When I was in my early teens I became obsessed with the Fighting Fantasy books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. I had managed to collect nearly every single one before people moved over to table top gaming and the books stopped coming. I lost interest. I’d never really liked the space based ones anyway.Most choose your own adventure books I’ve seen since then have been aimed at younger children of around pre-teen age. It was with a slight amount of excitement that I heard about this new project.
Choose you own adventure books – or gamebooks – are split into segments of a story. Each page gives you a small part of the running narrative and ends with some kind of decision to make. Each decision sends you to a different part of the story meaning you decide the fate of the protagonist. You do this with a pencil, die/dice and sheet of paper. With Steam Highwayman you have to track your character’s statistics including Ruthlessness, Engineering, Motoring, Ingenuity, Nimbleness and Gallantry. You also have to make skill checks at certain points in the adventure. Some of your decisions will lead you to revisiting areas and you may learn something new dependent on your previous decisions in the game.
Steam Highwayman plot?
Aside the steampunk themes what interests me is that Steam Highwayman claims to be open world. There’s no strict plot or narrative which is why your decisions can take you back to previous areas. This moves away from typical gamebooks. They work similar to a novel with a strict plot that the player will follow whether they succeed or fail.
Steam Highwayman, written by Martin Noutch, is set in an alternate London. There are six books due to be released under the Steam Highwayman name with the first – Smog and Ambuscade – available soon. A kickstarter crowdfund campaign is being organised to make the rest of the books.
You can find out more about this project on the Martin Noutch website by following this link.