Friday, 7 December 2018

Scorpion Swamp artist Duncan Smith to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 3

What do the Fighting Fantasy gamebook Scorpion Swamp (written by the US Steve Jackson) and Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Role-playing Game (written by the UK Steve Jackson) have in common? Well, apart from sharing their 35th anniversary in 2019, they were also both illustrated by artist Duncan Smith.


What some Fighting Fantasy fans may not realise is that Duncan also provided the pictures for the first iteration of Ian Livingstone's legendary Caverns of the Snow Witch that appeared in Warlock Magazine.

Mammoth and Snow Witch, by Duncan Smith (c) 1984 and 2018.

Duncan is now based in London, having moved there after graduating from the Glasgow School Of Art.

Duncan Smith: Luckily I had some good friends who'd moved down the year before, Iain McCaig and Joe Graham. (You've probably heard of Iain, does a bit of drawing for films, writes, directs, film maker and educator, all round renaissance man! Joe Graham is a designer, writer, singer and used to make a great man-mountain pizza!) Anyway, after dragging my portfolio around all the Publishers I started to get lots of work. Iain was working on the FF books and they were looking for new artists and I ended up doing a whole bunch of fantasy work for Puffin Books and White Dwarf. They were really enjoyable books to do, and Iain and I would have great fun, taking turns posing, for each others drawings for some of the more outlandish characters in our respective books, from Lizard men, centaurs, wizards and the occasional giant! The rest as they say, is history, as that was over thirty years ago.

The Warlock: So what have you been working on since illustrating Fighting Fantasy gamebooks?

DS: My work is quite varied now, I work for a variety of publishing houses producing illustrations and some concept work for film, I write and illustrate children's books and how to draw books. I'm also an avid photographer and educator.

TW: Many of your original FF illustrations are now for sale. What prompted you to give fans the opportunity to own a piece of classic '80s fantasy art?

DS: One of the reasons that I'm selling this artwork is a chat I had recently with my old friend Tim Olsen. (Tim stayed in the flat below us and was then the manager of Games Workshop. Tim is another multi-talented guy - writer, artist and humanitarian - and has the biggest heart!). When I mentioned I still had all the artwork for the books tucked away in my plan chest, he said that I should put them up for sale as there was a lot of interest from fans and collectors for FF art. So, Tim put out the word that I was selling some work and remarkably there was a lot of interest! So, here for the first time, all in one place, the artwork finally sees the light of day!

Pool Beast and Fenmarge Tavern, by Duncan Smith (c) 1984 and 2018.

Some of Duncan's original pieces for Scorpion Swamp and Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Role-Playing Game are still available to buy, direct from the artist himself here.

The exciting news is that Duncan is going to be one of the guests attending Fighting Fantasy Fest 3, on Saturday 31st August 2019. To find out more about the event, click this link. Tickets go on sale in the New Year.


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Special guest Ian Livingstone attending Dragonmeet 2018

On Saturday 1st December, Fighting Fantasy co-creator Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet 2018 as one of this year's special guests.

Also in attendance will be Fighting Fantasy historian Jonathan Green and All Rolled Up, the company that produces the FF-licensed game rolls and dice trays.

Dragonmeet is being held at the Novotel London West, in Hammersmith, London. The Gaming Hall is open from 9:00am-Midnight, while the Trade Hall is open from 10:00am-7:00pm.

You will find a downloadable version of the event programme here.

Fighting Fantasy at Dragonmeet 2018

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Fighting Fantasy Checklist and Price Guide 2018

Jamie Fry, the Fighting Fantasy Collector, is back, with 2018's updated Fighting Fantasy Checklist and Price Guide.


As well as every edition of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks published in English, the guide covers everything from early FF computer games and advertising posters to All Rolled Up licensed products and inkle Sudios' Steve Jackson's Sorcery! merchandise. It's a miracle Mr Fry's STAMINA didn't fail during the writing of his magnum opus.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy has its own section in the guide.

Fighting Fantasy computer games.

You can download your own copy of Jamie's guide for free here, and don't forget to check out the Fighting Fantasy Collector website here.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone at the Golden Joystick Awards

Last Friday, Fighting Fantasy co-creators Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone were at the Golden Joystick Awards to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dark Souls and Bloodborne creator Hidetaka Miyazaki.

Steve Jackson, Hidetaka Miyazaki and Ian Livingstone.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, when asked, "What kind of books would I find on your shelf if I were to look right now?" his reply was:

"First, you'd spot the manga shelf, with Devilman and Berserk lining the top. The neighbouring bookshelf is packed with tabletop role-playing game rulebooks, with RuneQuest prominently displayed, alongside the board game Dragon Pass. A shelf is packed with novels – old classics of fantasy and science fiction, alongside George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice and Fevre Dream. A small library of game books shares the same shelf. At the top is Sorcery! and accompanying guides Titan and Out of the Pit. Finally, you'd find various art and reference books, including work by Umberto Eco and McNeill, and Colin Wilson's The Occult."

Miyazaki often credits the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for fuelling his interest in game design.

Ian Livingstone with Hidetaka Miyazaki, and The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

You can watch the entirety of the Golden Joystick Awards below, and if you want to see Hidetaka Miyazaki receive his Lifetime Achievement award from Steve and Ian, jump to 55:20.