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Proudly Sponsored by the Chronicles of Arborell

Welcome to the 2015 Windhammer Prize for Short Gamebook Fiction

Now in its eighth 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 the development of 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.

If you have an interest in writing interactive gamebook fiction the Windhammer Prize provides a proven forum for introducing your work to a large and growing gamebook community. Apart from the opportunity for commercial publication and the provision of a number of cash prizes the competition also provides a wide readership for new works, and considerable feedback from readers regarding the design, logic flow and writing quality of entries submitted. Within this competitive environment an author can discover how readers view their work and allows an opportunity for authors to compare their works critically with other entries. If you believe you have an idea for a unique and innovative gamebook experience then this competition is for you.

On an administrative note all prospective participants in this year's competition should be aware that there have been some changes to the competition guidelines and an increase in the cash amount awarded to the First Prize winner. These changes are outlined in full in the following information. Apart from the increase in the First Prize amount the prize pool remains the same for this year and includes commercial publication of First Prize and Merit Award winners, cash prizes and certificates memorialising all winning entries.

May Glory and Renown follow all who enter.

Why should an author enter the Windhammer Prize?

The Windhammer Prize is a competition for aspiring gamebook authors, sponsored by Arborell.com and conducted over the course of the year to allow those authors to showcase their talent to a growing community of readers who appreciate gamebook fiction. All prospective entrants are required to submit a gamebook entry that meets the very specific criteria listed below, and through a voting process readers decide by popular vote who wins the six awards given at the competition's conclusion. For authors the competition provides as its main prize offering an opportunity for commercial publication of their work if they prove successful. This is not however, the only advantage to participating in the Windhammer Prize.

The challenge that the Windhammer Prize provides to all those who compete is to produce a full gamebook experience, but one bounded by the restrictions provided by the competition guidelines. What has followed from authors meeting those restrictive guidelines has been the development of a wide range of unique and novel gamebook adventures, and in doing so have broadened the scope of the genre and shown how remarkably varied this form of interactive fiction can be. Over the past years of the competition it has been this aspect of the Prize that has been most successful, and one of the major reasons why it will continue into the future.

If you have an idea for a work of interactive fiction the Windhammer Prize gives you an audience that will appreciate the time and creative effort you have put into your work. It should be noted that over the course of the six week voting period more than 10,000 downloads are made of the competition entries and once those entries are entered into the competition archive around 20,000 further downloads are made per year.

The rewards that come from competing are not only those provided by the prize pool or the breadth of readership the competition affords. It has been the experience of the competition that readers provide a large amount of feedback and comment on entries, and that feedback has proven invaluable to authors in the development of their own writing styles and approach to the genre itself. As has been mentioned previously the Windhammer Prize values innovation and as has been seen in previous years, has led to the creation of a diverse and creative collection of gamebooks that can be found in the competition gamebook archive. Glory and Renown do indeed follow all who enter. I hope you will consider becoming a part of this competition and making your own mark upon the world of interactive gamebook fiction.

Entry Requirements and Content Guidelines for the 2015 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. Please note that this criteria does not preclude authors from using real world historical settings or events. The only limitation to producing gamebook entries based on historical scenarios is that they do not intrude upon the intellectual property rights of other authors.
  • All entries must be previously unpublished works.
  • 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 one entry only.
  • 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 2015

The following competition calendar applies for the 2015 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 has been given in this year's competition for both the submission and voting phases to account for the number of competing 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 has been 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 exceed 14 the close of voting and winner announcement dates will be extended 2 weeks until the 14th and 21st of November respectively. This extension of the voting period will allow readers further time to properly evaluate the number of entries submitted.

The Entry List

Due to the number of entries received in previous competitions it has been decided that the entry list will not remain static. To ensure that all entrants received a similar amount of exposure the list will be "cycled" so that all entries will spend equal time within the top four listings. This will provide an equal level of exposure for all participants no matter where they might be 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 will be provided on this basis. The voting system applies 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 2015 Windhammer Prize will receive the following:

  • Publication of their winning entry in the 2015 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 $300 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 2015 Windhammer Prize idevice gamebook app by Tin Man Games.
  • a Merit Award certificate memorialising their success in the competition,
  • a cash prize of $50 AUD (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

From 2014 three additional awards are to be given in a third tier of Commendation Awards. These awards are 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 2015 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) 2015 Wayne Densley. All rights reserved.