Friday, 22 September 2017

Remember, you heard it here first!

The news that Charlie Higson will be writing a brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook hit The Bookseller today:


Charlie Higson is writing a new book in the bestselling Fighting Fantasy gamebook series for Scholastic UK, set for an April 2018 release.
Higson’s adventure will be set in the iconic Fighting Fantasy world “while bringing his own brand of fiendish, pacy plotting and spine-chilling monsters into play”, the publisher said.
It follows the 35th anniversary last August of the first publication of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s classic adventure series.
The deal for world rights was struck between Lauren Fortune, editorial director at Scholastic UK and Alexandra Cann Representation on behalf of Higson and Philippa Milnes-Smith at Lucas Alexander Whitley on behalf of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
Higson’s book will be published alongside five more classic backlist titles from Jackson and Livingstone: Creature of HavocDeathtrap DungeonAppointment with F.E.A.RThe Island of the Lizard King and Sorcery! Fighting Fantasy is a trademark owned by Jackson and Livingstone and used with permission.
Higson wrote the Young Bond series which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages.
He said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and gaming so when I first came across the Fighting Fantasy books back in the day I just had to check them out. Even though I was probably a little older than the average reader I thought they were great fun. In fact I thought they were genius. So it’s a huge honour now to be asked to write an adventure of my own and help introduce these amazing books to a new generation of readers.”
Fighting Fantasy co-creators Jackson and Livingstone said: “We are extremely proud of the world of Fighting Fantasy that we created 35 years ago, and which endures so well today. We’re very excited to see what the amazing imagination of bestselling author Charlie Higson will bring to the world. Charlie is a big fan of the series, and we know he will delight existing fans and his own readers with his first Fighting Fantasy book.”
Over 20 million copies of Fighting Fantasy have sold worldwide in 25 languages and the series has a legion of high-profile fans.
But remember, you heard the news here first!*


* Unless you were at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, in which case you heard the news first there.

Ian Livingstone at the Cardiff Book Festival

This Saturday, 23rd September, Ian Livingstone will be appearing at the Cardiff Book Festival.

His best-selling titles include City of Thieves, The Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon, and his new book, The Port of Peril, marks the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy.

Ian will share reflections on his career before a Q&A session chaired by BBC Radio 1’s Steffan Powell.

Tickets are £7, full price, and £5 for concessions, and can be purchased here.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Arrr! Avast, me hearties, it be International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

There be a fair few Fighting Fantasy adventures that features pirates, including City of Thieves, Seas of Blood, Demons of the DeepThe Keep of the Lich-Lord, and Bloodbones, of course, but which be your favourite villainous rapscallion of the high seas?


Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Art Competition of Firetop Mountain

Over a week ago, Fighting Fantasy fans from all over the world met a host of FF artists at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2. Some of them were even inspired to bring along their own pieces of artwork.

If you are planning on entering our Fighting Fantasy art competition, you have until this Friday to do so.

All you need to do is re-imagine one of the classic monsters that appears within the pages of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Will it be the Minotaur, the Dragon, or the Iron Cyclops that you re-design? Perhaps it will be the Vampire, the Sandworm, or the Giant Spider. Any creature is fair game, as long as it is encountered somewhere within The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

You can draw it in pencil or pen, as the original illustrations were produced, or you can paint it, or produce the image digitally. However, your picture must be submitted in the form of a .jpeg via email to mail@fightingfantasy.com by Friday 15th September, and the winners of the competition will be notified by Saturday 30th September*.

Every winning entry will receive a Steam key to download a free copy of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, courtesy of Tin Man Games, who have recently released the first DLC for the game - Goblin Scourge!

So don't delay - get drawing today!



* Terms and conditions
Copyright in the image remains with you (although any characters, locations or logos from the Fighting Fantasy series remain the copyright of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone), but www.fightingfantasy.com reserves the right to reproduce the image however we like and how often. There will be no fee paid and you give us permission for www.fightingfantasy.com to use your image regardless of whether you win the competition or not. No correspondence will be entered into regarding any entries and if you have not heard from us by Saturday 30th September then you must assume your entry is not among the winners.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Ian Livingstone at Storysmash in Nottingham today!

