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Messages - Barrington Boots

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Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: Today at 11:35:35 AM »
It's certainly unique but it's really tricky. There's a lot of insta-deaths as well, and a lot of them come out of the blue, eg. do you push or pull a lever and one option kills you. The end fight is also pretty random.
It sounds daft but the book also involves a lot of enslaving and I wasn't a massive fan of this. Not sure why but it seemed more distasteful than attacking a killing a load of monks or merchants.

Does have Bob Harvey on art duties though! Although the illustration of the hydra on the cover is way cooler than the one inside.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: Today at 10:53:18 AM »

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.

For what it's worth, my vote goes to Fiends of the Eastern Front

General / Re: FFT - ROUND of 16 - The Out vs Brink - Heat 02
« on: 16 August, 2022, 09:15:39 AM »
Both really good and a tough choice, but has to be Brink - for reasons elucidated so well by better forum members than me already in this thread. Despite my recent gripes on the spoiler threads, it's a tour de force in suspenful comics.

Prog / Re: Prog 2295 - Burns Black
« on: 15 August, 2022, 02:25:29 PM »
My Saturday Prog run ends but Monday Prog still brings delight.

Dredd Very much enjoyed this especially coming after the serious previous story: one of the things I like about Dredd is the ability to switch from grim to farce week on week. Moe Hallam's ability is daft but that's the point. Enjoyable innuendo and some lovely art from Dan Cornwell.

Skip Tracer This continues to be the low point of the Prog. I feel I've given it enough chances, had enough now.

Brink I've read the last few Brink episodes all together. Really good stuff when read together, and a good ending that just raises more questions. It's an unpopular opinion I know, but this didn't need 23 weeks build up, as Kev says above - That's almost as long as the Apocalypse War. Stretched out like that the story couldn't maintain the tension for me and the payoff wasn't enough.  Chop half a dozen episodes off and I think it would have been better.

Jaegir Love this. Things is moving along at quite some pace and I hope this doesn't mean a quick conclusion. Whilst the quest of getting the Kali virus from 3 nutcases is a bit contrived seeming, the story is interesting and exciting enough to carry it. The swampy, trippy colours are indeed a highlight. Lovely stuff.

With Nolan's adventures barely registering, excellent Prog!

General / Re: FFT - ROUND of 16 - Lawless vs Firekind - Heat 01
« on: 15 August, 2022, 09:01:07 AM »
Clear win for Lawless here for me.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 13 August, 2022, 10:43:08 AM »
For you knowledgeable Gamebook-ers, what would you say is the current state of the art in this genre?

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?

Off Topic / Re: RIPs
« on: 12 August, 2022, 01:54:50 PM »
Condolences IP. It's heartbreaking to lose a devoted friend.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 11 August, 2022, 10:59:46 AM »
I've never played that so very interested in how you get on / how it plays!

I'm sure I remember seeing an advert for the boardgame. It's qute Heroquest-esque, but had an audio element where Zargor would mock the player, or produce sound effects. Tbh it sounds incredible.

I seemed to be forever playing catch-up to Barrington, so I've ploughed ahead with the titles I own and got another five playthroughs/write-ups in the bag for when everyone else catches up to those books.

I've slowed up on purpose on the FF books as I felt I was getting too far ahead! I have flexible working and my job is generally reactive, so I can have quiet periods where playing a gamebook is possible (and actually easier than reading a normal book) so I get lots of opportunity to play them that I guess others don't. Currently I'm getting my pirate ass handed to me on Seas of Blood.

I have the first 25 (so everything up to Nightmare Castle) and then sporadic books after that. I think realistically I can do the first 35 but won't be able to go much beyond that given the cost of the books, but I did splash out a little and get myself Moonrunner and Shadow Warriors. So there's a way to go yet!


Nothing wrong with Survival Geeks but easy draw for Dante here.

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 10 August, 2022, 05:48:19 PM »
Dogfish island is where the book begins. I may have passed through Flax in the book too, but I didn't pay that much attention!

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 10 August, 2022, 03:54:13 PM »
Here's that map - lots of familiar places on here:

...and because this is pretty much the only place I can show this off:

Games / Re: Gamebooks
« on: 10 August, 2022, 03:39:59 PM »
I'm pretty sure I still died a few times in Usurper: I mainly remember being killed over and over by that stupid golem!

I'm working from home today and had a go at Assassins of Allansia. I haven't done a full writeup as I suspect it'd be full on spoilers for most, but it's quite good fun. The premise of the book is that Lord Azzur of Blacksand has put a bounty on your head for the killing of Zanbar Bone, and has dispatched a group of assassins to kill you off.
As you can tell just from that it's got lots of nods of other books, referencing a number of other places and characters, with a cameo from a FF companion of old (no, not Mungo) and I'm not giving much away by saying it ends as another book starts...

I got killed three times on my playthrough before I made the end: strangled by a hand of death, killed in combat by a Decayer and assassinated by one of the assassins in an especially gruesome way having drunk water contaminated by devil bug larvae.... that aside the book was reasonably straightforward, with two of my deaths coming right at the start and most of the fights being quite straightforward: the bulk of the assassins rely on killing through stealth and subterfuge and are therefore a bit weedy in combat, although a couple of them are brutal. That said I didn't win the book, as I got all the way to the end only to find I'd missed one of the assassins and it was game over for me! The assassins themselves are a varied and interesting lot though and they're the best thing about the book imo.
Overall it was kind of fun with it's concepts and callbacks to other books in the series but wasn't the strongest of books on it's own. The map itself seems fairly linear and you acquire a huge amount of items, most of which do nothing, and a lot of which award SKILL bonuses. This is good as the first part of the book has LOADS of ways to lose skill.

Should also note the art is pretty bad in this book, although I have a posh edition with a lovely map of Allansia in it and a great Karl Kopinski cover.

General / Re: 2000AD Lego builds
« on: 10 August, 2022, 03:14:28 PM »
Bloody hell. That is INCREDIBLE.

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