Stuart Lloyd has reminded me via his blog that the 2011 Windhammer Prize is upon us once again! For those who don't know what the Windhammer Prize is (and if you're a gamebook fan that's almost inexcusable!), perhaps a brief explanation is called for...
The Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction was first created and run by Wayne Densley in 2008 and is sponsored by his site, The Chronicles of Arborell. This is its fourth year. Wayne envisages the competition as "a means to promote the gamebook genre, and to provide exposure within a competitive environment for aspiring gamebook authors". What it means in reality is that every year we get a bunch of cool and intriguing new amateur gamebooks that otherwise would probably not exist. I entered the first two (I was unable to enter last year as I was too busy writing Catacombs of the Undercity), and didn't win anything (grumble!), but the standards are high! I keep meaning to go back and do a detailed review of some or all of the entries but that's beyond the scope of this post. What I will do is provide a brief history of the winners of the various years of the Windhammer Prize, and some of the more notable entries.
2008 Windhammer Prize
Winner: Raid on Chateau Fekenstein by Al Sander. Tightly paced and plotted steampunk/fantasy milieu that in some way is strangely reminiscent of Blackadder Goes Forth. Recommended!
2009 Windhammer Prize
Winner: The Bone Dogs by Per Jorner. Per makes good on a previous promise to cannibalize the Virtual Reality rules system from Heart of Ice to create an entertaining take on an alternate Western genre.
2010 Windhammer Prize
Winner: Sharkbait's Revenge by Stuart Lloyd. Pirates and nautical mayhem aplenty as Stuart finally bags the big prize in his third year of entering.
Other Notable Entries
An Orc's Day by Travis Casey (2008). Personally I feel this is by far the best of the rest. An intriguing 'play-the-monster' that drags out all the standard fantasy tropes only to turn them into something new. Recommended!
|Hills of Phoros was supposed to be the first|
in this series but the rules need fixing!
The Hills of Phoros by Andrew Wright (2008). This is where I find that introducing a non-linear Fabled Lands style gameplay into a short 100 paragraph format, with flawed rules, adds new meaning to the term 'grind-time'. Still, I'm proud of the writing, but the rules set needs a complete overhaul.
Waiting for the Light by Kieran Coghlan (2009). Trippy and bizarre sequence of events that is more book than game, but nevertheless a very worthy read.
RAMPAGE! by Andrew Wright (2009). Another blatant plug! I had a blast writing this - it's a parody of the Fighting Fantasy world of Allansia jacked into the old Rampage arcade game. If you have a desire to stomp on Yaztromo, King Gillibran, Nicodemus or Chadda Darkmane (or their near likeness), this is as close as you will get!
The Word Fell Silent by Kieran Coghlan (2010). Kieran's put a lot of work into this epic tale set in Roman-occupied Judea, and when I get a free moment, it's a must-play for me.
If you'd like to download any of these gamebook adventures, you can find them in the archive here.
If you'd like to enter the 2011 Windhammer Prize competition, the rules and regulations are here.