Books whose first edition was in the Dragon Cover Format
Dragon ver.I (number on cover & spine/foil names)
FF25 Dragon Both.jpg FF26 Dargon Both.jpg Figfan27.jpg
Figfan28.jpg Figfan29.jpg Figfan30.jpg
Figfan31.jpg Slaves of the abyss.jpg Figfan33.jpg
Figfan34.jpg Figfan35.jpg Figfan36.jpg
Dragon ver.II (no numbers/foil names)
Figfan37.jpg Figfan38.jpg Figfan39.jpg
Dragon ver.III (numbers on spine only/foil names)
FF40 Dragon Spine.jpg FF41 Dargon Spine.jpg FF42 Dragon Spine.jpg
FF43 Dragon spine.jpg FF44 Dragon Spine.jpg FF45 Dragon spine.jpg
FF46.jpg FF47.jpg FF48 Dragon spine.jpg
FF49 Dragon spine.jpg FF50 Dragon Spine.jpg FF51 Dragon Spine.jpg
Dragon ver.IV (numbers on spine only/black non-foil names)
FF52 Dragon No Foil.jpg FF53 Dragon No Foil.jpg FF54 Dragon No Foil.jpg
FF55 Dragon No Foil.jpg FF56 Dragon No Foil.jpg FF57 Dragon No Foil.jpg
FF58 Dragon No Foil.jpg Ff59puffin.jpg

"Dragon Cover Format" is an informal term applied to the Puffin Books book cover design for the Fighting Fantasy, and certain affiliated series, from 1987 to 1995, replacing the previous "Adventure Gamebooks banner" banner.

Generic[edit | edit source]

The final Puffin Books design, launched in 1987, featured a large box with a dragon design at the top of the cover containing the cover credit. The spine of each book remained uniform dependent on the series.

Rear Cover[edit | edit source]

  • The colour of the rear cover varied with each book.
  • The back cover also featured a mini-box at the top, similar to the box on the front cover. Inside was written:
FIGHTING FANTASY BOOKS

Over X million copies sold worldwide!


At the point where this new format took over (#25, Beneath Nightmare Castle) at the start of 1987, the number of millions of copies sold was listed as 8 million. This rose to 10 million in 1988 with the publication of Stealer of Souls (#34). Interestingly, during this period the writing in the box was printed in bronze-foil (like the covers) for only Armies of Death (#36).[1] The number changed again in 1991, rising to 12 million with Tower of Destruction (#46) and again in 1992 with Island of the Undead (#51) where it reached 13 million. Finally with Knights of Doom (#56) in 1994 this peaked at 14 million.

Fighting Fantasy Main Series[edit | edit source]

  • Books with this final Puffin cover design featured some slight changes during this period, although all had the familiar Fighting Fantasy logo on the front, which changed colour with this format change to yellow (sometimes amber) with black writing. This version of the logo had been used previously in 1985 for Out of the Pit and 1986 for the publication of Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World.
  • The placing of the logo was in the bottom right hand corner, the only exception being Legend of Zagor (#54) where the logo was placed centrally at the bottom of the page.

Dragon ver.I[edit | edit source]

For the main series the new design was launched with Beneath Nightmare Castle. The dragon atop the cover credit was gold and the name of the author was in gold/bronze foil writing. The spine of the book remained the light green colour of the prior Adventure Gamebooks banner format. The number of the book was printed on the front and spine of each book.

This design, with some variations, was used up to the last book in the Puffin series with reprints of former titles (#1 to #24) featuring the new cover design. It was with this "refresh" of the range that The Warlock of Firetop Mountain was given a new cover by Peter Andrew Jones to replace his original one.[2]

Dragon ver.II[edit | edit source]

In 1989 the range (#1 to #36) was reprinted where all numbers were removed from the books (including the list on an inner page) alongside new books Portal of Evil, Vault of the Vampire, and Fangs of Fury. This was unpopular and short-lived.

Dragon ver.III[edit | edit source]

From Dead of Night (published in 1989) onwards the number of the book returned to the spine of each book (#1 to #39 reprints included) and the inner page list, but would not appear on the cover again, except in the case of #50 Return to Firetop Mountain.

