Saturday, 29 December 2012

Issue #10 - Published!

Issue #10 is now available for download from the site:
104 pages of Fighting Fantasy goodness. Feedback appreciated. (Printing password: fanta).

Thursday, 20 December 2012

You are the Hero

If you are as yet unaware of it, Jonathan Green (author of 7 Fighting Fantasy adventures) is currently running a Kickstarter campaign. This campaign aims to see the release of a book (You are the Hero) covering the history of Fighting Fantasy over the last 30 years. Currently the campaign is at a little under £9000 (over the half way mark) with 16 days to go. What needs to happen is YOU need to contribute to help the book reach its mark on time! What do you need? Well, you don't even need a pencil, two dice, and an eraser. All you need to do is select one of the pledge levels on the right-hand side of the Kickstarter page. The smallest amount you can pledge is £1, but to start getting the goodies (beginning with a pdf version of the book) you need to pledge £10 or more. Each level of support comes with better and better rewards, right up to a lunch with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone themselves. So, roll up your sleeves, dust off your card used for internet purchases, and make a pledge NOW!

I've done it, so why don't you? (Oh, and take some time to spread the words about the campaign...)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Coming Soon - Issue 10

We're into the home stretch now and I'll still hopeful the issue will surface before Christmas! In the meantime, here is the contents:

*The mini adventure Hand of Fate by Kieran Coghlan and illustrated by Robertson Sondoh Jr.
*The first part of an interview with Paul Mason, author of five Fighting Fantasy books
*"Ian Livingstone presents Thirty Years of Fighting Fantasy" - David Walters recounts a talk given by Ian Livingstone in August 2012 
*"30 Reasons Why We (Heart) Fighting Fantasy" - a selection of fans outline 30 reasons why we still like Fighting Fantasy 
*"The History and Development of Gamebooks" by Demian Katz is a potted history of the gamebook genre 
*"Sometimes, Two Dice, a Pencil and an Eraser are NOT All You Need" has Stuart Lloyd looking at the various ways gamebooks have tried to be interactive with the reader
*"Orb is Coming Full Circle" - David Walters looks at the world of Orb from beginnings to resurgence 
*Chapter 5 of "Aelous Raven and the Wrath of the Sea-Witch" by Ian Brocklehurst 
*Part 6 of "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" by Ed Jolley 
*More gamebooks news in "Omens & Auguries" by Guillermo Paredes 
*"The Arcane Archive" reviews Blood of the Zombies, Crown of Kings - The Sorcery! Campaign for AFF and TrollsZine! issue #5. 
*Dan Satherley's column looks at Temple of Terror.
*Jamie Fry ("The Warlock" of the official site) rounds up events in the Fighting Fantasy world from his perspective.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Hand of Fate - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek from the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #9.

Upon the stage sits a man in black robes on a wicker chair, a tarnished sceptre clutched on his left hand. Head resting on a wrinkled hand he listens to the pleas of his subjects gathered before him and occasionally turns to ask for advice from the creature resting upon the wooden table next to him; a spirit trapped within a bottle...

This is Hand of Fate by Kieran Coghlan (who wrote Prey of the Hunter in issue #3) and illustrated by Robertson Sondoh Jr., a newcomer to our stable of artists. We look forward to more of his efforts in the future!

Things are not going well for the slayer of Balthus Dire. Not only have you lost your left hand, but the widow of your former enemy has joined forces with the High Priestess of Vatos to unleash the power of the Juggernaut, an unstoppable automaton that will bring chaos and destruction to all of Allansia. Luckily, you are not alone on your mission to stop them. Not so luckily, your companion is a being every bit as evil as those you seek to stop: a Ganjee!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks: Part 6 - Sneak Peek

Time for another peek. This time it comes from Ed Jolley's "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" series of articles which covers Puffin gamebooks #51~59 and one other adventure...

Knights of Doom
What’s in a name? A good deal, at least in Ruddlestone. Consider the two brothers who opposed one another a century before, one with a name that sounded like ‘chivalrous’, the other with a last syllable pronounced ‘wrath’, and it was the first who fought on the side of good, while the second was the angry one. And would the dread Necromancer of Myrton have chosen that dark career path if his parents hadn’t saddled him with such a corpsey name? 
Moral: No matter how cool you think the name sounds, take time to check on its meaning and potential negative associations before inflicting it on your child.

