2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction
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Results for the 2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction

Welcome to the 2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction. Now in its fifth year this contest is proudly sponsored by arborell.com and continues as a means to promote the gamebook genre, and to provide exposure within a competitive environment for aspiring gamebook authors. In particular this prize values creative and original works of gamebook fiction. The challenge given to those who wish to participate is to develop a full gamebook experience whilst meeting stringent requirements regarding length and original content. This competition is open to all gamebook writers and requires no entry fee or other costs.

It must be noted that with the growth of the competition there have been some important changes to the prizes, guidelines and schedule for this year. Most notably the prize pool has been expanded to include the publishing of First and Merit Prize winners as an idevice app by Tin Man Games, the creators of the excellent Gamebook Adventures series for the iphone and ipad. More about this important addition to the prize pool can be found in the Prize details given below. As with previous years the submission and voting phases have been extended and cash prizes have been maintained for all winning entries. More stringent guidelines have also been applied to the quality of entries received and all information regarding these changes can be found in the following competition rules.

2012 Prize Winners

Arborell.com is proud to announce that the winner of the 2012 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction is Zachary Carango for his futuristic sci-fi adventure, Final Payment. Merit awards have also been awarded to Marty Runyon for his magical fantasy adventure, Academy of Magic - The First Term, and to Ashton Saylor for his exciting sci-fi adventure, Legacy of the Zendari. All winning gamebooks are available for download by clicking on the awards presented below. May Glory and Renown follow all who have found success here.

Final Payment by Zachary Carango Legacy of the Zendari by Ashton Saylor Academy of Magic - The First term by Marty Runyon

For anyone wishing to obtain this year's entries, or read the contest guidelines and content criteria for 2012 they have been retained below.

Competition Entries for 2012

Firstly I would like to thank each of the authors for the time and effort they have put into what has proven to be a particularly good selection of gamebook adventures this year. Below can be found 22 entries accepted for this year's Windhammer Prize. From epic fantasy to dystopian futures you can find within these pages a wide-ranging collection of stories that push at the boundaries of the gamebook genre. If you appreciate unlikely heroes, dark deeds, or mythology brought to life then it can all be found here. Click on the links below to begin your adventure.

Please note that these entries have been presented in a standard competition PDF format and have been listed in no particular order regarding merit or subject matter.

Bert Van Dam The Enchanted Windmill
Richard Penwarden A Familiar Story
David Walters Day of Dissonance
Paul Gresty Ookle of the Broken Finger
Karalynn Lee Sigil-Beasts
Mikael Bergqvist The Massacre in Black Scythe
Leidren Sweever Hwarang and Kumiho
Andrew Wright Guild of Thieves
Marty Runyon Academy of Magic - The First Term
Zachary Carango Final Payment
Robert Douglas Nye's Song
Ivailo Daskalov Dating a Witch
Ulysses Ai The Ravages of Fate
Stuart Lloyd Call of Khalris
Kieran Coghlan A Knight's Trial
Paul Struth AETHER
Nicholas Stillman Swordplayer
Andrew Drage Trial of the Battle God
Simon Chapman Golem Gauntlet
S.J. Bell The Evil Eye
Jake Care Emancipation
Ashton Saylor Legacy of the Zendari

Please note that all entries in this year's Windhammer Prize for Short gamebook Fiction can be found also as a part of the Windhammer Prize gamebook archive. This archive holds every gamebook submitted to the competition and provides basic information on each entry to assist selection.

Entry Requirements and Content Guidelines for the 2012 competition

All entries submitted this year met the following criteria.

  • All entries must be in English.
  • All entries must be original works incorporating unique characters and world settings.
  • All entrants must state clearly on the first page of their entries that they are the authors of the work submitted.
  • All entries must be provided in rich text format (rtf) and sent as an email attachment to entry@arborell.com.
  • All character or status sheets provided with entries must be presented in a simple layout that does not include complex table formats.
  • All entries must be spell-checked and thoroughly tested prior to submission.
  • As this is a competition for short gamebook fiction it is required that the total length of the entry does not exceed 100 sections and a word count of 23,000 words (roughly equivalent to 40 A4 pages if printed).
  • The entry may either be a complete stand-alone story or a self-contained excerpt from a larger gamebook adventure of your own creation.
  • The entry can be of any genre except erotica.
  • As this is a gamebook competition the entry must possess at the least a rudimentary character generation system and/or inventory management process to be eligible for the Windhammer Prize.
  • There is no entry fee.
  • All rights remain with the author and the author may withdraw their entry at any time during the course of the competition.
  • An entrant can submit only one entry.
  • All participants must have a valid PayPal account at the time of submission. For reasons given below you must have a valid PayPal account if you wish to receive a cash prize. Account information is not required by the organisers of this competition unless you are one of the winning entrants. Only at the time of winning a prize will you be asked for your PayPal details.

