November ROUND-UP: wrath, vengeance and death

This month we’ve got a sizeable selection of printed gamebooks and digital games for your perusal, plus links to video highlights of the recent Fighting Fantasy Fest. Any of the choice-based experiences featured here would make excellent gifts for readers of interactive fiction – or people you know who should be – so remember to support the IF genre when spending your money this festive season.

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Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes by Placeholder Gameworks is a 2D, narrative-based game, in which you assume the role of the Grim Reaper… on an office job. Your task is to decide who lives or dies; the consequences of your choices are yours to bear, while the mystery of your incarnation awaits revelation! Meet your fate and save the world, or condemn it to damnation.

A FREE playable demo of Death and Taxes is available for Mac, Windows and Linux via, and the full game – to be released February 20th 2020 – can now be wishlisted on Steam.

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You are Elon Musk

Steve Rioux’s biographical gamebook You are Elon Musk puts you in the expensive shoes of the visionary, and controversial, entrepreneur and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla.

Play the role of Elon Musk and make choices throughout his life. Some choices were made by Musk himself, while others may lead you, for example, to have another career or a love affair, or to go straight to hospital or even to die… Well, that’s life!

You are Elon Musk is available from Amazon as a 328-page Paperback (220 sections) and as an eBook for Kindle.

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Fighting Fantasy Fest 3

For anyone who was unable to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 3 at the end of August (especially Antipodean FF fans), videos of several of the talks have now been uploaded to YouTube. Currently available for your viewing pleasure via JimTheRevelator’s channel (where you will also find videos from FFF1 and 2), are the following talks:

Portals of Death with Jon Ingold, Peter Darvill-Evans and Jamie Thomson providing insight on exactly how interactive adventures are planned and written.

News From The Black Lobster Tavern with Ian Livingstone and Robert Ball talking about Assassins Of Allansia and everything happening in the world of Fighting Fantasy.

Secrets Of Firetop Mountain with Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, Russ Nicholson and Geraldine Cooke, where they discuss how the very first FF gamebook, The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, came into existence, and also reveal some never seen before information, documents and artwork.

Robert Ball – How I Got Here, What I’ve Done and How I Did It with Robert Ball, discussing his cover and interior illustrations for the Scholastic series of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

The Adventures Of Chris Achilleos with Martin Noutch and legendary illustrator Chris Achilleos, discussing his career in fantasy art and his work for Fighting Fantasy.

You can also watch two live-action gaming videos of the highly entertaining John Robertson at FFF3 in The Dark Room and Return To Deathtrap Dungeon (with Ian Livingstone) on JimTheRevelator’s channel.

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VENGEANCE: A Choose Your Own Path Game Book

Chris Chillingworth’s VENGEANCE is a 1 Hour interactive adventure in which YOU must hunt down a killer. With 17 different endings to reach and over 30 different decisions to make along the way, YOU choose the path your character takes on your quest for VENGEANCE. Will you find the killer and exact your revenge, or die trying?

After witnessing the brutal murder of the love of your life at the hands of a facially disfigured killer, you awaken in the hospital determined to find him and kill him. YOU must take up the challenge and find the killer using a combination of persuasion, bribery and/or bloody violence.

VENGEANCE is a short story that can be completed within 1 or 2 hours. Note that the book contains scenes of graphic horror, and is therefore only suitable for readers aged 18+. VENGEANCE is available in Paperback, and for Kindle, from Amazon.

• • •

In a dark place. You open your eyes, and you are in a cold, dim, lonely place. Dark purple fog billowing all around. The stone floor has a faint purple glow too. The strange darkness reaches as far as the eye can see. But no, no, suddenly you can make a vague shape in the fog. It’s a person sitting in a huge throne made of rock. Her face is turned away from you, but you can tell that she’s a queen, dressed in long flowing purple garments. After a moment, she turns to face you. And that’s when you should start to get really scared. She says: “Come here, come here! Join in! Join the ECTOCOMP 2019!”

ECTOCOMP is an annual competition for primarily text-based interactive fiction written for the SPOOKY MONTH OF HALLOWEENTOBER. As per tradition, ECTOCOMP features two categories: games created in 4 hours or less, and those that took longer than 4 hours. To vote and provide feedback on the 22 submissions visit the competition page at and rate the games from 1 to 5 stars. The voting period ends on December 1st.

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The Wrath of Thomerion

The final installment of Dan Heck’s Thomerion Trilogy, The Wrath of Thomerion, has now been released, in which you’re in control of Sungaze mayoress Titania Vermouth as she adventures to save Ambrosinia from the effects of a demonic possession!

The god of destruction has possessed a human body, and uses its powers to wreak havoc in Ambrosinia. What do you do? As Titania Vermouth, the former leader of the fishermen’s town of Sungaze, you, the reader, make the decisions. Will you fly a dragon toward your destiny, or instead befriend an orcblood? Do you forge a sword, or spin a magic wheel? Might you succumb to the threat of hatred, or instead conquer it with love? It’s up to you, but be warned: The fate of your friends hangs in the balance.

The Wrath of Thomerion is available in paperback, and for Kindle, from Amazon.