Monday, 3 December 2012

30 Reasons Why We (Heart) Fighting Fantasy! - Sneak Peek

A long time without posting, but at last I can now start putting out teasers for the next issue...

Genre Jumping
While Fighting Fantasy (as the name suggests) is mainly concerned with epic adventures in a fantasy land, not every title has deemed it necessary to cling to that cloak of sword and sorcery. Co-creator Steve Jackson pushed out the boat with book four, Starship Traveller, and since then the odd non-fantasy title has slipped into the series. These often make a welcome change from the fantasy adventures and offer a explore ideas, concepts and worlds beyond fantasy, while still playing by the familiar Fighting Fantasy rules. While they are sometimes regarded by some as the ugly step-children of the series, I can’t help but consider them a unique and essential part of the overall Fighting Fantasy experience. An experience that would be so much smaller and less fun it we couldn’t become the Silver Crusader or escape from the House of Drumer.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Coming Soon - Issue 10 Cover

Here's the cover for the next issue, as done by the talented Eric Chaussin. As usual, the cover hints at what you can expect in the forthcoming issue and I'll go into more detail about them in a later post closer to the actual publication of the issue.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Issue #9 - Published!

Issue #9 is now available for download from the site:
104 pages of Fighting Fantasy goodness. Feedback appreciated. (Printing password: fanta).

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Gamebooks in Germany - Sneak Peek

Here's a quick glimpse at an article from the forthcoming issue #9:
With the release of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the genre experienced its heyday in Germany. Following the commercial success of the series, a multitude of other books and series were published. Not all of them achieved the same level of awareness and popularity as Fighting Fantasy but there were some which garnered a very loyal fan base that has survived until today.
This is by Nicolai Bonczyk (with translation by Alexander Kühnert).

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Documentary of Doom - Fighting Fantasy in the Spotlight

Everyone else has posted it, so I might as well join in posting this teaser! Looks like an interesting doco about our favourite fantasy gamebooks is coming in time for the anniversary.

The makers of the doco have a website here:

Thursday, 3 May 2012

French AFF

Scriptarium, the team behind Draco Venturus, has won the license to bring Graham Bottley's revised Advanced Fighting Fantasy to French speakers. To help get it into their hands they are running a subscription system to help get the book released. As a sweetener, the French edition of the book will feature an additional campaign of 4 or 5 new adventures complete with new artwork by Russ Nicholson and other French artists.

Here is the link to the pdf form to sign up to the subscription:

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Recent-ish Reviews

Feedback isn't something that we got a lot of here, which sometimes makes it hard to estimate what fans want to read in the magazine. Luckily, we've been reviewed a couple of times recently. The first is a review of issue #5 in the French fan magazine Draco Venturus (issue #3 is due out in June!) which is dedicated to gamebooks in general as opposed to our tighter focus on Fighting Fantasy.

Here is a translation of the review (both the original review and translation are by Adrien Maudet):

Since September 2009, the English-speaking world of gamebooks knows the regular publication of  Fighting Fantazine, an amateur fanzine dedicated to the Fighting Fantasy books, successfully taking up the torch of the mythical magazine Warlock.

The fifth issue is available for free download since the beginning of February 2011. It is endowed with a great feature, Turn to Paragraph 400, who reveals outcomes of the survey made last year with the readers, in partnership with the publisher Wizard Books.

70 gamebooks of the series were classified according to their score at first in various categories (intrigue, game, atmosphere and illustrations), then in a general ranking. The happy winners are... You have to read the fanzine to know them! 

Besides a global analysis of the ranking, each of the first ten books benefits from an essay explaining the reasons of its success. These analysis are very enthusiastic without missing relevance, not hesitating for instance to take the necessary hindsight on the methodology having led to rankings. As for the bottom of the class, it is the subject of the regular funny column, Figthing Dantasy.  Let's play billiard!

We also find the other usual columns. The rich current events in English-speaking interactive literature is covered in Omens and Auguries, Jamie Fry, the collector of Fighting Fantasy Collector, is invited at Ian Livingstone's home for a meeting marked by nostalgia (meeting which leaves us unsatisfied because we learn nothing about the next FF book written by the co-founder of the series), the second part of The Adventure Game explains us how to plan the writing of a gamebook and Graham Bottley is interviewed about the eagerly awaited republication of   Advanced Fighting Fantasy.

