Gamebook store

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Back in print: The Court of Hidden Faces!

Back on sale today for the first time in at least a decade, it's Fabled Lands Book 5: The Court of Hidden Faces, and I don't think I could do better than quote the back cover blurb:

SET OUT ON A JOURNEY OF UNLIMITED ADVENTURE

At THE COURT OF HIDDEN FACES, no one is who they seem. The sinister lords of the Uttakin go masked to hide their treachery. The secret police of the god Ebron kill those who flout their fanatical codes. In this tyrannical realm of betrayal and assassination, life is cheap. But rich rewards await the adventurer courageous enough to penetrate this hostile land.

Will you uncover the secrets of the High King’s citadel, where no mortal has trod for ten generations? Or wrest the holy sword from the crypt of Kizil Irmak, the Harbinger of War? Or find the key that unlocks the greatest secret of all – the means to open the Gate of Time and travel back into the past?

Your fate is in your own hands. You choose your skills, your goals, where you will venture and what you will do. The only limit is your imagination. The choices are all yours. And success will give you the power to venture ever deeper into the amazing role-playing world that is Fabled Lands.

Book 6 isn't far behind - it's already at proof stage, so with luck and a following wind it could be on sale in just a few weeks. I know, I know - we should have had them both out last year. But better late than never. Let's light a taper now and pray to Ebron that sales will allow us to restart (or should that be kickstart?) the series.

Actually, you could help with that. Jamie and I believe that Fabled Lands are some of the best gamebooks out there. Nothing else is like them, that's for sure. But they came late in the big gamebook boom of the '80s and early '90s, and because of that they aren't nearly as well known as our other work, even though we think they are as fresh and innovative today as they were back then.

If there's one single thing that will bring Fabled Lands to a wider audience, it's reviews - especially on Amazon. I appreciate that old-time fans of the series won't necessarily want to buy the new edition, but that's no reason not to drop onto Amazon and say what you thought of one of the books. It doesn't need to be an essay for the Times Literary Supplement, just a star rating and a couple of sentences will do. It takes about as long as brewing a cup of tea.

The more reviews we get, the higher we climb on Amazon's recommendations list and so the more people will get to hear of the books. Just twenty or thirty reviews can make a significant difference, so if you know anybody who has enjoyed an FL book but hasn't got round to a review: please feel free to pester them, shame them, hassle and hector them mercilessly until they give in. And then award yourself a free blessing of your choice, for verily you will be a hero of the land of Harkuna and your glory will be shouted in its halls.


We hope that the book will soon also be available from Amazon Italy, Amazon Germany, Amazon France and Amazon Spain. As we're using Createspace as the printer, and Amazon own Createspace, distribution to European Amazon outlets should follow pretty swiftly after the US and UK.

51 comments:

  1. Reviews Posted!

    It would be really cool if there was a downloadable pdf adventure sheet with a master list of codewords for all six books.

    I hate writing in my books because I'll erase right through the page, so I always use a separate sheet for my character.

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  2. You mean like the free online extras we did for books 1-4, Brian? Here's the link:

    http://www.sparkfurnace.com/fabled-lands/fl-extras

    Admittedly the Adventure Sheet PDF was created by Leo Hartas and has his creative spelling of SCOUTING (tut, artists...) but we've fixed that in books 5 and 6.

    Thanks for the reviews btw!

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  3. Seeing these characters on Free Extra certainly bring back memories. :)I rather like their short desc and their pictures. Speaking of which, I do have a copy of all codewords for Book 1 to 4 for my personal use. It is just simple list with tickbox beside it. Here is the link if anyone want to see it anyway.

    https://docs.google.com/open?id=0Bw-D3aeeCY9ERnB2MFhEallWSEk

    I already ordered the book 5! I am trying to write review as well!

    Cheers

    Joe

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  4. Thanks, Joe. And if you like those pre-genned characters, you'll be pleased to hear that the new editions of books 5 and 6 include the characters from the original editions - some of whom are based on characters from our role-playing games, in fact.

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  5. Hi Dave!

    I'd like to mention first of all that I grew up with gamebooks, and Fabled Lands is my joint all-time favourite series together with Lone Wolf (very august company!) and I was heartbroken when the series stopped being published.

    I would just like to ask if it would it be a possibility to expedite the remaining 6 books of the series by making them a Kickstarter project? I'm pretty sure loads of people would be most happy to crowdfund it (including myself). If you did that, you would earn my deepest heartfelt contribution as well as a pretty hefty pledge!

