Gamebook store

Friday, 6 May 2011

A universe away from 2000 AD

Crunch was a short-lived magazine for kids published by Scholastic in the mid-1980s. It featured a curious mix of puzzles, riddles, news, an article on sports, a school short story, and an assortment of odd facts deemed by adults to be of interest to children. Plus, in among that lot, "The Island of Illusions", a Golden Dragon gamebook adventure by Oliver Johnson and me, and illustrated by Leo Hartas.

As you can see from the cover there was also a "free" gift: the very first Crunch joke book. Patient: "Doctor, doctor, I keep seeing insects." Doctor: "You'll be all right. It's just a bug that's going round." Hopefully the last Crunch joke book too, then.

I don't know if there are any other copies of the magazine out there. It isn't the sort of thing you'd cherish like, say, Tales of Suspense #86 (Iron Man vs the Mandarin) or TV21 #2 (last remaining Dals encounter their mutated descendants, the Daleks). But it does feature Leo's painting that originally inspired the Rathurbosk Bridge in Legend - scene of many dark intrigues, secret assignations and vertiginous set-piece battles over the last twenty-six years. It was the first location where we playtested DW warlocks. But that's another story.


  1. Isn't it Kaleds not Dals?

  2. Originally the precursors of the Daleks were the Dals, Bert. Their enemies were the Thals. I believe the suffix "-ek" meant something like new or superior. Later on, Terry Nation forgot his own mythology and said that the Daleks' human ancestors were called Kaleds - because, of course, if you created a new race by mutating humans you'd call them something like "mahuns", wouldn't you? And that assumes Davros's people spoke and wrote in English. In my book, the original history is better; hence Dals.

  3. Is there a Doctor Who gamebook?

  4. I'm guessing there probably was at least one, way back when. But it may have been set in the Sylvester McCoy era, so beware.

    That reminds me of going to see Ian Livingstone at Games Workshop in Hammersmith back around 1980. GW were about to release a Dr Who boardgame and he showed me the painting. "What if Tom Baker quits now you've put him on the box lid?" I said. Livingstone shook his head: "He'll never leave that show." Next time I went to GW, it was: "That bastard Baker, he's quitting Dr Who!"