My wife, Tove Gillbring, has been a champion for Swedish roleplaying games during the three last decades. Together we have published and developed games, gaming magazines and hosted gaming events at gaming conventions all over Sweden. Tove has always encouraged and supported other gamers and game creators. In our view, the entire gaming hobby benefits when a game is successful, be it our own or somebody elses. Now I want your help to show Tove how appreciated she is, and to make it easier for her to accomplish the creative fireworks she wants to set off in the midst of the bad news she is coping with. Her old breast cancer is back, and has spread beyond the possibility to cure her completely. Her lungs, skeleton and lymphatic system is affected, but she is a fighter. We got help to battle the medical issues, thanks to great doctors and medical teams in combination with the best treatment available for her kind of cancer. But Tove wants the rest of her life to be about more than merely surviving. She wants to focus on the things she loves to do. To develop and publish gaming titles, working with some of the people she loves most.
In the midst of the horrible news, Tove has been an inspiration. She considers herself lucky to have lived a good and full life, even if she had hoped it would be longer. Tove is not afraid to die and takes on all treatments her doctor suggests, to battle the cancer. She wants to get as many days as she possibly can to working on her favorite projects. Tove looked me straight in the eye on the very day she was told that there is no cure and said:
“I want to spend as much of the time I got Ieft with you, and keep doing the things we love. I want to see all of the projects we have planned in print before I go, I look forward to each and every one of them and will enjoy working on them to see them completed. That’s a lot of titles, so we need to step on the gas to make it happen. I want you to take time off from your regular work to make it happen, and hopefully our friends and freelancers will help us out too. I will not pass silently into the night, I prefer going out in a crescendo of creative fireworks”.
Since Tove can no longer walk, she needs my help to get around. I have been able to cut down my time at work in half in order to be home with Tove. While I work, Tove is stuck in her bed. It gives her time to rest, but if I could be with her all the time both Tove and I would be able to work more and plan our days better.
It might sound crazy to want to work on the creative fireworks at such a harsh time in our life, but it is what Tove wants to do and a testament as good as any on how much she has enjoyed her life. And we have been down this road before. When Tove got cancer the last time around, we had just started our Swedish gaming magazine Fenix. We could easily have cancelled the magazine right away, but instead Tove insisted that we should keep it up. Thirteen years later we have just published our 84th issue on a bimonthly schedule. We work well under pressure, especially when doing things we love (and with a little help from our friends).
Tove and I have worked together in the gaming hobby since back in the eighties, at the dawn of Swedish roleplaying games. Right from the start, our pet project was Western – a wild west roleplaying game. Our fourth edition will be released in English next summer, followed by a multitude of scenarios, source books and even choose your own adventure books. Many of the titles will be available in both Swedish and English.
Joe Dever contacted us in 2013, and asked us to be his Swedish publishers. Our Lone Wolf production line is mainly in Swedish (with a few exceptions soon to come), while Freeway Warrior will be released in both English and Swedish. There are quite a few titles coming up to both these production lines, where we are happy to have material left to publish based on our close co-operation with Joe Dever while he was still among us.
Our Swedish gaming magazine Fenix is also at the core of our production, and Tove is adamant about wanting to be there for at least the 100th issue. Most of the magazine is printed in Swedish, but thanks to great contributions from esteemed game writers such as Kenneth Hite, Graeme Davis, Pete Nash and Will Hindmarch, there are a couple of articles in English each time as well. We have already published three “Best of Fenix” volumes, and Tove wants to make more of the magazine available to gamers all over the world. For a while we were contemplating a twin magazine in English, but now it is more likely to make pdf-files of issues or articles available – or to release some more volumes of Best of Fenix.
Other projects on our drawing board? The German choose your own adventure success Rider of the Black Sun by Swen Harder, a second comic strip album of Åke Rosenius’ Birger Barbaren (possibly followed by an all English Bernard the Barbarian album), a Collector’s Album of an award winning comic made by some talented Swedish gamers and Åsa Roos’ cool Keyring RPG, in an English edition. This was one of the very first successfully crowdfunded Swedish games. This game is small enough to carry on a Keyring, yet packed with gaming material and fully functional. Easy and fun to play and the coolest gift ever! We could stop there, but … we actually have some other dreams too. So keep your eyes open!
We hope to be able to finish as much of the fireworks together as we possibly can, but please know this. I will honor my wife’s legacy by keeping her dreams alive, even when she is not. I will not abandon her dreams or her projects, instead I will take it upon myself to see them through.
