Many of the games that are reviewed on Play This Thing!, are minimalistic in that they concentrate on gameplay and not on multimedia pizazz. Choice of Broadsides is an efficient concentration of one core element — meaningful choices. It is an electronic gamebook, a Choose Your Own Adventure type of fiction published free via web and on Android devices, or commercially for the iPhone. No words are wasted because every choice is important and has a lasting impact. Character creation is utterly seamless and is disguised as part of the plot and not some pregame setup. The developer sneaks in stat building questions between the plot so you do not realize that your choices generated a character until it is over. Choices you make determine the distribution among twelve stats like Sailing, Gunnery, Leadership, and others.
I was surprised how elegant yet efficient the gamebook played because I was expecting a retread of gamebooks published in the 80's and 90's. What I found was a game that played more like a hybrid of interactive-fiction and RPG than a standard gamebook. The flow of the story was not choppy and more like an immersive interactive-fiction while like a skill based RPG, the twelve stats were dynamic and improved as you made choices during the game.
In my session, I played a female sailor, rising in the ranks of other female sailors. I was in a parallel world where husbands take care of babies and leave the precarious adventures to magnanimous women. Because I chose to focus on combat rather than sailing skills, sailing my ship stealthily for a raid was detected early by the enemy. Our boarding party was was greeted with well prepared and well armed ladies who saw us coming from miles away. That was my last "ambush." I failed to follow the in-game advice given during character generation - choose paths that use your strengths.
I was pleasantly surprised to find innovations in what I used to consider an old medium, the gamebooks. Ahoy and bravo to the Choice of Games team!