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Random Solo Adventure: Fantasy Dungeon
$3.95 $3.19
by Maciej K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2019 14:34:45

It is entertaining the first time, but then you realize that there is no choice whatsoever, and not even an illusion of choice. Essentially you roll a die a million times and then you die. I understand the author's intention, but it just doesn't work. Here are the issues:

  • The mechanics are extremely simplistic, but in a bad way. You have just one stat - HP - and it doubles as your combat skill (you roll under or equal HP to hit). So as soon as you start losing HP, you get worse - you hit less often, so you get hit more often. If you get hit, you are pretty much dead.
  • Starting out is extremely harsh. You start with just 2 HP with a weak weapon, and right away you can encounter an enemy that can one-shot you, because he deals 2 damage with each hit. You can also randomly step into traps, and there is no option to spot them or avoid them or anything - you just take damage. If you are lucky, they won't one shot you.
  • And you don't have any control over what happens. You just roll, roll, roll, and die. No, choosing to go left or right to roll on essentially the same random table is not a choice, not even close. In, say, the microgamebooks from the Chronicles of Arborell series, you feel in control. You can learn traps and monsters and learn to avoid them, and on subsequent plays you can learn to build your character better to overcome the challenges. In a game like Deathmaze, you don't really have any control, but the gameplay is so fast and fluid that you don't have time to think about that, and the game gives you a great sense of exploration. Here - no control. Your character is always the same, and you just roll ad nauseam. You could roll a d1000 and on a 000 you'd win, otherwise you'd die. And it'd be about the same amount of fun.

I really wanted to like it, and the presentation and artwork are really nice, but it just feels random, boring and pointless. Sorry for being so negative, but I'm severely disappointed.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Maciej,

Thanks for your lengthy review and input. I really appreciate it.

Fantasy Dungeon is my first gamebook, and many players apparently like it a lot - but it is not for everyone. It is the first in the series of Random Solo Adventures, and as such it has flaws and problems. In the second and third book of the series, many of these "problems" are fixed. In Jungle Quest, for instance, there is more choice and less predictability. In Post Apocalypse, there is even more choice and also other skills. Each book is expanded upon the simple rule system from Fantasy Dungeon, but carried out in different ways.

Fantasy Dungeon was purposely written as a gamebook with a very simple rulesystem, using only one "skill" and one D6 dice. It's supposed to be a very fast/quick gamebook, and to be used as a hack-and-slash adventure for those who want something to play, but doesn't have the time to dig into something more complex.

I fully understand that this concept might be over simplistic, especially if one is looking for more choice. The concept also incorporates much more randomness than gamebooks usually do (hence the name Random Solo Adventure for this whole series of books).

As many of my gamebooks, they are very difficult to play through the first time. There might be more instant death episodes in these books (and even more in the free/pay-what-you-want-books) than in other gamebooks. I understand that this is not for all, but I wanted to cover a different path than other authors have done, and make the books a bit more "hardcore".

Either way - I appreciate your notes and criticism and will bring this with me into future books. If you have more ideas, criticism and notes on this (and other products I've published), then please email me (the email is available when loggin in).
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Random Solo Adventure: Fantasy Dungeon
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