Saturday, 2 July 2022

Alice's Day 2022

It's three years since I attended Alice's Day in Oxford as a guest of the Lewis Carroll Society.

Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland was the first ACE Gamebook, written before ACE Gamebooks were even thing, and it is still a popular seller. It regularly sells out at the UK Games Expo, and did so again this year. And even though it was first published in the UK almost seven years ago, new foreign language editions keep appearing.

If you've yet to experience my gamification of Lewis Carroll's seminal children's book, you can pick up a copy here. Just remember... we're all mad here!

Friday, 1 July 2022

Gamebook Friday: Christmas in July

Today is 1st July, which means it's the perfect time to download the PDF of Christmas in July, the summer season supplement for 'TWAS - The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas. It introduces new monsters to the game as well as four new Player Characters that can all be used with more conventional games of the 'TWAS RPG.

When the north winds blow,
Bringing with them ice and snow,
If Midsummer’s weather’s numbing,
Then know that Fimbulwinter’s coming.

A copy of ’TWAS – The Roleplaying Game Before Christmas is required to use the contents of Christmas in July, and both are available from DriveThruRPG now.

Thursday, 30 June 2022

Happy Asteroid Day!

I learned this morning that 30 June is Asteroid Day. It is held on the anniversary of the Tunguska event in 1908, when an asteroid leveled 2,150 square kilometres of forest in Siberia.


I remember reading a Primeval tie-in novel by Dan Abnett, called Extinction Event (2009), which had dinosaurs entering our world through an Anomaly at the site of the Tunguska event. A similar idea, that of a massive explosion causing cracks in time, also featured in the Doctor Who episode The Fires of Pompei (2008).

This was a concept I played with when I wrote NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! Without giving too much away, the reason there are dinosaurs running around Neverland is because the Chicxulub asteroid that casued the extinction level event that wiped out those ancient beasts also caused fractures in time. These fractures rippled across time, meaning that Captain Hook and his pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy and the sinking of the Titanic survivor Wendy Darling, as well as dinosaurs, mammoth, and sabretooth tigers, can all visit the island at the same time.

So, to mark Asteroid Day. why not pick up a copy of NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! or leave a review of the gamebook on Amazon? After all, every little helps!

Friday, 24 June 2022

Gamebook Friday: RONIN 47

RONIN 47, the seventh ACE Gamebook (to be published this summer by Snowbooks), now has a cover. And it's gorgeous!

Art and logo design by Neil Googe, colours by Len O'Grady, design by Emma Barnes.

I love how bright it is and the use of coloured text on the back, which you can see below.

Friday, 17 June 2022

Gamebook Friday: Le Pirate de l'au-delà

Available now from Gallimard Jeunesse is a new edition of the French translation of my fourth Fighting Fantasy gamebook Bloodbones.

What makes Le Pirate de l'au-delà different from the original English edition - apart from the fact it's in French - is that it features bonus content focused on the setting of the adventure. On top of that, it also features cover art by the awesome Paul Mafayon.

So, if you're a fan or a Francophile, follow this link to pick up some fantastic pirate booty now!

Friday, 10 June 2022

Gamebook Friday: ACE Gamebooks and OnTabletop at the UK Games Expo 2022

A week ago today, I was busy selling out of copies of The Wicked Wizard of Oz and NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters! while stocks of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire and 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas were getting low too. That's right, it was the UK Games Expo 2022!

It was great to catch up with people again after three years, and special thanks must go to my friend Scott who helped look after my stand*, meaning I could actually get a look around and see all** that the Expo had to offer.

Scott - on brand as ever!

Highlights of the weekend included signing a first edition of my first book Spellbreaker, which was published 29 years ago this month, meeting GTG Vicki in person, Olly Mc and John Robertson's playthrough of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, cocktails and Japanese food on the Saturday evening, and being interviewed by OnTabletop at the Thursday press preview, which you can watch here...

* Even though he was actually on his honeymoon!

* Or at least some of.

