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.


Friday 3 November 2023

Fighting Fantasy Checklist & Price Guide 2023

Jamie Fry, the Fighting Fantasy Collector, has released the 2023 update of his celebrated Fighting Fantasy Checklist & Price Guide.

106 pages long, printed in full colour and spiral bound, this limited edition print run will be ready for posting the week beginning Monday 6th November. The cover price includes second class untracked postage.

UK £16
EU Zone 1, 2 & 3 £20
World Zone 1 £23
World Zone 2 £25
World Zone 3 £24

To find out more and to order your copy, follow this link.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Sir Ian Livingstone's Grand Tour

Sir Ian Livingstone is attending two European events this week.

The first is Lucca Comics and Games 2023 in Italy. He will be giving a talk on the origins of Games Workshop from 11:45am-12.45pm on Wednesday 1 November, and his Life is a Game Masterclass on Thursday 2 November from 10:00am-12:00pm.

On Friday, Sir Ian will be travelling to Denmark for the second event, the Bogforum book fair in Copenhagen. The new Danish editions of the Fighting Fantasy series are being launched at the event and Sir Ian will be undertaking a signing on Friday 3 November, from 5:00-6:00pm.

He will be signing again on Saturday 4 November, from 11:00am-12:00pm. and from 1:30-2:30pm. Then on Sunday 5 November, from 12:00-12:45pm, Sir Ian will take part in panel entitled Sword & Sorcery and Nostalgia, before finishing with one more signing session from 1:00-2:00pm.



So if you happen to be at either the Lucca Comics and Games fair, or Bogforum, now you know what to look out for.