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The Way of the Tiger Kickstarter (Guest post by David Walters)

The Way of the Tiger gamebooks (original covers)

I have a special guest post for you today, from David Walters who is an author of both novels and gamebooks, and something of an “oriental expert” if I may call him such… He’s also written the prequel for an iconic gamebook series from the eighties, The Way of the Tiger, that was written by Mark Smith and Jamie Thomson who were prolific gamebook authors “back in the day” and between them wrote many of the greatest gamebooks of all time (IMHO), including Duel Master series, the Falcon series, Talisman of Death and Sword of the Samurai for the Fighting Fantasy series, plus contributions to the Fabled Lands and Virtual Reality series among others… That’s seriously a lot of kudos!

 

Anyway David has enlisted my help to help promote the Kickstarter program currently underway to not only bring the The Way of the Tiger gamebooks back in full hardcover glory with all new colour art, but with the never-before-released seventh book to complete the series (and to address the cliffhanger that’s at the end of the sixth book), and with an all new prequel written by David Walters himself, who is quite a prolific and talented author in his own right (speaking from personal experience of having read some of his works!) –Not to forget, he’s also helping to write the seventh book too!

The hardcopy copies of these new The Way of the Tiger gamebooks are being produced by Megara Entertainment who also produced the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories Deluxe Gamebook last year (which also happened to be one of the best-produced gamebooks I’ve ever seen: the presentation and artwork was exquisite and the writing and design by Paul Gresty was nothing short of superb!)

So without further preamble, I give you David Walters:

 

The challenges in writing a prequel to an already established series:

I’m David Walters, and I was tasked with writing the prequel story to the Way of the Tiger books, a series of six ninja gamebooks set on the world of Orb. I came across a few challenges as I undertook the task, the main ones of which I’ve explored below.

Avoiding future payoffs

When writing a prequel I had to take care to avoid ‘stealing the thunder’ of significant scenes coming up in later books. For example as book 2 Assassin! ends with a dramatic one-on-one fight with a ninja, the prequel had to avoid single combat against such a foe otherwise it would devalue the later fight. This rule applied whether the reader has read the original series already or not – the series should work as a continuous whole and thus unnecessary repetition and similarity should be avoided.

Original Author preferences

Fortunately I was dealt a pretty free hand when it came to plotting the prequel, but even so I had to be absolutely true to the direction of the original series creators. I gained some freedom setting the story on the Island of Plenty which had only been partially explored in the other books. It was an area I had worked extensively on for the Way of the Tiger Role-Playing game (with Mark Smith’s oversight) so I felt confident I could write a lot of detail in that was in alignment with his view of Orb.

An issue of scale

It was important to me that the prequel should be appropriate to the scale of the other books in the series i.e. it should not introduce the overly powerful adversaries or grandiose story arcs too early in the series. If there were problems with scale it may lead to a feeling of disinterest in later books. In the prequel the reader can learn about Avenger’s earlier missions, and how Avenger’s ninja skills were honed through experience.

Limiting Crossover

Although some readers may prefer a prequel to be fully cross-referenced by the existing series, it was clear to me that series should not require any rewrites to make the prequel ‘fit’. This also meant I should limit any rules changes affecting later books (such as not granting an improved punch modifier) so as not to change the pre-existing gameplay balance of the other books. It was also important to limit interactions with characters from later books so that they still worked as originally intended.

 

EDIT: David Walters continues Part 2 of this discussion on Stuart's "Lloyd of Gamebooks" blog and Part 3 on Scott Malthouse's Trollish Delver blog.

 

 

The Way of the Tiger Kickstarter is running until 1st November. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1615043334/the-way-of-the-tiger-gamebooks-new-collectors-edit?ref=live

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Brewin
Hi Richard! A pleasure to have helped promote a good cause! And as for the links, I like to provide background and references for... Read More
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 03:50
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Kickstart My Heart!

Kickstarter - Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories
Goblin's Bounty: A Gamebook with Collectable Cards


I must admit I've never been a big fan of "glam metal" (I was more a fan of "thrash metal" growing up in the 80's and 90's) but I did like this song. I used to play Kickstart my Heart by Motley Crue (with the "metal-dots" that is) before going to school...

Not that any of that has anything to do with this blog post! No, this is meant to be a post on some of the great Kickstarter campaigns around at the moment, and why you should back them if you're into gamebooks or role-playing games. Like anything creative I guess, the success of these things depends on publicity more than anything else, so here's my effort to help others out there... Not that I can say I'm very good at publicity: I think I've won more awards and nominations for my novels in the last month or two than I've actually sold haha, but hey let's stay on topic for the moment:

 

Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories

This is the Kickstarter campaign that comes to mind most at the moment, as not only does it look awesome, but it's currently short of its target with only a couple of days left to find funding. So here's why you should fund it:

