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Item - Cup Heroes

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Series: Stephen Thraves Compact Adventure Gamebooks — no. 6
Translated Into: HĂ©roes del fĂștbol (Spanish)
Sfida di coppa (Italian)
Author: Hill, Greg
Illustrator: Dennis, Peter
Date: 1994
ISBN: 0340606797 / 9780340606797
Length: 210 sections plus introduction
Number of Endings: 7
User Summary: You are the player-manager of an amateur football (soccer) team, and you have a chance at winning the Cup, if you can just make it through six more games....
Demian's Thoughts:

The only book in the series not written by Stephen Thraves, this is definitely something a little different. Although I have trouble appreciating sports-themed gamebooks due to my total ignorance of the subject, I still enjoyed this one. The design is fairly clever. At the start of each of the six games you must play, you randomly pick a number from a list provided. This determines your opponent, which may be of one of four difficulty levels to beat. You can also choose to play against English or Scottish teams, which has no effect on the story but adds extra flavor. Every game is distinct, with its own environmental conditions, challenges and unique ending if you should lose -- no sections are recycled between games in spite of the relative brevity of the book. Whenever you or your opponent tries to score a goal, you are presented with a list of three codes to choose from. The exact list varies depending on the skill level of the enemy team. These codes can be looked up on a table of illustrations which show whether or not the goal went through. Since there is no random element to the book, this gives you an opportunity to grow in skill as you play, but remembering the right codes isn't as easy as it sounds -- since you have to remember winning codes for yourself and losing codes for your opponent, it's easy to end up second-guessing yourself.

This book isn't for everyone -- it certainly isn't for me -- but it's a respectable attempt at simulating a sport in a constrained environment (short book, no dice). From that perspective, I think it counts as a success, and it's worth a look if you find this sort of thing interesting.

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