Sunday, 18 January 2015

My Fighting Fantasy Collection

If you follow all things Fighting Fantasy online (and you're reading this, so you probably do!), you'll have a noticed a trend of people posting pictures of their FF collections. Well, not to be left out, here's mine, along with some other gamebooks (I have loads of others too in another cupboard):

Everything on these shelves is awesome!

Here you can see all the original Puffin editions, the new Wizard 1st series books, and all of the Wizard 2nd series, as well as the FF roleplaying games, Advanced FF books, the FF novels, Clash of the Princes, Sorcery!, two of The Adventures of Goldhawk books, the Deathrap Dungeon computer game (two versions, and the special edition gamebook that came with them), the new Advanced FF books from Arion Games (and the Blacksand map in the tube), the original sourcebooks, Out of the Pit and Titan (in two sizes), The Tasks of Tantalon, the Warlock magazines, the 10th Anniversary Yearbook, the 25th Anniversary WoFTM, Ashkar the Magnificent, and YOU are the Hero. I'm missing the other two Goldhawk books (which I don't care enough about to get), Casket of Souls, the FF Posterbook, the other FF computer games (though I have most of the new ones on my iPod), various other paraphernalia such as boxsets, figurines and bookmarks, and I don't have multiple editions of most of the gamebooks (which is something I'd like one day to fix; I wouldn't mind getting some of the boxsets too). Not a bad collection, and it was years in the making. No doubt we've all got interesting stories about how we built our collections, and here's a quick outline of how mine came about, with added details for some of the more interesting additions.
  • I first got into FF reading some of the books in my local library (Island of the Lizard King was the first, followed by City of Thieves), but the first one I actually bought with my limited pocket money was Masks of Mayhem (late 1986), which had just come out but which none of my friends could afford at the time. Shortly after they persuaded me to buy Scorpion Swamp, as none of them had it, having decided it looked crap from its cover.
  • But actually most of my collection, at least up to Robot Commando, was bought second hand (mostly at a rate of 50p each) from these school friends, who had lost interest in the books by about 1988. I got my Sorcery! books from an English kid in our school; these had never appeared in our local bookshop in remote Northern Ireland (well, a battered copy of KharĂ© had hung around the shelves of a toy shop for a few years), and he charged me £2 each for them, the enterprising git!
  • Most of the later books were bought with my meagre pocket money. Pretty much every day, we marched down the town to the local bookshop to check out if there were any new FF books on the shelves. Most days there weren't, but new FF book days were special, unless it was a SF one... Buying the books often involved me not eating much dinner through the school week, surviving on a few penny chews, and hiding my purchases from my mum (who wasn't against FF books, but would have been cross if she'd known I was missing my dinner). But it was worth it!
  • To my shame, I traded a porno mag for Rebel Planet from the English kid. There's something completely wrong about that, I know...
  • Like many FF fans, I eventually entered my 'dark ages', when I lost interest (to an extent, if not entirely in my case) in the series. I collected up to Legend of the Shadow Warriors, missed Spectral Stalkers, got Tower of Destruction, then didn't collect any of the gamebooks as they were published until Return to Firetop Mountain (I also collected the AFF books though). After that I got none of the original releases. I remember seeing Curse of the Mummy in a shop but though tempted I didn't buy it at the time, more's the pity. All this was partly due to waning interest, but also because they weren't appearing in my local bookshops so much from that point. But I never completely lost interest in the series, and didn't pack my books away or get rid of any of them, and I'd go through phases of getting them out and reading them again.
  • I did pick up a few books after that though. I got a copy of Magehunter in Singapore in 1998/9, and in 1999 or early 2000 I picked up Spellbreaker, Deathmoor and Knights of Doom in one of those cheapie bookshops that sells off old (but still new) stock. In fact, the one I bought them in had loads of copies of these. I still remember to this day selecting the best looking of about a dozen Knights of Doom; if I'd bought the lot I could have been a rich man today!
  • In 2000 I think it was, I was looking through a pile of green spines in a second hand bookshop (unfortunately no longer there) in the Grainger Market in Newcastle Upon Tyne and I came upon something very unexpected. I thought I knew about all the FF books in existence (in fact, like other FF fans, I sometimes dreamt of finding new ones in the shops), but suddenly I spotted a strange title I'd never seen before. I had a complete double take when I saw an unnumbered green spine with the name The Warlock's Way on it. I had never heard of this before and was totally blown away (and of course bought it, for £1.50). This of course was enough to kick me out of my semi-Dark Ages once and for all. I immediately got online and discovered all about Clash of the Princes (and that there was a thriving community of adult FF fans out there too). I quickly completed my collection (including Warlock magazines, Zagor novels and Deathrap Dungeon computer games), the most expensive item being Curse of the Mummy for £20 (from a seller in Hong Kong).
So there you have it. I'm still collecting FF stuff of course, what with YOU are the Hero and continued digital releases by Tin Man Games and Inkle. But it would be nice to see some new FF gamebook titles one mythical day in the future...