A master of fantasy writing and a titan of the gaming industry, Ian Livingstone CBE is probably still best known for co-creating the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks series, as well as being one of the co-founders of Games Workshop.

Ian will be at Storysmash in Nottingham, today, at 3:00pm, to talk about writing for games and gamebooks. If you are in the area, and especially if you weren't able to make it to Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 last weekend, don't miss this opportunity to meet one of the most significant figures in the games industry. Ian will talk about the challenges, how he approaches writing a new project, and how aspiring writers can begin thinking about their own future of game writing. The session will include an interactive session to get everyone writing.

Ian will also be signing copies of his brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook, The Port of Peril, which will be available to purchase at the event.

This will be a great event for children 11+ and adults. Tickets are available from Eventbrite, or you can pay by cash in person at Nottingham Central Library.


Friday, 8 September 2017

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 - Return to the Convention of Firetop Mountain!

A week ago, a weekend of celebrations to mark the 35th anniversary of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks kicked off with the world's first Fighting Fantasy pub quiz. Seven teams endured their own Trial of Champions, working their way through eight rounds to see who knew the most FF lore.

One of the highlights of the evening was a raffle, to help raise funds for men's health charity Prostate Cancer UK, with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone donating some very special prizes, including a framed mint condition copy of Warlock Magazine #1.

In the end, '50 Shades of Throm' battled their way to victory, and were awarded with certificates and bottles of Cloud Ale by Mr Steve Jackson himself.

Steve Jackson with the winners of the FF Pub Quiz, '50 Shades of Throm'.

Attendees of the world's first Fighting Fantasy pub quiz.

Then, on Saturday, it was time for the main event itself. At 9:00am the doors opened on Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, and adventurers from both near and far - some having travelled from such far flung locations as North America, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand - were treated to a day of talks, Q&As, trading, adventuring and socialising, as well as the opportunity to meet their childhood heroes - the authors and artists behind the best-selling Fighting Fantasy series!

The marathon signing session undertaken by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone at the Scholastic Books stand lasted two and a half hours!

Highlights of the day included Nomad Games' showcase of Fighting Fantasy Legends, the premier of the audio drama The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: The Hero's Quest, one-time FF consultant editor Marc Gascoigne talking about his contributions to the world of Titan, the announcement that Charlie Higson will be writing a brand new Fighting Fantasy gamebook, entitled The Gates of Death, and an energetic talk by Iain McCaig, who had flown in especially for the occasion, which had fans enthralled.

Marc Gascoigne in conversation with Jonathan Green.

Charlie Higson talks about his new books, The Gates of Death.

Iain McCaig entertains the masses.

At the end of the day, before turning to 400, eager adventurers had the chance to see how Steve Jackson fared against his own creation, when Jon Ingold of inkle studios guided him, and award-winning film director Martin Gooch, through Steve Jackson's Sorcery!

The following day, a group of hard-bitten veterans, who had backed the YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 Kickstarter at The Black Tower level or above, were joined for lunch by Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, and Jonathan Green (the book's author). And then, it was time, at last, for venture former on new adventures, as yet untold...


From the posts that have appeared online since last weekend, it would seem that everyone had a fantastic time, which we are delighted to hear, and it looks like we're going to need to put a date in the diary for Fighting Fantasy Fest 3!

You can see more photos from the weekend here. Please feel free to tag yourself in any pictures and share your own photos of the event.

The Second Swordsman – It’s Not Easy Being (the hero in a book written by Jonathan) Green

With Fighting Fantasy Fest over for another year (or two) it's back to business as normal here at www.fightingfantasy.com, which means it's time for another in Malcolm Garcia's Second Swordsman series. Enjoy!


The Second Swordsman – It’s Not Easy Being (the hero in a book written by Jonathan) Green

By Malcolm Garcia

After my previous trio of adventures, which were set in the all-too-familiar territory of Allansia, I crossed the ocean to see how the Second Swordsman process would fare in the Old World, the continent where the Sorcery! series is set and a land where I’ve so far feared to tread. And who better to be my guide than Jonathan Green who, although he penned his first FIGHTING FANTASY adventure in 1993, is still the most recent author to contribute to the world of Titan.


