Malacarne: the review of the first game book in the Memoriæ series

Matteo Casali is the author of Malacarnethe writer’s debut in the world of game books published by MS Editions and initial volume of the trilogy Memoriæ.

A game book that will take us to a dark and mysterious setting in which we will have to try to reconstruct the past to understand our arcane powers. You can find Malacarne HERE.

Ready to find out where this adventure will take us?

The war has devastated the wealthy nation of Taijar, the inhabitants of its beautiful capital Vanjoor have fled west, seeking shelter in the mountains of nearby Koekthaar. You too have joined the caravan prey to bandits and the abuses of the militias of the enemy kingdom of Dalrath, finally finding shelter in one of the refugee camps set up in the cold koeke heights. For months, you have hardly survived by keeping hidden the supernatural power that lies within you. You do not know the origin, nor do you know what origin or what the scars on your back that seem to represent strange, arcane symbols whose meaning eludes you.

You also remember little of your life before the war, to the point of not being sure what name the koeki soldiers registered you with: Javat. But you know you want to leave Ieherat’s camp and go back to Vanjoor.

It will be a dangerous, possibly lethal journey that will take you through lands marked by war and populated by dangers you can’t even imagine, but you know you want to do it.

To find out who you are… who you were… before your escape from the capital. And what did you do to deserve all of this.

Malacarne: setting and regulation

In Malacarne we will play as Javat, an exile in a world in conflict who, at the moment of the beginning of the adventure, is in Ieherat, a refugee, with many unanswered questions. In fact, Javat does not remember much of his past although one element suggests that there is a lot to discover: he has mysterious scars on his back and arcane powers that allow him to perform spells.

At the beginning of the game book we discover that Javat is from Vanjoor, a city that was razed to the ground and from which Javat miraculously managed to escape. For ten years a bloody war has raged between the kingdoms of Taijar and Koekthaar which at the moment seems to have stabilized but which continues to force men, women and children to flee their villages to better places. Javat wants to return to Vanjoor to seek answers to numerous questions about his past.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that Malacarne uses the Memoriæ System ™: playing the game book we will find, marked by particular symbols, chapters that tell flashbacks of Javat’s past. These are not simple stories to be read passively: we will be able to act on the past by making choices exactly as in all the other paragraphs; and the choices we make in the past will have consequences in the present of history. An expedient that is not an innovation in the world of game books but which allows us to discover episodes and various facets of the protagonist’s life as we go along.

The regulation of Malacarne is classic (fans of the genre will appreciate) and immediate: when history puts us in front of obstacles (Characteristic Test), we will have a difficulty to overcome indicated by the book. At this point just launch 2d6 and obtain a result equal to or greater than the difficulty to pass the Test. If we don’t have any dice available, the book offers results drawn on each page for you to use. We can add +1 to the die roll depending on how we have compiled the character sheet: at the beginning of the game we will choose to attribute a bonus to one of the Characteristics on the Card, that is Force, Will And Arcanewhere the latter represents the measure of Javat’s mysterious power.

The regulation is also very similar for Combat tests: we must overcome the difficulty of the Enemy and if we succeed in the throw we will inflict a wound, otherwise our opponent will inflict one on us. It goes without saying that we will find ourselves in the situation in which Javat will be hit: based on the number of Injuries we can suffer penalties. But it’s not just the enemies that will damage Javat, in fact the use of the Arcane Power can weaken the protagonist, and based on how much we use our magic we will have to blacken some spaces in the card that will lead us to read certain chapters of the game book (it should be noted that the paragraph to read after the consumption of the first 5 points of the arcane is not the number 242, but the number 86).

In addition to the classic elements of a fantasy book-game present in the Card, such as Equipment, Weapons and Silver, in Malacarne we will also have to note the Keyword found in the text because they will influence the choice of many paragraphs of the volume.

Our impressions

Malacarne is a game book that pays homage to the great classics old school like that, starting from the dedication! And, in fact, fans of classic librigames will appreciate this volume that manages to combine both mechanics and settings with a classic flavor to some novelties typical of the most modern game-books.

In this sense, the dynamics of chapters-flashbacks it is one of the most original and interesting features because it not only gives way to act on the past of history but also manages to give depth and character to the protagonist; so Javat is not only the “predestined protagonist” like other main characters of librigame. Another element of Malacarne that intrigued me a lot and that turned out to be fun and interesting to play is the Arcane Power: it not only serves to overcome the tests related to the magical element, but using the mysterious powers of the protagonist has consequences that we will live directly on our skin.

A feature to underline (and that you may like it or not depending on what type of player you are) is the fact that Malacarne is a fairly linear game book: by reading the chapters we will be able to undertake different paths, but in the end we will all arrive at the same the final of history; an ending that prepares us for the next volume.

Malacarne has a system of rules immediate and easy to understand. Moreover, while referring to the old school classics of the genre and being a setting dark fantasy in which we will inevitably find ourselves fighting, we will not experience that classic feeling of helplessness in the face of enemies impossible to defeat. Of course, you can die but we won’t find a fight at the end of each chapter and the rulebook has mechanics that allow you to roll the dice again, which helps.

The volume, which you can buy HEREdoes not have a high level of difficulty and, while not a game book with a high replayability (the ending is always the same), it is still very interesting to explore and play several times thus making it a title that you will gladly take back in your hand (whether it is to find out more about Javat’s past or to better prepare for the second chapter ) also because the story of Javat is well defined and engaging.

All these elements, in my opinion, make Malacarne an excellent title for both experienced players and newbies, and a very smooth and beautiful game book to read thanks to the fantastic pen of Matteo Casali.

In short, this new series published by MS Edizioni has amply satisfied the great expectations that accompanied its release, giving us an interesting title, beautiful to read and fun to play. All that remains is to wait for the second volume!


Malacarne is volume 1 of the Memoriæ bookgame trilogy, published by MS Edizioni and written by Matteo Casali. In Malacarne we will take on the role of Javat, an exile in a world at war who, at the beginning of the adventure, finds himself a refugee with many unanswered questions. Javat doesn’t remember much of his past, but he has mysterious scars on his back and magical arcane powers. A game book with an old school flavor that incorporates some classic elements of the genre to create an engaging volume, easy to understand and fun to play, suitable for both more experienced players and newbies. Absolutely recommended!


Simple regulation that adds the mechanics of the Memoriæ System that allows us to discover the past of the protagonist and act on it

Immediate in the rules and engaging setting: suitable for both experienced players and newbies

Excellent writing


Not suitable for those looking for librigames with multiple endings

The Mobile Ads Needs Shop 2

Malacarne: the review of the first game book in the Memoriæ series