Monday, March 30, 2015

April A to Z preview - an interview with Jonathon Green

Here is another preview of the April A to Z series that I am doing this year. Here, Jonathon Green talks about the Trolltooth Wars graphic novel, which is only about £2000 £700! away from being funded, so if you want to see this Fighting Fantasy novel brough to life as a graphic novel, have a look at the Kickstarter page.

YOU ARE THE HERO is an awesome book. Has the fact that people are still willing to throw money at you for Fighting Fantasy related material given you any ideas for other projects?

Yes - or at least given me the motivation to pursue various gamebook ideas I've had bubbling away on the back-burner for a while. I would also love to write a new FF book, should the opportunity arise.

Fighting Fantasy fans have had some ways to rekindle their enthusiasm for the books in the past few years - Blood of the Zombies, classic books getting the Tin Man Games treatment, YOU ARE THE HERO, Fighting Fantasy Fest. Ian and Steve have hinted/teased a 40th anniversary Fighting Fantasy book. Are there any other treats coming up?

Potentially there's the Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars graphic novel, but only if it gains the funding it needs on Kickstarter. So, if you've not pledged, pledge now!

There's still a screenplay for Deathtrap Dungeon waiting to be turned into a film, of course, and the FF models that Evil Dead Miniatures are currently working on. I believe the plan is to use them as part of a game, but we'll just have to wait and see.

What about non-Fighting Fantasy stuff. What have you got up your sleeve there?

Out in May from Snowbooks is SHARKPUNK, an anthology of killer shark stories that I've edited. Find out more at and follow us on Twitter @sharkpunked.
I've also got another Doctor Who book coming out later in the year and I've done my first piece of work for LEGO. (I'm now trying to persuade the editor that there could be a market for LEGO adventure gamebooks!)

What was the best thing about organising Fighting Fantasy Fest?

Giving FF fans the convention they've always wanted, giving YOU ARE THE HERO the launch it deserved, meeting childhood heroes, enabling other, like-minded individuals to also meet their childhood heroes, helping to bring about the first proper Zagor miniature... The list goes on and on!

(I'm sure no one's mentioned this before) Will there be another Fighting Fantasy Fest?

Maybe. Hopefully. If there's the interest, and we can find the right venue at the right price. I can't really say anymore than that at the moment.

How can the fans keep Fighting Fantasy alive?
By supporting FF in all its forms - apps, Kickstarted-projects, buying the books, playing Arion Games AFF RPG. And keep talking about it, making people - especially lapsed fans - aware of it. So often I run into people at conventions who loved the books when they were children but had no idea they were still in print or that new material was still being produced.
Oh, and for buying YOU ARE THE HERO for all your friends and family. ;-)
As someone who has a not inconsiderable fanbase, what is the best thing about having fans?

Being able to get feedback on what's working and what isn't, and being able to spread the word about events like FFF, as well as being able to target a niche group directly when it comes to launching new projects, like YOU ARE THE HERO.

Finally, what, if anything, can the fans do to get more Fighting Fantasy books written (besides writing their own)?

Ask for them in bookshops, in WHSmith, in Waterstones, support new publishing ventures (by spreading the word as well as buying the books), buy the apps... Really it's the same answer as I gave to 'How can the fans keep Fighting Fantasy alive?'

As someone who has written for other gamebook series besides Fighting Fantasy, is there another series you would like to see revived?

To be honest, no. Partly because the ones that deserve being revived already have been, and because I have ideas for new series of my own that I'd like to get off the ground. With that in mind, keep an eye out for news of Steampunks vs Zombies and Beowulf Beastslayer over the coming months.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd edition monster - Greater Shape Changer

Good day to you!  Today, we continue with giving various sci-fi and conspiracy theory based creatures the AFF2 treatment.  And today, we have the reptilian shapeshifter. Titan already has reptilian Shape Changers, but most of them seem content to use their powers to snare unsuspecting victims and eat them.  Some of them summon demons but most of them have little ambition.  However, this is what happens when a Shape Changer wants more than just a constant supply of human meat, or goes about getting it in a smarter way. Greater Shape Changers will infiltrate a society in order to get into a position of power. Eventually, they will rule over a community, giving an appearance of benevolence, but actually using the community as a glorified farm to serve its hunger.  There have been stories of groups of Greater Shape Changers working together to rule over large populations and manipulate them all for their own ends.  Although, most of the time they simply want food, others suspect that their aims are far more sinister.  however, everyone knows the stories that the Greater Shape changers all died in the last battle.  And since everyone's heard it, it must be true...