Finally let us end this review of the fanzine with Dungeons and Dinosaurs, a big interview of John Sibbick (illustrator, among others, of Midnight Rogues). Today, he works as paleoartist by illustrating dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals (an argument furthermore in favor of the link held between the universe of the paleontology and universe of rpg : an article of the first issue of Draco Venturus is about this point!). The interview learns us on the route of the artist and is richly informed by preparatory sketches of covers illustrations.

To conclude (and before approaching the heart of any magazine dedicated to the genre, namely its interactive adventure), we can only invite everyone understanding English to get absorbed in these rich and fascinating 104 pages!

Bones of the Banished

This adventure of 274 sections takes you on the Plain of Bones, located in the southeast of Allansia. You are a young member of a tribe of hunters. Ngodo, leader of your people, died during a   dinosaurs hunt without appointing successor. It is to the shaman Valgrek that returns the duty to summon the spirits of your ancestors to decide on the future of the tribe. So the new head will be appointed by the Rite of Banishment: during two days, all the men old enough to hunt will be excluded from the village and will have to look in the surrounding nature for the biggest and most terrible creatures. The one returning with the most impressive trophy will be crowned new leader of the tribe.

This synopsis heralds an original beginning of adventure. The first part of the quest will consist in going through the rather well described wilderness of the Plain of Bones to chase fierce creatures inspired from a mainly but not only prehistoric bestiary. So beside dinosaurs, we shall find big cats of all kinds or humanoids, such Lizards-Men of Silur Cha or Neanderthals , eternal enemies your tribe.

But rather quickly, the outlines of an intrigue more complex than a simple hunt are set up. A new mission will appear in the middle of the adventure, and will send you to investigate the ruins sprinkling the plain that are the vestiges haunted by a fallen empire.
Globally the adventure distances itself with its wild atmosphere which does not deprive it of  interesting npc, as the rival hunters who you can meet on the plain, or some surprising meetings, as  a Dwarf armed with a strange wooden stick spitting fire.

On the other hand, it is a rather difficult adventure. Reaching a successful ending will oblige you to put the hand on indispensable items. That's a rather frustrating thing since you can choose from the beginning several different ways. Some too frequent sudden deaths will come to increase the difficulty of the game.

Let us end with the illustrations which are here the fact of the author, Brett Schofield. The quality is very good, they depicts especially the terrible lizards for some of its. Distinction to the Natalie Gingerboom's magnificent cover too.
To conclude, Bones of the Banished is an adventure with an original intrigue, well written and exploiting intelligently the background of Allansia. Its difficulty and its old-school design can prevent the least persevering people reaching the end of the story, but that will not deprive them to pass a good moment in a very nice adventure.
Here's the original French from the issue (#2):
Depuis septembre 2009, le monde anglophone des livres-jeux connaît la publication régulière de Fighting Fantazine, une revue amateur dédiée aux Défis Fantastiques, reprenant avec succès le flambeau du mythique magazine Warlock

Le cinquième numéro est disponible en téléchargement gratuit depuis le début du mois de février. Il est doté d'un grand dossier, Turn to Paragraph 400, qui dévoile les résultats de l'enquête effectuée l'année dernière auprès des lecteurs, en partenariat avec l'éditeur Wizard. Les 70 livres-jeux que compte la licence ont été classés en fonction de leur score d'abord dans différentes catégories (intrigue, jeu, ambiance et illustrations), puis dans un classement général. Les heureux gagnants sont … Et bien il faudra aller lire le fanzine pour les connaître ! En plus d'une analyse globale du classement, chacun des dix premiers livres se voit bénéficier d'un essai expliquant les raisons de son succès. Ces analyses sont très enthousiastes sans pour autant manquer de pertinence, n'hésitant pas par exemple à prendre le recul nécessaire sur la méthodologie ayant mené aux classements. Quant à la lanterne rouge, elle est l'objet de la chronique humoristique régulière, Figthing Dantasy. Un petit billard ?

On retrouve aussi les autres rubriques habituelles. La riche actualité en matière de littérature interactive anglophone est couverte dans Omens and Auguries, Jamie Fry, le collectionneur de Fighting Fantasy Collector, est invité au domicile de Ian Livingstone pour une rencontre empreinte de nostalgie (rencontre qui nous laisse  sur notre faim car nous n’apprenons rien quant au nouveau Défis que rédige le co-fondateur de la série), la deuxième partie de The Adventure Game nous explique comment planifier l'écriture d'un livre-jeu et Graham Bottley est interviewé au sujet de la très attendue réédition de Advanced Fighting Fantasy.

