External Links

Available at strandgames.​com for Windows, iPhone, and Android
zx.zip *
This game requires an interpreter program - refer to the game's documentation for details.
german​_articles.zip *
contains an article in German about this game
novella from original documentation
To view this file, you need an Acrobat Reader for your system.
Sols1.zip *
jgunness.zip *
* Compressed with ZIP. Free Unzip tools are available for most systems at www.info-zip.org.

Have you played this game?

You can rate this game, record that you've played it, or put it on your wish list after you log in.

Playlists and Wishlists

RSS Feeds

New member reviews
Updates to external links
All updates to this page

The Pawn

by Rob Steggles, Peter Kemp, Hugh Steers, Ken Gordon, and Geoff Quilley


Web Site

(based on 26 ratings)
2 reviews

About the Story

The Pawn is an adventure game set in the magical world of Kerovnia during a period of tremendous social upheaval.

Recently, King Erik, the present ruler of the land, has started to lose his hold on the Kerovnian peoples and can no longer rely on their loyalty and supreme devotion to support him through times of war, famine and personal bankruptcy.

Many political commentators have attributed this decline in popularity to Erik's steadfast refusal to reinstate the citizenship of the Roobikyoub dwarfs who were banished en masse soon after the assassination of the beloved Queen Jendah II and have never since returned.

The dwarfs were thought to be the sole instigators of the assassination plot but the real facts were kept well behind closed (and locked) doors.

Needless to say the dwarfs were of immense economic importance to Kerovnia with their relentless efforts to produce the smoothest, strongest malt whisky this side of the Obakanga valley and they are sorely missed in these days of economic gloom (not least for the quality of their whisky).

In the absence of the dwarfs, the drinks market has been dominated by the Farthington Real Ale Company (which has had some rather dodgy dealings with Boris Grunchkev O.K.B.) and by the Romni gnomes who produce a refreshing spring water. Neither of these two influential groups wish to see the dwarfs come back on the scene to take a large slice of the market but the people of Kerovnia, many of whom are beginning to suspect that the dwarfs were completely innocent of the assassination, vehemently disagree.

Standing in the middle of all this is King Erik who becomes more and more unpopular the longer he leaves his decision, and, to top it all, there is a general election on the horizon.

At this point, you arrive on the scene. You will be the principal player in the game and the story unfolds according to your decisions and actions.

Game Details

Editorial Reviews


"Getting quite a way into the adventure there are some areas which suggest some largess on the part of the instructions. I have already mentioned the occasional relapse by the program when it chooses to ignore the second part of a complex sentence. The examine command (where, like most words, EXAMINE must be spelled out fully, along with long words such as floorboards) can be helpful, as in EXAMINE GRAVEL, 'The gravel is small pieces of black stone', can miss entirely as with 'What black stones?', or give a reply which may or may not be comical, 'The arms are quite long for the time of year.' It's worth noting here that EXAMINE and LOOK IN are subtly different commands, bringing about fundamental changes in your fortunes should you learn how to use them properly. On another occasion you are told how you cannot see a tree when you are in a forest while, despite the instructions boasting many weird and wonderful adjective recognitions, the program does not comprehend LOOSE in the command EXAMINE LOOSE FLOORBOARD. Let's stay with this one to lead me into one or two misgivings I have with the plot. EXAMINE FLOORBOARD replies 'large and very solid' yet levering the board with the hoe achieves nothing but doing something a lot simpler gets the result. However, more worrying in terms of a credible plot is the pouch which doesn't seem to exist until you have fetched the guru his water, an act totally unconcerned with the appearance of the pouch. Such inconsistencies pull the plot into an ever tightening feel of linearity."
See the full review

The parser is quite good but has its niggles. Especially in reference to English and some objects. The most noticable bug is the "white" one: you have in your inventory "you are carriny a white" which turns out to be a white light. Kinda dodgy and should have been picked up in bug testing.

The puzzles are very crafty and logical. Hands up those of you who got stuck trying to move the boulder!
See the full review

Here is a text adventure of the highest order. Now don't switch off because I mentioned that awful word "text". Magnetic Scrolls adventures are well-presented with good graphics to accompany the words. And it is the words that raise their games above the others in the field. The quality of humour is not strained. I mean you don't get the forced humour of some other games I could think of. And there is plenty of drama and excitement thrown in.
See the full review

Page 6
I first heard of The Pawn about two years ago when our illustrious Editor told me about a great new Adventure for the ST that had unbelievable graphics (I think he was just trying to get me to buy an ST!). Computer & Video Games previewed The Pawn in April 1986. The article was chock full of superlatives and the accompanying review gave it full marks. I could hardly wait for the 8-bit version to be released.