12 comments:

  1. Wow! Well, you have some items I never heard of, but I see that you're missing some stuff I have (like the poster book, Casket of Souls, and the Warlock of Firetop Mountain board game).

    Funny thing about the book I just mentioned... I'd special ordered it at a local bookstore, and when they called to say it was in, I promptly hurried over. I entered the small family-owned bookstore and said to the not-quite elderly lady clerk: "Hi, I've come to pick up A Casket of Souls."

    The surprised look on her face was priceless.

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  2. Hi mate! Sorry I missed you at Dragonmeet, I went to the Sony Conference in Vegas instead! You're collection looks amazing, I'm still trying to get some of the later ones, the prices on Ebay seem to keep rising. I managed to find Allansia in the charity shop in town for 2 quid recently and picked up 12 green spines earlier today in very good condition, all the early ones.

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    1. I almost never see FF books of any kind in 2nd hand bookshops these days, which is a shame, as it's a cheap way of replacing battered green spines.

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  3. Deadshadowrunner19 January 2015 at 08:04

    Whoa.Great collection.Magehunter in Singapore? *Curses at not being interested in gamebooks until recent years*

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    1. Yes, I can't remember where at all. Lucky find really, as it cost me very little.

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  4. some great memories there paltogue, I think at this point, we all have a shelf full of green spines including Ian Livingstone..!

    As for myself, I first read about warlock of firetop mountain in a newspaper. I bought most of the ff and sorcery series in my local bookshop. I also managed to get warlock mag in the shops and then by subscription. I still remember my bitter disappointment when games workshop informed me of the mag's cancellation.

    Truth be told, I lost intrest in them after vault of the vampire and then my mom got the notion that these books had somehow warped my teenage mind and gave them all away including the warlock magazines.. Aaargh the memory still haunts me.

    Although I had stopped buying the books, I was still aware that new titles were being published and never quite lost intrest. My passion for FF was reawoken by the 25th edition of Warlock...suddenly I was snapping up every title I could find on amazon. The next ' surge ' was prompted by Jonathan Green's article in the SFX FANTASY SPECIAL. ** It showed FF covers I had never seen before including the first wrap-around art cover for THE SHAMUNTANTI HILLS. This led to further ' hunt and buy ' expeditions on amazon.

    ** This article was the springboard for YOU ARE THE HERO.

    Although I now have a fairly complete collection, I am still finding variant FF books at charity sales as I recounted here:

    http://worldoffightingfantasy.blogspot.ie/2014/12/the-geography-of-shadowmaster.html

    So there you have it, a potted history of how I collected all the books. That's the thing about FF, as in the books themselves, there is always something new to discover when collecting.

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    1. Nice history! I'd like to get some nice shiny new-looking green spines to replace my old battered and faded ones, but they're not so easy to find these days.

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  5. I also bought some books from a seller in Singapore, probably the same you did! Ah, such a small world.

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    1. Not bought from a seller in Singapore, but from a bookshop in Singapore on one of the two occasions I've passed through it!

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  6. Amazing site! Aged 43 I picked up Forest of Doom from my shelf last night and began playing it, doing it properly with map etc. Can't wait to read this site. btw your Google Connect button doesn't appear to be working?

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  7. hey paltogue ,where are ye...?...still picking up new variants from the original FF line of books Just this weekend found some faded greenspiners and two from the sorcery series at a charity sale.

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