Back in the eighties game books were at the height of their popularity, selling in their hundreds of thousands. Come the nineties, the video game era took over and game books saw a decline, with even the most popular series being pulled from the shelves. With game book fans of yesteryear now adults, they now wish to introduce their children to the genre, with many of them becoming authors of interactive adventures in their own right. The game book market is now reviving, as this generation looks for ways to bring children back to reading rather than screen time.
My new book, JAMTHOLOGY, is an introduction to game books with four thrilling pre-bedtime sized adventures, which start off easy and grow progressively more involving until you finish a seasoned game book adventurer. It is ideal for readers of all ages who wish to begin a journey into interactive stories and pit their wits, rather than read standard cover to cover books.
Larping has recieved a significant smash in the chops due to lockdpwn rules. Personally, the closest I ever got to Larping was cops and robbers, or am-dram productions with a youth club I attended as a boy. So is there a way to get round this? Yes! Oliver McNeil, creator of the incredibly popular Storymaster’s Tales boardgames Weirding Woods and Dracodeep Dungeon, has created an interactive webcam based format, where Larpers can create there own character and explore the multitude of locations in his ever expanding Grimm-esque universe. With encounters of wizards, witches, monsters and magic, this thoroughly absorbing static larp experience draws you straight into a cooperative adventure with dozens of other characters.
The production levels of this visual interactive phenomenon are high, and many people have compared the experience to the old Knightmare TV series from the 80s. My own character, Half-head Harry, is a Thief who is usually handy to have onside when sneaky skullduggery is relied upong to progress the story. Being new to Larping, I can say its easy to get into, and more experienced Larpers are always happy to help you out if you stifle.
While the world of outdoor social RPG is at the mercy of covid 19, I strongly recommend to anybody who like LARP, RPG, D&D and all other immersive live action co op games to check it out. Search for Storymaster’s Tales Online LARP group on Facebook today and have a chat with some of the members about joining in this incredible gaming delight. Ages 14+
Who remembers all those great classic TV programs of the 80s? The Box Of Delights? The Chronicles Of Narnia? Knightmare? The Adventure Game? These were shows that boosted the imaginations of an entire generation, and inspired many. One of those inspired was Mr Oliver McNeil, who has managed to carve himself a career out of said inspirations, creating games, and interactive theatrical performances. Now YOU can join in as he takes the show live online.
Oliver’s latest venture was a hybrid RPG boardgame named The Storymaster’s Tales – Weirding Woods and it’s already became something of a cult hit in the gaming community, with a second game Dracodeep Dungeon currently funding on Kickstarter. However, combining the elements of theatre, game, visual FX and internet you are all able to watch and take part in a LIVE interactive version on his Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/339654010167488/?ref=share
Hosted by Oliver himself alongside other actors and clever puppetry, he brings the Grimm Brothers-esque setting of Weirding Woods to life and you get to explore and take part in subplots as you strive to fulfill your primary mission be it slaying Evil Sorcerer’s or saving the world from a plague of living dead. With an ever expanding land, equipment, foes and treasure, this is a great way to spend time and liven up the pandemic lockdown. If you’d like to take part in one of the upcoming shows, click here and join the group for performance times https://www.facebook.com/groups/339654010167488/?ref=share
Today my dear friend Oliver McNeil launches his new Kickstarter campaign for the sequel to his award winning ( 😉 ) tabletop RPG, The Storymaster’s Tales Weirding Woods. The new adventure sees you as a hero trying to gain glory from the perilous Dracodeep Dungeon. New magic, new monsters and new characters abound in this fantasy Grimm-esque world. Having play-testing it live recently, I can tell you that it has all the makings of another masterpiece like it’s predecessor and it is great to see The Storymaster’s Tales universe expanding with another game in the pipeline even now. If you haven’t gone so yet, check out Mr McNeil’s Kickstarter by clicking this link The StoryMaster’s Tales “Dracodeep Dungeon” Hybrid RPG, via @Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendphotography/the-storymasters-tales-dracodeep-dungeon-hybrid-rpg?ref=android_project_share
I’m proud to announce my good friend and author Mark Lain has launched a follow up to his Destiny’s Role gamebook on Kickstarter. With a colour cover art by the legendary Alan Langford and interior art by modern illustrator Mike Tenebrae, you can help fund this amazing interactive project by CLICKING HERE.
