Friday 27 August 2021

International Gamebook Day 2021

The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, written by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, was first published by Puffin Books 39 years ago today. It is for this reason that International Gamebook Day takes place every 27th August as well.

This year, International Gamebook Day is taking place over three days, and there are several events that are directly connected to Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Friday 27 August

6:00pm BST - Interview with Dave Morris, co-author of The Keep of the Lich-Lord.

Saturday 28 August

1:00pm BST - Playthrough of Ian Livingstone's Eye of the Dragon on Vicki Steele's Twitch channel.

6:00pm BST - The Storymaster's Tales live playthrough of Steve Jackson's House of Hell.

Sunday 29 August

6:00pm BST - Interview with Steve Jackson, co-creator of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.

Also available from today is a new range of branded Fighting Fantasy T-Shirts from Seven Squared. To find out more and purchase them for yourself, follow this link.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Fighting Fantasy Tees

Launching on Friday 27 August - which also happens to be International Gamebook Day - is a range of branded Fighting Fantasy T-shirts from Seven Squared.

Designs include The Forest of Doom, City of Thieves, Deathtrap Dungeon, The Citadel of Chaos and, of course, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

Finishing off the collection is this rather cool Fighting Fantasy logo tee.

To find out more, read the press release here, and keep an eye out for more updates this Friday!

Sunday 22 August 2021

Blast from the Past! The Tasks of Tantalon

Having already written several gamebooks, including the seminal Sorcery! series, 1985 saw Steve Jackson experimenting with a different kind of puzzle book. The finished product was a hardback, lavishly illustrated throughout by Stephen Lavis, called The Tasks of Tantalon.

Can YOU solve The Sorcerer's Grand Puzzlequest?

The land of Gallantaria is reeling from the aftermath of a long and costly war. Tantalon, wizard of the court, rules the kingdom over an Inner Council of scheming knights, jealously vying for power. But Tantalon's years are drawing to a close...

In order to seek out the kingdom's sharpest minds, Tantalon has devised an epic adventure quest. One which will test the wits of its contestants to the full. From near and far, contenders come to Royal Lendle to take up the challenge.

YOU are a competitor in the ageing sorcerer's puzzlequest. Can you steal the Brimstone Dragon's treasure hoard? Will you find a way to free Sir Dunstable from imprisonment in the Stinn dungeon? And how will you catch the Demon Fish?

Do you have the courage and a mind sharp enough to complete...

The Tasks of Tantalon?

Seek the Ting Ring, by Stephen Lavis. (© Stephen Lavis, 1985 and 2021)

Jackson: “We’d been approached by David Fickling at Oxford University Press. David was interested in publishing an FF book in colour, concentrating on puzzles instead of quests. This was going to be something like Kit Williams’ Masquerade – the treasure hunt puzzle book where you had to discover the location of a buried silver hare. Only with The Tasks of Tantalon there wasn’t a prize. But David had a great gimmick; printing text at a size that made it look like a straight line, but under a magnifying glass you could read the sentence. It meant you could design quite an elaborate puzzle, which appealed to me. On a memorable train journey coming down from Edinburgh with Ian, I came up with ten of the twelve puzzles.”

It might not have taken Jackson long to conceive the book but its execution was something else.

Stephen Lavis: “It was a great opportunity for me to illustrate The Tasks of Tantalon, which took me a solid year to complete. I can remember my first meeting with Steve Jackson and David Fickling in a pub and, as a young illustrator, was greatly impressed when Steve Jackson arrived in his Porsche, already successful on the back of the FF books. This was very different from previous illustration work where I had made a name for myself as a book cover artist... There was some professional friction between Steve and myself over the level of blood and gore. Steve wanted to make The Tasks of Tantalon more like an FF book whereas I wanted the book to be more beautiful, along the lines of Masquerade.”

Hornhelm’s Crown, by Stephen Lavis. (© Stephen Lavis, 1985 and 2021)

The solution to the puzzle contained within the book has vexed many an adventurer over the years, so what is the secret to solving Tantalon’s tasks?

Jackson: “I self-published a small booklet which gave the entire solution to The Tasks of Tantalon. I actually dug out a copy of Tantalon recently, and found two letters from readers who claimed to have solved it (before the Solution Booklet). I admit, it was extremely hard to solve.”

Did you know...?

Steve Jackson’s smiling face can be seen in the artistic surround of the map that accompanied the hardback edition of The Tasks of Tantalon.

Friday 13 August 2021

International Gamebook Day 2021

On Friday 27 August 2021, the second ever International Gamebook Day will take place. It might only be the second time the event has run, but it has already grown to take over the entire weekend, with interviews with gamebook creators being streamed in the late afternoon/early evening of each day from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 August.

There will also be other events taking place during the course of the weekend, such as Vicki, of Girls That Game, guiding another unsuspecting victim - I mean participant! - through Ian Livingstone's dungeon crawl adventure Eye of the Dragon.

So check out the event page on Facebook and watch this space for more news soon!

And in case you were wondering, International Gamebook Day takes place on 27 August because that was the date of the original publication of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone's The Warlock of Firetop Mountain in 1982.

Saturday 7 August 2021

What's your ideal summer Fighting Fantasy read?

Now that summer has well and truly arrived upon your Earthly Plane*, bringing with it cold winds and rain, what is your go to Fighting Fantasy adventure for when you want to imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach under a blazing hot sun?

If Caribbean holidays are your thing, maybe it's Ian Livingstone's Island of the Lizard King?

Or, if you like things really hot, you might prefer to visit the Desert of Skulls via Ian Livingstone's Temple of Terror.

If you enjoy donning your backpack and hiking in the hills of some distant land, then the first book in Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series, The Shamutanti Hills, might be a favourite.

And if you like your holiday destinations even more exotic, you might want to visit the flying archipelago of Rhianna Pratchett's Crystal of Storms.

Of course, if you can't tolerate the heat, maybe you would prefer to head north to the Icefinger Mountains and the Caverns of the Snow Witch instead.

So what's you favourite summer FF read? Let us know in the comments below.

* For those of your in the northern hemisphere, at least.