Thursday, 2 June 2022

ACE Gamebooks at the UK Games Expo 2022

This weekend, I am at the UK Games Expo at the NEC in Birmingham. Unusually, I have three books that are new to the Expo this year - Beowulf Beastslayer, 'TWAS - The Krampus Night Before Christmas, and Dracula - Curse of the Vampire - plus the 'TWAS RPG.

You will find me at Stand 2-T10 from Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th June, sandwiched between Ace Brushes and Atlantis Miniatures. So if you're coming along, do stop by and say hello.

Click to enlarge.

In other ACE Gamebooks-related news, the special collector's edition hardback of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire is now on sale. You can find out more here.

“This is the Rolls Royce of gamebooks!”
Chris Halliday, TTRPG designer and author

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Jubilee Weekend Sale

In honour of Her Majesty the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, all ACE Gamebooks Roleplay products are on sale at 70% of their usual cover price over on DriveThruRPG, from Wednesday 1st - Monday 6th June 2022.

Experience the Classics as you have never experienced them before!

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Dracula: Curse of the Vampire LIVE - Part 6! (again)

It's the sixth part of Ken Boyter's live readthrough of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire tonight. Yes, I know Part 6 was two weeks ago, but that was really Part 5, because the Part 5 show was cancelled due to technical difficulties, so tonight's performance is definitely Part 6.

If you're free at 7:00pm GMT this evening, do join the livestream on Facebook to see if Ken, in the role of Count Dracula, can get the better of the Vampire-Hunters and make it back to Transylvania.

And, of course, the 125th anniversary special collector's edition hardback of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire is available now, and selling fast. So, don't miss your chance to grab one of these very rare, soon-to-be-collector's-items now.

Monday, 30 May 2022

Secret Project: Playtest #2

So, having revised the rules following on from the first playtest, I gave the new card game another spin. I reduced one stat and the number of cards in each Player's hand. However, I am still considering increasing the quantity available of a particular type of card in the deck, and making the game for up to six Players, rather than just four.

I wasn't very far into the second playtest when I realised that nowhere in the rules does it explain what the icons on the cards mean and, as a result, had forgotten about one of the benefits of one of the icons. Clearly that is the most obvious change that needs to made before playtesting again.

This time the game lasted for 20 minutes, with Player K being knocked out by becoming the victim of everyone else's attacks. Player F left the proceedings unexpectedly early, leaving Player L and Player S to fight it out between them. In the end, Player S won, but only because Player L suffered the same sudden end as Player F.

Once I've made those fixes to the rules, I think the game will be ready for some more intensive playtesting sessions involving people who have never played it before.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Secret Project: Playtest #1

Last Christmas, I created the prototype for a new card game. I was hoping to playtest it with the family over the festive period, but in the end that didn't happen. So, I put it to one side and, with everything else that's going on this year, pretty much forgot about it. That was until this week...

Next weekend, I will be attending the UK Games Expo for the first time in three years, and meeting up with some likeminded friends. In the past, on a Saturday night, we've borrowed some games from the Games Library at the Expo and ended up in fits of laughter as we attempt to play them. However, this year, I hope to be able to persuade them to help me playtest my new card game.

With that in mind, I got out my prototype deck, reread the rules, and set about playtesting it myself. I'm really glad I did, because it immediately helped me see where the rules need clarifying - something I probably wouldn't have realised so easily had I playtested it back over Christmas - and possibly where there might be some balance issues.

The game itself lasted about 30 minutes, not including the rereading of the rules. Player L was knocked out very quickly, on the draw of two cards, while Player K, who was hanging on by the skin of their teeth for most of the game, ended up the winner, with Player S meeting the same fate as Player L, only much later in the game, and Player F being worn down by a relentless war of attrition. A completely unexpected outcome, but quite a satisfying one.

