Welcome to the Backpack! By Fighting Fantasy fan and active member of Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks) of Facebook.

The Backpack aims to provide YOU with a few of my own resources to help with your FF fandom and gaming, and somewhat of a personal blog.

Hosted by Jason Archer; dedicated to supporting the gamebook community via web and online gamebook hosting and resource collation through and


Charts and stuff

  • Edition Overview – Brief visual overview of how collectors tend to categorise the various prints and reprints of books in the series. Update: There latest edition pictured under the Scholastic line is now commonly known as the Porthole Edition.
  • A two way converter spreadsheet between a single to-the-death combat and a chance of winning / surviving (including poll votes / ratios).
  • Quick Combat Bookmark – I’m not actually a big fan of rolling the dice. This chart shows the average Stamina loss against an opponent according to your skill difference. Made to be used for skipping combat or getting a feel for how powerful your own enemies are in fan FF writes.
  • Myguy Reviews have a podcast which occasionally play the books.


FF Gamebook maps and analysis

I love the City of Thieves and Blacksand!, and so aimed to map every book that takes place there, even briefly! I did get a bit further than it looks honest…

I’m also a Livingstone fan and got his The Adventures of Goldhawk series, 4 books aimed at younger readers, and found them fascinating. The first is almost like the first 3 FF he was part of writing boiled into way less paragraphs and more colourful illustrations from Russ.

I’m also a fan of notorious books and like to solve and analyse those of particular difficulty to see just how hard they really are. Some turn out to be near impossible, others actually impossible.


Other gamebooks

I gave most my non-FF gamebooks and CYOA away but I have a few again now of more curious nature.

  • Stay tuned for possibly a review of Starswirl Do-Over, an Equestria Girls ‘Make Your Own Magic’ book


James Kail

Here be a bit of my bio as a historic FF fan.

My first FF book was Forest of Doom, read to me by my mum in the 1980’s. I must have read it many times myself as well, I’ll never forget how there it made me feel. The second FF I can really remember reading is Island of the Lizard King, as a friend and I read it together when we were in middle school. However I also have fond memories of City of Thieves and Caverns of the Snow Witch in the early days. All Ian Livingstone titles and a name I came to recognise well, as well as Steve;s of course as they both ‘present’ all the books except their own. I’d always be on the look out in charity shops for more, especially when away, captured by the adventurous covers.

I also remember getting Dungeoneer and playing through it with a friend who lived above me. Sadly his mum made him sell some of his books and I ended up doubling my collection. He even reluctantly sold me Titan but not Out of the Pit, two world lore books that captivated me. I remember actually buying Midnight Rogue new and all the Advanced FF books from the school book visits or local bookstore. I got older and life happened but I always had my shelf of FF waiting for me at home.

My collecting started a few years ago now, when I discovered that Fighting Fantasy (an introductory role-playing game) had a kind of sequel in Riddling Reaver, then the existence of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain Board Game, and lastly the exquisite WOFM hardback anniversary release. Soon after, I tried to complete all the Livingstone books in a researched theoretical chronological order. As a kid I mostly read the books without rolling any dice.

Talking to that old friend who had given me half his collection long ago, I was lead to the Fighting Fantasy (and other gamebooks) group on facebook, where my fandom was able to become a shared interest again. Since then I have discovered the Adventures of Goldhawk series, assessed and achieved new collection goals, persevered through books I never got on with as a kid, and grown more love for flow-charting and analysing gamebooks.

With the series getting new releases from Scholastic, interest in the hobby is constantly being revived…

The future of the Backpack is a slow one. I have idealistic visions of creating ‘soft’ gamebook solutions that let you choose the level of spoiler you want. More maps to make. Reviews to present. My own gamebooks to write

Thanks for reading/visiting. A lot of people deserve thanks including Jamie Fry, Mark Lain, Paul Scanlan and of course Jason Archer. Please get in touch here or on Facebook.