasy books seem long and well developed by comparison. I do however have a couple of spare copies of the T&T dungeons. Let me know if you're interested, and I can mail them to you.

One thing that's of interest, is that they generally support magic users. They use a matrix at the back of the book where you look up your spell, and cross index it to the paragraph you're currently in. A symbol there will tell you what the effect of the spell was, or what new paragraph to turn to. They can range in effectiveness from full effect, to 1/2 effect, to no effect at all. Informational spells are very useful - especially spells that let you find hidden things.

Regards,
Falloutfan

larienna
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

On my point of view, the best books are those like :

Warlock of Firetop Mountain
and
the Maze of death

Because they have many paths, so you can have some replay value. Second, you need to find some items to finish the game(key in the first or gems in the second). So you might try to replay the game to see where in hell are hidden those items. Making an item check list at the end of the book could be a interesting idea.

Having different choices of characters or abilities, could also give a replay value since some abilities can open you some paths.

By the way, I have a novel called "The trolltooth wars" which is a prequel of the "Warlock of Firetop Mountain" written by steve jackson. I think I have seen once the board game about the "Warlock of Firetop Mountain". Is it on board game geek?

Some book have indeed very bad path system.

The demon's Horde?(Blazing Wolf?)

The story is a straight line and there is only little variation that you can make. Some paragraphs are more than 2 pages. So there is pratically no replay value. I even found a glitch in the game that allowed me to boost myself indefinately.

The seal of destructions?(FF) by steve jackson.

This is the worst path system I ever seen. I died on the 3rd paragraph. At the beginning you have 3 path. One of them kill you instantly. For Each other path you can either stop or continue. If you stop, make a luck roll or die. If you win, you get something necessary to end the game. So finishing the game can only be done by winning a luck roll at the beginning of the game.

Beside the replay value, a problem with adventure books is that you must read them at home since you need a pen and some dices. I generally read on the bus, so the only thing I can do is playing by succeeding all dice rolls. Yeah I know, a book series allowed you to roll dices by flipping pages but it is still not enough since you must record life and equipment. Using card and inserting them in pages could be a solution to keep track of life, items or other stuff.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Larienna wrote:
On my point of view, the best books are those like :

Warlock of Firetop Mountain and the Maze of death

Because they have many paths, so you can have some replay value. Second, you need to find some items to finish the game(key in the first or gems in the second). So you might try to replay the game to see where in hell are hidden those items. Making an item check list at the end of the book could be a interesting idea.

I haven't heard of the maze of death. Sounds interesting. Is it a Fighting Fantasy book?

Larienna wrote:

Having different choices of characters or abilities, could also give a replay value since some abilities can open you some paths.

By the way, I have a novel called "The trolltooth wars" which is a prequel of the "Warlock of Firetop Mountain" written by steve jackson. I think I have seen once the board game about the "Warlock of Firetop Mountain". Is it on board game geek?

Here's the link to the Warlock of Firetop mountain on BGG:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1144

I think advancement is important. I'd like to see a series of books or games where characters advance over time. Regretably, the FF books have little connection between them.

Larienna wrote:

The seal of destructions?(FF) by steve jackson.

This is the worst path system I ever seen. I died on the 3rd paragraph. At the beginning you have 3 path. One of them kill you instantly. For Each other path you can either stop or continue. If you stop, make a luck roll or die. If you win, you get something necessary to end the game. So finishing the game can only be done by winning a luck roll at the beginning of the game.

That's the problem with Tunnels and Trolls -very often, one bad roll and you die. Or, to succeed, you need MANY good rolls in a row. Both are frustrating.

Larienna wrote:

Beside the replay value, a problem with adventure books is that you must read them at home since you need a pen and some dices. I generally read on the bus, so the only thing I can do is playing by succeeding all dice rolls. Yeah I know, a book series allowed you to roll dices by flipping pages but it is still not enough since you must record life and equipment. Using card and inserting them in pages could be a solution to keep track of life, items or other stuff.

