Friday 1 December 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone attending Dragonmeet 2023

Tomorrow, Saturday 2nd December 2023, Sir Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet at the Novotel Hammersmith in West London.

At 9:30am he will be presenting the inaugural Ian Livingstone Prize for Innovations in Games, so that the shortlisted entries and the winner can then demonstrate their awards on their stands. The winner has been chosen from a long list of entries by Sir Ian and represents the Innovation that he feels most benefits games and gaming that year.

You will then find Sir Ian at Stand 6 in the Lower Trade Hall, which opens at 10:00am, where he will have some copies of the hardback editions of Shadow of the Giants and Dice Men on sale.

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At 12:00pm Sir Ian will be on the panel for What Board Games Mean to Me.

Why are board games so important to so many of us, and why have they become so popular? Inspired by the new book of the same name from Aconyte, games expert James Wallis is joined by a panel of games industry experts and enthusiasts, including Sir Ian Livingstone and Matt Forbeck, to explore the many ways in which games have shaped all our lives

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Sir Ian will be attending until 2:00pm, at which point he has to leave. However, before then he will be happy to chat with fans and sign their books.

Friday 24 November 2023

The Shamutanti Hills - published 40 years ago!

Regular visitors to this blog will have noticed that this year that images from four classic Fighting Fantasy gamebooks appear in the banner at the top of the page. These are all books that were first published 40 years ago this year, but they are not the only one.

The first book in the Sorcery! series, aimed squarely at adult gamers, was released in late 1983. The Shamutanti Hills by Steve Jackson, saw the commencement of an epic quest to recover the Crown of Kings from the evil Archmage of Kakhabad. In the adventure, the hero has to make his way through the hills of the title; “alive with evil creatures, lawless wanderers and bloodthirsty monsters, the land is riddled with tricks and traps waiting for the unwary traveller.”

Despite being for adults, the game still used the usual Fighting Fantasy gaming mechanics, the cover proudly stating the mantra familiar to Fighting Fantasy fans that, “Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need for this adventure – YOU decide which paths to take, which dangers to risk and which monsters to fight.” The big difference came from what gave the series its name. As well as being a mighty warrior, the hero of the Sorcery! series could also be played as a powerful magic-user.

The ‘simple’ version of the adventure involved the use of no magic whatsoever, as with most FF adventures up until this point (with the notable exception of Jackson’s The Citadel of Chaos). However, there was also the option whereby the reader could opt for the ‘advanced’ version of the game, which relied heavily on magic, with the hero being able to cast a wide range of spells. Each spell cost between 1 and 4 STAMINA points to cast, and each was denoted by a three letter word (following the pattern consonant-vowel-consonant), and often required very specific ingredients to be cast successfully at all.

There was also the option to call on Libra, the Goddess of Justice, once during the course of the adventure, either to enable the hero to escape a tricky battle, to be cleansed of curses or diseases, or to have his starting attributes restored to their Initial level.

The Sorcery Spell Book was, to begin with, just that – a separate book, detailing the spells used in the Sorcery! series, that came packaged with The Shamutanti Hills in a special slipcase edition. It featured a number of illustrations, which were cut when the Spell Book was later incorporated into the Sorcery! gamebooks themselves, when they were republished under the Adventure Gamebooks banner.

Original slipcase editions of The Shamutanti Hills and The Sorcery Spell Book are now veritable collector’s items!

The Shamutanti Hills is now available again from Scholastic Books.

Friday 17 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone to attend Dragonmeet 2023

Co-creator of the Fighting Fantasy series Sir Ian Livingstone will be attending Dragonmeet on Saturday 2nd December 2023. The event is taking place at the Novotel Hammersmith in West London.

You will find Sir Ian at Stand C11 in the Lower Trade Hall, which will be open from 10:00am-6:00pm.

Click to enlarge.

Sir Ian will be there from 10:00am-2:00pm signing books, and will have some copies of the hardback editions of Shadow of the Giants and Dice Men on sale as well.

Friday 10 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone at Lucca 2023 and the Bogforum Book Fair

Sir Ian Livingstone had a busy week last week.

First of all he jetted off to Italy to attend Lucca Comics & Games 2023. The Italian edition of Dice Men was launched in Lucca, by Raven Distribution, alongside a new Italian edition of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

As you can imagine, there were plenty of fans who wanted him to sign their books.

The talks he gave were very well attended too.

To cement his rock and roll status as a game designer, while Sir Ian was in Italy, he was invited to leave his handprints and signature in perpetuity for the Lucca Comics & Games Walk of Fame, which is dedicated to the most important and popular creators of comics and games.

It was then on to Copenhagen in Denmark, for our globe-trotting hero, to attend the Bogforum Book Fair. He was there to celebrate the launch of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in Danish.

The signing queue there was just as long as it had been in Italy!

There are now 14 Fighting Fantasy title available in Danish, including the 40th anniversary titles Shadow of the Giants and Secrets of Salamonis...

...and the Slavernes Kr√łnike boxset, which contains translations of Trial of Champions and Armies of Death.