So the fabulous Olly McNeil (pictured here with the equally fit and young virile one) has brought out his third tabletop game after an uber successful Kickstarter funding. The Storymasters Tales – Weirding Woods.
Jam with Olly McNeil, the games creator.
So how did the game bear up? Restricted by time due to two under 3y.o’s, we had to wait for an alloted window to turn up. Tonight we opened the box, familiarised with the rules and to keep it simple my Mrs, Victoria, played solo and I was storyteller. She created a character called Gladys who was a witch. I chose the Night Of The Dead storyline as I’m a Romero fan lol.
We soon picked up the gist of the game, it’s easiness being in not having too many stats to worry over. The cards for the game are beautifully illustrated and help conjure up an atmosphere. Each turn, Vic took a card and I read out the plot, at one point she was very happy to have purchased a dog from a trader. She then proceeded to choose one of four options and Gladys the Witch was swiftly torn to shreds by a dreaded Blood Wolf only a few turns in. (If only she had a squeaky tennis ball)
Just swigging some mead between FATE rolls.
As a player of D&D back in the 80s, Vics only gripe with the game is there are only four options per plot. She wanted to stay their, craft arrows, set snares, etc so I had to say it wasn’t a saga of a game to that scale. Nonetheless she still loves it so we had another go. It was meant to be my go but as Vic was felled so soon I gave her another chance. Same quest, different character. This time, a Soldier called Bwian. She did much better this time but still fell foul of a monster. This time the Devil himself. (fancy fighting him… duh?).
All in all we have become rather attached to this game after only a couple of goes and will be swapping rolls tomorrow night so I get to play. Well recommended, easy to pick up, and beautifully presented. The only thing I’d say is add a wee slip case or rubber band for the card deck.
September has seen the release of Fighting Fantasy game book Assassins Of Allansia by the Guv himself, Ian Livingstone.
Assassins Of Allansia
I recently picked up my hardback copy of the book at the Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 from the authors son, Jack. I mentioned my weirdo number 44, and asked if that copy was available as all 400 copies were numbered. He dug it out for me also mentioning it’s Ian’s weirdo number as well. Nice. Anyway Ian signed it later on with a personal message.
So, with all that aside… what do i think to this entry in the popular gamebook series?
It’s a lovely adventure to come back after the series sending up that was Gates Of Death and the fair but fatally flawed Port Of Peril. I’m old school FF and thus have noticed that this and especially Gates seem to have alternative lore to the Fighting Fantasy book many of us have read. The DECAYER in Assassins for example, is nothing like the undead looking creature inked by Tim Sell in Out Of The Pit. SEE HERE. We are also getting Earth christian names now, like Florence, Henry and Samuel. This isn’t detrimental to the book in itself but it is a thorn in an old school fans side. Makes it feel like there’s a dimension crack and reality is seeping into our beloved Titan. Hold on, 20GPs to stay on a dangerous island for how long? You can find that just bumming around for a day.
The art by Robert Ball is somewhat nicer than Vlado Krizans and given Scholastic seem to avoid the more detailed illustrations of yesteryear in favour for dummied down jagged angular repro’s I finally feel a sense of actually being on Titan again. Not much, just a bit.
I think we need to stop comparing what FF was and accept it is going to be different now a bit like any other series reboot. (Doctor Who, James Bond etc). Definitely a Livingstone book. Youll know what that means after a couple of nights on the island. The story itself is packed full of dangers and the Guv has gone out of his way to make you not want to try things out in case it causes stat penalties. Also, you could call this FF5and a half as it takes place between City Of Thieves and Deathtrap Dungeon. Not to mention an appearance of a familiar much loved character from one of them…and I dont mean Azzur or Sukumvit.
Overall, if we brush away the old school cobwebs and altering Titan lore, this is the best since the Scholastic FF revival. I hope more come out like this rather than the previous couple.
TURN YOUR HOME INTO A REAL CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION…
Escapoly is a mystery, co-operative, detective experience created especially for escape room, treasure hunt and logical game lovers. https://t.co/FG3fdrTdye
The Fighting Fantasy game book series has played a massive part in my life, to the point i need some space back here on my blog. So I have finally taken it upon myself to build my own fan site dedicated to this 80s phenomenon. I’m still in the midst of optimising and adding content but I’m sure you’ll agree it isn’t looking too bad. CLICK HERE to take a peek.