Do you want to help us and get something in return for your kind support? Since we are gaming publishers, there are lots of titles from Åskfågeln you can buy for yourself or others. We always want our titles to be played and read, so spreading them to new gamers is just an added bonus. There are lots of places you can get hold of our games and books. You can always look for Åskfågeln at your local gaming store (even outside Sweden, since we are part of Modiphius’ distribution network). Or you can find us online at:
Our company web store and the only place where you can buy Gift Cards from Åskfågeln, if you already got all of the titles we already published and want to be sure to get hold of upcoming books as well. Please note that many of our titles are only available in Swedish.
To begin with, you can find the spectacular photo book on dice at
Dice – Rendezvous with Randomness
or Freeway Warrior – Highway Holocaust at
but as we add new titles in English to our production line, you will find them at Modiphius to.
The International home for our Best of Fenix volumes in hardback (as well as in pdf)
Here you will find an increasing amount of pdf-files of gaming titles from us at Åskfågeln. Please note that some titles are in Swedish only, while others are in English. When we add issues of the gaming magazine Fenix, they will consist of material in both Swedish and English.
As Swedes, we do not really have Thanksgiving. The underlying concept is way too entwined with the American history to achieve that. Still, it is one of the more beautiful holidays we know of in the way it is celebrated. A day to pause and give thanks for all of the good things that comes your way in life. This year has been extremely intense. It has been a year that really put us through the test, that tried us at the core of who we are, our abilities, our strengths and our patience. And sadly, to some degree, our faith in humanity. At the same time, it has also been one of the most rewarding years of our lives. A year full of reasons to be grateful and to celebrate, if you are just able to pause and smell the roses at times. There are so many things to be grateful for, but we will list some of them here.
We are so happy and grateful for the support we have received in the many various forms. For all of the love and well wishes sent our way. To those giving of their time, money and their memories and creativity to share with us and enhance our creative fireworks. At a time when life itself has been on the line, it has been a source of strength to know that we are not alone. For that, we will be eternally grateful.
Thank you for the awards and honorary titles during this year –we appreciate it. Thank you for enforcing that our lives have mattered beyond our own corner of the world. It might sound folly, but it made a difference. Just this weekend, Sverok - Sweden’s largest organization for youth focusing on the gaming community made us honorary members for life. We appreciate it, since so much of our lives have been in close proximity to young gamers, trying to encourage others to explore and appreciate gaming, and maybe even dare to get creative themselves.
We are so grateful for all of the talented people we have worked with this year. Sometimes getting a product from A to B takes more time than we ever anticipated, and we have been sad to see how Tove’s illness has not only affected us, but some of the people we love and work with as well. At times our patience, and that of some of the people who backed our Kickstarters might have ran low. At the same time, when we see the gorgeous work that is being done, the result of all of these efforts we can only be humbled and grateful. So much of our fireworks remains to show you all in its entirety, but when we do, we are certain you will react as we do. That it was worth waiting for, since the quality delivered will go above and beyond expectations. We are getting there. The famous ketchup bottle is being smacked around, but there is so much goodness waiting!
Living in a country like Sweden is a blessing when you get this sick. We have had the best medical help you could dream of during this year, both from the oncology department and the intense specialist care that allows Tove to stay at home during all of these ordeals. Thanks to the doctors, the nurses and the caregivers, we can stay at home even when Tove receives blood transfusions or IV treatments of different kinds. It may not sound like much, but it is extremely rewarding. We have wonderful people in the medical team trying to come up with practical solutions to all of the hassles that arise, and some of solutions are brilliant. We even got the help of a person specialized in looking at equipment to make things easier at various times, often delivering the coolest things at the exact time we really need it. Another special shout out goes to the physical therapist that have been a support and help beyond our wildest expectations. She has given generously of her time, her practical ideas, of training and confidence building when the body does not always follow the demands you try to give it. With her help, Tove has painstakingly increased her abilities throughout the year. A week like this, when the effect of long and harsh treatment has had more exhausting toll than usual, it is easy to get sidetracked and forget how much progress we have made. But we have. To be able to stand at least a little while, to walk short distances on crutches and even climb the stairs a few steps at a time – these are huge milestones.
Most of all, we are grateful that the medication works. That no matter the scares, the little pebbles in the road, we are basically keeping the cancer at bay. It does not disappear, we are not at a full miracle position, but it does not spread through the body either. We are still here more than a year later than Tove got back home last year. It has been intense. Sometimes trying, and we continue to be unaware when short obstacles jump in front of us and demand our time and concentration. Still. We are here, and for all intents and purposes we are pretty sure we will be able to be here next year too! And that my friends, that is something to be truly grateful for.
