Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 - everything you need to know!

If you're considering coming to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, you should note that Early Bird tickets will only remain on sale until midnight on Sunday 2nd July. If you're already coming, here's what you need to know about the biggest and best Fighting Fantasy convention yet.


Essential Information
Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
Timings: Registration opens at 9:00am and the event closes at 8:00pm
Location: The University of West London, St Mary's Road, Ealing, London, W5 5RF

Transport Links: Ealing Broadway station is only a 10 minute walk away, with the 65 bus running from the station to the university. It is also only a short walk to South Ealing station, which is on the Piccadilly Line. The M4 and M40 are both close by, as is Heathrow airport.



Guests of Honour
Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone - godfathers of the UK Games Industry, co-founders of Games Workshop, and co-creators of the Fighting Fantasy series. Come and meet your heroes!

Guest Authors

There will also be a number of other guest authors appearing on the day, including...
Marc Gascoigne - consultant FF editor, author of Battleblade Warrior, and the man responsible for Out of the Pit, Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World, Demonstealer and Shadowmaster.
Jamie Thomson - co-author of numerous FF gamebooks, including Talisman of Death, Sword of the Samurai, and The Keep of the Lich-Lord.
Peter Darvill-Evans - author of the highly-regarded Beneath Nightmare Castle, Portal of Evil, and Spectral Stalkers.
Jonathan Green - author of numerous FF gamebooks - including Bloodbones, Howl of the Werewolf, and Night of the Necromancer - and the author of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, and YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2.

Guest Artists
A number of those talented individuals who have helped bring the FF world to life through their illustrations will also be attending Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, including...
Russ Nicholson - one of the men who helped define the look of Fighting Fantasy, illustrating the first two books in the series, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and The Citadel of Chaos.
Malcolm Barter - much-admired illustrator of The Forest of Doom.
Alan Langford - illustrator of Island of the Lizard King, Sword of the Samurai, Creature of Havoc, Battleblade Warrior, Portal of Evil and Spellbreaker. FFF2 will be Alan first con!
Jim Burns - cover artist for not one but two different editions of Freeway Fighter.
Tony Hough - illustrator of Spectral Stalkers, Night Dragon, Knights of Doom and Bloodbones.
Pete Knifton - illustrator of Tower of Destruction and Siege of Sardath.
Leo Hartas - FF cartographer extraordinaire, who has revisited his classic map of Allansia for Ian Livingstone's new book The Port of Peril.

Other Guests
We are delighted to be able to welcome a number of different companies to FFF2 who all love Fighting Fantasy as much as we do, including...
Scholastic UK - the new publishers of the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks will be in attendance.
Titan Comics - publishers of the Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER will be at FFF2, along with the creative team behind the comic, including writer Andi Ewington, artist Simon Coleby
Nomad Games - the team behind Fighting Fantasy Legends will be showcasing their brand new game at FFF2.
inkle studios - creators of the best-selling Steve Jackson's Sorcery! apps will be undertaking a playthrough of their Sorcery! adaptation.
Arion Games - publishers of Advanced Fighting Fantasy Second Edition.

Traders
All Rolled Up - creators of the award-winning ARU game rolls will be present, with licensed FF game rolls and related merchandise.
Click Your Poison Books - James Schannep will be selling his own branching path narratives at the convention.
DMB Games - makes of 3D dungeon scenery - ideal for your games of Advanced Fighting Fantasy!
Fighting Fantasy Collector - Jamie Fry will be at FFF2 with all manner of hard-to-find FF books and memorabilia.
Otherworld Miniatures - purveyors of fine fantasy miniatures, including Zagor the Warlock of Firetop Mountain himself!
Snowbooks - publishers of YOU ARE THE HERO Parts 1 & 2.
Two-Fisted Fantasy - Hermit Skull will be in attendance, selling his popular Two-Fisted Fantasy gamebooks.
Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars will also be on sale at FFF2.

Gaming
Arion Games will be running Advanced Fighting Fantasy role-play sessions throughout the day, while Nomad Games will be demoing Fighting Fantasy Legends.

