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Opening Moves

The Gam3, Book 1
Narrated by: Nick Podehl
Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
5 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)
Non-member price: $46.12
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Publisher's Summary

The Earth is changing. The alien invasion brought social upheaval, advanced technology, and an armada of peacekeeping robots. But Alan, a college student pursuing a now-useless degree, cares little about all of this. He has only one thing on his mind: the Game.

A fully immersive virtual reality, the Game appears to be a major part of the invading civilization. Alan can't wait to play, recklessly diving into the digital universe. Soon though, Alan realizes the Game is anything but simple, and the stakes are higher than he ever imagined.

©2016 Cosimo Yap (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Ready Player 1 meets Expeditionary Force

After reading Ready Player 1 and a few other books like it (Off to be the Wizard and Mog World) I wasn't sure anything would be able to hold my interest anything even close to the way Ready Player 1 did. So I was pleasantly surprised that withing the first day I had already listened to half the book.

The A.I. Eve reminded me a little of Skippy from the Expeditionary Force novels by Craig Alanson. But maybe that's just me

Nick Podehl does a great job at narrating and I liked how he was able to perform a range of passable accents and voices for each character. While his voice is not as pleasant as some narrators I have previously listened to I enjoyed his reading.

So if you liked Ready Player 1 and have been looking for another adventure then this is the book for you. Happy listening

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Fresh and unique from typical sword and sorcery

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I enjoyed the world/universe that was built and described. Its easy to get wrapped up in the story. Good pace and development of information, but it seems to be a bit of a rushed story that takes for granted all the usual things that most gamer's enjoy, and just has the decisions made for the MC and overpowered things handed to him on a platter - rather than actually trying and having the possibility of failure and growth.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Well, I don't know if i would pick the MC. He is pretty much a flesh puppet for his AI and is constantly told what to do and when he does interact or make decisions they are juvenile and have no thought go into them. I would guess around 60% of his verbal communications are "umm....ok"

What does Nick Podehl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Excellent narrator as usual. The book would probably be considerably worse if read by another person or one of your usual fantasy narrators like Derek Perkins for example.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not particularly, the decisions and though process that all other main characters in other books of any kind that help you get more invested and appreciate the story more are completely taken away with the AI doing all the thinking for him.

Any additional comments?

Would be a lot better if the author put some effort into the character development rather than having an AI to make quick fixes to his seemingly random additions of challenges that would - if actually meet by the MC be more interesting and making him seem less OP - are simply foot notes towards...... more of the same?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

ready player One mixed with...expeditionary force?

great story, I could barely put it down. felt very much like ready player one but less complete... I guess that's what you get from the first book in a series. The narrator almost sounded like Timon from the lion king but I liked it haha. now onto the next book!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

I loved this book.
So much so I stayed up and finished it in a day.
I went looking for the next book -- it's written but not published, or an audio book... I started reading within 1min of the audiobook finishing...
I can't wait for the second book to be published ... and for the audiobook version. I'll definitely buy it!!!

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gaol

full stars well earned .
im looking forward to what could happen next. and what else we will find out.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Doug
  • 05-01-2017

Refreshing LITRPG

I love the LITRPG genre, having read Ready Player One, Alterworld, Awaken Online, and all are very good. But The Gam3 is a bit different. First and most obvious is the setting, more sci-fi in nature than fantasy based. There are still some fantasy based aspects but the sci-fi inclusion opens up some very interesting story lines and abilities for the characters. It works. Secondly is the massiveness of the RPG world, it's big.....really big. I'll let you find that out on your own.

The back story of the alien rpg world, the politics and interactions of the different alien races is unique and fascinating. It really adds a nice touch to the genre. This is a very good start to what I expect will be an epic tale.

The characters are well written and interesting while Nick Podehl does an excellent job bringing them to life. I finished this book in 2 days, easily wanting more when finished.

Nice job Mr. Yap, I look forward to more.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ray Johnson
  • 05-02-2019

A classic opening move by a master


While I liked Opening moves there were some things that bothered me a little. First, though, the set up. One promising feature is that this is strictly as sci-fi story and we really don’t get enough of those in Litrpg today. I’m not complaining about the fantasy stuff, but a huge portion of Litrpg has heavy fantasy elements to it. Sci-fi is almost the purview of our Russian comrades, of course it is odd to say that a genre that features game entry via computers, A.I. elements, and game mechanics is more fantasy based, but you understand my point.

