Monday, 27 February 2017

Fighting Fantasy Fest tickets go on sale on Thursday 2nd March 2017

Yes, it's the news you've all been waiting for - tickets for Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 go on sale on Thursday 2nd March 2017 at 9:00AM, via!

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 is an epic day-long celebration of all things Fighting Fantasy, taking place at the University of West London in Ealing, on Saturday 2nd September 2017, to mark the 35th anniversary of the world's premier gamebook series. Doors open at 9:00AM and the venue will close again, eleven hours later, at 8:00PM.

In the interim there will be all manner of talks, game demos, book signings, role-playing sessions, an exhibition of Fighting Fantasy art, and a host of trade stands to peruse. Guests of honour will be Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, the co-creators of the Fighting Fantasy series, but there will also be numerous artists, writers and other special guests in attendance.

Ealing itself is easily accessible by road, is well served by public transport links, and is only half an hour from both Heathrow Airport and Central London.

The University of West London offers a much larger convention space than the hotel which housed the first Fighting Fantasy Fest back in 2014, and boasts a lecture hall with tiered seating for 300 people. The venue also has its own cafe and bar, and both food and drink will be available throughout the event.

200 Early Bird Adult Tickets will go on sale on Thursday morning, at a cost of £35 each. These tickets will give you access to the entire event, including the trading hall, the full range of talks, guest signings, demo games, and art exhibition, for the whole day.

There will also be 50 Child Tickets on sale at £20 each. (Please note that children must be under 14 years of age on Saturday 2nd September and must be accompanied by a paying adult ticket-holder.)

Price of entry includes a collectible programme and autograph book. However, you may also wish to pre-order a separate Adventurer's Backpack containing unique merchandise, such as a Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 lanyard and event-exclusive t-shirt, at an additional cost of £25.

So make sure you instruct your goblin minions, or cast an enchantment (or, alternatively, set an alarm) to remind you to purchase your tickets at 9:00AM on Thursday 2nd March 2017 - via the official Fighting Fantasy website - and I shall look forward to welcoming you to my lair on Saturday 2nd September 2017 at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

The Evolution of a Comic Cover, by Simon Coleby

Simon Coleby, artist on Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER, here reveals the process that he goes through when producing a cover for a comic, in this case Issue #1 of the 4-part mini-series.

Click image to enlarge.

Top left is Simon's marker concept doodle (which looks good enough to publish, right?), but top right are his pencils for the final image. Why the tilt to the left? To leave room for the bar-code on the bottom-right!

When he is happy with the pencils, and they have been approved by the publisher, Simon moves on to inking the image, which you can see bottom left. Having done that, he hands the image over to series colourer Len O'Grady to work his magic. And with the text, logos and bar-code added, you finally have the finished cover (bottom right).

Remember to pre-order you copy (or copies) of Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER from your local comic shop today (quoting the codes below) and help to support not just this comic but also you local specialist comic supplier!

Click image to enlarge.

Friday, 24 February 2017

The Second Swordsman – ‘The Walks’

Last week we presented the first in Malcolm Garcia's series of Second Swordsman blog posts. Such was the positive response that this week we have the second blog in the series. So, over to Malcolm...

The Second Swordsman – ‘The Walks’

By Malcolm Garcia

In my first attempts at using the Second Swordsman process to successfully complete a Fighting Fantasy adventure, I failed in each of the first three books. The process of always choosing the second option resulted in me dying in a variety of ways, occasionally while tantalisingly close to my goal. For my next couple of attempts I decided to revisit one of the most famous adventures (if only by virtue of its cover), Deathtrap Dungeon and the V2.0 version of it, the Trial of Champions, both were written by Ian Livingstone CBE. The first published in 1984 and the second in 1986, so I was hoping that his temperament would have eased over those two years to give me a decent chance of success.

Or not. Once again when following every second choice I failed in each of my adventures and both deaths were also somewhat disappointing. In Deathtrap I foolishly chose to eat some strange mushrooms I found in a cellar. They caused me to swell dramatically in size (similar to Violet Beauregard in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’) and I became stuck in there, apparently forever. (Don’t cleaners ever visit the dungeon to remove the remains of unsuccessful competitors?) And in Trial I eventually fell victim to Lord Carnuss’s meat-grinding-series-of-trials after having to fight one-slave-too-many and I died on Blood Island without even managing to enter the new dungeon.

In Deathtrap, unflinchingly choosing the second option still had me ignoring many potentially useful things, such as a skeleton holding some parchment – seriously, in a creepy labyrinth I ignored parchment! – a box with my name on it, a giant idol with jewelled eyes, and an unattended backpack. I also didn’t take a wristband decorated with rat skulls, but I’m okay with that choice. During my journey I ignored three doors – which is a silly way to go about exploring a place, but this wasn’t as bad as the door-ignoring-spree I went on in The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. However the Second Swordsman process did force me to eat the aforementioned dodgy fungus, rather than giving me the option to ignore it.

Choosing option two also provided an awesomely stupid start to Trial as I decided to attempt the least‑thought-through escape in the history of Titan, and, as a result, I lost 4 STAMINA points by assaulting a guard. (This would later prove to be a hefty price to pay at such an early point in the adventure.) But option two did make me choose the correct weapon with which to take on the Bonecrusher beast.