As The Pawn became available for more and more machines, the computer press gave it rave reviews and glowing comments. Imagine my disappointment when I did eventually buy the game and found it to be a bit of a dog! What had happened? How had the computer community been so thoroughly conned?

When I re-read all the reviews, I realised that some reviewers had been hoodwinked by personal demonstrations from the staff of Magnetic Scrolls. They had obviously been shown how 'clever' the program was without being shown all its shortcomings not to mention its bugs! Of all the reviews I read, only one of the reviewers had actually completed the game! The others had wandered about the countryside and hadn't even solved any puzzles! This is disgraceful. The end result was (in my opinion) the greatest marketing swindle in Adventure history.
See the full review


- View the most common tags (What's a tag?)

(Log in to add your own tags)
Tags you added are shown below with checkmarks. To remove one of your tags, simply un-check it.

Enter new tags here (use commas to separate tags):

Member Reviews

5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:
1 star:
Average Rating:
Number of Reviews: 2
Write a review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
A juvenile and large early text adventure with graphics, June 5, 2017

This game can be summarized pretty easily by a couple of early facts:

-you are wearing a shirt with a marijuana leaf;

-if you go to the southern edge of the world, there is a sign saying that this is the 'boundary of the adventure';

-one of the first people you meet won't stop laughing at how dumb you look.

I didn't really enjoy this game; it's about the size of Zork, with some pictures. It's pretty hard, and the parser claims to be advanced, but actually has major problems.

I don't really recommend this game at all.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
A very sophisticated first try for Magnetic Scrolls, June 27, 2016

The Pawn's most distinguishing feature, at the time of its release, was (as far as I remember it) the use of graphics for some of the locations. While a few non-animated graphics can hardly impress players nowadays, the images, vaguely reminiscent of "ligne claire" comics, offer a different view on the locations and add to the atmosphere of the game without distracting from the text.

The text itself is well written, with some irony and a small dose of British (black) humor. It tells a rather traditional fantasy story, which still manages to surprise once or twice and kept me entertained till the end. The parser is powerful and has a big vocabulary. I stumbled over a few oddities, but this might also be caused by English not being my maternal language.

The puzzles are interesting and well interweaved with the story. At least for a beginner like me some were quite difficult and I had to consult a walkthrough a few times. I did not encounter a single bug.

All in all a polished and entertaining experience.

Was this review helpful to you?   Yes   No   Remove vote  
More Options

 | Add a comment 

If you enjoyed The Pawn...

Related Games

Other members recommend this game for people who like The Pawn:

The Prawn, by Martin Hopkins (Mert)
Average member rating: (1 rating)
Originally published by Talent Computer Systems for the Sinclair QL computer, this game is a spoof adventure based on The Pawn written by Magnetic Scrolls. The game remains available through RWAP Adventures ...

Suggest a game

Recommended Lists

The Pawn appears in the following Recommended Lists:

Rather Old IFDB Games by HoneySpeck
These are games that fit into the category of 'rather old', i.e. they were released before 1990.

Noteworthy Games Which Aren't Z-Code or TADS Bytecode by Walter Sandsquish
So many text-adventure games have been written with some version of ZIL or Inform or TADS that we might forget other methods get used too. So, here is a list of noteworthy games which don't live on a Z-Machine or a TADS VM. By...


The following polls include votes for The Pawn:

Best non-infocom games of the commercial era of the 1980s and early 1990s by Mikalye
There were a bunch of commercial games released in the 1980's and early 90's. In the UK, Magnetic Scrolls release 9 games between 1984-1990 Level 9 released 24 games and a port of Colossal Cave between 1981-1991, Delta 4 released 9ish...

Games with graphics and/or sound by eyesack
I couldn't find an easy way to search for this, so I figured I'd ask the hivemind: What games use graphics and/or sound to enhance the gameplay, similar to City of Secrets and Necrotic Drift?

Influential Games by Rose
As a historical exercise, I've begun compiling a list of IF games that have either done something ground breaking with the medium or otherwise influenced it; and I've turned it into a poll so everyone can have input on the expansion....

See all polls with votes for this game

This is version 11 of this page, edited by Garry Francis on 18 June 2022 at 12:32pm. - View Update History - Edit This Page - Add a News Item - Delete This Page