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ravnaz
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By 'read' to you really mean 'stick your fingers at multiple option points to ensure you get the best deal' and 'roll 6 for everything at the start'?

It was all about Space Assassin.

heh heh :-) no that would be cheating*

Never played Space Assassin. The last one I read was Creature of Havoc. My first was Masks of Mayhem.

* I may have stuck my fingers at multiple option points

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The Rings of... Kether, I think, was another good one. I only really liked the sci--fi ones. I tried with the others, but they didn't work as well. I remember that everybody loved House of Horror, but I could never get on with it. It recommended that you draw a map as you go along, but the compass directions contradicted each other. Most frustrating.

The Super Mario Bros. ones, by the way, are actually quite good. Worth checking out.

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It was all about Space Assassin.

Space Assassin and Robot Commando were my two favourite futuristic ones. My favourite ever was Fangs of Fury. Loved that. Closely followed by Creature of Havoc which was rock, rock hard.

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I still play and collect gamebooks of all types, though FF is probably my favourite overall series thanks to the strong childhood memories. I find them to still be massive fun - especially if you play them properly. I guarantee if you sit down with those dice and do it properly you will have an immensely satisfying experience (if you ever had any inclination towards gamebooks in the first place of course).

Every year or two this topic comes up and a whole bunch of forumites get misty-eyed. Warms my heart :omg:

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You read the Lone Wolf ones Sabes? My brother had 4 of them, not sure how many there were in total. A bit more mature than the FF ones and really beautiful with schematics of time machines and all sorts. Never played them properly but I used to love just looking at them.

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Yeah, I dabbled in Lone Wolf as a kid but it never really gelled with me until years later. Perhaps I preferred FF because each was a self-contained adventure (for the most part, barring stuff like Sorcery!). Mongoose Publishing has been reissuing new versions of the Lone Wolf books, with Joe Dever rewriting the bits he was never satisfied with, and finally completing the saga as he intended with 4 completely new books to cap it off. New illustrations, too.

A real gem of a series is the Fabled Lands books, unfortunately never completed as a set but 6 of the proposed 12 did make it out. It's like the gamebook version of a western computer RPG. Free-roaming, picking up and completing quests as you go, and increasing your stats in order to move on to more dangerous places.

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A real gem of a series is the Fabled Lands books, unfortunately never completed as a set but 6 of the proposed 12 did make it out. It's like the gamebook version of a western computer RPG. Free-roaming, picking up and completing quests as you go, and increasing your stats in order to move on to more dangerous places.

This sounds amazing/crazy. How big/complicated were these books?

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They average about 700 entries per book. They use tick boxes and codewords to keep track of whether you've been part of a particular event before - say, you'd arrive in the location and it would say If you have the codeword 'Anchor' turn to ___. If not, continue reading. Completing whatever task lay in that location would give you the codeword.

When simply wandering around you can get into random encounters, and by defeating enemies as well as completing quests you can increase your Rank, which in turn increases your maximum stamina. You also have various ability scores (Charisma, Thievery, etc) that can increase or decrease throughout the adventure.

At various points in each book there are 'exits' to other books, so for example at a border crossing it might say Turn to entry 34 in book 4. They really are very cool. In fact there's a downloadable version to play along the same lines as the 'Project AON' Lone Wolf one:

http://au.geocities.com/jemann75/

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  • 2 weeks later...

In a similar vein I've just ordered Tales of the Arabian Nights which is a multiplayer boardgame version of these books. It uses a board and card system to help everyone keep track of their adventures as the game progresses. I can't wait for it to arrive.

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By 'read' to you really mean 'stick your fingers at multiple option points to ensure you get the best deal' and 'roll 6 for everything at the start'?

It was all about Space Assassin.

Oh wow, you are me. Except I didn't have dice to hand and said "well, let's say for this instance I roll a...6. Again." :) I definitely "saved my progress" with my fingers/extra bookmarks though...

One of the first ones I had was Starship Traveller, and then I moved onto a few others. There were other franchises doing their own spin-offs too; I remember owning two interesting Choose Your Own Adventure books based on Lemmings, and I'm sure I also had this "Dungeoneer" book that centred around directing your own adventures, or something...

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I've tried pretty much every gamebook series the mid80s had to offer. Depsite being the most famous of the genre, I actually found the Fighting Fantasy ones the weakest of the bunch, most were far too reliant on a single path through the book and jam packed with bullshit instadeaths. The best ones tended to be the more forgiving ones which featured multiple paths and endings (Robot Commando and Appointment With FEAR don't get mentioned much, mainly due to being more sci-fi than fantasy but both were superbly open ended and allowed for different adventures instead of the one true path that Ian Livingstone's stories tended to feature). Steve Jackson's Sorcery! remains my favourite of the series, that was epic as hell even if it was guilty of some nasty situations (FUCK YOU, SERPENT OF TIME).

Other series I'd recommend are the Way of the Tiger books, which feature multiple paths, a strong, recurring cast and a ballbreaking cunt bastard of ending you can't but help admire once the anger subsides. Grail Quest wins points for being the wittiest series of the time - surreal, absurdist adventures in Camelot with a talking sword and a bad poetry spouting ghoul - but my favourite gamebook series overall was the 5 part Blood Sword saga. The first book is merely a Deathtrap Dungeon copy but from there the story steps up into a grand epic encompassing Greek myths, the Crusades and loads more, before finally finishing up with the Best Boss Battle Ever minutes before the Day of Judgement. Any game that lets you win by committing suicide rules in my book.

Lone Wolf and Grey Star have their moments too but fuck me, Dever loves his Ha-HA instadeath screwjobs. The time where Lone Wolf, armed to the teeth with a sword that practically annihilates anything within 10 yards, dies because someone shoved an apple barrel over a cellar door left a particularly sour taste in the mouth...

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You could modify these to make a cracking forum game.

It'd be single player, though. A bit like the Knightmare thread, really.

Oh yeah, easy. There's a few going on in the Lets Play thread on Something Awful right now. One's doing Way of the Tiger, the other is a hilariously death filled attempt to get through The House of Hell, they've been trying for weeks to get through and still have a ways to go. Steve Jackson could be a right bastard when the mood took him!

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Dead of Night was the best, fucking fantastic.

Dead of Night! Had that brilliant bit where you fought the giant demon that came out of the chasm (as pictured on the cover). Scariest FF creature ever.

EDIT:

FF40.jpg

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Hell naw, the scariest FF creature ever was the Messenger of Death. Blatant. It was such a cruel thing to have in a book that was very much a treasure hunt - an spectral superbastard hiding the letters D-E-A-T-H all over the place and swallowing your soul if you stumbled upon them all. And whatever happened, you couldn't smash his face in even if you 'won' the game.

image009.jpg

Fuck that guy.

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One thing I love about the FF books is that everyone confuses the FF Steve Jackson with the Steve Jackson of SJG Car Wars etc and assumes they're the same person. Yet Car Wars Steve Jackson DID write some FF books (Scorpion Swamp), which makes the whole thing even more confusing.

h2728.jpg

Transforming robots AND dinosaurs!

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You could modify these to make a cracking forum game.

It'd be single player, though. A bit like the Knightmare thread, really.

You could set up future events by saying stuff like "go to post #134 to fight the Grue" in post 12 or something. It'd be a bit chaotic, but still...

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