During my short-lived journey through Deathtrap I only fought one creature, the decidedly un-exotic caveman. However, I was happy with this because my initial SKILL was fairly low, but I still lost more than a few rounds of combat before killing my opponent. In Trial I faced a total of three adversaries before being killed, but all were just varying sorts of slaves. The first had a SKILL of 10, which I think was a little too high at such an early stage in the adventure (my starting SKILL was 7). He reduced my STAMINA to 4, and the remaining two slaves I fought each won a single round against me. Without the opportunity to replenish my STAMINA between fights, even though the enemies got slightly weaker, this continual wearing-down was unlikely to result in anything other than my early death. But this is probably just as Lord Carnuss (and Ian) would want it – there’s no sense in sending anyone other than the strongest fighter into the new labyrinth.

One aspect of Trial I was pleasantly surprised with was that the results of several brutal trials were based on tests of SKILL or other random dice rolls, rather than testing my LUCK. Had it been the latter I would almost certainly have been unlucky eventually, and probably killed, much sooner than I was.

Unlike The Citadel of Chaos and The Forest of Doom, I got nowhere near the geographic end of Deathtrap or Trial. If I was to repeat Deathtrap I would certainly map the underground labyrinth – there were many occasions where I would reach a junction but have to go north, without being given the option to explore earlier parts of the maze. And if I were to repeat Trial I wouldn’t be so stupid as to attack an armed guard at the first opportunity.

Because both Deathtrap and Trial ended so ignominiously, I thought I’d try another adventure to lift my spirits. Caverns of the Snow Witch was also written by Ian Livingstone and the results of following the Second Swordsman process were not nearly as grim. Sure, I didn’t succeed in the adventure (I’m now zero for six), but I did get as far as finding the lair of the titular Snow Witch. And although I didn’t have the necessary items to kill her, the Second Swordsman process did helpfully provide me with a cloak that deceived some demon-worshippers and summoned a genie that helped me evade a sword-proof Crystal Golem.

Caverns also had some interesting battles, each of which lasted more than a few rounds. These put the ‘Fighting’ into Fighting Fantasy. Both the Mammoth and the Yeti were very hard fights early on (with SKILL scores of 10 and 11 respectively), but unlike Trial, once the weaker characters have been weeded out by these strong adversaries, the victors are able to replenish their STAMINA and continue on. Because I also had to fight a Giant and a Dragon during my adventure, this was the first time I’d needed to use my STAMINA potion (the second potion available to choose) and half my rations.

So while I’m becoming less confident that the Second Swordsman process will lead me to victory, I am finding that it’s not proving to be a constant path to becoming creature compost.

Thanks again, to Malcolm, for his blog post, and don't forget to get in touch if you have any suggestions for item for the Official Fighting Fantasy blog via

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Pre-order Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER today!

Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER: The Comic - based on the classic gamebook by Ian Livingstone, written by Andi Ewington, with art by Simon Coleby, colours by Len O'Grady and letters by Jim Campbell - is now available to pre-order from Titan Comics.

I would urge anyone intending to buy the comic anyway to pre-order it now. I would also urge anyone who would like to see Fighting Fantasy comics become an ongoing line to pre-order FREEWAY FIGHTER now!

Pre-orders can make or break a comic franchise; if enough people pre-order Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER and we sell out, Titan Comics will look seriously at continuing the FF comics line.

The pre-order codes are as follows, and depend on which cover you want. So if you want all three, which of course you do, make sure you use all three codes!

Titan Comics have produced a handy guide to help guide you through the process of pre-ordering, which you will find at the end of this link.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain now available for iOS

The original epic adventure through a mysterious mountain filled with monsters, magic and mayhem is now available to download from the App Store.

Having already wowed PC owners, Tin Man Games' adaptation can now be enjoyed by iPhone and iPad users anywhere they like - on the train, in the bath... even whilst adventuring in the lands of Allansia.

So if you've been waiting for the release of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain for iOS devices, the wait is over!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Look out, look out, there are Ganjees about!

Fans eagerly awaiting the arrival of Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel, adapted by PJ Montgomery with art by Gavin Mitchell, will be excited to know that all of the artwork is now finished and publication of the book itself cannot be far away.

Here is a sample splash page from the book, featuring everyone's favourite esoteric spirits, the Ganjees!

To read the latest update on The Trolltooth Wars Kickstarter, follow this link.

PJ and Gavin are hoping to be able to attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 2, on Saturday 2nd September, where they will be showing off their graphic novel, along with pages of art from the book.

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Second Swordsman

Today we present the first in an occasion series of blog posts by gamer Malcolm Garcia that go under the heading The Second Swordsman.

Do you remember those rumours of multiple choice tests where the answer was the same for every question? Malcolm Garcia has set himself the challenge of reaching the fabled paragraph 400 by always choosing the second option...

