If you’ve got kids or look after them, then you already know how much of an uphill battle it can be to keep them entertained. Often, it can feel like any form of entertainment that isn’t a video game falls by the wayside in favor of whatever app is most popular with their friends. You’re certainly not the only parent or caregiver out there who’s struggling with reducing their children’s screen time in the digital era.
Thankfully, the solution to this problem lies in Fighting Fantasy, a series of choose-your-own-adventure books, or gamebooks, first published in the 1980s.
What is Fighting Fantasy?
Designed by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone, founders of Games Workshop and arguably two of the biggest names in fantasy tabletop games in the UK, Fighting Fantasy’s gamebooks are designed for hours of fun and near-endless replayability.
At the start of the book, readers create their own character to use throughout the adventure or choose one of three pre-determined characters to try. By reading each section and following the provided references, your kids will be taken on an adventure where they are the heroes.
With that being said, they’re not just children’s books, either. Adults everywhere still play and love these books for their creativity and the different gameplay experiences they provide.
So, why are Fighting Fantasy gamebooks great for kids? Let’s take a closer look.
Helps Kids Learn Reading, Writing, and Maths
Perhaps the biggest benefit of Fighting Fantasy for kids is that these gamebooks are great for improving reading comprehension, because players have to closely follow a narrative and make decisions based on what’s happening in the book. Not only that, but because the books use dice rolls to determine certain outcomes, it helps children develop their maths skills.
If your children also use notes, maps, and create their own charts to help them track what’s happening in the book, this can also help them to improve their writing skills.
In Fighting Fantasy, players can either create their own characters to play or choose one from a list of three given at the start of the book. Roleplaying is a fantastic way to inspire creativity in children, particularly as it encourages them to use different perspectives to gain a greater understanding of the world around them. Given that the worlds in FF are based in fantasy, children can make up their own characters and ideas of how that world works.
Drawing maps to understand their progress can also help them to practice their art skills, which has the potential to inspire even more creativity through drawing and illustration.
Teaches Problem-Solving Skills
Many of the Fighting Fantasy books include puzzles that players have to solve to proceed. Whether this is performing actions in a certain order, answering a riddle, or finding a series of items that can solve a puzzle, your kids will learn problem-solving skills they can apply in real life.
Even the battles and narrative sections can help children to improve their logic and deduction, both of which are valuable skills they need as they grow older.
Screen-Free and Portable
If you’re looking to encourage your kids to spend more time away from a screen, Fighting Fantasy books are a great alternative to video games and TV. These books for kids offer the same degree of interactivity that your children love about video games, all without needing to use a screen to convey the information they need.
It’s also a great form of entertainment if you’re somewhere your kids don’t have access to technology like TV or video games. Fighting Fantasy is easy to play on long car journeys, on holiday, or as a form of entertainment while you’re socializing with friends, making it a fun activity whether you’ve got access to electronic devices or not.
Hours of Replayability
Fighting Fantasy books are designed to have multiple scenarios where characters die, or their adventure ends, but only a handful - or only one - path to victory. This means it’s rare that children will ‘win’ the gamebook the first time they play. Even if they do, some FF books have multiple different endings or paths to the same end point, so each book comes with hours of replayability.
Each time your kids replay their Fighting Fantasy book, they’ll learn new things about the story they’re following, which helps to keep them invested in the game.
Can be a Social Game
You might not think it, but Fighting Fantasy books are perfect for kids who want to play games with their friends. Your children might even prefer playing some of the harder books in the series with their friends, as it gives them a team to collaborate with when they try to complete puzzles or figure out which narrative pathways lead where.
Plus, if your kids and their friends are competitive, they can even keep score of who can complete the book in the least number of playthroughs, which can help to keep them engaged and invested in the series.
Should You Buy Fighting Fantasy Books For Your Kids?
Fighting Fantasy books are perfect for kids. Whether you want to encourage them to spend more time away from their screens, you want to inspire their creativity, or you simply want to keep them entertained, the Fighting Fantasy series is great for both kids and their parents.
To get started, here’s a list of the best Fighting Fantasy books for beginners to get started with, as well as an overview of the series so far. At Loarbaind, you’ll find a wide range of Fighting Fantasy titles to spark your kids’ imaginations.