Thursday, 16 February 2012


Hello and welcome to my gamebook reviews blog!

I’ve been a fan of gamebooks since the 1980s. I discovered House of Hell in my school library when I was 12 years old, and although it gave me nightmares, I was hooked. For the next 7-8 years I sought out every last Fighting Fantasy gamebook that I could get my hands on, and spent most of my spare time  in my room, rolling dice and scribbling numbers on paper. I was gutted after 1995 when I realised that no more FF books were to be published, and that combined with the downturn in Lone Wolf books (I never enjoyed them after #20) led to a complete lack of further purchases for many years. Although I revisited my collection from time to time, eventually adult life took over and the books were left to gather dust.

Years later, I discovered Project Aon, a volunteer group of Lone Wolf fans who obtained permission to republish the Lone Wolf books in an online format. Then I heard that Wizard books had not only republished some of the books, but had released some new ones, which I snapped up. Recently, in a bored moment I did some random Googling and discovered several websites and blogs dedicated to Fighting Fantasy. After reading about other people’s experiences with gamebooks, I was imbued with the desire to play through my entire collection again. Not only that, but I thought I’d blog about it as well. I’m aware that this has been done before, but one thing I’ve learned about most gamebook fans is that they can’t get enough of this kind of thing :) 

The general plan is to start with the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and work my way through the original series (1-59), the new Wizard books, the Sorcery! Series, and then move on to the Lone Wolf series (1-20 only, naturally) afterwards. Somewhat foolishly, I’ll be attempting each book over and over until I finally succeed. I’ll be playing honestly for the most part – certainly for any first attempt at a book, but may resort to minor cheating as the attempts go on! If I find that a Fighting Fantasy adventure requires a certain level of SKILL to have a hope of succeeding, for instance, I will be creative with rolling my stats – one alternative method I may use is to roll 2D6 for STAMINA as usual, but also roll 2 D6s and pick one for SKILL and one for LUCK. Certain books may require a greater degree of cheating than others, and I’ll be giving each book a rating for this, out of 5 Razaaks (yes, I remember him!) Also I obviously have previous knowledge of the books, although how much I remember of them will vary greatly, and I haven’t read the new Wizard books at all.

I’ll be posting a summary of each attempt, keeping an Excel adventure sheet and posting some stats about each attempt and the book overall. I’ll review each book in terms of its plot, writing, mechanics, design and artwork, and bore you to death with some analysis of how the book is put together. If I have any sanity left, I might also post a solution or a map or two. It goes without saying that these posts will be spoilerific in the extreme...

The first review will hopefully be up within a week or so, although I can make no promises about how regularly I post! 


  1. House of Hell was my first gamebook as well, when I was thirteen or so. I was hooked at once, and now I have two shelves of those green-spined books as well. :) Thankfully I bought them all ten or more years ago; some of them are really hard or expensive to obtain now.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  2. nice collection there. i managed to lose all my originals moving around, now i have to rebuy all the new editions :(

    1. That sucks :( You can find a lot of the early prints (green spines, dragons etc) on eBay and they're usually not too expensive.