As Proteus 2, The Mines of Malagus, has just been reviewed at Gamebook Odyssey, and one of the biggest complaints in the review regarded the difficulty of mapping the eponymous mines, I thought I’d weigh in on the issue.
I agree that it’s trickier to map than your average gamebook subterranean complex of tunnels, largely because of an authorial gimmick that adds to reader confusion and paragraph count. Whereas in, for example, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain‘s notorious Maze of Zagor, one particular T-junction is section 52, regardless of the direction from which you approached it, a similar junction in Mines has different section numbers based on which way you are going when you reach it. If you’re going north, the junction is at 156, but if you’re heading west, it’s section 138, and it’s 179 if you’re travelling south. This, combined with the lack of any details of distance covered, makes it that bit harder to recognise when you’re returning to a junction you’ve already been across.
Nevertheless, the layout is internally consistent, and can be mapped (which is more than can be said for the crimes against cartography perpetrated by some adventures). Back when I exhaustively played Mines in order to review it, I persisted with trying to map the place, and eventually produced this:
Doesn’t look much like a mine, to be honest.
The adventure through which I am currently slogging for my next playthrough is unmappable by design (so much randomisation), which makes me that bit more appreciative of the fact that, while the author of Mines made mapping more challenging than necessary, they did at least play fair and create something that a sufficiently stubborn player could draw.