  • It's to be a two hundred page gamebook printed in hardback in full colour!
  • Story features a team of paranormal investigators in New York in the 1930's! The same setting as featured in classic "Lovecraftian / Cthulhu Mythos" fiction if you like (I certainly do!) in the dark times of The Depression and under brooding clouds leading up to the second World War. 
  • The way the narrative is structured, you actually play the whole investigative team, actively solving a mystery and making decisions with repercussions for the rest of the story. 
  • It's written by Paul Gresty, who also wrote Ookle of the Broken Finger, which was IMHO the best written entry in the recent Windhammer Prize for short Gamebook Fiction.
  • I've read the free demo, and it's awesome. I can definitely see how fully fleshed out, this would be an intriguing detective adventure where you actually come to know and love the characters you play. You can get the demo as a free PDF file (some 13.7 MB due to the abundance of pictures!) HERE
  • It's being produced by Megara Entertainment who've previously produced iOS adaptions of the classic Fabled Lands gamebooks among other great things.
  • If it doesn't get enough money pledged in the next two or so days, it won't happen, so it needs your help to succeed!

 

 Goblin's Bounty: Gamebook / Collectable Card Game

 

A gamebook crossed with a CCG game. Brilliant! Here's another project that's short of its target and with only a few more days to go. Here's why you should back it:

  • It's a collectable card game: a genre made famous with the Magic: The Gathering card game, mixed with the story and decision-making of a gamebook. Being a big fan of Magic: The Gathering (I still have stacks of the cards, and though I haven't played for a while, I've been collecting those cards since the week they arrived in Australia) and quest-based PC adaptions of CCG games such as the PC version of MTG Duels of the Planeswalkers from 1997 and the 2003 PC game Etherlords II which was a more recent adaption (and better so I thought), Goblin's Bounty has to be good!
  • It's being written by Stuart Lloyd with assistance by Ashton Saylor, both well-known active gamebook writers and bloggers, not to mention great blokes, and who are also both writing forthcoming gamebook titles for Gamebook Adventures (and in fact I'm working with Ashton on his title).
  • You play as a goblin. Fighting for goblin glory against those "do-good" humans with their knights, mages and castles. (I do like atypical stories where you play the underdog!)
  • Strategic elements of card collecting, deck building and card playing, plus choices you make in the narrative itself, make for a highly playable (and replayable) awesome adventure!
  • It'll be all digital as an Android release, so you play it for a few minutes here and there on public transport or wherever and whenever you have time. (I look forward to the iOS version!)
  • It's being put together and released by Attic Squad Games who previously released Warlock's Bounty (which was a similar gamebook/CCG hybrid written by legendary Fighting Fantasy author Jonathan Green).
  • It too needs your help to make it happen in the next few days!

 

 YOU ARE THE HERO

If you know anything about gamebooks, you'll what Fighting Fantasy is. Fighting Fantasy catalysed the gamebook genre more than any other, and filled many a childhood throughout the eighties including mine. Without Fighting Fantasy you may not have had most other gamebooks, you wouldn't have had Games Workshop (therefore the Warhammer games including Blood Bowl that I still play), and even role-playing games themselves (such as Dungeons and Dragons) wouldn't have been successful: in the UK, Europe and Australia at least where gamebooks were often "the gateway drug" to role-playing games.

So I basically this Kickstarter is for a "coffee table" thirty year anniversary book of Fighting Fantasy, written by the Legendary Jonathan Green who's not only written a number of Fighting Fantasy titles but a Gamebook Adventures title and at least another 30 books as well (and many of these award-winning). It too needs your support if it's to happen!

There's been some other great Kickstarter projects lately, some of which have been successful, such as the epic gamebook Maelorum, and others such as Turn to 400 - The Fighting Fantasy Documentary and Cthulhu World Combat by the iconic Sandy Petersen, which haven't. Sadly dreams can only be realised with time, money and publicity (and I personally don't have much of any of those!)

I'd like to fund my own dreams through something like Kickstarter one day too, but I consider I need a much better publicity platform than I have now for that to succeed (I'm getting there, but have a long way to go!) -But there's one more campaign I'd like to draw your attention to, that doesn't even need funding to make it happen, cos it already has:

 

 THE DARK HORDE

 

I need to flog this some more for a few reasons. Aside from it being my own self-financed work, and it just having received an Honorable Mention in the Genre Fiction category for the Writer's Digest Annual Self Published Awards, I currently have about 1000 paperback copies sitting in a UK warehouse that'll get pulped soon if I don't start selling them. So if you're in the UK you can pick a copy, mailed to you FREE for only £2.99 which is about as cheap as I can sell them for and pretty much for less than it cost me to even produce them. (And if you're in Europe, you can probably order cheap paperback copies through your nearest Amazon store for about the same cost).

Sometimes I indulge myself in the fantasy of one day being able to make a living from writing, and of even being able to make a movie based on The Dark Horde (there's at least an album in the works) but for now, I just have to sell these bloody books... Who knows? Maybe this limited edition print-run will be worth something one day as a collector's item haha

Aside from this, there's been many other exciting things happening in the Land of Brewin, but I'll have to tell you some more about that another day :)

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Brewin
Thanks to both of you for being awesome and promoting the "gamebook cause". Here's hoping both of you get the green light to proce... Read More
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 06:04
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