Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A to Z of UK RPG in the 80s - F is for Fighting Fantasy

F is for... Fighting Fantasy

Weirdworld Tunnels an Trolls Solo Adventure
Flying Buffalo not Fighting Fantasy
My first exposure to the world of Adventure Gamebooks was actually a copy of Weirdworld, a Tunnels and Trolls solo adventure which my dad brough back from one of his trips home whilst working in Durham in the North East of England.  I was mesmerised by this crudely made book and I didn't let the mere fact that I didn't have a copy of the T&T rules stop me from repeatedly entering the Madhouse of Maximilian the Magnificent.

My father (who is to blame for all of this) was a keen wargamer and so I ended up going to the Bradford Wargames Society and being exposed to full blown Roleplaying Games such as D&D and Tunnels and Trolls at quite an early age.  Then came the first great gaming hiatus as we moved away from Yorkshire to South East London.  

I was already a veteran when the first of the Fighting Fantasy books was published in 1982.  Schoolmates who had not already been exposed to RPGs devoured the Fighting Fantasy books with gusto and whilst I enjoyed playing their copies and followed them on their trips to the only gamestore in the area, I didn't buy any of these gamebooks at the time.  However, it was on one of these trips that by chance I discovered a copy of the Corgi Tunnels and Trolls rulebook, money exchanged hands and I was now ensconced as the group DM.

So although my relationship with Fighting Fantasy is not atypical, I can acknowledge the huge debt owed by UK roleplayers to Steve Jackson and Ian livingstone for setting many of our friends on the path to exploring our own adventures, not just choosing them.

My Collection Includes

Fighting Fantas #7 Island of the Lizard King
Island of the Lizard King
Buy it on eBay
Fighting Fantasy #13 Freeway Fighter
Free Way Fighter
Buy it on eBay
Clash of Princes - The Warlock's Way
The Warlock's Way
Buy it on eBay

Warlock Magazine

Warlock Magazine
The Abominog - Les Edwards
Fighting Fantasy fans could also indulge their passion on a monthly basis via the pages of Warlock Magazine which was a brilliant piece of marketing and essentially contained at least one new adventure per issue.

My favourite issue was the one featuring the monster form the Uriah Heep album "Abominog" painted by one of my favourite artist Les Edwards.

Les Edwards was pretty much the go-to-guy if you wanted a fantasy or horror painting for your new paperback or movie poster.

When they needed an artist to immortalise Hawk The Slayer, you guessed it they went to Les.

For some strange reason Games Workshop produced an artbook called Blood & Iron containing high quality prints of the many artworks they had used as cover for their games over the years.

Maybe this was part of the deal with Les, but they never did it with any other artist to my knowledge although John Blanche did publish the book The Emperor's Will under the Warhammer 40K banner.

Board Game

Games Workshop Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Buy it on eBay
In 1986 Gamesworkshop released the Warlock of Firetop Mountain Boardgame in their defacto Bookcase format.  A race to the finish with heavy Player vs Player interraction this was an immensely popular game in its day and still has a cult following over 35 years later.

Want to know more

In the course of dragging these memories from my caffeine addled grey matter I have encountered some very fine Fighting Fantasy resources:


1 comment:

  1. Don't forget to mention Advanced Fighting Fantasy, the full-blown RPG system. Especially since it has recently been updated and re-released!