Activities
Talks - from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone talking about bringing FF gamebooks to a new generation, an interview with Marc Gascoigne, and the authors and artists talking about creating adventures that are still fondly remembered 30 years on, there's something for everyone in this year's programme of talks, which will run across two strands throughout the day.
Signings - our guests will be signing throughout the day, all free of charge!
Cosplay Competition - dress up as your favourite Fighting Fantasy hero, villain, or monster, and you could walk away from Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 with a prize worthy of Zagor's treasure hoard!
Art Exhibition - classic covers from the past and Chris Achilleos's brand new cover art for YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 will be on display, along with other artefacts from the Fighting Fantasy archives.
Auction - one of the highlights of the first Fighting Fantasy Fest was the auction of rare FF items, and we're be doing it again this year.
Pub Quiz - and for those who will be in or around Ealing on the Friday night, the regular You Are The Beer-o meet-up will be taking place at The New Inn, featuring the first ever Fighting Fantasy Pub Quiz, to raise money from Prostate Cancer UK, in memory of Freeway Fighter illustrator Kevin Bulmer.

Food and Drink
Food and drink will be available on site throughout the day, from the university cafeteria and bar. Bar snacks include burgers and pizzas and cost around £5 each.

Adventurer's Backpacks
Event exclusive goodie bags, including lanyards, event tags, and FFF2 t-shirts can be purchase in advanced through Eventbrite, the same place you buy your tickets for Fighting Fantasy Fest 2.


There are further traders, gaming sessions, talks and guests still to be announced, so keep an eye on www.FightingFantasy.com for regular updates.

And remember, there are just ten weeks to go until Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 opens its dungeon doors to the unwary... Don't delay - secure your ticket today!


Friday, 23 June 2017

Ian Livingstone's The Port of Peril

When the Fighting Fantasy series is re-launched on 3rd August 2017, alongside such classic titles as The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, City of Thieves, The Citadel of Chaos, The Forest of Doom, and House of Hell, one brand new title will be published - Ian Livingstone's The Port of Peril


In this brand new addition to the multi-million-copy-selling Fighting Fantasy series, you - the hero - must travel all over Allansia - from old haunts Darkwood Forest to Port Blacksand - on a dangerous quest. What starts as a treasure hunt soon takes a darker turn, with the potential return of the most terrifying foe of the original books, Zanbar Bone, on the increasingly dark horizon.



The new Fighting Fantasy covers are here!

It's what fans have been waiting for for a long time, ever since it was announced that Scholastic UK would be re-launching the Fighting Fantasy gamebook series. Well you need wait no longer - here are the covers for the new editions, re-imagined for a new generation of FF fans.







PART STORY, PART GAME - PURE ADVENTURE!


Friday, 16 June 2017

The Second Swordsman – 'The Scales of Adventure'

This week it's time for the sixth in Malcolm Garcia's Second Swordsman series. Enjoy!


The Second Swordsman – 'The Scales of Adventure'

By Malcolm Garcia

While all manner of creatures roam the continents of Titan, there are very few species that have become organised enough to form societies and take control of the land around them. Humans have their cities, such as Port Blacksand and Kharé, and the dwarves have Fangthane and Stonebridge. But there are also the Lizard Men, who have their own extensive Empire in south-western Allansia and are your principal adversaries in two FIGHTING FANTASY adventures – Island of the Lizard King and Battleblade Warrior.

Island was the fifth book to be penned by Ian Livingstone (making this the seventh of his adventures I’ve attempted using the Second Swordsman process) while Battleblade was the only time that Marc Gascoigne wrote a FIGHTING FANTASY book, despite being deeply involved in the series. Both Island and Battleblade were illustrated within by Alan Langford, the go-to guy for dinosaurs, and he would later return to provide more thunder lizards for Portal of Evil (which I’ll visit soon).

