Book Review: Burly Men at Sea

Book Review: Burly Men at Sea

Upon returning home from this year’s PAX East, I was greeted by a package waiting for me.

That unassuming brown cardboard box happened to hold something I’ve been eagerly awaiting: the hardbound paper copy of my very first adventure in Brain&Brain’s Burly Men At Sea.



You may remember that as part of IndieHangover’s review of Burly Men At Sea, I talked about the wonderful secret hidden in the bookshelf in the coffee shop in game. A small card laying inconspicuously on the book shelf has a URL written on it, which leads you to a page where you are able to order your very own copy of you adventure:

[Brain&Brain have] created a different book for each of the game’s story variations. At the end of a journey, the player receives a code (e.g. 14448) which they can enter at to order a hardbound copy of their story: a real artifact from the game’s world for your shelf. We’ve published a limited first run, and they’re available now.

Each fifty-page book is printed and bound here in the U.S. with debossed fabric hardcovers and stylized artwork unique to the books.



I had ordered Mystery Number 30100, the very first adventure I experienced in Burly Men At Sea, as that seemed only appropriate. The book is wonderfully made, dedicated “To the curious“, and filled with both art you’d have seen in the game version of Burly Men at Sea, and a handful of new pieces of artwork. It really is a superb way of celebrating story telling, both in a digital and physical form, and it’s nice to have a sort of memento of the first time you experienced a game that you can hold in your hands and share with people who might not be as receptive to video games.




Brain&Brain also announced that Now Play This, a “festival of experimental game design, showcasing some of the most interesting games and playful work being made around the UK and the world as part of the London Games Festival” will be showing off the books alongside the game, wonderfully highlighting the multi-media approach David and Brooke Condolara have taken with Burly Men At Sea.


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Editor-in-Chief of With a soft spot for epics, sagas and tales of all types, Jacob approaches games as ways to tell stories. He's particularly interested in indie games because of the freedom they have to tell different stories, often in more interesting and innovative ways than Triple A titles.