Tin Man Games is five too.

Not only is my blog five years old now, one of my favorite gamebook publishers is too.

Tin Man Games is celebrating their fifth anniversary by releasing the eighth book in the Orlandes setting, Curse of the Assassin. Their gamebooks are available on both Android and iOS. They have music, illustrations, and handle all of the combat and inventory mechanics, which makes them great for places where you don’t want to break out a pad of paper and a pair of dice. If fantasy isn’t your thing they have a scifi/humor series called Infinite Universe (currently only one book) that I really enjoyed, plus a great Judge Dredd book called Countdown Sector 106.

Windhammer Gamebook Competition

Arborell is sponsoring their annual Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction. There are fourteen entries this year and the voting is open from now until October 30th. These are short works and generally take half an hour or so to get through. I’ve gotten through about half of the entries so far and there are a couple of really interesting entries this year. I have to say though that Marty’s entry this year, The Independence Job,  is by far my favorite of the ones I’ve read even putting aside any bias. It’s a heist book and has some really interesting mechanics that fit well with the genre.

If you’re a fan of gamebooks or interactive fiction, I highly recommend checking out all of this year’s entries.

MMO free weekend.

I did something over the weekend I haven’t done in a while. I played no MMOs. I did played several hours of the Torchlight 2 beta, but I spent a lot of my gaming time reading gamebooks. I played through Tin Man Games’ Gamebook Adventures 1: An Assassin in Orlandes and started on Michael J. Ward’s Destiny Quest: The Legion of Shadow.

Torchlight 2

Torchlight 2 was lots of fun. I think they’ve improved quite a bit over the sequel, but it’s been years since I played it so my memory if the first game is fuzzy. There seems to be more customization for your character and there’s definitely more for your character’s pet. Combat still feels great, and advancement is open enough that each of the four classes can be played very differently.

I played about five hours as an Embermage and another four as an Outsider and had a blast with both. Luckily the beta “weekend” runs through Tuesday, so I’ll get some more time to play tonight. I plan try out the Engineer so I can see what a melee focus is like.


My gamebook kick started with an email about my hard backed copy of the Destiny Quest Book 1 re-release by Gollancz. That got me to pick up the original self-published edition that I have, and that got me wanting to read (or should I say play?) some during lunch breaks last week. DQ1 is a bit massive to haul around with me, plus it’s signed by the author, so I’d rather not get it too worn out or drip ketchup on it. Instead, I checked on the Android market and found that Tin Man Games has started porting their game books from iOS to Android, so I bought their first book, An Assassin in Orlandes (store link).

Assassin is more of a classic style gamebook. Its a linear story but still interesting and fun, and it is also much easier to come to a bad end or die. Dieing while reading a gamebook in an app has been a new experience. With paper gamebooks, I usually go back a section when I come to a bad end. It is cheating, but it saves me time and hassle from starting over and making all of the sale choices again until I get back to the spot I wanted to be in. Fortunately, Tin Man Games accommodates this a little bit by allowing multiple modes and offering bookmarks.

In the Classic mode, you’re allowed three bookmarks which you can return to at any point. You can’t move a bookmark though, so once one is placed that’s it. Bookworm mode is identical to Classic as far as character creation, but you’re allowed ten bookmarks. The only difference is finishing the book on Classic unlocks the ability to cheat on dice rolls (which is nice for exploring all of the plot branches). There’s also a Beginner mode forward readers new to the genre. It allows ten bookmarks and also changes the character creation process to allow for more powerful characters.

Assassin was well worth the $4.99 for their app. Of course that might seem expensive for an app, but that’s what a paper version would cost, and the app adds the convenience of tracking combat and inventory for you, which I think is well worth it. Tin Man Games has app added in some extras. There’s a nice map, some additional background info on the setting, and even achievements.

I’ve already picked up Gamebook Adventures Volume 2, The Siege of the Necromancer (store link). Tin Man has eight gamebooks so far for iOS, hopefully there rest come to Android as well.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Aside, from the odd login to EVE for a skill update or to check on my planetary extractions I haven’t been playing much this week, and it’s all Anjin’s fault.

Last Tuesday, Anjin over at Bullet Points posted about his Top Five: Gamebooks which included my favorite childhood series the Lone Wolf and World of Lone Wolf books. These books occupy a special place in my memories, because it was the closest I could get to a pen and paper D&D (besides the Bard’s Tale series) until I hit high-school. See, this was back in the 80’s when being a geek was not cool. Plus, I lived in a small mid-western town, so my options for D&D were zero. I was probably the only kid between 8 and 16 within a 25 mile radius who cared about such things. So Choose Your Own Adventure books were a way for me to pursue in my interests, and the Lone Wolf books were my favorite gamebook series (some pics), enough so that I kept all of the ones I had.

Reading Anjin’s post really stirred up my nostalgia. So, after my son was asleep, I dug out my books and indulged in some major reminiscing. Then (of course) I did a little Googling just to see what there was to see and found out that there had been a bunch of books beyond the 12 that I’d read as a kid. /gasp Of course now that I knew, I had to have them, but I figured the chances of finding books a decode or more out of print were slim and not. Still, I was continuing to poke around the internet and I found something unexpected and wonderful.

Project Aon is a labor of love by fans of the series combined with the generosity of Joe Dever, the author, who has the full publishing rights and given his blessing to posting everything online. It’s a fantastic site and not something I expected to find. No adds, no pay wall, no sketchy downloads, just a simple and elegant site devoted to the complete series by a bunch of people who love the books as much or more than I do.

Most of this week, I’ve been spending time rereading my old books and looking at the new versions online. I also found, via the Aon site, that Mongoose Publishing has been updating and re-releasing the series. I’ve already ordered the first four books and imagine I’ll end of getting the rest at some point.

Huge appreciation to Anjin for his post which inspired this whole experience.