Dragon ver.IV[edit | edit source]

In this sub-format, the cover credit was no longer printed in bronze-foil. The first book originally published in this way was #52 (Night Dragon) in 1993 (and the back catalogue of titles (#1 to #51) re-issued again to match).

This format is sometimes referred to as the Black Dragon format, although in actuality the dragon always remained gold or bronze. The Black Dragon sub-format was peculiar to the Sorcery! series only.

Sorcery! series[edit | edit source]

Black Dragon on Kharé - Cityport of Traps

Main article: Sorcery!

In a similar way to the main series, the Sorcery Books were also affected by the redesign, although all the Sorcery! books had been published by the time of the change and therefore only reprints were affected, not original books. The four variations of the Dragon design that affected the main series were not evident with Sorcery!. The books retained the familiar Fighting Fantasy logo on the front, which for Sorcery! remained red/orange with white writing but was now placed in the bottom right hand corner. The exception to this was Kharé - Cityport of Traps, where the writing on the logo was black not white, although it had been white in the Adventure Gamebooks banner format.

Black Dragon Sub-Format[edit | edit source]

The "No Bronze-Foil" Sub-Format on The Shamutanti Hills

The dragon atop the cover credit was black rather than the gold of the main series and the name of the author, Steve Jackson, was in dark bronze foil writing. It is notable that up to this point this series had always been titled "Steve Jackson's Sorcery!" where as now, for the first time, Steve Jackson's name was separated from the word "Sorcery!" which itself sat below the author credit box, but above the name of the book. The spine of the book remained the red/orange colour of the prior Adventure Gamebooks banner format. The number of the book was printed on the front (in black on a red/orange background in the top right hand corner) and spine of each book.

Black Dragon No Bronze-Foil Sub-Format[edit | edit source]

When the foil disappeared from the main Fighting Fantasy range in 1993 it was also removed from the Sorcery! books, the author credit in the credit box being printed in plain white. This held true for "No Bronze-Foil" reprint of The Riddling Reaver.

Other Books[edit | edit source]

Introductory Role-Playing[edit | edit source]

Main article: Fighting Fantasy - The Introductory Role-Playing Game
  • This employed the same style as the main series, in that it used the Gold Dragon, the exception being that it was not affected by the number changes on the cover. However, both foil and non-foil styles exist.
  • What is notable is that the original cover of this book was reversed in this edition. The book had never had an Adventure Gamebooks banner-style makeover having been published prior to it and not republished during the Adventure Gamebooks banner timespan.
Main article: The Riddling Reaver (book)

When this book was first published it was done so under the Adventure Gamebooks banner format. The Dragon format used for this book was the Black Dragon Format as in the Sorcery! series.

The Fighting Fantasy Poster Book[edit | edit source]

Black Dragon on The Fighting Fantasy Poster Book

Main article: The Fighting Fantasy Poster Book

This rare book was published by Fantail Publishing, an imprint of Puffin Books. It only had one cover and this used the Dragon format, using the Black Dragon Format as in the Sorcery! series.

Fighting Fantasy Novels[edit | edit source]

Red Dragon on the covers of Demonstealer (left) and The Trolltooth Wars (right)

Main article: Fighting Fantasy Novels

The three main novels (i.e. not including The Zagor Chronicles) all employed a variation on the Dragon cover by having a very similar Dragon's head (in red) and fore-claws emerging over the top of the author's name at the bottom of the novel cover.

See Also[edit | edit source]

Main Cover Formats
Preceded by
Adventure Gamebooks banner
Dragon Cover Format Succeeded by
Deathtrap Dungeon Video Game Cover
Book Cover Formats
Puffin Book Cover Formats
19821995
DD Video
1998
Wizard Book Cover Formats
2002 — present
Wrap
around
Colour
No.
Adventure
Gamebooks
Dragon Cover Format

2002 Relaunch Retro 2009 Relaunch Old School
Cover Format
Gold No No. Spine No. No Foil


References[edit | edit source]

  1. The only other books printed in this way (with this back cover "over 10 million copies sold worldwide!" being in foil writing) were the Black Dragon Sub-Format of the Sorcery! series and the first two books of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy series.
  2. Fighting Fantasy FAQ at the Internet Archive record of the original Fightingfantasy.com
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