    Hope to hear from you soon!

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    1. Funny you should say that, as several other recent comments on this blog have suggested Kickstarter. The snag is that a company has to be based in the USA to launch a Kickstarter venture, or so I believe, and Fabled Lands LLP is British. If they change the rules, though, I think we might well take another look at that.

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    2. Well, Kickstarter did say they are planning to launch in UK soon so you might get your wishes granted sooner than expected. :)

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-18780184

      Cheers

      Joe

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    3. The game Xenonaughts found a way round the US only rule for kickstarter and they got a lot of money. I think somewhere they have a description of how to copy them and be able to use kickstarter.

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    4. I'll take a look. Xenonauts looks pretty interesting, though I would have thought that the original X-Com was available somewhere out there. Kickstarter is a law unto itself :-)

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    5. The original x-com games are on steam and they have made a remake that is coming out in october this year.

      Book 5 has been ordered, I look forward to having all 6 books once more and then of course the other six!

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  6. Thanks for posting the link to Amazon US. For some reason, searching for "Court of Hidden Faces" only finds the older edition (which is selling new for over $200 btw!)

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    1. I'm surprised by that too. I thought that Amazon US would get the link up first, but they still don't show the book on a search and they are missing the product description.

      It could be because Createspace, the Amazon-owned print company we're using, have just queried our right to publish our own book. We do have the copyright, but arguing with a monolithic entity like the Amazon Intelligence can quickly become Kafkaesque. So I'm going to recommend that US readers grab a copy fast, in case Createspace decide to withdraw it from sale. And that's not just a sales ploy on my part!

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    2. Thanks for the warning. Just purchased it (after looking for something else to buy so I could get the free shipping... yup, that's how they get you with the free shipping).

      Good luck proving that you wrote the book that you wrote!

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    3. Amazon frequently recommend my own books to me, so they obviously know there's some kind of connection there...

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  7. Reviewed on Amazon. Love the books.

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  8. Thanks, Justin - much appreciated.

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  9. Writing a praising review is the least I can do for you - and for myself, perhaps, too, if it means improving the odds of books 7 and up coming out ;-) So there, review written & posted. I hope it helps improve sales!

    I used to be addicted to FL in the mid-90s, and I still play them every now and then :-) They have never ceased to thrill and amaze me. I even wrote the beginnings of my version of The Serpent King's Domain, a decade or so ago, but I'd of course much rather leave it to the specialists!

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    1. Thanks, Kilian. I did actually get as far as designing the cover of The Serpent King's Domain a short while ago, so don't abandon hope yet.

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    2. Don't worry, I won't ;-)

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  10. I've just bought the book and written a short review of the series on the Italian site. I hope many others will follow me to make the words "Fabled Lands" sound louder and louder all over the world of literature! :)

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    1. Thanks. Are the books actually on sale on Amazon.it now?

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    2. Yes, they are. I entered the site the very moment I read the news and immediately ordered the book, which was marked as available. In some days I should have it in my hands!

      By the way, the price is only a bit higher than the previous, 8,88 euros instead of 7,40, more or less, just as you anticipated. Beeing so cheap, I really hope many people will buy it, even if they already have the '90s version.

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    3. I see that the only store that still isn't listing it as available is Amazon France. (Frenchmen, rise up and make yourselves heard!)

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  11. Hi Dave,

    I just posted a review on amazon.co.uk! Unfortunately, the book isn't yet available on the french site. I'll for sure buy book 5+6 together when they become available. "Bonne chance pour la suite!"

    Steve

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    1. Thanks, Steve. If the books aren't up on continental European sites by next week, I'll get in touch with Amazon and see what can be done.

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  12. I was on Amazon the other day, looking at a book about judo. As I scrolled down, I saw that it said that people who had looked at this book had also looked at books by Jigoro Kano, Neil Adams, etc. as well as books by Jamie Thompson and Dave Morris. I checked, and it was you guys. I wasn't logged into Amazon, and I hadn't used the computer I was at to buy books from Amazon before.

    So there must be a significant, if small, group of gamebook playing judoka. Not just gamebook playing, but Morris and Thompson gamebook playing. I guess it is all down to all those fantasy-Japanalogues you've created.

    So, sometime next week I expect a book about judo and The Court of Hidden Faces to arrive.

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    1. Interesting. At first I thought it must be because of Book 6, but that's mostly based on the Heian and Kamakura periods, which is not the Japan most people expect in gamebooks. So I figure these are all Way of the Tiger fans who have found their way to both FL and judo books.