Greater Shape Changer


LOCATION:  Anywhere.

REACTION:  Neutral - Hostile








SKILLS:  Magic - Wizardry 3, Con 3, Etiquette 3, Awareness 3, Stewardship 3

TALENTS: Natural Mage, Dark Seeing,

Spells:  Illusion, Beffudle, Fear, ESP, Languages, Mirror Selves, See Through, Sleep, Grand Illusion, Speak to Animals.  

WEAPON:  Large Claw

ARMOUR:  Medium



Shapechange:  Through a combination of actually changing their shape and the use of magical illusions, a shapechanger can change their shape to resemble any humanoid.  Any ability that sees through or dispels illusions will negate the power.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

April A to Z preivew - an interview with P.J. Montgomery, creator of the Trolltooth Wars comic

Hello gamebookers! The April A to Z is upon us again, and once again the wonderful gamebook
community has been very generous with answering my questions and giving me some interviews.

I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of one of the interviews coming up. This one is with P.J. Montgomery, the creator of the Trolltooth Wars comic. P.J. is currently running a kickstarter to fund his comic and if that succeeds, maybe the other stories could be turned into comics.

You can back the kickstarter (is kickstarter always a proper noun?) here.

Tell us about yourself.

I'm a writer, originally from Surrey, but currently based in Cardiff. I've got a number of credits to my name, including co-writer on the horror comedy comic Stiffs, a short story in the superhero anthology The Pride Adventures, plus a number of episodes of the online radio sitcom, Supermarket Matters.

What is your favourite Fighting Fantasy book?

Oh, that's a big question. There are plenty that I love a lot. Warlock of Firetop Mountain will always have a special place in my heart, since it was not only the first in the series, but the first one I had. Being a massive fan of superhero comics, I also love Appointment With FEAR (despite how difficult Steve made it!), and the atmosphere of City of Thieves makes that a firm favourite. However, if I absolutely had to pick, it would probably be a tie between Moonrunner (a medieval murder mystery with plenty of dark horror elements really appeals to me) and Howl of the Werewolf (just the idea behind that book is absolutely brilliant).

How did you get involved in the Trolltooth Wars?

The original idea to turn Trolltooth Wars into a graphic novel was mine. It was something I'd been mulling over for a while, but hadn't really made any strides towards making a reality. One morning, just on the off chance, I decided to e-mail Jamie Fry (the Warlock of the FF website, who handles rights enquiries for Steve and Ian). Later that day, I had an e-mail sitting in my inbox from Steve Jackson, and it all moved on from there. And can I just say, for someone who grew up reading Fighting Fantasy books, and being a lifelong fan, just having an e-mail from Steve was pretty exciting!

Apart from the novel itself, what other source material have you used to help you with your graphic novel?

I've gone back to the original FF books to feature the key characters and locations in the novel, so Citadel of Chaos, Creature of Havoc, Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Forest of Doom have all been thumbed through a fair bit. There are also a couple of small moments which refer to both City of Thieves and Caverns of the Snow Witch, plus my copies of Titan and the Tenth Anniversary Year Book have both been well thumbed for this project.

How was running a kickstarter?

It's been an interesting experience. It's a lot of work, more than I was expecting if I'm honest. I have friends who have run Kickstarters before, both successful and unsuccessful, and they all told me that it was a lot of work, but I don't think it quite hits you just what that means until you actually do it. And there are the days when you're not getting many pledges come through, when it can really get you down, even though, rationally, you know from the off that some days will be slower than others. But overall, I've found it to be a fun and rewarding experience. It's put me in contact with a lot of Fighting Fantasy fans all over the world, all of whom have been very supportive of the project and a pleasure to talk to.