There is a solo game called "Island of D". It's card based! You don't need paper, or a pen. It does use a die though. You have cards that represent your abilities, and you spend them to do things. Here's a link:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/18246

There's also a sequel, called "Island of D 2" It needs no dice!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19212

Both sound kind of interesting. I'm thinking of downloading them and trying them out!

<> I just noticed Jack (The creator) posts here, and uses the same avatar as on BGG. Hi Jack! ((Waves)) Here I am hawking your game and I didn't even notice you posted in the same thread! Sorry about that!

Regards,
(Embarrassed) Falloutfan.

larienna
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

I have currently printed "Island of D" but have not played yet. Still need to cut the cards.

Thank for the game geek link. By looking at the map, It almost match the map I had drawn while playing.

About the "Maze of death" I am not sure if it is the right traduction. Maybe it's the "Labyrinth of Death" or something like it.

The theme is really cool. Each year there is some sort of tournament where heroes enter a maze, with people living in it, and they must exit the maze to win a large fortune. But to exit the maze you need 3 gems which are lost in the maze or own by other people. At the exit door, you must place them in a specific order. If you place them in the wrong order, you can die.

So the first time you play the book, you reach the end of the maze to realise that you need 3 gem. The next time you play, you must find where are these gems located. And then you must find, what is the path I must use to make sure I end up with the 3 gems at the end of the maze. And finaly, you must find the right combination. (6 possible permutation).

Anonymous
Hello

Hello im liam and i'm mad into fantasy bourd games

TrollBasher
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Hi Larienna,

I think the book you are describing is Deathtrap Dungeon. A fighting fantasy book by Ian Livingstone. If you enjoyed that then you should also get a hold of Trial of Champions which has you returning to the same dungeon to face new challenges.

Bye.

Scurra
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Darkehorse wrote:
Scurra wrote:
They [Jackson and Livingstone] were at GenConUK a few years ago to sign copies of the newly reprinted FF books.
Did you ask SJ why he keeps producing such subpar board games these days?
I think he's probably past the point of getting annoyed about this confusion. To make the whole thing completely insane, I believe that the US Steve Jackson did actually write a title in the original FF line; I think this was done for comedy value rather than any intrinsic merit :-) I have met both of them at different times and in different contexts...

Scurra
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

falloutfan wrote:
I think advancement is important. I'd like to see a series of books or games where characters advance over time. Regretably, the FF books have little connection between them.
Have the 'Lone Wolf' books not been mentioned here yet? (Project Aon has put many of them on-line.) This was a very ambitious series in which your character developed skills that became useful in later books; the real miracle was that these later books still worked as stand-alone titles (just about!) giving different paths through the story.

TrollBasher
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Hi Scurra,

Yep I have the complete Lone Wolf Series and it is this kind of adventure that I am aiming to write. However, my books will be seperated into trilogies with each three books telling a smaller story within the larger frame of the complete series. Well that's how I'm thinking of doing it anyway.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Scurra wrote:
falloutfan wrote:
I think advancement is important. I'd like to see a series of books or games where characters advance over time. Regretably, the FF books have little connection between them.
Have the 'Lone Wolf' books not been mentioned here yet? (Project Aon has put many of them on-line.) This was a very ambitious series in which your character developed skills that became useful in later books; the real miracle was that these later books still worked as stand-alone titles (just about!) giving different paths through the story.

The Lone Wolf books are great. A nice compromise between a table top RPG and a "Choose your own Adventure" book. My one quibble with the Lone Wolf books, is that the Summersword can take much of the challenge out of the books once you acquire it. Some people have suggested that in order to keep the series a challenge, that you "lose" it, or nerf it a bit. That being said, they have all of the things I like in solo games: Deep story, character advancement, hair raising thrills. Definately classic.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

TrollBasher wrote:
Hi Scurra,

Yep I have the complete Lone Wolf Series and it is this kind of adventure that I am aiming to write. However, my books will be seperated into trilogies with each three books telling a smaller story within the larger frame of the complete series. Well that's how I'm thinking of doing it anyway.

