Product Review- Deathtrap Dungeon (A Fighting Fantasy Book)

7 Oct

Although I recognise the fact that this isn’t the first book in the Fighting Fantasy series (in fact it’s number six in the full list)  however it was the first fighting fantasy book I borrowed from my local library.

The book Deathtrap Dungeon is what is classed as a game book part story part game it places the reader (you) in the roles of dungeon master and player simultaneously. It is similar to the choose your own adventure book series but has some major differences, dice, stats, combat being just a few.


Being part story-part game means that there is a story to the book but it doesn’t run chronologically like most books do instead your initial choices decide what happens next in the game you might decide to throw the knife at the goblin or alternatively shut the door being one example. Unlike most other gamebooks around at this time the Fighting Fantasy series were unique due to them having their own combat system for a player to run through. As well a series of puzzles requiring a basic understanding and competence of maths and english.

The Background

For those that are unfamiliar with the fighting fantasy genre I will quickly explain the world which many of the games are set in.

The world of Fighting Fantasy is a bizarre mirror image of our planet monsters,humans and other races inhabit it some co-exist peacefully whilst others fight amongst themselves. What makes Deathtrap Dungeon unique in some aspects is because your character willingly arrives to take part in the ‘the walk’ in the hope to defeat the labyrinthine construction of Baron Sukumvit, a devilishly minded individual who is neither good nor evil.

As with most RPG’s Deathtrap Dungeon has a myriad of creatures, challenges and other obstacles which have to be navigated through to finally succeed and win.

The game itself is superbly written by no other than Ian Livingstone and is complemented by the illustrations of Iain McCaig.

Playing the game

Probably the main part of the game is it’s playability which is made somewhat easier by the simple yet effective combat system as I explained before you use regular six-sided dice to show this and there is no such thing as Armour class, will, fortitude etc to complicate things. As you traverse the dungeon you may fail numerous times before finally finding the correct path. To help keep track of your stamina (hp) and other statistics as well as items you may have discovered you use a character sheet there is one in each book or alternatively you can make your own. Due to the combat elements of the game it is expected that your stats particulary your stamina will fluctuate throughout the adventure if ever you are reduced to 0 you are classed as dead, and have to restart.


There are numerous reprints of this game originating from 1984 with an updated version being released 2003.  A computer game based on Deathtrap Dungeon was released for both the Playstation and PC and there is confirmation that Deathtrap Dungeon will be finding it’s way to the kindle. Altenratively there are also several other games which incorporate a combat system in their games, such as heroquest for one.


All said and done Deathtrap Dungeon posed no particular problems for me when I first played it back in 1992. Despite the relatively easiness of the game itself it is a great source of inspiration still to myself as a 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons player/DM. I would reccomend this game book to anyone particularly those who are new to RPG’s and also, those with children who may also want to participate. If you like this book there are several other titles from the fighting fantasy series that you may be interested in including the sequel to Deathtrap Dungeon Trial Of  Champions.

I would rate this story game 7/10 mainly due to the easiness of the game on a whole.

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2 Responses to “Product Review- Deathtrap Dungeon (A Fighting Fantasy Book)”

  1. dogbombs October 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Here’s a link for the Kindle version

    The only downside is that they’re not available in the UK yet.

    There’s also a new edition of Advanced Fighting Fantasy, the full-blown RPG, available through Cubicle 7.

  2. Stalin Brando January 28, 2012 at 5:34 am #

    I tell the sordid truth about Deathtrap Dungeon on my blog:

    – Stalin Brando

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