Here at our Boardgamesland HQ, we’re positively buzzing with excitement for Martin Wallace’s latest brainchild, ‘Fighting Fantasy Adventures: Campaign One.’ We can barely contain our giddiness as we do what geeks do best: speculate, hypothesize, and analyze every breadcrumb of information we can get! As fanatics of the Fighting Fantasy books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, we’ve been itching to get lost in the perilous lands of Allansia. 

Finally, our wish came through when the prototype arrived, and we sat down to discover what adventures awaited us. Naturally, I, the writer of this review, took on the role of the wizard as I often do when we play RPG games, and It didn’t take me a second to come up with my character name, which, come to think of it I could barely write it down now let alone pronounce it. It was something like Kirr’r’rgste’eer. Other players were more casual, which set the tone for my character of being the odd one, and surprisingly it felt that way throughout the whole game too. I was always getting in trouble, and someone had to bail me out. 


Fighting Fantasy Adventures is a game where four heroes are tasked to recover a unique artifact from a dungeon. Naturally, it is best played with four people, everyone controlling a single character. However, it can be played with a lesser player count, in which case one player will be responsible for multiple heroes. The four heroes that can be played are the mage, the warrior, the healer and the scout. Each of them has a unique skill set useful in different situations. We learned that the hard way.  

Initially, we thought that our characters were a little unprepared, except for the healer having only a few skills to rely on, but the game did a fine job of providing us with resources when needed. When to use these resources is a whole other matter. Some of them were straightforward, like the rope, but we are ashamed to say that we used some holy water to give the wrong enemy a quick bath.

A sneak peek into the ‘Fighting Fantasy Adventures: Campaign One’ gameplay via Tabletop Simulator. Please note, the graphics shown here are not final and are used as a sample.


Exploring the dungeon was relatively easy. You need to pick a direction and look at the numbers from those available on the card that you are on and find the dungeon card, which is coupled with the encounter card with the same number and wait for the dramatic effect of someone reading it out loud while another player puts the new dungeon card in the correct place. After a few rooms, we realized how important it is to look out for clues besides the numbers, but not before some creatures got the drop on us, at which point the whole situation turned into a bloodbath, and that was our first combat.

The combat system was relatively simple. First, each hero must engage one creature at least, and the remaining heroes can decide to gang up on a monster or stay out of the combat. Ganging Up gives some small combat bonuses depending on how many heroes are ganging up on one creature. After that, a round is played where players roll dice to determine the outcome of the combat. Two dice are rolled for the hero, and the same is done for the creature, at which point both results are added to their respective skill points, and the one who has the smaller number takes damage which is the difference between the two numbers.  

As with any other RPG game, this could be quite a range from taking a few hits up to destroying your enemy in a single blow. Besides the skill statistic, every hero has two more stats: stamina and luck. The first one shows how many hits a hero could take before they are knocked out, and the second one allows the hero to reroll some of the bad rolls they got. Rerolling decreases luck by one, and then the hero can reroll all of the four dice hoping to get a better result, and if not, they could do it again and again until their luck eventually runs out. Naturally, this happened to the mage in our game, and he came very close to becoming a permanent resident in the dungeon.  


               Heroes would not be heroes without having a few tricks up their sleeves, so besides their usual stats, each hero has a few ability cards on which they rely once during the game. For example, the mage has two firebolts and an invisibility spell. The scout has his trusty knife, which can be reused and some quick reflexes, the warrior has a shield and a mighty bash, and the healer could restore some of the other heroes’ hit points and refresh some of their abilities. At this point, we felt that protecting the healer was smart since he could bring us back from the dead. Unfortunately, this proved quite the opposite since he could defend himself just fine. Also, we realized too late that he could hold down two creatures simultaneously while other heroes gang up on them and dispatch them more easily.


Now that we have a clearer picture of how the game is played, we can talk more about the adventuring aspect of the game and the puzzle-solving. The first few rooms we explored were mostly traps and fights, which gave us the wrong vibe for this game. We used a common RPG tactic of sending the warrior first, followed by the mage, then the scout, and lastly, the healer. We noticed the puzzle-solving element late, and up until that point, we used our equipment to win fights more quickly. Thankfully the scout was brilliant and kept the rope so we could cross over a large pit and not die instantly. After this event, we began to think more strategically and had better results with the other rooms. Eventually, we found our first coin, which was one of the goals that we had to do. Also, we noticed some strange paintings and a pile of clothes which at the time seemed useless.   

We explored a few more rooms and noticed that the enemies had become tougher to beat. On the other hand, we found three more coins which confused us a bit because, at the beginning of the quest, we were informed that we only needed 3.

Finally, we found a room where someone had to take one for the team, so naturally, we sent out the scout. This meant removing her from our party, and we, the brave three, continued our merry way. We had very few abilities left, and the scout carried our only health potion. Somehow we managed to defeat the bosses huffing and puffing, except for the healer, who barely broke a sweat. We reached the last room, and there it was. The final puzzle we needed to solve. There was a chest with the quest artifact inside, and the only way to open it was with the correct placement of the three coins.

Looking at the whole situation, we noticed that some of the paintings we discovered were in some kind of order which gave us a clue on how to order two of the coins. Unfortunately, we never found the final room with the paintings, which would provide us with the last clue. So we discussed the matter, at which point the scout was making funny ghost noises saying choose the yellooooow!!!! Choose the yelloooowww!! Coinnnn! We almost did it, but the mage said I would consult the spirits of the fates and roll a die 1,2,3 for blue or 4,5,6 for the yellow coin. The die landed on two, so naturally, we chose the blue coin and were surprised that this was the correct order, and with that, we won the game.


Our final verdict about this game is exceptionally favourable, which is surprising because we play more Euro games than RPGs. The fact that we solved most of the puzzles shows that this game is easy to learn. However, without some luck on our side, we would have failed the quest for sure. This is refreshing from the standard analysis paralysis which Euro games provide. The story was also excellent. We had quite a few laughs when things went from bad to worse, and we cheered when finally something good happened. For example, when the warrior killed a giant scorpion in one blow. We made him describe the move, of course. We never realized how to level up our characters, maybe because we had the prototype and levelling up comes later in the game, but we had a fun time with our LVL 1 characters nonetheless. Overall, this game is a unique crossover from the standard D & D style games and more modern games, making it a valuable gem for those who love to dip their toes in role-playing but don’t have the time to create complicated characters and worlds. As a seasoned gamer, a game like that was always missing on the market, and now that we have it, I can’t wait for the full version to come out.