The trilogy idea sounds good. The first set will be done by this weekend, right? :D I want to get started playing them right away!

I'm looking forward to playing them one day. Keep us posted as you go along!

Respectfully,
Falloutfan

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Larienna wrote:

The theme is really cool. Each year there is some sort of tournament where heroes enter a maze, with people living in it, and they must exit the maze to win a large fortune. But to exit the maze you need 3 gems which are lost in the maze or own by other people. At the exit door, you must place them in a specific order. If you place them in the wrong order, you can die.

So the first time you play the book, you reach the end of the maze to realise that you need 3 gem. The next time you play, you must find where are these gems located. And then you must find, what is the path I must use to make sure I end up with the 3 gems at the end of the maze. And finaly, you must find the right combination. (6 possible permutation).

I think that this is a great idea - requiring specific objects to succeed. That delays the "critical path" behavior that can develop, where the players quickly learn the minimum they need to do in order to win. It can still happen, but what you mentioned forces them to take at least a minimum amount of risks. Decisions and risks form the backbone of solo games. (As opposed to just throwing dice) Player advancement or death should be an equal consequence of decisions and planning rather than just hurling the dice. Throwing dice is fun, but decisions and resource management add more complexity and replay value. (Resource management is where you must choose which thing or companion to take with you, which influences how the game will progress)

I also like the idea of scoring - getting points for how well you do. That way you can try to beat previous scores.

Sincerely,
Falloutfan

larienna
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Since we have discussed a lot about adventure books, why not talk about parodies and variations of adventure books. From what I know, all the books listed below are only available in french.

--- Parodies ---

The book where you are the idot
It is the story of a rich, snob, selfish guy who want to climb in the ranks of society and eventually become an important person.

The book where you are Eros
You are a detective who investigate stuff and try to seduce womens to gain informations or influence. All the love scene`s description are metaphoric.

--- Variations ---

There was some sort of album where each page had a different game. Some pages had a maze with different exit that lead you to another page. Or there was some sort of puzzle to solve or thing to find on the page.

Another type of books was some sort of mystery solving game. There was a lot of images and you needed a lot of observation skill to find clues that will help you uncover the mystery. If you made false supposition, you receive a cream pie in the face. Some time you could ask for a hint making you lose points on your final score.

That is all I can remember from the adventures books read when I was a kid.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

I sort of wanted to just lurk for awhile, but I couldn't read this thread without posting in it. Gamebooks have long been a great love of mine, and though I haven't played any in a long time, I would say that some of my biggest literary influences growing up were gamebooks. Which, I know, is a weird thing to say, but I just have such fond memories of them and have yet to come across anything with the same combination of narrative and immersive non-linearity - except maybe for interactive fiction computer games (another great love of mine).

This thread has really inspired me, and made me kind of want to give creating my own gamebooks a shot. Though, as mentioned, the buying market is slim. There's always just approaching it as a hobby, for the fun of it, but putting all that work into something that basically only I and maybe a handful of other people would ever see isn't so appealing. But it's something to mull over.

Good luck to Trollbasher and anyone else doing or considering this. I'd love to see gamebooks make a comeback with the buying public again, but even in spite of all that I'd just love some new quality gamebooks to play. If anyone here gets to the point of having a book to sell, you can bet I'll buy one.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

JudgeJeezor wrote:

This thread has really inspired me, and made me kind of want to give creating my own gamebooks a shot. Though, as mentioned, the buying market is slim. There's always just approaching it as a hobby, for the fun of it, but putting all that work into something that basically only I and maybe a handful of other people would ever see isn't so appealing. But it's something to mull over.

Good luck to Trollbasher and anyone else doing or considering this. I'd love to see gamebooks make a comeback with the buying public again, but even in spite of all that I'd just love some new quality gamebooks to play. If anyone here gets to the point of having a book to sell, you can bet I'll buy one.