As a result, I am now drawing up Version 2 of the rules and considering rebalancing the deck. Once I've done that, I hope to playtest it myself again before heading to Birmingham. I thought it might be interesting to others, as well as helpful to myself, to keep track of how the playtesting goes, hence this blog post, and the others like it that I will write from time to time, hopefully until the game itself is released. So, watch this space...

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Happy Dracula Day!

26 May 2022 marks the 125th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker's seminal gothic horror novel Dracula

To commemorate this momentous occasion, from today you can purchase a seriously limited collector's edition of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire, the gamebook based on Stoker's novel. And as an homage to the original, the cover is yellow with red text. To find out more, click this link.

Friday, 20 May 2022

Gamebook Friday: The UK Games Expo 2022

Two weeks today, I will be at the UK Games Expo for the first time in three years, and I can't wait! Usually, I have one new book out at each Expo, but this time, because I've not been to one since 2019, I have three ACE Gamebooks that are new to the con, and the 'TWAS RPG.

I will be at Stand 2-T10 from Friday 3rd - Sunday 5th June, sandwiched between Ace Brushes and Atlantis Miniatures. So if you're coming along, do stop by and say hello.

Click to enlarge.

In other ACE Gamebooks-related news, next Thursday, 26 May, the special collector's edition hardback of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire goes on sale, to mark 125 years since the publication of Bram Stoker's Dracula. You can find out more here.

“This is the Rolls Royce of gamebooks!”
Chris Halliday, TTRPG designer and author

And lastly, this Gamebook Friday, congratulations to Michael J. Ward, whose DestinyQuest: The World Companion funded on Kickstarter in just four hours and is starting to unlock various Stretch Goals. If you've not seen it yet yourself, click this link.

Don't forget, tickets for Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 are going fast, so make sure you grab yours today.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Dracula: Curse of the Vampire LIVE - Part 6!

It's been some time since Ken Boyter's last live readthrough of Dracula - Curse of the Vampire, due to a few technical issues two weeks ago (when Part 5 should have occured). So tonight's session is Part 6, even though there have only been four so far.

If you're free at 7:00pm GMT this evening, why not join the livestream on Facebook to see if Ken, in the role of Count Dracula, is able to get the better of the Vampire-Hunters ranged against him?

Friday, 13 May 2022

Gamebook Friday: Dracula - Curse of the Vampire Collector's Edition

Coming soon, to mark the 125th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker's Dracula on 26th May 2022, the Dracula - Curse of the Vampire Collector's Edition. Limited to 50 signed copies in total.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 - Tickets on sale now!

 Tickets are on sale now for Fighting Fantasy Fest 4, and are strictly limited to 400* in total.

The Convention of Firetop Mountain is returning to the University of West London, three years since FFF3, on Saturday 3rd September 2022, to celebrate 40 years of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and the Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks series co-created by Steve Jackson and Sir Ian Livingstone.

Everyone who purchases an adult ticket will receive:
  • A uniquely numbered 40th anniversary ticket (strictly limited to 400 in total)
  • A souvenier programme and autograph book
  • A pair of Fighting Fantasy dice
  • Access to the event, including the Traders' Hall and Artists' Alley, and all signing opportunities
  • Access to all talks and panels
  • Access to a special screening of Martin Gooch's new film Argh and the Quest for the Golden Dragon Skull, featuring Sir Ian Livingstone!

Attendees may also pre-order an exclusive Fighting Fantasy 40th anniversary T-shirt and enamel pin badge, ready for collection at the event.

There are also a limited number of Young Adult and Children tickets. (Please note that anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult ticket holder.)

Steve Jackson and Sir Ian Livingstone will be attending as Guests of Honour, and other guests include authors Rhianna Pratchett, Jamie Thomson, Peter Darvill-Evans, and Jonathan Green, artists John Sibbick, Malcolm Barter, Tony Hough, Mel Grant, and Rob Ball, and original commissioning editor Geraldine Cooke.

Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 is likely to be a very popular event and entry is by pre-paid ticket only*.

If you've been before, you will know what to expect and will doubtless be keen to attend again. If you've not been before, then this is the year to attend your first Fighting Fantasy convention!