Enfin terminons cette revue du fanzine par Dungeons and Dinosaurs, une grande interview de John Sibbick (illustrateur, entre autres, des Rôdeurs de la Nuit et des Sceaux de la Destruction). Aujourd'hui, il travaille en tant que paléoartiste en illustrant dinosaures et autres animaux préhistoriques (un argument de plus en faveur du lien tenu entre l'univers de la paléontologie et du jeu de rôle, sujet d'un article dans le premier numéro de Draco Venturus !). L'entretien nous apprend beaucoup sur le parcours de l'artiste et est richement documenté par des croquis préparatoires d'illustrations de couvertures.

Pour conclure (et avant d'aborder le cœur de toute revue dédiée au genre, à savoir son aventure interactive), nous ne pouvons qu'inviter toute personne lisant l'anglais de se jeter sur ces 104 pages riches et passionnantes !

Bones of the Banished

Cette aventure de 274 paragraphes vous emmène sur la Plaine des Ossements, située au sud-est du continent Allansien. Vous êtes un jeune membre d'une tribu de chasseurs. Ngodo, leader de votre peuple est mort au cours d'une chasse au dinosaure, et ce sans avoir désigné d'héritier. C'est donc au chaman Valgrek que revient le devoir de se tourner vers les esprits de vos ancêtres pour décider du futur de la tribu. Ainsi le nouveau chef sera désigné à l'issu du Rite de l’Exil : pendant deux jours, tous les hommes en âge de chasser seront exclus du village et devront chercher dans la nature environnante les plus grosses et terribles créatures. Celui revenant avec le trophée le plus impressionnant sera sacré nouveau chef de la tribu.

Voilà un synopsis qui propose un début d'aventure original. La première partie de la quête consistera donc à parcourir les environnements sauvages et plutôt bien décrits de la Plaine des Ossements pour y pourchasser des créatures parmi les plus féroces issues d'un bestiaire en grande partie préhistorique, mais pas seulement. Ainsi aux côtés des dinosaures, on retrouvera des félins de toutes sortes ou encore des humanoïdes, tels les Hommes-Lézards de l'Empire de Silur Cha ou les Néandertaliens, ennemis de toujours de votre tribu. 
Mais assez rapidement, les contours d'une intrigue plus complexe qu'une simple partie de chasse se mettent en place. Une nouvelle mission apparaîtra au milieu de l'aventure, et vous enverra explorer les ruines qui jonchent la plaine, vestiges hantés d'un ancien empire aujourd'hui disparu.
Globalement l'aventure se démarque avec son ambiance sauvage qui ne la prive pas pour autant de pnj intéressants, comme les chasseurs de trophées rivaux que vous pourrez rencontrer sur la plaine, ou quelques rencontres surprenantes, comme celle d'un Nain armé d'un étrange bâton de bois crachant le feu.

Par contre, c'est une aventure assez difficile, qui pour être menée à bien vous obligera à mettre la main sur des objets indispensables, chose plutôt frustrante quand on vous propose dès le début plusieurs chemins pour mener à bien votre mission. Quelques morts subites un peu trop fréquentes viendront encore corser le tout. 
Terminons enfin par les illustrations qui sont ici le fait de l'auteur, Brett Schofield.  De très bonne qualité, elles mettent surtout en scène les terribles lézards pour une bonne partie d'entre elles. Mention aussi à la magnifique couverture de Natalie Gingerboom.
Pour conclure, voilà donc un Défis Fantastique à l'intrigue relativement originale, au style correcte et qui exploite avec intelligence le background de l'Allansie. Sa difficulté et sa construction classique pourront empêcher les moins persévérants d'en voir le bout, ce qui ne les privera pas de passer un bon moment dans une aventure plus que sympathique.

We were also reviewed by Ashton Saylor on his blog. I'm not really sure how to respond to this review without sounding a bit negative.

Ah well, you can't win them all.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Where the Wild Things Are... - Sneak Peek

Issue #9 features an interview with artist Ian Miller who has a new webshop open:

Did you always want to be a professional artist, or did you have other childhood ambitions?
I wanted to be a crow, but somebody said I’d have to die first and, try for that the next time around. I tried running away from the moon about the same time, with some other children who lived close by. It was raining hard, and we ran in ever widening circles without any luck. It was always up above us, shining down, no matter how fast we ran.