The Second Swordsman process performed surprisingly in both of these adventures. The bad surprise was in Island where I set a new record for defeat. The mission was fairly straightforward, kill the eponymous Lizard King and free the prisoners that he and his Lizard Men army are keeping captive on Fire Island. My initial rolls gave me decent SKILL and LUCK scores and, while my STAMINA was lower than I’d like, the background to the adventure provided plenty of provisions to replenish my STAMINA between battles. I arrived on the island with my buddy, Mungo, who told me of his father’s death in Baron Sukhumvit’s Deathtrap Dungeon (an adventure where a previous incarnation of me perished way too soon because of some dodgy fungus). There is some speculation that the hero of Island is the same hero from Deathtrap but, as my character mentioned nothing of the labyrinth during our boat ride, I figure this to be unlikely.

My defeat on Fire Island was brisk. I initially found some pirates huddled around a treasure chest. They no doubt thought that somewhere with Fire Island’s reputation would be a safe place to stash their booty. I decided to ignore them (a frequent action when using the Second Swordsman process) and explore somewhere else, whereupon Mungo was seized by a giant crab. Rather than come to his aid with my sword, I cowardly ran away… into quicksand… where I instantly died. While my previous deaths in both Deathtrap and Trial of Champions (which were also authored by Livingstone) were relatively early, my adventure on Island set a new record – dead in four choices.

Chastened and reincarnated, I headed south to Vymorna where my mission was to head into the mountains of the Lion Heights and find a magical weapon that would help to lift the siege imposed by the Lizard Man Empire upon my city. While my initial SKILL and STAMINA were good, my LUCK score was not ideal. Battleblade also limited the number of provisions to four and removed the usual ability to choose a helpful potion. However the Second Swordsman process was up for the challenge.

During my adventure I fought the most creatures I have so far – twenty-two in total, seven of which were Lizard Men (which is a welcome change from Island where I killed nothing). The monsters were nicely balanced with only a few being fairly difficult – the Swamp Mutant and the Warrior King – and in several of the battles I lost no rounds of combat at all. At one point I was lucky enough to grab a Lizard Man by his foot and have him fall onto his own sword, and I also had the most melees I’ve yet encountered in a FIGHTING FANTASY adventure.

Unlike several other adventures, in Battleblade choosing every second option did not make me ignore opportunities for action. I struck down the crew of a catapult which was throwing projectiles at Vymorna and also attacked several Rat Men engineers who were part of the siege. After escaping the siege I crossed plains and jungle to reach the city of Kharnek, hidden in the mountains and the place where the Blade of Telak, the magical weapon I was searching for, was said to lie. Something that Battleblade does quite well is to give a sense of scale (pun not intended). The journey from Vymorna to Kharnek took several days and there were several occasions when I wondered if I was on the right path at all.


While I lost plenty of STAMINA during my battles in Battleblade, my four provisions (and several opportunities to replenish these) kept my STAMINA from failing me. My longevity did, however, have a cost upon my LUCK which was constantly eroded away. Fortunately Battleblade replaces some obvious LUCK tests with SKILL trials (which I passed easily) and even when I was unlucky, I wasn’t doomed to an instant death and sometimes had the opportunity to fight my way out of the situation.

Once I reached Kharnek I found half of the Blade of Telak and, for a brief moment, thought this would be the first adventure where the Second Swordsman process worked. Until it didn’t and I suffered an instant death. Backtracking for the first time, I found where I went wrong and how I could have won. Thus, if not for one choice where I bizarrely decided not to pick up an item within a few sections of the end, I would have succeeded. In other FIGHTING FANTASY adventures (such as The Citadel of Chaos, The Forest of Doom and Starship Traveller) I have come tantalisingly close to the geographic end of the adventure, but without having either knowledge or special objects necessary to succeed. In Battleblade this was not the case. For most of the adventure all that is necessary is to survive – missing something near the start will not doom the reader to failure and some clever or lucky choices near the end will be rewarded with victory.

I’ll revisit both Island and Battleblade in the near future, but without the Second Swordsman process. I can’t possibly do any worse in the former and I think I’ve got a good chance of succeeding in the latter.


Thank you, as always, to Malcolm, for his latest Second Swordsman blog post. If you have any suggestions for items for the official Fighting Fantasy blog don't forget to get in touch via mail@fightingfantasy.com.