So, don't delay and make sure you secure your place at Fighting Fantasy Fest 4 now!

* Tickets are limited to 400 adult tickets, plus 50 Young Adult tickets, and 50 Children tickets.

Sunday, 1 May 2022

Livres-jeux Alkonost

I am delighted to report that the recent crowdfunding project run by Alkonost Editions, to bring about the publication of 11 gamebooks this year, has funded, having raised 1,069% of its original funding goal of €4,000. Congratulations to all concerned and thank you to everyone who backed it!

This means that French editions of The Wicked Wizard of OzNEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, and Beowulf Beastslayer - will all be available later in the year from Alkonost Editions.

In other news, Czech publisher Mytago is currently running on offer on the first three ACE Gamebooks. So, if you're a Czech speaker or a collector, you know what to do.

Friday, 29 April 2022

Gamebook Friday: ACE Gamebooks at Somerset Comic Con

This weekend I will be at the Somerset Comic Con and Gaming Festival, on Saturday 30 April 2022, at the Wellsprings Leisure Centre in Taunton.

I will be selling signed copies of my ACE Gamebooks, including Dracula - Curse of the Vampire, in both paperback and hardback formats. So, if you happen to be in Taunton this weekend, or live in the surrounding area, why not drop by on and say hello? You can find out more about the event here, and buy tickets here.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

Happy Birthday, Mr Shakespeare!

It's that time of year when I like to remind everyone that I edited an anthology of short stories called Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu, back in 2016, featuring tales inspired by the Bard and the literary endeavours of H. P. Lovecraft.

Shakespeare Vs Cthulhu includes stories by the likes of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Graham McNeill, James Lovegrove, Jan Siegel, Andrew Lane, Jonathan Oliver, and John Reppion. So, if you've not already picked up a copy, do so today and treat yourself to what one reviewer called "a fun concept, that delivered on its premise."

And if you have read the book, a review on Amazon is always much appreciated.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Dracula: Curse of the Vampire LIVE - Part 4!

Ken Boyter is back this evening with the fourth (and possible final) part of his live readthrough of Dracula: Curse of the Vampire. He is still tackling the adventure as Count Dracula, and is currentl on board the Demeter travelling to Whitby. Tune in at 7:00pm GMT this evening to see if he manages to reach England successfully.

And if you have yet to grab a copy of the adventure yourself - which currently has 30 five star ratings on Amazon - you can buy a signed one direct from the author here.

In other vampire-related news, on Easter Sunday, Family Green visited the Small is Beautiful art exhibition on the Old Brompton Road before walking through London to Leicaster Square for a spot of lunch.

On the way, we passed 138 Piccadilly, which - according to the Dracula Society, among others - is the house where Bram Stoker imagined the Count and the Crew of Light had a face off, as indeed they do in Dracula: Curse of the Vampire.

138 Piccadilly, one of Dracula's London haunts.

Friday, 15 April 2022

Gamebook Friday: Alice in the New Forest

Earlier this week, on our way to the coast for a couple of days, three quarters of Family Green stopped off at Lyndhurst in the New Forest, for a spot of lunch and a walk. Said walk took us through Lyndhurst itself and past the church of St Michael and All Angels, where a certain Mrs Reginald Hargreaves is buried.

St Michael and All Angels, Lyndhurst.

The Hargreaves family plot in the churchyard.

Why am I sharing this information with you? Because before she married profressional cricketeer Reginald Hargreaves, Mrs Hargreaves' maiden name was Liddell, and her Christian name was Alice.

The plaque beside the Hargreaves plot.

Naturally, just down the hill from the church are the Mad Hatter Tea Rooms. I mean, why wouldn't they be?

The Mad Hatter Tea Rooms, Lyndhurst.

The eponymous Hatter.

If you have yet to experience Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, the original ACE Gamebook, you can pick up a copy here. I will also have some signed copies for sale at the Somerset Comic Con at the end of the month.