Fighting Fantasy 30 Year Anniversary

After hitting some Tunnels & Trolls nostalgia, my brain went on a tangent (appropriate!; came about after mentioning Out of the Pit) and I started thinking about my old Fighting Fantasy books.  I know that they’ve had a few reprints over the years, but I hadn’t kept up with the books or the people or the system.  Checking online, I found that 2012 is the 30th Anniversary for Fighting Fantasy.  More to the point, I was reading about this on my iPad, and saw a note about the FF Game Books being released as Apps to be read and played in the digital age.

Here’s the actual screen grab from 15 minutes later.  I started with Warlock of Firetop Mountain, naturally, and rolled up a new character and started reading the game book on my ipad.  The App is a pretty faithful translation of the experience, including all of the “Turn to 256 if you defeat the dragon” instructions, which seems a little odd, since you don’t actually turn anything, you just hit the arrow that takes you to that entry.  It’s great that all of the rolling and tracking is done by the App now, so you can play through one of these without any dice, pencils or paper, which is convenient while reading it in bed at night.

When you don’t have to roll actual dice (the App still rolls simulated dice to decide combat), or track Stamina or Luck, the game goes pretty fast.  I remember spending an hour or three with these books back in my younger days, charting my character and mapping my adventures.  I think in the digital age, with some real effort rather than a cursory trial, I could probably get through the entire adventure in a half hour.

Still, I say that, but I did get stuck in a maze area where it’s just an endless series of branching corridors (without secret exits) that you stumble through over and over again.  Getting frustrated, I remembered that some of my old books still had rough notes and maps stuck between the pages.  I could actually visualize my map of Firetop Mountain in my head.  Checking through my collection, I was sort of stunned to find that I didn’t have a copy despite my certainty.  In fact, I had a lot fewer books than I remembered (it’s been quite a while since I’ve gone through them)
I was ok with not having a complete collection, but suddenly realizing that I barely had a collection, and most importantly at that moment, didn’t have Warlock of Firetop Mountain (or the needed map!) was a trigger to my collector OCD, and I only snapped out of it an hour later, finding myself hunting down books on eBay.  I stopped before spending any money, but it is crazy sometimes just how little things like that can become all-consuming nerd issues.

I had gone through my collection to grab a map and save some time while playing around with the digital version of Warlock, but in the end, I spent more time figuring out what books I didn’t have – and then a few hours re-reading some of the setting material from the Roleplaying Game version of Fighting Fantasy.
I did eventuall confront the Warlock, but I didn’t have the three keys I needed to complete my quest, so failed my first time through.  It seems odd to read the book on my iPad with a notepad beside me as I scrawl notes and figure out the map.  Hopefully they can build a mapping function in to later releases (I think they’ve put out 5 so far).  I think I’ll end up having another go at the warlock, and then maybe checking out City of Thieves or one of the other releases.

Discussion: Every play through any of the Fighting Fantasy books?  Ever do it without cheating?  When I played the digital version, I rolled box cars for my Skill and knew that I’d have no problems – but then rolled crappy for my Luck.  As a kid, I remember rolling a few characters up before deciding which one to play… the one with the highest scores, of course!  But once I started into the adventure, no fudging the dice until you won or you died.

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