Fabled Lands returns

If you're a fan of RPG gamebooks you should do yourself a favour and pick up copies of the new editions of the Fabled Lands series.

The mechanics of the books' gameplay are simple and are similar to other series such as Fighting Fantasy: you have some basic character stats, navigate around the book sections by choosing options, roll dice for combat and overcoming obstacles, and so on. The difference with these books is that they're opened ended and all fit together to provide different regions of the world. Adding more books means more places to explore, different settings to experience and new stuff to acquire.

The first four books are available now on Amazon:

The remaining two will hopefully be available soon.

I first encountered these books many years back and liked their opened ended nature as compared to other books of this type I played, such as Fighting Fantasy and Choose Your Own Adventure. They also have some interesting touches like being able to purchase property to store your items, open bank accounts, buy ships and trade goods. The best feature of course is the sheer scale of the adventures, which can take you across countries and have lasting effects on people and nations. These new versions are smaller (physically) than the originals which would make them a bit easier to read, but I can't help but think the nice maps and large character sheet will suffer.

One problem is that the series was cut short before all of the books were completed. Most of the time you won't notice while playing but occasionally you'll run into "walls" and be forced to take a different route since that book doesn't exist. All of the main continent is available so there's plenty of space and adventure to be had.

If you don't already have copies I really recommend buying yourself a set. Perhaps if sales are good the authors, Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson, will be able to finish off the series and possibly expand it even further. An iPad conversion of the books will also released in the near future if you prefer to go the high-tech route.