Issue #9 is due out at the end of May!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Return to the Icefinger Mountains - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek from the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #9.

Even worse is what you see on the floor in front of him. A final message, written by repeatedly dipping the tip of his right foot in the blood that has puddled on the floor beneath him. Though smudged and smeared, the letters are still clear enough to make out, spelling out the dread warning, ‘SHE WILL RETURN’...
This is Return to the Icefinger Mountains by Ed Jolley and illustrated by Brett Schofield:
Thirty years ago the Snow Witch was preparing to unleash an ice age upon Titan when her plans were thwarted by a wandering adventurer. YOU were one of the slaves freed in the wake of her defeat, and have lived a quiet life since then. But when the horrors of your past start to catch up with you again, you must go back to the caves from which you escaped. Can the Snow Witch really be returning? And if so, do you have what it takes to stop her?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Coming Soon - Issue 9 Cover

Here's the cover for the next issue, done by the talented Brett Schofield. Brett is also doing the interior artwork for the mini adventure this issue, Ed Jolley's Return to the Icefinger Mountains. As you can see from the cover there are other items of interest within the pages of the issue, but I'll cover the contents properly in a later post.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Issue #8 - Publlished!

Issue #8 is now available for download from the new site:
104 pages of Fighting Fantasy goodness. Feedback appreciated. (Printing password: fanta).

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Coming Soon - Issue 8 Cover

Here is the cover to the forthcoming issue. Just a couple of tweaks left and it should be ready. Still looks to be on track for release before the end of the month!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Vengeance at Midnight - Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek at the art and text of the mini adventure for issue #7:

The Crooked Man pawnshop on 23rd Avenue isn’t the nicest looking of places, with all manner of odd objects in the window for sale. The inside you observe, as you head for the barricaded counter, is not much better. You ring the bell and a tall, thin man with dark bags under his eyes and a toothpick in the corner of his mouth comes shuffling out to greet you. This, presumably, is Korbin Rokefetch the proprietor of the shop.
This is Vengeance at Midnight (a sequel to Appointment with F.E.A.R. and Deadline to Destruction) and is written and illustrated by myself:

Rumours are swirling in the Titan City underworld that a new super villain is poised to unleash a new reign of terror upon the unsupecting city. YOU, the Silver Crusader, defender of Titan City, are needed to unmask and defeat this super villain before the chaos can spread. But can you unravel the hints and clues you have gathered in time to make a difference?

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Weaving an eBook World - Sneak Peek

Issue #8 features an interview with Chris Sterling of Worldweaver about their adaptions of the gamebooks for the Kindle:

How much input do Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone have in your adaptions?
Both Steve and Ian took a keen interest in the adaptations, and we worked very closely to get the combat and map just right. It took six months to perfect the gamebook engine, which can now be used on the entire series by only changing graphics and data files. The publishing team at Amazon were great too, championing the games as a useful improvement to a popular series.

Issue #8 is hopefully due out at the end of the month!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Coming Soon - Issue 8

Welcome to the first blog post of 2012, the anniversary year. There is a lot of anticipation in the wind since Ian Livingstone made it known he was definitely writing a new Fighting Fantasy adventure for the 30th anniversary of the range. Meanwhile, issue 8 (I can't quite believe it either, 8!) of the Fantazine is coming together. I'm still aiming for a late January release. In the meantime, here is a list of contents to whet your appetites:
  • The mini adventure Vengeance at Midnight by Alexander Ballingall
  • A new mini AFF adventure, The Tower of Credos by Graham Bottley
  • An interview with Ross Brierley, one of the team behind the Laughing Jackal PSP versions of the gamebooks
  • An interview with Chris Sterling, one of the team behind the Worldweaver Kindle versions of the gamebooks
  • An interview with Jamie Fry, the new Warlock in charge of the official website
  • Part 2 of Aida Rintarou's comic adventure The Book in Which You are the Hero
  • Chapter 4 of "Aelous Raven and the Wrath of the Sea-Witch" by Ian Brocklehurst
  • Part 6 of "Everything I Need to Know I Learnt from Reading Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks" by Ed Jolley
  • More gamebooks news with "Omens & Auguries" from Guillermo Parades
  • "The Arcane Archive" reviews the GA tale Temple of the Spider God
  • Dan Satherley's column looks for a win with Appointment with F.E.A.R.
  • Finally, Jamie Fry continues his exploration of the world of FF collecting