Hi Judgejeezor! Welcome to the forum!

I think that while the market for gamebooks may be slender, we have two advantages that the original creators of Fighting Fantasy and the others didn't have at the time. Namely, a strong internet, and PDF technology. Seems to me that PDF is really coming to age in this decade, and that more people will be producing and buying PDF products as time goes on. People like Trollbasher and others can create a gamebook in PDF format, and sell it quite economically through a web site. They don't even have to own the site - there are lots of people out there willing to offer product online for a commission. People with established sites that get tons of traffic.

Lastly - even if none of us get published professionally, theres nothing to say we can't form our own ring of contacts and fans among ourselves. Just by reading this message thread, we've come into contact with like minded individuals. If one of the people contributing to this thread happen to actually complete something in the next weeks or months, he or she has a ready made audience to playtest and comment. I'm sure people wouldn't have to twist my arm to get me to try their product.

We can do this for fun, and as a hobby, but also maybe make a tiny bit of money at little to no risk. Assuming I had a product, I'd be delighted to sell even just a few.

The exposure to other gamers is one of the great things about this board.

Anyway - again, welcome, and hope to be hearing more from you.

Respectfully,

Falloutfan.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Thanks for the welcome, falloutfan! It's weird that I just discovered this place a few days ago, having been interested in game design for most of my life, though mostly preoccupied with writing the last few years. That's why the idea of working on gamebooks is so appealing - it basically combines two things I really love.

Quote:
Lastly - even if none of us get published professionally, theres nothing to say we can't form our own ring of contacts and fans among ourselves. Just by reading this message thread, we've come into contact with like minded individuals. If one of the people contributing to this thread happen to actually complete something in the next weeks or months, he or she has a ready made audience to playtest and comment. I'm sure people wouldn't have to twist my arm to get me to try their product.

We can do this for fun, and as a hobby, but also maybe make a tiny bit of money at little to no risk. Assuming I had a product, I'd be delighted to sell even just a few.

The exposure to other gamers is one of the great things about this board.

That's so true, and you've pretty much convinced me to give it a go. Even if only a handful of people ever saw the finished product, if that handful of people like it, well, that's reward enough.

PDF is a good idea. Though I like the idea of having an actual physical book too, maybe through using something like a print on demand service. It's stuff I'll have to think over. First and foremost I should probably think of ideas. I never saw enough science fiction gamebooks as I would have liked, so maybe something along those lines.

On the subject of really good gamebooks - did anyone ever play any of the Fabled Lands books? I have the first one. It was really, really non-linear - from what I can tell, you couldn't even really finish it, you could just do everything you could do in the book and then you'd get to references where if you wanted to go to a certain place you'd have to turn to a reference in another book in the series. It had no real overarching plot, there was just tons of subplots and things you could get involved in, like you could pick sides in the war, and there were all sorts of nifty class-specific subquests. It's definitely one of the best gamebooks I ever played.

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

Can't say I've heard of the Fabled Lands series, but the idea of a recursive type environment is interesting. I'll have to do some research on the series.

A physical book would be a great thing, and I think you're right about print on demand. That would be the way to go.

I'd like to mention that Flying Buffalo, who made lots of solitaire adventures for "Tunnels and Trolls", used a variety of formats. This included 8.5" by 11" spiral bindings, like Kinkos can do. These had a 1 or 2 color front cover of heavier stock, and a heavier rear cover. The pages inside were standard paper fare. That can probably be done very economically. I've got a few of those, and they last a long time. They also did a staple bound version, with a heavy full color front and back. the covers were glossy and had some decent art. I guess you'd say that the original pages were 11" x 17", and then folded over and stapled. (Like an 8.5" x 11" magazine) Those were pricier.