Anyway, (you’ll get that reference once you listen to the book) the game is how aliens conduct their warfare. Humans have been inducted to play the “game” and are granted some leniency from outright attacks until they kind of get their game legs. The MC sort of buys his way into the game by having some money fronted to him. Alan, the MC becomes a machine lord, and has AI that he basically uses as a cheat throughout the book.
That was my biggest problem. Alan isn’t a very deep character, I would almost say that he belongs in flat land because he is a tad one dimensional. There is no character development or growth, he ends the way he starts, so yay for consistency. Also, he comes in with an AI that pretty much helps him route every thing he encounters. The book, however, is action heavy and very fun, and I can easily forgo character development in favor of some good ole butt kickin.
The story does draw you in, and I was pretty much kept on the edge of my seat as the story progressed. I can’t say that the story slowed down or didn’t keep me engaged, because I rode this story like a broken mechanical bull. I couldn’t ride a working one, I’d break my neck. The point is that this was a fun ride.
Surprise, Nick Pohdel narrates this book and does a wonderful job, I have pretty much accepted that he is a master class narrator, but that he still has issues doing women’s voices. That has been, and will be my biggest complaint when it comes to his work. Otherwise, he manages to make the story fun and really picks up the pace when it comes to the battle scenes.
The story has a ton of things going on, like an attempted capture/assassination attempt and some ancient beings offering to assist in the Gam3 if he can prove himself. Again, awesome book, not much in the way of characterization. Also, I will say that Allen’s growth as a player may have felt a little stunted when compared to other similar books. That’s ok, not every player should be OP, and he does have his AI to make up for his limitations.

Overall score is an 8. I thought it was fast paced, full of action, and had a good premise, but the lack of character growth really took it down a peg or two.

As seen on the Litrpg Audiobook Podcast.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Viesturs
  • 02-12-2016

Quite good LitRPG

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would, as long as the friend is into fantasy or gaming.

What other book might you compare Opening Moves to and why?

Awaken Online is the most recent I listened to that was similar in nature.

What about Nick Podehl’s performance did you like?

Easy to listen to.
I got anoyed that his female voice acting at the begining reminded me of "kings dark tidings" books bimbos voices, but that was present only at the one chapter.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is no tearjerker, this is entertainment for nerds.

Any additional comments?

Nice mistery filled story with decently OP MC

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Andromeda
  • 28-01-2017

Just a prequel

What did you like best about Opening Moves? What did you like least?

There were parts of this book I really enjoyed and parts that drove me nuts. Here is this guy that was selected for a super AI, that has an investment made on his behalf, that can accomplish anything, yet he is so obtuse that he can't make basic decisions. He has no friends. He has no relationship with his family. He agrees to everything people ask him to do. This book is more about an AI and it's human servant than a human with an intelligent virtual assistant. It did improve by the end (thank the Bunny Overlords for that!)

My biggest gripe about this book is that it's just a prequel. I invested money and time in a book that sets up a world and a game but never gets past the beginning. It's like buying a video game and realizing all you got was a tutorial.

Any additional comments?


18 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • White Rabbit
  • 29-01-2019

LitRPG with a real story

Summary:
This is one of the best world building and story boarding books I've ever read. I find it very hard to believe this is Yap's first book, unless Brandon Sanderson edited it. I'll be very interested to see if he can keep up this level of quality. You see a lot of LitRPG books get 4/5-5 star ratings because fans love the genre. But this one is getting a 5 star rating from me for the clean story arc, the excellent character development, and the world-class world building.

What kind of LitPRG is it?
Bagwell <__*_______> Kong
On the LitRPG spectrum, on one side there is Travis Bagwell with Awaken Online. It is character-driven and focuses on story and people. Statistics are there, but what really matters is the people and what they are going through. On the other end of the spectrum is Aleron Kong and The Land. It's much more of a wish-fulfillment (author wrote a story that he'd like to live, and likely based on his own personality) RPG with hours of stats and skill collection. So let's call this the Bagwell-Kong scale. Where Bagwell is 1 and Kong is 10, I think Yap and The Gam3 is around 3 on the scale. He doesn't draw out the emotions of each character as artfully as Bagwell does. But he's much more of a traditional narrative storyteller than Kong is.

Strengths:
1.) World Building - a visualizing reader can see the world in great detail. This is 5/5
2.) Storytelling - It took me 1 chapter to get into the book. But after that, I was well and truly hooked.
3.) Characters - I remember the names and roles of the characters in the book. This is because they are written in a way that they matter and are interesting.
4.) Story Arc - sorry for the pun, but the story arc was textbook. And it is so big and complex that the series could go on forever. Certain story lines will obviously get wrapped up. But it's a huge concept and a practically infinite universe.

Conclusion: This isn't just LitRPG for LitRPG fans. This is galaxy-spanning sci-fi written in the LitRPG format. And it is well worth your time.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brandon Shaw
  • 03-12-2018

Nice, very nice Very nice indeed. Fast, Dynamic,

Able to visualize the authors reality as simply as thinking, or even breathing, but exciting as it can be

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-11-2018

why didn't I find this sooner

only downside is I want more... great book and I cant wait to read more

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brittney
  • 08-10-2018

Great

i am very excited to hear book 2! Hope it’s as good as the first.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-03-2019

Yep I was skeptical but it’s well worth

I put off buying this series due to some trash raters. Well when I did cave and buy it I ended up buying all on audible and even preordering the next audible. :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-11-2018

Scifi + litrpg = Great!

