Gamebook store

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

An adventure in a box. On cards. With an app.

Looking for something to keep the kids occupied? Or the parents, come to that? How about Expedition, which is billed as a "lightweight roleplaying game". That's not strictly accurate -- it's more of an app-plus-card game for playing gamebooks with friends. Hmm, that reminds me of something...

It looks like the gamebook is at least partly procedurally generated with some authored content. Personally I'd prefer to play either a real roleplaying game with improv and left-field surprises (see below) or else a card game (try this or this), rather than a hybrid of the two. But in this lockdown or the next I've got plenty of time to change my mind about that.


  1. (sorry if I make some add for another author...); by coincidence, I have just written a review of "Legends of Araby" by Ed Teixeira (and did the same with his "Talomir Tales"). These are "skirmish games" which can be played without GM, since the adventure is auto-generated. There is a very simple ruleset, too simple IMO, one stat so that you cannot develop a strategy and end up throwing the dice automatically until you're utterly bored.
    However, these adventure generators could be easily adapted to a simple and functioning rule system like Dragon Warriors.

    1. That does sound interesting as the prototype for a more complex (and hopefully richer) system. Thanks for pointing it out, Olivier.

  2. Ironsworn is interesting in this regard, since it has a series of "Oracle" tables that you can roll on to find out what comes next, and is therefore touted as being playable "solo" or "co-op" (without a GM). Or the conventional way with a GM. Of course, you have to fill out the details of the "fiction" (so I guess it doesn't qualify "authored content". You can see Mark Hulmes and Co playing it here:

    Skip to 24 minutes to see the actual beginnings of the play, rather than system introduction.

    I've no real interest in solo play (I'd play a videogame, these days) and I'm too wedded to GM-led models to go for a Co-op approach myself, but I like Ironsworn as a system.

    Anyway, that might be a bit off topic, but it was my immediate reference on reading this post.

    1. That strikes me as like looking in on the writers' room rather than watching the actual show. It rather robs the experience of immediacy and emotion and turns it into a sort of managerial meeting with dice. I'm with you, Ray -- if I wanted solo gaming I'd much rather play a CRPG. Still, it's interesting to see different gaming styles, so thanks for the link.