In Spellbreaker, YOU are trying to stop a horrible evil from being unleashed. In Stormslayer, YOU are trying to stop a jealous sorcerer from destroying the world with a horrible machine. And in Bloodbones, YOU are seeking vengeance upon the pirate who murdered your family and who might not be as dead as people believe.

So did the Second Swordsman process get me to 400 in any of these?

No.

In no particular order, I died during a battle against a much stronger enemy, died suddenly at the hands of a supernatural evil, and didn’t-quite-die but failed due to my stupidity. But despite these botched attempts, I did have some good adventures along the way.

Overall, in Green’s books, I got the sense that I was actually exploring the countryside during my quest, and not just slogging my way through a dungeon searching for magic objects while fighting every single creature I encountered. That’s not to say there wasn’t any fighting – in all three of these I had to fight something within the first couple of sections; some of which were quite strong for early stage enemies. But there are also whole towns and landscapes to explore with people I cannot attack who might either help me on my quest, or lead me to my doom.

Of these three books, my shortest-lived adventure as the Second Swordsman was in Bloodbones. My starting SKILL, STAMINA, and LUCK scores were good, I had a purse full of gold, and I was intrigued how the addition of a time factor would play out. I had an early fight with some pirates who might have been part of the possibly-undead Captain Cinnabar’s crew and then headed for the gambling halls of the Port of Crabs – which is possibly an even more perilous port than The Port of Peril. But then the process of choosing every second option made me ignore the games of chance on offer and I left with no more gold pieces than when I had arrived.

I continued to explore most of the city in my quest for clues and equipment. This resulted in me buying some weapons which held the promise of making future fights somewhat easier, but it also added much time to my tally. And when I decided to go and warn the Governor of the Port of Crabs about the risen Cinnabar, I foolishly chose not to bribe several people and ended my adventure prematurely, locked in a cell.

Spellbreaker was Green’s first FIGHTING FANTASY book and with its opening scene of monks and a fight against a demon it created an interesting Middle Ages atmosphere for the north-eastern part of the Old World in which it was set. The adventure sets me up with a deadline of four days in which I am to recover a stolen book that has been taken by a dark wizard to a nearby town so that he can raise a monster. But it soon becomes apparent that this adventure is not just about getting a book and that a larger evil is at work. However, once I left the monks I ignored a lot of opportunities to learn things – I didn’t escort a local noblewoman, I didn’t pay a jester at a local tavern, I didn’t buy a beer at a different tavern, I hurried through several small towns, and I didn’t take advantage of several opportunities to make offerings to various gods and martyrs – although when I finally did do this, I gained nothing.

However, I did get to fight a bear (without having to endure rounds of combat) and killed a Warlock and a local fiend called the Lurcher. I also found a local herbalist, one of the few helpful characters I met during my journey, who would have been even more helpful if I’d managed to collect a variety of plant life during my adventure. This encounter made me start to think that by taking every second option I had missed numerous potentially useful opportunities to find things. This feeling was confirmed when I failed to have two special objects in a row and suffered an instant death at the hands of a Wraith Rider.

And so to Stormslayer, probably the most enjoyable FIGHTING FANTASY book I’ve used the Second Swordsman process in since Battleblade Warrior. In this adventure I had some good starting scores, a decent supply of meals and gold, and a special dragon-slaying sword. As with Bloodbones and Spellbreaker this book throws you into combat at the very start – within the first few sections I’d fought a Manticore and an Ice Elemental. But these were not the only monsters I had to defeat during this adventure – my tally at the end being 22 (the same number that I faced in Battleblade Warrior). There was a good balance amongst these, some were weak creatures, others much stronger, and there were some melees (such as that against a trio of Naiads) that really wore down my STAMINA and made me grateful for my supply of food.

