Monday, 13 February 2017

Gamebook regrouping: "Seas of Blood" by Andrew Chapman (Fighting Fantasy 16)

"Seas of Blood", Fighting Fantasy gamebook
This is a spoiler-free recap of how I feel I'm going with Andrew Chapman's Seas of Blood.  The book beat me on five attempts (if you don't mind the spoilers, you can read my summaries of attempt 1, attempts 2 & 3, and attempts 4 & 5) before I decided to take a break to let my memory get foggy and extend the experience.

Maybe that comes across as a bit strange, but Seas of Blood is extremely enjoyable.  The gamebook rarely feels pointlessly hard.  There are a few points at which a wrong turn will instantly end the adventure without so much as a Luck check, but once the book is "mapped" (either formally with pen and paper or informally by memory) the challenge is trying to accrue enough treasure to win without running out of time, crew, or Stamina - much more fun than just trying to beat a gauntlet of enemies or a "final boss".  My first five attempts didn't come close to winning the book, even when I had a fairly good captain and crew.  But that's a good thing!  If I'd won already, all I could really do is try to beat my score or move on.

I also find the setup of Seas with both captain and crew to be quite appealing because it softens the random creation and allows for playthroughs that test the crew but not the captain or vice versa.  Earlier I thought I could beat the book within ten attempts and as I head in to attempt six I feel like that's still possible, so long as I manage to roll a strong crew and/or captain.  If not?  Well, that's just more time enjoying the book.

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