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  13. I will be writing a review on either Book 5 or 6 since I played through them rather thoroughly on flapp weeks ago, it's a surprise though that there were no reviews for them in the original series.

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    1. Thanks, William. I did manage to find the original Book 6 on Amazon (it's not easy, you can't just do a search of "fabled lands morris" and expect it to show up) and there are about a dozen reviews. Amazon are pretty good at linking reviews, too, so I'm hopeful they'll attach all of those to the new edition when it's out.

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    2. Yes, I think I finally found the ones for Book 5, while there was still only one for Book 6. In the past there were even fewer, before they started to show reviews for other books in the same series (mostly Books 1 to 4)

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    3. Book 6 was my personal favourite of the series, but probably the least popular with FL readers. I suspect it would have got more reviews if I'd put ninja in it!

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    4. It's great to get FL5. Ninja do make anything they're in more awesome - http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/InstantAwesomeJustAddNinja

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  14. Excellent news
    Congratulations Dave and Jamie!
    Christmas on August!

    Ikaros

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    1. Now you've got me wondering what we're going to do when it's actually Christmas, Ikaros :-)

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    2. Well, I wouldn't mind a print edition of your Frankenstein for Christmas... If only it were possible... :)

      Of course, 2013 will be a sort of "long gamebook Christmas", seeing your previous news about VRA and even a new title, thus the only other thing I hope is that you and Jamie Thomson will have the possibility to go on with Fabled Lands as soon as possible!

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    3. A print edition of Frankenstein wouldn't be totally impossible. The problem is that, because it's character- rather than plot-driven, there's a very necessary suspension of disbelief that might be irreparably damaged by having to keep track of variables like Trust, Empathy and Alienation.

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  15. The new book has a slightly different look to books 1-4. Only minor details I know, but I was wondering if books 1-4 have been changed to match? I'm thinking about the type face on the spine and the yellowish pages?

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    1. Any slight differences are down to the different printers, Oliver; the two alternatives in book production are white paper and cream paper, and Book 5 uses the latter. The new books also have grey halftones on the maps, which we weren't able to do with Books 1-4. Working with a new printer is a learning curve, and we're hoping to achieve the best features of both.

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  16. Book bought, review posted! I'm happy to see it already has 16 reviews for it!

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    1. Thanks for a great review, Alberto!

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  17. I bought Fabled Lands 1-4 in November-December of last year. I saw this post last week and was inspired to order Court of Hidden Faces and write a review for book 1. I'm currently trying to more thoroughly play through books 2-4 so I can write proper reviews for them, too. I like them so much that I'm looking for some library quality contact paper to cover them with. Please, keep it up!

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    1. We'll try, Mark. And thanks in advance for your reviews.

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  18. Any news on when the Android version of the FL book apps will be available?

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    1. We're expecting an announcement from Spirit Media (the developers) on this fairly soon.

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  19. There doesn't seem to be any sign of the new edition on amazon.ca - I'd've thought we might have gotten it at the same time as amazon.com...

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    1. That seemed strange to me, so I've been looking into it on the forums and it seems that Createspace does not automatically distribute through Amazon.ca, even though it does through all the European Amazon stores. And Amazon owns Createspace, so you would think it should be quite straightforward. Argh!

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    2. There's still no sign of this on Amazon.ca - confusingly, Lords of the Rising Sun is there. Is there anything you can do to see if you can get Createspace to behave? Or should I just give in and buy them from the UK site?

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    3. It's there now, Andrew. I can't explain the delay - and I expect Createspace can't explain it either. I just hope the new Critical IF and Golden Dragon books show up on Amazon.ca a little quicker.

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  20. The Uttakin are a wonderful creation, the best in a long line of awesome things from the FL world. As soon as I heard about them (in Gold and Glory), I knew Akku was my destination.
    I just wish TCOHF had the depth that Golnir (so much less interesting in theory) had been given with e.g. random encounters.

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    1. Uttaku is the nearest to the kind of fantasy that Jamie and I love (Jack Vance, Tekumel, Clark Ashton Smith) so I guess that's why it worked so well.

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  21. Just got book 1-6 from amazon, my girlfriend given me as Xmas present! Very sweet of her!! Happy face now! 15 years ago I got book 1 and 2 and its in A-4 size copy and I liked that. However now its in smaller version copies..well I can't fault anything as due to material cost etc.

    Anyway I am so happy! Waited for so long. Just wondering would the other book 7 to 12 be out? If you need help on this, let us know I am sure all of us would do our best for it!

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