Early in the adventure I learned that a sorcerer named Balthazar Sturm has built a weather-altering flying machine that is powered by four elementals, and that to defeat him I need to travel across the western part of the Old World. The scope of this adventure is great. Sure, there are still some caverns where you need to choose between the left tunnel or the right tunnel. But you also choose where in the Kingdom of Femphrey you want to travel. And when you do travel long distances you need to keep track of the day of the week; arrive in a place on a certain day and your enemies will have temporarily become more powerful.

In a welcome change, using the Second Swordsman process in Stormslayer did not mean that I ignored everything. Through it I gained the much-needed assistance of a Dwarven brewer when journeying through the Witchtooth Mountains. And, in one of my favourite sequences of the book, when I chose every second option while journeying underwater, I set two massive aquatic monsters against each other rather than becoming a snack for either one of them. But eventually my adventure ended; killed by a Fire Elemental in a cavern deep beneath Mount Pyre. I was already suffering an imposed loss of two SKILL points and only scored one hit against it. So unfortunately I never got to find Sturm’s flying machine, or even use the dragon-slaying power of my sword.

While the Second Swordsman met with universal failure in my escapades in the Old World, in these three books by Jonathan Green it did provide me with some enjoyable adventures. I didn’t make too many obviously stupid decisions; I didn’t miss each and every opportunity to collect some valuable information or gain a special object; and, while I still ignored a lot of chances to explore, this didn’t make the books boring. I’ll look forward to trying the process on some more of Green’s adventures later on. Although maybe not Knights of Doom – I don’t fancy taking out another mortgage right now.


Monday, 4 September 2017

Charlie Higson to write a new Fighting Fantasy gamebook!

This weekend saw the epic Fighting Fantasy Fest 2: Return to the Convention of Firetop Mountain take place at the Universtiy of West London, in Ealing. (More on that later.)

But the big - as in Storm Giant big! - news, which was announced by Ian Livingstone on Saturday during the talk he gave with Steve Jackson, is that actor, comedian, and highly successful author Charlie Higson will be writing a Fighting Fantasy gamebook!

Charlie Higson and Ian Livingstone at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2

Charlie, who was most recently on our television screens in the last series of Broadchurch, wrote the phenomenally successful Young Bond series which has sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages. The series began with SilverFin and was followed by Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold and By Royal Command. All five novels entered the children’s bestseller charts in the top five.

The first novel in his bestselling zombie-adventure series for teenagers, The Enemy, was published by Puffin in September 2009, and was followed by The Dead, The Fear, The Sacrifice, The Fallen and The Hunted.

Charlie is also a successful adult novelist and has written four thrillers, King of the Ants (1992), Happy Now (1993), Full Whack (1995) and Getting Rid of Mr Kitchen (1996).

Charlie is a huge fan of horror films and books, and even studied gothic literature at university. Will that influence his gamebook, The Gates of Death? Although a highly experience author and television writer, Charlie is new to writing gamebooks and so experienced FF author Jonathan Green will be working with him on the project, in an advisory role.

The Gates of Death will be published in April 2018, as book #12 in the Scholastic sequence, alongside Creature of Havoc (#7), Deathtrap Dungeon (#8), Appointment with F.E.A.R. (#9), Island of the Lizard King (#10), and Sorcery! 1: The Shamutanti Hills (#11).

This is certainly a very exciting time for Fighting Fantasy and Scholastic Books. As Charlie Higson himself says: “Before there were video games, before kids could get lost in the labyrinth that is the Internet, before The Lord Of The Rings films, Game of Thrones and the reboot of Doctor Who turned everyone onto fantasy and sci-fi, there were the Fighting Fantasy books. A new way of telling stories and in many ways the birth of modern gaming, these books captured the imagination of a generation of kids – and locked them in Deathtrap Dungeon. It’s great to think that a new generation of kids are going to be similarly captivated.”


Charlie Higson addressing a captivated audience at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 is here!

It's the day Fighting Fantasy fans have been waiting for... Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 is taking place today.

If you're one of those people who is attending the Fighting Fantasy event of the year, remember to bring a print-out of your ticket(s) with you and we'll see you when doors open at 9:00am.

And may your STAMINA never fail!