The Second Swordsman – The First Three Adventures

By Malcolm Garcia
I don’t remember buying my first Fighting Fantasy book. What is stuck in my memory is that I was the second in my family to get one. My younger brother bought the Warlock of Firetop Mountain at a school book sale. It was at some point after this that I got the Citadel of Chaos, with its much maligned cover art. As the second in my family, to get book number two in the series, I wondered what would happen if I tried to play through the Fighting Fantasy adventures by always choosing the second option. Would I succeed, or would I fall victim to a range of traps, creatures or sudden death situations?
There would need to be some qualifications to this process. If the second option required me to have previously acquired something, for example a key, gemstone, password etc, I could only choose option two if I had it. If not, I must choose the next available option. Also, if I returned to a paragraph where I’d previously chosen the second option, I’d have to choose the next available option to avoid getting stuck in a loop. And when I was asked to test my SKILL, STAMINA or LUCK, option two would only be chosen if that was the result of the test.
For my first attempts at using this Second Swordsman process, I tried the first three Fighting Fantasy adventures – The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, The Citadel of Chaos, and The Forest of Doom.
So how did I fare – was it jewel-encrusted glory or abject failure?
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t succeed in any of the three adventures – I didn’t get Zagor’s gold, or kill Balthus Dire, or return the hammer to the dwarves of Stonebridge. But I did get a surprisingly long way into each of the adventures. In Warlock, using this process got me across the river, which runs through the middle of Zagor’s dungeon, although I was killed soon afterwards by a Minotaur. In Citadel I had started ascending the tower of the castle; but I fell to my death after being scared by the mysterious Ganjees. And in Forest I was able to get through Darkwood Forest and to the outskirts of Stonebridge, but I didn’t manage to collect either half of the legendary hammer, and I was then killed by a storm of arrows which accompanied an unlucky dice roll.
I also learned that, more often than not, choosing the second option meant I avoided investigating places where I may have gained some knowledge, an artefact, or found a creature against which to test my swordsmanship. In Warlock I ignored a total of nine doors before crossing the river – although once I did get to the other side I found some treasure, drank holy water and discovered an interesting parchment. But I also opened a door to find the aforementioned Minotaur, who ended my adventure prematurely. In Citadel I paid no attention to a mysterious temple with interesting liquid and gremlins, avoided treasure guarded by a Golem, and rushed through a lavish dining hall. And in Forest I didn’t investigate any of the caves, holes, tree houses, magicians, or interesting noises that I came across. Because of this I didn’t learn or acquire much of value in any of my adventures – I had no idea what I would do when I encountered Zagor or Balthus Dire, and I found neither of the two halves of the dwarves’ hammer.

The Second Swordsman process also meant I did some pretty foolish stuff. This included trying to use a wooden stake to vandalise a portrait of Zagor, sneaking into Balthus Dire’s Citadel by first threatening his guards and then magically floating over the castle walls, and I started my adventure in Darkwood Forest by preparing to attack the wizard Yaztromo. Luckily none of these acts of stupidity proved immediately fatal. Indeed I was surprised, and impressed, that even though I dutifully followed the process of choosing the second option I didn’t fall foul of an early sudden death where I should have made one choice rather than the other.
It was only in Warlock that my journey ended in combat. But in all three adventures I usually only fought creatures that were unavoidable, rather than attacking them by choice. While looking for secret passages in Warlock I was attacked by wandering monsters. In Citadel both the Rhino Man and Wheelies had blocked my onward passage. And in Forest the Giant Spider had waited 'til I was asleep before ambushing me, and the Death Hawks swooped down from above while I was minding my own business.
So, while the Second Swordsman process did not lead to glory in the first three Fighting Fantasy books, I’ll see if I have some different outcomes when I next grab my sword, backpack, and pair of dice for some new adventures.

Thank you to Malcolm for his blog post. What do you think of his challenge? Have you tried anything similar? Why not post your comments below?
And if you have an idea for a guest post, get in touch via scrying stone, messenger imp or astral projection. Or, failing that, email

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Freeway Fighter Comic variant covers announced!

Titan Comics have revealed the three variant covers that will appear on Issue #1 of Ian Livingstone's FREEWAY FIGHTER.

Cover A is by series artist and colourist, Simon Coleby and Len O'Grady, and really sets out the stand for the four-part mini-series.

Cover B is by Ben Oliver, a British comics artist who has worked for 2000AD on Judge Dredd - as well as providing art for The Authority, The Losers, and Ultimate X-Men - and shows a gun-toting Bella De La Rosa, the series' protagonist.

Cover C is by Orlando Arocena, a Mexican-Cuban-American artist who brings his own unique style to his cover image, which even hints at an earlier Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

Written by critically-acclaimed writer Andi Ewington (Just Cause 3, The Six) in collaboration with original creator Ian Livingstone and artist Simon Coleby, FREEWAY FIGHTER will take you on a furious, four-issue road trip like no other, speeding from Titan Comics in May 2017.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Return to Firetop Mountain... again!

Fans of Tin Man Games' games and playing games on iPhones or iPads, rejoice! Soon you too will be able to venture beneath Firetop Mountain in search of my treasure.

Tin Man Games' adaptation of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is coming to iOS on 22nd February! can't wait for the release and if you feel the same way, keep your scrying ball fixed on this location...