2014 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction
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Results for the 2014 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction

Arborell.com is pleased to announce that the 2014 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction has been won by Paul Struth for his outstanding post-war gothic horror entry, The Sacrifice. Merit awards have been won by Philip Armstrong for his trans-dimensional sci-fi adventure The Puttbuster Initiative: Spacetime Golfcrush and Chan Sing Goh for his detailed historical adventure, The Empire's Edge. Commendation awards have also been awarded to Problem? (A Troll Adventure) by Andy Moonowl, Tales of a Captain: To Recruit a Daemon by Stefano Ronchi and The Tomb of Aziris by Sam Beaven.

Ten entries were accepted this year, ranging from classic gamebook fantasy to sci-fi sports and the raw edges of horror. It proved a remarkably close and hard-fought competition with all entries being strong contenders. Interest from the gamebook community has been just as strong. Downloads of competition entries went through the roof this year and for the first time previous year's gamebooks figured also as major download totals. All of this I believe shows a tangible increase in overall interest in the genre and an increasing interest in the Windhammer Prize itself.

The objectives of the prize from the beginning have been to allow new authors to showcase their work and receive feedback from readers, and to test the genre itself, expanding the boundaries of what can be done in interactive gamebook fiction. It is true that this year's entries certainly tested those boundaries and it is good to see the divergence of rule systems and narrative styles that were implemented within these gamebooks.

It is also true that there is a certain discipline that comes with the limitations imposed by the competition rules. 100 sections is not a lot of space to develop and refine a full interactive experience and I believe this year's authors did an excellent job. Well done to all who participated and congratulations to this year's winners.

As has been the case in past years all entries have now been placed into the Windhammer Prize gamebook archive and can be accessed from that page along with all other gamebooks submitted to the competition since 2008.

May Glory and Renown follow all who have found success here.

2014 Prize Winners

'The Sacrifice by Paul Struth The Puttbuster initiative by Philip Armstrong The Empire's Edge by Chan Sing Goh

Problem? A Troll Adventure by Andy Moonowl Tales of a Captain: To Recruit a Daemon by Stefano Ronchi The Tomb of Aziris by Sam Beaven

For anyone wishing to obtain this year's entries, or read the contest guidelines and
content criteria for 2014 they have been retained below.

Competition Entries for 2014

Philip Armstrong The Puttbuster Initiative: Spacetime Golfcrush
Stefano Ronchi Tales of a Captain: To Recruit a Daemon
Ivailo Daskalov Path of Heresy
Nicholas Stillman Why Don't They Leave The House?
Paul Struth The Sacrifice
Tammy Badowski Castle of Spirits
Chan Sing Goh The Empire's Edge
Sam Beaven The Tomb of Aziris
Andy Moonowl Problem?
Richard Penwarden Archipelago of Omens

Entry Requirements and Content Guidelines for the 2014 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 25,000 words.
  • Illustrations will not be accepted as a part of an entry except in two specific circumstances. The first relates to maps that are integral to navigation within the gamebook, the second to graphics necessary as a part of puzzles or clues integral to the entry's narrative. Graphics provided for these purposes must be in either BMP or JPG format and be included as a part of the RTF entry forwarded. Graphics purely of an illustrative nature will not be accepted.
  • 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 2014

The following competition calendar applied for the 2014 competition.

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

As in previous years 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.

*Please note that if the entries for this year's competition exceeded 14 the close of voting and winner announcement dates would be extended 2 weeks until the 14th and 21st of November respectively. This extension of the voting period would allow readers further time to properly evaluate the number of entries submitted.

The Entry List

Due to the large number of entries received in previous competitions it has been decided that the entry list would not remain static. To ensure that all entrants received a similar amount of exposure the list was "cycled" so that all entries spent equal time within the top four listings. This provided an equal level of exposure for all participants no matter where they might have been placed on the initial list.


The Windhammer prize is awarded to the entrant who receives the greatest number of reader votes. This prize relies on votes provided by readers who have read enough of the entries to make a considered choice as to the relative merits of the gamebooks submitted. It is expected by the sponsor of this competition that votes were provided on this basis. The voting system applied as follows:

  • A valid vote must be forwarded by email to vote@arborell.com. A valid vote must nominate the three gamebooks most favoured by the voter from the competition entrants. A vote with less than three nominations cannot be accepted. A vote forwarded with more than three nominations will only have the first three accounted for in the voting tabulation.
  • 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 2014 Windhammer Prize will receive the following:

  • Publication of their winning entry in the 2014 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.
  • a cash prize of $250 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 First Prize 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 2014 Windhammer Prize idevice gamebook app by Tin Man Games.
  • a Merit Award certificate memorialising their success in the competition,
  • a cash prize of $50AUD (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.

Prizes - Commendation Awards

In 2014 three additional awards are to be given in a third tier of Commendation Awards. These awards will be given to the next three authors listed in the voting results. These entrants shall receive:

  • a Commendation Certificate memorialising their success in the competition,
  • 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.

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 these three winners within the one 2014 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 2015

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.com and will be answered promptly.

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