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Barrington Boots:

--- Quote from: wedgeski on 12 August, 2022, 06:05:14 PM ---For you knowledgeable Gamebook-ers, what would you say is the current state of the art in this genre?

--- End quote ---

That's a good question. Gamebooks are definitely niche stuff now, so the art is very variable. I think a lot of it is sadly below par but as Richard says Tazio Bettin is doing the latest FF and I've just got a gamebook with art by Neil Googe.
My Freeway Warrior books have new art and it's quite cartoony in feel - feels more modern and less classic, if that makes sense?

Funt Solo:

--- Quote from: SmallBlueThing(Reborn) on 11 August, 2022, 03:43:23 PM ---Regular readers of this thread should be made aware that this month's Fortean Times- out today- has a cover and interior feature about Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

From the cover: "The multi million selling gamebooks that sparked a moral panic and became a cultural phenomenon." Also with an Ian Livingston interview.

SBT

--- End quote ---

Thanks for the tip. Good article.

Robin Low:

--- Quote from: Barrington Boots on 13 August, 2022, 10:43:08 AM ---
--- Quote from: wedgeski on 12 August, 2022, 06:05:14 PM ---For you knowledgeable Gamebook-ers, what would you say is the current state of the art in this genre?

--- End quote ---

That's a good question. Gamebooks are definitely niche stuff now, so the art is very variable. I think a lot of it is sadly below par but as Richard says Tazio Bettin is doing the latest FF and I've just got a gamebook with art by Neil Googe.
My Freeway Warrior books have new art and it's quite cartoony in feel - feels more modern and less classic, if that makes sense?

--- End quote ---

There's a FB group called 'Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks),' that's pretty active with a lot of enthusiastic fans and new creators. There's a number of people doing fairly decent artwork for these books too. The group gives a pretty good insight into what's happening at the moment.

Regards,

Robin

SmallBlueThing(Reborn):
Funt Solo- it really is. And I had no idea of the upcoming two books, but will very much be buying them. Somehow I missed all the kerfuffle about the books back in the day- they were entirely a positive thing in my experience, and can't remember any controversy at all.

But it does occur to me that with new FF gamebooks on the shelves, joining new Target Dr Whos, we now only need reissues of the Pan Books of Horror and Sphere Conans to recreate my entire WH Smith experience circa 1982.

SBT

Barrington Boots:
SEAS OF BLOOD

This has to be one of the hardest FF books I've ever played!

I think the setup here is very cool - you're a pirate and are competing with another pirate, Abdul the Butcher, to see who can gather the most loot in a set amount of time. It's an unashamedly evil setup as you storm around the coast attacking settlements and ships at will and the whole thing is a real switch from the usual FF dungeon crawl style plot.
I also really liked the pirate setting being Arabic in nature, rather than the more traditional westernised 'golden age of piracy'.

I found the book brutally hard. As well as your usual stats you have stats for your crew (handled much better than in the risible Starship Traveller) and without a top-notch crew you basically stand no chance. Crew attrition is high with numerous conflicts, many of which award little to no loot. I constantly found my crew getting worn down, usually causing me to lose the book either through having no crew, or simply having insufficient crew to get to the end. I'm not sure it's possible to complete the book without maxed out stats for your crew, and pretty reasonable personal stats as well.
Once I DID get to the end, I inevitably found that my treasure haul was way below the required amount to win and ended up getting laughed out of the competition by Abdul.

The book does seem very open in the number of paths available, but playing it several times it gradually went from enjoyable to a bit of a slog. I didn't even come close in around ten attempts, even with cheating maxed stats on the final run. No writeup but I did die in a number of entertaining ways, including being squashed by a door, acid to the face, eaten by sharks and run over by a giant snowball. There are some very cool moments within the book however - a slightly WotT style battle at the end against a cyclops, a lot of Harryhausen-esque monsters (I felt the whole book was a bit Sinbad-y) and the gambling pits are a laugh.

I think I'm going to try this one again after a break, probably with a map from the internet.

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