Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Item - Medieval Mayhem

Series: History Quest — no. 4
Author: Knapman, Timothy
Illustrator: Pincelli, Matteo
Date: September, 2013
ISBNs: 1609924878 / 9781609924874 (hardback)
1781711496 / 9781781711491
Length: 48 pages (80 sections)
Number of Endings: 1
User Summary: As a medieval knight, you must protect your king from an enemy plot to kill him and take over his throne.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish translation).

The best educational gamebooks are those that combine an engaging adventure story with the opportunity to learn interesting facts (such as, for example, the Time Machine or You Choose: Interactive History Adventures series). Unfortunately, this book emphasizes the educational aspect more than the entertainment aspect, with the end result being not much different from programmed learning series such as TutorText. At the end of each section, the reader is asked a question regarding a specific aspect of medieval life; if the reader chooses an incorrect answer, the book explains why the answer is wrong and leads him or her back to the original question. Only a correct answer will allow the story to proceed. Most of the puzzles are quite simple (mostly appropriate for children aged 8-10). There is no scoring or game system and no way to fail (you also couldn't fail in most Time Machine books, but those at least told entertaining stories a lot of the time). Taken together, these features made the book a rather unengaging read for me (though I also learned an interesting fact or two). Moreover, the book uses a weird section system which combines page numbers and graphic symbols. I found it cumbersome to have to keep track of both pages and symbols during play; the publishers could have chosen a numbered section system a la Fighting Fantasy if the goal was simply to save space. Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this book (though as a teaching tool for children it's probably not bad). At least the full-colour illustrations were nice.

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