Do you have any advice to people who want to run a kickstarter?

Make sure you're ready before you launch. We had to delay the launch of ours when we had the opportunity to add in some extra rewards, but I'm glad we did, because it gave us more time to work on it and make sure it was ready. Honestly, you can't do too much preparation for this. And make sure that you're ready to be working solidly while the Kickstarter runs. Finally, try not to let the slow days get to you. They'll happen, but you just have to move on and wait for the better days. I could do with listening to that last one myself a bit more!

Any plans for the other Fighting Fantasy novels to be turned into graphic novels?

Not at the moment, no. Don't get me wrong, I would love to carry on and adapt both Demonsteadler and Shadowmaster, then move on to adapt all four Zagor Chronicles, but we really have to see how Trolltooth Wars does first. If it does well, then maybe. The more people who buy Trolltooth Wars, the more the chance of further Fighting Fantasy comics increases. So if fans are interested, and they haven't done so yet, they should really back Steve Jackson's The Trolltooth Wars on Kickstarter!

Do you have any other projects that you would like to plug?

I can't really leave you without mentioning Stiffs in a little more detail. It's a horror comedy set in the South Wales Valleys, about a group of twenty-something call centre workers who hunt zombies in their spare time. One of them just happens to be a talking monkey. It's co-written by myself, Drew Davies and Joe Glass, with art by Trolltooth Wars artist, Gavin Mitchell. The first three issues (of five) are available now, either through ComiXology, or our own webstore.

I'm also the scriptwriter on an upcoming comic, Dynamite. This one is the story of Harry Harwich, a man who, disillusioned with his life and the world around him, becomes the anti-establishment vigilante, Dynamite. It's based on an album of the same name by musician Kevin Pearce, who I co-plotted the book with, an illustrated by Shaun Speight. It's due out later this year, but fans can be kept updated on the Facebook page!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Computer game - World Conquest from Wisisoft

Hello gamebookers! I'm going to talk about World Conquest a game that I think is super obscure, yet has a special place in my heart.

World Conquest is basically a really simple version of Civilisation with only warfare involved. You get a map of the word where there are cities, resources (metal, rubber, oil) and instillations (airfields and harbours). The aim is to produce army, navy and air units to take over the world. Cities need 1 rubber, 1 oil and 1 metal per turn. Army units can be carried in transport ships but they can only enter them on cities or harbours and aircraft have to land in cities or airfields to refuel or they crash.

I first found it on an ST format cover disc ages ago and enjoyed playing it then. Recently, I found a video of someone playing it on Youtube and asked them how they got it. I downloaded it myself and played it, but got horribly trounced, because I'd left the skill setting on quite high (I don't think my version had a skill setting)

The game suffers from the problems that the objective is to destroy every city, installation, resource and unit that belongs to everyone else whilst making it easier to defend than attack. This resulted in most games being very long and involving you spending time first gathering resources, then building units to defend your territory, then finally build up a huge invasion force to wage a slow war of attrition against your enemy.

However, it does have charm for being simple and diverting enough. It had a couple of nice quirks - you could play as the only side to see how long it would take you to conquer the world, or you could play as two humans and build up huge forces to unleash on one another. I enjoyed this.

I would love to find a game similar to world conquest in app form as it is simple to learn and play.

Happy gamebooking!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Windhammer 2015 guidelines out

Hello gamebookers! Just a quick post to say that the guidelines for the 2015 Windhammer competition are out. The entries aren't actually open until August, but this is a good time to get started.

The rules don't seem much different - still a 100 section adventure of up to 25000 words on 40 A4 pages. Illustrations are allowed if they are maps or relevant to puzzles and you can have any genre except erotica( Silkwords can cover that).

If you want to enter, but the idea of writing and organising the sections then randomising them sound a little daunting, then the Gamebook Authoring Tool can do 100 section books for free.

And if you want to see the kind of gamebooks that get written for the Windhammer competition, you can find the archive here and read some really in depth reviews from Brewin here.

So start your brainstorming and writing so that you have the chance to win 300 Australian dollars and see your gamebook as an app made by Tin Man Games.