Additionally, they did half size versions of each adventure in black and white, (8.5" x 5.5") Lastly, they also did "2 for 1" type paperbacks, where there were two adventures in each book. (I believe you had to turn the book over to play the second adventure)

There are a lot of options. For a start, I think that the half size renditions would be pretty inexpensive. Personally, I like the spiral bound 8.5 x 11" in terms of both economy and function.

Respectfully,

Falloutfan

Anonymous
Adventure Gamebooks Question

I dug out my copy of the first Fabled Lands book, and it actually appears they were printed under the title Quest in North America.

I'll have to check out Tunnels and Trolls. Spiral-sound does sound like a good way to go. I'll have to check out various print on demand services and see what their cheapest options are. But before I worry too much about that, I have to actually start writing the damn thing.

Anyone here started working on one who would like to share how they're going about it? I think I may employ the method detailed in this article:

http://gamebooks.mantikora.com/howto.html

In addition, there are some great resources at http://www.advancedfightingfantasy.com.

I think the hardest thing is the planning. The articles on that site and others I've read suggest against just jumping in and writing the thing, but rather to plan out thoroughly by drawing a map or making a flowchart, that details locations and choices that can be made at each.

There's also a lot of decisions to be made. Do I, for example, write a connected series, where you carry your character and his stats and items over from book to book, or a series of standalone books, the way Fighting Fantasy worked? Probably a connected series would work best initially, the logic being if the first book is well-recieved, people will want to play the second, and so on. But the disadvantage there is that if I ever got to the point where I had a number of books in the series, newcomers might be discouraged with the prospect of starting a whole series of gamebooks, where a series of standalone gamebooks means they could pick the ones that interest them to play in any order and any length apart from each other. Trollbasher's trilogy concept seems like a very good way to get around some of the connected series problems, as does the Fabled Lands method of each book representing an area of the world and all the quests available in it, rather than representing a single quest to be completed.

It's all stuff to consider. Replayability and character advancement seem to be pretty important to most who've posted in this thread. I think replayability is important, though I can't say I was ever particularly bummed out that my characters in Fighting Fantasy books didn't advance. As long as I was getting to new areas and unravelling more of the story, in addition to collecting new items and occasionally replenishing my Luck score, I felt like I was advancing, though compared to other gamebooks with levels and accumulated skill points, I really wasn't. I guess I played gamebooks more for an engaging story told in a non-linear fashion than I did for building my character - honestly, some of my favourite gamebooks were ones with a more clearly defined character whose role you take on, than the vague "This is YOU, develop yourself how YOU want to be." I like the characters in books I read to be well-developed and have personalities, even if the character is being controlled by and in a sense is me. If the character is well-defined, that character develops as I advance through more of the story. If I wanted to focus on character development through stats, I'd play an RPG.

Sorry for the long post. It's just nice to find somewhere where I can actually talk about this stuff. Pretty much no one I know even knows what gamebooks are, let alone would ever play one.

YojimboUK
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Adventure Gamebooks Question

Fabled Lands was probably the most ambitious and most interesting set of solo gamebooks. I've got several of them, and others are online, in fan-made editions produced with the blessing of the original creators.

The series' two main points of interest, game-design-wise, were:
1. Each book described one kingdom within a fantasy world. The layout of encounter locations was mostly geographical, so if you moved too far in one direction you'd walk into a different book.
2. A codeword system to record if you'd visited a location before or performed a particular deed. This meant that you could enter a town and have different encounters if you were wearing an emblem, or NPCs would treat you differently if you'd done something heroic/stupid/traitorous.

The combination of these two meant that -- contrary to what JudgeJ said, though it's understandable if he's only got one book -- there were long adventures and quests that spanned several books. In at least one case you would get a mission-setup in one book, find the object of your mission in another, but have to return to the first to complete the job. The series is a terrific piece of design, and has some great post-Jack Vance writing with a very dark sense of humour.

Unfortunately the books command collectors' prices these days: abebooks.com lists five, in a $30-$70 range.

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