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Hosted Games

Choice of Games has recently released several new self-published titles, under their Hosted Games label.

The War for the West
A grimdark 485,000-word medieval fantasy novel by Lucas Zaper.

As the ruler of a province in the Western Peninsula, it will be expected of you to hold court and make yourself available to petitioners, settling disputes and delivering justice to the land and its inhabitants. Alas, not all problems can be dealt with by soft words and sharp blades. In such circumstances, one may find that there is little a few drops of poison or a well-placed agent cannot solve.

Breach: The Archangel Job
A thrilling interactive crime novel by Michael Maxwell and Ben Luigi.

Join The Archangels on their bloody campaign against the Chicago Mafia, taking them down by any means necessary. Play as a criminal vigilante alongside them, or as an informant, secretly working against them. Explore the rich background and personalities of your motley crew of international criminals as you wage a war against the mafia. With the randomized dice system, no game will ever be the same, and your skills are only half of what you’ll need. To survive in this world, you’re also going to need luck!

A 49,000-word urban fantasy adventure by Natalie Cannon.

You’ve been bitten into a brand new supernatural underground. Congratulations! This celebration of queer femininity takes you into the darkness and lets you own it. Use your compassion and sense of responsibility to make connections and fall in love. Or use your newfound fangs and claws to rip, shred, and tear through your problems. Is this the start of a satisfying, shape-shifting life full of romance, or the blood-soaked birth of a new deity of the forest? You decide!

War of the Gods
An 85,000-word interactive novel by Barbara Elzey, where you can defeat the minions of death, and seize your own path toward godhood.

Fight the god of death on your way to godhood! Choose your path with six different characters: warrior, assassin, mage, thief, storm rider, and beastmaster. Destroy the death god’s minions by sword, magic, storms or beasts. Rise in power to eventually destroy the death god himself.

The Oldest Dream
A 34,000-word horror novel by Onurhan T, where you seek knowledge and try to stay sane as reality distorts before you.

Time for a break from your uneventful life. Ancient knowledge that is too risky to keep in your memory calls for you once again. Will you be able to learn the things you knew in the past and chose to forget all the while not losing yourself to madness? No matter what, your will must be strong.

Visit the Hosted Games website for full details and purchasing options regarding each title.

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‘TWAS – The Krampus Night Before Christmas

Jonathan Green’s latest title in his ACE Gamebooks series, ‘TWAS, was recently released by Snowbooks. A dark fantasy adventure illustrated by Tony Hough, ‘TWAS features a storyline based on the legends of Krampus the Christmas Devil.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…

And then the clock strikes thirteen and you wake to hear a thud downstairs. Investigating, you discover that your home has been invaded by two red-cloaked, and bearded, strangers.

Before you know what is happening, Krampus the Christmas Devil has abducted Santa Claus, and it’s up to you to save Saint Nick before Christmas Day dawns and the cruel, birch-wielding, goat-legged one usurps his position and takes his place forever.

He knows if you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake…

‘TWAS – The Krampus Night Before Christmas is available in Paperback from Amazon.

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Sandbrook Museum

A mini gamebook of just under 50 pages and approximately 100 sections, Sandbrook Museum is set in the same world Simon Palmer’s Sandbrook: The cult wants you, but with an episodic style, and more gruesome Lovecraft-style horror. Sandbrook Museum is a story about a failing journalist who finds more than she wanted underneath the local town museum.

Here lie the last known journal entries from Miss Constance Morley, upcoming reporter for the ‘Evening Catch’. Miss Morley had been considered officially dead following the Sandbrook Museum fire of 1853, however, no body was ever found, except for the skeletal remains of a young boy and these tattered and burnt journal entries. Recently, certain writings have been uncovered indicating that there was much more to the fire than previously thought. This is the first of those histories.

Piece together the journal entries in the correct order to determine the truth from the lies. A grisly mini-puzzle book in the Sandbrook Mythos, Sandbrook Museum is part one of the ‘Constance Morley Histories’ and is available in Paperback, and for Kindle, from Amazon.

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Age of Vapor 1: Alice Key and the origin of the world

Antonio Costantini’s Alice Key e l’origine del mondo (Alice Key and the origin of the world) is a steampunk adventure that will catapult you back in time, in the shoes of Alice, to unravel the mystery that surrounds your father’s disappearance, and the discovery of forbidden archeology.

London, 1889. You are Alice Key, a sixteen-year-old girl trying to escape the automated cops of the Empress Victoria. Today, after attempting to plunder a mechanical carriage, you find a mysterious, hooded visitor waiting for you at home. This stranger shows you a photo in which you’re smiling beside your father who died years ago – or so you believe. According to the stranger he is actually alive, in Cairo. The photograph is impossible to believe, as it portrays you as now, however, the last time you saw your father you were only thirteen. Beginning your adventure from an empire where the study of archeology is forbidden, you will travel to distant Egypt and the desert of the pyramids, to search for him. If he’s alive, he owes you an explanation!

Published only in Italian by Edizioni Librarsi, Alice Key and the origin of the world is an illustrated gamebook currently available from online retailers such as Dragonstore and La Terra dei Giochi.

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