A very fun read! I noticed a comment about an 'op' skill, but don't worry the main character is far from overpowered! his struggles are pretty hilarious at times. The world building is undoubtedly one of a kind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dave Hoggan
  • 11-01-2017

Experience Online Role Playing - Without Playing

As an ex-MMORPGer (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) this book caught my attention by its somewhat novel concept; aliens invade Earth and give us peace and a virtual realty game the whole galaxy is playing. Not the usual outcome of such a scenario that you've probably come to expect. I gave up MMORPGs as I no longer have the time, but miss the fun, challenges and character building. So bear that in mind as it will colour my views.

The author has obviously has played MMORPGs. A lot. The book delights in the player's experience of building a character and is heavy on game mechanics. Heavy yes, but not to the point of being distracting. With an engaging and novel story concept, the reader experiences all the major aspects of what a player has to contend with when playing a MMORPG: character creation; chosing skills; chosing a moral standpoint; decision making - the list goes on.

But before all this sounds somewhat dull, it is presented against the backdrop of a very interesting story concept. Aliens "invade" Earth and stop humanity from tearing itself apart with war, famine, bigotry and the rest. They give us technology. They give us The Game, a virtual reality simulation where players from cross the galaxy interact, trade, do business, fall in love, and go to war. For the game is the only place where war is now fought. Our protagonist, Alan, is a newbie only equiped with an seemingly overpowered AI assistant Eve. He enters this virtual world only to find that there is a lot more to it than he ever inagined and that the actions in the game will have far reaching and devastating consequences back in the real world.

For the first published book by unknown Cosimo Yap, this really was a pleasant and engaging surprise. So much so that I went looking for the print version only to disappointingly discover there is none. It was also disappointing to discover that volume two is not yet available on Audible, simply as it is still being written.

My Audible reading list is already set for the next few months, but when book two arrives - and I really hope it does - it will be bumped to the head of the queue.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • JONAH8208
  • 25-02-2017

Very Good

Bit like the classic Ready Player One but more complex. Dunno how the author is going to get through this story in less than 20 books but looking forward to more

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard L
  • 20-02-2017

Straight onto the next thank you!

Extremely accessible (not really a gamer), well paced, expanding the richly fabricated world minute by minute. I've seen comparisons to Ready Player One, I enjoyed this a lot more and it is quite different. I'm in for the series, thank you.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas West
  • 19-02-2017

Very interesting book. Looking forward to the rest

This is one of the better books I have listened to with regards to the performance of the narrator.
The book itself is interesting, having listened to ready player one and we are legion, we are bob recently I would say it's right up my ally. My problem is that it seems just like it is the beginning of a much larger story. There is little to no middle or end. That being said it was still a good listen and I will definately get the next

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 23-02-2017

Probably better as a book

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The idea of entering a virtual world and levelling up yourself to become more powerful whilst gaining new weapons and armour etc.. was an addictive storyline for any RPG gamer. Entering the Gam3 and meeting multiple races battling over various things brought great depth to the story.

Nick Podehl is fast becoming my favourite narrator, but even he couldn't make the, seemingly endless at times, list of the main character's abilities when he 'levelled up', which was fairly regularly. There ws one chapter towards the end where I think the list took more than 10 minutes to get through. For example: Health +10 points, Armour +5 points, Dexterity + 3points, Agility +20 points. You think this is too much, you wait for when it gets to the sub categories of the specific class of the character like the "ability to communicate with an unidentified artificial intelligence +30". It was so ridiculous it made me laugh,

I enjoyed this book, and will listen to the next if it is released, but if you're also a reader I think this book is best read so that you can skim read the long list of attributes following a level up.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Richard Furr
  • 27-03-2017

Fantastic!

I'm an avid RPGer, but life seems to get in the way these days meaning I don't get to play anywhere near as much as I'd like.
I stumbled across this book by accident as I'd not heard anything about it and it really was brilliant.
The story was exciting and interesting and the narration was by far the best is heard on any audio book so far.
Really looking forward to the next part!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Darren
  • 22-03-2017

Newbie to LitRPG

Picked this up because love the VR constructed world in Ready Player One and synopsis sounded interesting. Wow, if all LitRPG is like this, I'm a new genre fan. Beautifully paced, feels epic with likeable characters. Narrated well with each character feeling well defined. Can't wait to see how this unfolds..

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • arron hardiman
  • 21-03-2017

great scifi

great story hope the author gets the support to continue the story. good scifi writing which is a different take than most litres which tend toward being in a fantasy world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 20-03-2018

great

great book and narration already purvhased the next book in the series a a a

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-03-2018

Can't wait for more. Loved it, great performance

Gripped me from the start, can't wait for the next episode next month. Loved it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful