Sunday, 7 December 2014

YOU ARE THE HERO at Dragonmeet 2014

I can't believe that it's three months since Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014, where YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks was launched, and I realised yesterday, whilst at the 15th Dragonmeet convention, that it was two years since I launched the Kickstarter* to fund the creation of the book in the first place.

What was great about yesterday was the number of YOU ARE THE HERO backers and Fighting Fantasy Fest attendees who stopped by my stable to say (a) how much they had enjoyed the book, and (b) asking if there would be another Fighting Fantasy Fest in 2015.

Several people who have already read YOU ARE THE HERO also persuaded their friends to pick up a copy on the day. As to the other matter, discussions will be taking place in the new year...

I always enjoy attending cons because it's a chance to catch up with friends in the gaming community (in the case of Dragonmeet) and it was good to see Tony Hough, Graham Bottley, James Wallis, Dom McDowall, Jamie Fry, Stuart Lloyd, Daniel Gooch, Sarah Newton, Mark Crew, Helena Nash (check out her new Choose Your Own Adventure style story here) and many others. It was also good to properly meet Chris Birch (who, along with his team, did a great job of organising his first Dragonmeet), Michele Howe**, Pete Wood, Sam Ockham and Andrew Harman, who was wowing everyone with Frankenstein's Bodies.***

Dr Frankenstein (a.k.a. Andrew Harman) and his latest test subject.

I also met Pookie, who posted this recent review of YOU ARE THE HERO online. And the most unlikely meetings of the day was with Alex Day off of YouTube (who was promoting his Sopio Cards), and the Krankies, who had parked next to us in the car park! (I don't think they were attending Dragonmeet, but I could be wrong.)

Ian and Steve stopped by after their Top 10 games talk, to sign books (including a couple of copies of YOU ARE THE HERO), which was nice, and they were joined by ace artist Tony Hough.

Steve, Ian and Tony signing for the FF fans.

Thanks to all the organisers, everyone who stopped by my table, as well as Linda, Nimrod and Thea who kept the Greens company during the day (and an eye on all our stuff from time to time). Here's to Dragonmeet 2015!

My stand and my minions. (They're actually getting quite useful now.)

* Talking of Kickstarters, I might be running another one next year. Watch this space...

** A special thank you to Michele's friend (I'm sorry but I don't remember his name) who told me a great fact about reindeer that will have to go in a future edition of Christmas Explained

*** Talking of which, I really need to get my Steampunk dice game sorted out.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014

It is almost three months since the world's first international Fighting Fantasy convention was held in London but two videos from the day have just been uploaded to YouTube by Fighting Fantasy Fest attendee, and YOU ARE THE HERO Kickstarter backer, James Aukett.

The first is Steve and Ian's excellent talk with Philippa Dickinson and Geraldine Cooke about the origins of Fighting Fantasy. The second is the Art of Fighting Fantasy panel that I hosted.

If you were there, they will doubtless bring back fond memories of the day. If you weren't this is the moment you've been waiting for. Enjoy.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014

So, Fighting Fantasy Fest... This time three weeks ago (as of writing*) I was unloading a carload of stuff** at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel, ready for the first ever, dedicated, Fighting Fantasy convention. Almost twelve hours later, I was getting back into said car to return home. The bit in between was a bit of a whirl.

Jonathan Green, Geraldine Cooke, Zagor the Warlock, Steve Jackson, and Ian Livingstone at Fighting Fantasy Fest 2014.

It really came home to me that Fighting Fantasy Fest was actually happening when all the traders started to turn up and unload very professional-looking display cabinets and the like. And it was the presence of Otherworld Miniatures, Leisure Games,, Snowbooks, Arion Games, All Rolled Up, Scriptarium, Tin Man Games, Inkle Studios, Gothic Manor, and Legend Photography that really helped to make what started out as a book launch into a proper con.

Otherworld Miniatures' Zagor miniatures in special FFF blister packs.

But of course the day wouldn't have been what it was without the presence of the host of Fighting Fantasy guests who made their way to Ealing especially for Fighting Fantasy Fest. There were the artists Chris Achilleos, Malcolm Barter, John Blanche, Leo Hartas, Tony Hough, Russ Nicholson, writer Peter Darvill-Evans also made it, along with very special guests Philippa Dickinson and Geraldine Cooke (who just made it in the nick of time to rapturous applause from the audience). But none of us would have been there in the first place if it hadn't been for our very special Guests of Honour, Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.

Just part of the much marvelled at FF Exhibition.

Jamie Fry of

I am grateful to Neil Rennison for kicking off the talks with a presentation  about Tin Man Games and the company's plans for the Fighting Fantasy apps, which was followed by the headline act of the day, as it were - Steve and Ian in conversation with Philippa and Geraldine (eventually).

One of the goodie bags given away on the day, plus contents.

Just some of the highlights of the day
  • Meeting so many FF fans and backers of YOU ARE THE HERO.
  • Meeting the Demonic Three (a.k.a. Mark Lain, Steve Leicester and Jam Hirons).
  • Seeing a Goblin patrolling the queue attempting to register on the day and berating them generally.
  • The FF Exhibition.
  • Damien Sparkes' FF miniatures.
  • People asking me to sign original copies of Spellbreaker and Knights of Doom, along with my other gamebooks at the mass signing.
  • The FF Auction (with Ian Livingstone working the room like a pro).
  • Getting the band back together. (All of the WARLOCK level backers who went for lunch with Steve and Ian back in June 2013 were there.)
  • Thomas Nielsen winning the costume competition dressed, appropriately enough, as Zagor the Warlock.
  • Facebook friends and Twitter adventurers meeting in person for the first time.
  • My Skill, Stamina and Luck t-shirt.
  • Having my photo taken by Legend Photography alongside Ian and Steve.
  • The positive atmosphere and happy con-buzz (which still hasn't left me).

Who let that Goblin in?

Pure Evil Miniatures' take on some Fighting Fantasy classics.

The Downside
  • Timings going a little out the window (but thank goodness the hotel let us stay on for an extra hour).
  • Not getting my own copy of YOU ARE THE HERO signed by all of the guests.
  • Not having enough time to speak to anyone beyond saying "Hello, thanks for coming" in some cases.

The creators of Fighting Fantasy, Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, and the author of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, Jonathan Green.

FFF 2014 would not have run so smoothly without the help of my family and best friend Andy, so a massive thank you to them***. But the biggest thanks has to go to all those who attended. If you hadn't stumped up for a ticket or two, the event could not have happened.

There are already rumblings regarding FFF 2015. I think it's safe to say that if we do do it again, it won't be quite the same as this year, put I will also be sending out a questionnaire, in due course, for attendees of FFF 2014 to give their feedback and have their say regarding what they would like to see at the next Fighting Fantasy Fest.

If you missed the event, the exclusive Zagor the Warlock miniature that was given away in the event goodie bag is now available to buy from Otherworld Miniatures. And if you'd like to see some more photos from the day, you can do so here.

* 7.00 a.m.

** Goodie bags, Kickstarter backer copies of YOU ARE THE HERO, bottles of water...

*** It's been particularly gratifying to read other people's kind comments about how hard my wife worked on the day, and even one attendee remarking how much he enjoyed embarking upon an AFF adventure with my sprogs.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Welcome, Adventurer!

FIGHTING FANTASY FEST 2014 is the world's first convention dedicated to Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, the publishing phenomenon created by veterans of the games industry Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. It is taking place on Sunday 7 September 2014, at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Ealing, West London.

A full day is planned with panels, talks, presentations, exclusive reveals, an exhibition of rare and never-before-seen Fighting Fantasy memorabilia, the official book launch of YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, written by Jonathan Green (author of seven Fighting Fantasy titles), a costume competition, and even a Fighting Fantasy auction.

As well as special Guests of Honour Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, FF artists Russ Nicholson, Chris Achilleos, John Blanche, Malcolm Barter, Tony Hough, and Leo Hartas will be in attendance, as will miniature sculptor Damien Sparkes, along with Philippa Dickinson, the editor who guided the very first Fighting Fantasy gamebook, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, to print in 1982.

To find out more about FIGHTING FANTASY FEST please click on the tabs at the top of the page. To buy your ticket to the gaming event of the year (if not the last thirty years) click here.

You will find FIGHTING FANTASY FEST on Facebook here.

We would love you to tweet about FIGHTING FANTASY FEST, to let all your friends know about this amazing event. If you do so, please use the hashtag #FFF2014.