Competition Deadlines for 2012

The following competition calendar applied for the 2012 competition.

1 March Competition guidelines released
1 August Entry submissions begin
7 September Entry submissions close
14 September Voting begins
30 October Voting closes
7 November Winners announced

Additional time was given in this year's competition for both the submission and voting phases to account for the growing number of entries, and the time required to properly evaluate them by readers. As requested by a number of entrants the date for providing competition rules and guidelines was maintained as the 1st of March to also provide a longer development period for entries.


The Windhammer prize is awarded on the basis of reader popularity to the entrant who receives the greatest number of reader votes. The voting system applied as follows:

  • A valid vote must be forwarded by email to vote@arborell.com. A valid vote must nominate the two gamebooks most favoured by the voter from the competition entrants. A vote with less than two nominations will not be accepted. A vote forwarded with more than two nominations will only have the first two accounted for in the voting score.
  • Only one voter email is allowed per reader. All votes will be checked for duplication of email addresses.
  • Feedback to the authors may be forwarded to the competition sponsors at feedback@arborell.com. All feedback given will be provided to authors at the end of competition as a part of the email notification of results.

Prizes - Winning Entrant

The winner of the 2012 Windhammer Prize will receive the following:

  • Publication of their winning entry in the 2012 Windhammer Prize gamebook app by Tin Man Games, developers of the renowned idevice Gamebook Adventures series. More information regarding this publisher can be found at tinmangames.com.au.
  • $120 AUD (Australian Dollars) to be paid within 48 hours into a PayPal account of the winner's choosing. As this is an international competition it has been decided that PayPal is the best mechanism for distributing the prize. If you do not have access to a valid PayPal account the cash prize cannot be paid.
  • A winners certificate memorialising their success in the competition.
  • Featured hosting of their story on arborell.com and inclusion of their entry in the competition gamebook archive. This is optional and is at the discretion of the winning entrant.

Prizes - Merit Awards

Two entries shall also be chosen for Merit awards. These entrants shall receive:

  • Publication of their Merit Award entry in the 2012 Windhammer Prize idevice gamebook app by Tin Man Games.
  • a Merit Award certificate memorialising their success in the competition,
  • a cash prize of $20AUD (Australian Dollars) to be paid within 48 hours into a PayPal account of the Merit Award winner's choosing.
  • Featured hosting of their entries on arborell.com and inclusion of their entry in the competition gamebook archive. As with the hosting of the winning entry this is optional and is at the discretion of the entrant.

  • Please note that framed certificates will not be provided for this year's competition winners. Forwarding large framed prizes around the world has proven problematic and therefore the certificate itself shall be forwarded as well as a $20AUD nominal cash prize to pay for a suitable frame, or to be used for other purposes at the Merit Award winner's discretion.

An important note on publication of winning entries;

  • The publication of winning entries is a commercial opportunity being offered by Tin Man Games that is available to First Prize and Merit Award winners. Publication will be offered as an idevice app that includes all three gamebooks within the one 2012 compilation title.
  • It is an optional offering to the authors of these winning entries that can be refused at the time of notification or withdrawn from during the app development process.
  • This publication offer is made to winning entrants by Tin Man Games and all negotiation and agreements will be made with Tin Man Games directly.
  • It should be noted that Tin Man Games does expect that some changes may be needed to winning entries to make them compatible with their gamebook development technologies, but this should relate mostly to adjusting rule systems or other unique design mechanics. Story narrative should not be impacted, however an author has the right to withdraw if they believe their gamebook is being altered too greatly by the development process.
  • Arborell.com has included this prize opportunity with the understanding that the Windhammer Prize has no financial interest in the development or sale of any applications that may be produced. Arborell.com receives no royalties or other financial incentives and remains focused only on the fair application of the competition guidelines provided above.

A Note to all Prospective Entrants for 2013

It is the intention of the Windhammer Prize to promote the gamebook genre, and in doing so deliver to readers new and original adventures that express the innovation and creativity that can be found in authors of interactive gamebook fiction today. In pursuit of this objective the Windhammer Prize values most those gamebook entries that expand the boundaries of the genre. If you believe you have an idea for a work of interactive fiction that is both original and innovative then this competition is definitely for you.

To underline this objective of promoting creative and original works of interactive fiction the Windhammer Prize cannot accept entries that use characters or settings identifiable as belonging to already established commercial gamebook series. The focus for this prize is the original and the unique, and because of this the entry criteria have been revised accordingly. One exception is the use of game systems or rule sets that may be similar to existing gamebook series. On this point the competition guidelines allow the use of combat rules, inventory management systems or general gamebook structures that may have similarities with already established gamebook series. It is the intention of the Windhammer Prize to generate unique gamebook experiences and therefore fan-fiction based entries can no longer be accepted.


Any questions regarding information contained here can be forwarded through feedback@arborell.comand will be answered promptly.

Copyright (c) 2016 Wayne Densley. All rights reserved.