Friday, 1 September 2017

The Pub Quiz of Firetop Mountain

Today, the Fighting Fantasy Fest celebrations kick-off with a warm-up before the main event on Saturday, in the form of a Fighting Fantasy pub quiz at the New Inn in Ealing.

Tickets are still on sale until 2:00pm today, so if you're going to be in Ealing this evening, why not come along and help raise some money for a good cause in the memory of a Fighting Fantasy gamebook illustrator?

The You Are The Beer-o meet-up starts at 7:00pm, with the pub quiz commencing at 8:00pm.


Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Auction of Firetop Mountain

There are just two days to go until Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, which will culminate with a cosplay competition and an auction of rare FF items from the personal collections of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.

Items that will be up for auction include various promotional posters, mint copies of rare Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and rare Fighting Fantasy computer games.






If you fancy owning one or more of these items, you know where you need to be on Saturday...

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Happy 35th Birthday to The Warlock of Firetop Mountain!

35 years ago today, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, was first published by Puffin Books.*


In 2002 the book was published again by Wizard Books, with a special hardback 25th anniversary version being released featuring Peter Andrew Jones' original artwork.




And now, in time for another landmark anniversary celebration there is another new edition out from Scholastic Books.


Since 1982 to 2017 there have been board game versions and various eBook or computer game versions too - some of which will feature at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 in six days' time.



But that's not all! 2017 also sees the release of the first ever audio drama based on a Fighting Fantasy gamebook - The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: The Hero's Quest - which will premiere at FFF2 as well.


1982 - 2017
May your STAMINA never fail!


* You can read more about the origins of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

One week to go until Fighting Fantasy Fest 2!

One week today the doors open on Fighting Fantasy Fest 2!

Featuring a host of special guests, including Guests of Honour Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, along with the likes of Iain McCaig, Marc Gascoigne, Malcolm Barter, and Jamie Thomson, it is going to be a 35th anniversary celebration to remember.

There will be talks, gaming sessions, comics, a cosplay competition, video game demonstrations, signings, and all manner of traders. On top of that, Snowbooks will be launching YOU ARE THE HERO Part 2 at the event.

With so much going on, you might find it helpful to have a look through the talks schedule for the day, which runs across two strands in two halls.



It's not too late to buy your ticket and make sure you don't miss out on the Fighting Fantasy event of the year!

Friday, 25 August 2017

The World's First Fighting Fantasy Pub Quiz

... is taking place one week today, on Friday 1 September, at the New Inn, Ealing.

The inaugural FF pub quiz is taking place as part of a special You Are The Beer-o pre-Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 meet-up and with the aim of raising as much money for Prostate Cancer UK as we can, in memory of original Freeway Fighter illustrator Kevin Bulmer.

To take part, you don't need to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, you just need to be up for a laugh. There will be picture rounds, a true and false round, and a round called 'Trail of Champions'. Teams of up to four may enter and can be arranged via the You Are The Beer-o: Stout of the Pit Facebook event page, or on the Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks) Facebook group page.

To find out more, and to book you ticket, follow this link.

And hopefully I'll see you next Friday!


Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Book Launch of Firetop Mountain

With only two weeks to go until Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, we're counting down the days until doors open on the second Convention of Firetop Mountain!

As well as a host of guests, including Guests of Honour Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, and Special Guest Artist Iain McCaig, all manner of traders will be there, selling their wares on the day - everything from role-playing games and fantasy miniatures, to books and audio dramas.

One of the books that will be on sale at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 is Part 2 of Jonathan Green's history of FF gamebooks, YOU ARE THE HERO, which is actually launching at the event.

The book covers developments since Part 1 was published back in 2014 but also delves into the history of Fighting Fantasy on TV and radio, looks at bands and musicians who have been inspired by the world's premier gamebook series, and profiles a number of individuals who have a passion for collecting Fighting Fantasy memorabilia.



The book will be on sale on the Snowbooks stand, opposite Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 reception, while the new editions of the FF books will be on sale at the Scholastic Books stand, which is also where Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, Iain McCaig and new cover artist Robert Ball will be signing during the day.

There are still tickets available, and since entry is by ticket only, make sure you grab yours today!