To share some of our happiness with you all, we now enter holiday season. We will not be able to deliver as much in print as we hoped before the end of the year, but we still have releases of different kinds coming up. Starting tomorrow, our Black Friday and holiday sales will begin at www.åsfågeln.se and during December, we will make sure to spoil you with updates, news, previews and bonuses. Much more is yet to come 2018, and 2019 is heading up to be spectacular!
Thank you all and take care of each other,
Tove & Anders
We ran into an unexpected problem during the end of the summer, when our Swedish distributor ceased operations – and we lost all access to all of the games and books we kept there. It may not sound like much, but considering how long we have been in the gaming business, suddenly losing access to all of your stock is nothing short of a nightmare – especially until you are certain that you will get them back. It has taken way more of our focus and energy than it should, but we are happy to tell you that the stones in the road are finally cleared away and as of the upcoming Monday all the stores will be moved to our new distribution hubs. It lifts a ton of anxiety of our shoulders, and we can finally get back to focus on more fun stuff again. We know we have been more silent than some of you would prefer, but it has been hard to really share anything but a lot of unknown hassles.
Next week we will attend the Gothenburg Book Fair, and once we are back in Stockholm there is a battery of medical check ups coming up, but we will still be able to pick up all the pieces where we left them and start sharing some good stuff with you all.
We also got some wonderful news to share. Amidst the side effects and hassles of Tove’s treatments this summer, they have had the desired effect. The cancer seems to have been halted and has not spread any further. There are minor hassles in effect, of course, but the overarching threat level seems to have been downgraded a notch. For one of the upcoming tests, the prognosis was listed as good enough to make the test wort doing. The risk of a sudden demise has decreased to a level where they are no longer holding it as a constant possibility that I would not live to see the result of such a test, rendering it meaningless. In spite of all of the hardships we have battled and faced this year, we have remained both hopeful and tenacious, but this was a wonderful confirmation that we were right.
We know that we are more quiet than you all prefer at times, and that news could come faster. We accept that. Still, you should know that progress is being made in many different areas all at once. As this year has passed, we have truly discovered that the priorities we set out to start with still stands. Time is good. Life is good. And Tove is still here, which is nothing short of great. And making our creative fireworks is still what we want to do, and what we are currently totally occupied with. We have lots more coming your way before we lay 2018 to rest – and by the look of it, we will be there with even more new titles during 2019!
All the best,
Tove & Anders
It was a while since we gave you all an update on how we are faring, and in spite of our silence things are actually pretty good. We credit the great medical team that helps Tove, but also the power of love and caring that you have all shown us. And hope for a little more patience if you are waiting for something from us, since delays are sometimes the best news we can get.
The winter went well and the treatments actually worked even a little better than expected. In the land of the medical professionals however, there is no such thing as taking a pause to celebrate good news. Quite the contrary. Due to the medication working so well, they amped up the treatment and a spring and summer full of treatments and battling side effects ensued. We are still fighting through it, but the positive signs outweigh any short time hassles. Tove is handling this ordeal well enough that we dare dream of a little more time left together. We might actually be talking years, not weeks or months. It has made a huge difference to us.
In the midst of the treatments and the ridiculous heat wave in Sweden this year, we have still been able to expand the Creative Fireworks with a few titles. Just this last month, we have been able to send the following titles to print:
• Creative Fireworks#5 – Aska över Torseth. Adventure for Ensamma Vargen (Lone Wolf rpg)
• Creative Fireworks#6 – Under Ytan. Adventure for Ensamma Vargen (Lone Wolf rpg)
• Creative Fireworks#7 – Fenix #3, 2018 (aka #87 in total) – this time with a Monster Theme
• Creative Fireworks#8 – Freeway Warrior 2- Slaughter Mountain Run
• Creative Fireworks#9 – Freeway Warrior 2 – Gatlopp genom Bergen (the Swedish edition of Slaughter Mountain Run)
• Creative Fireworks#10 – Ensamma Vargen 8 – Fasornas Djungel (Lone Wolf 8 in Swedish –but with a whopper of a bonus. A brand new adventure written by Vincent Lazzari and deverized by the man himself, Joe Dever who was the co-author of this adventure. Lukas Thelin made all of the artwork)
• Creative Fireworks#11 – Fenix #4, 2018 (aka #88 in total) – this time with a Wilderness Theme
• Creative Fireworks#12 – Ensamma Vargen 1 – Flykt undan Mörkret (the first book of the Lone Wolf saga in a new print run)
And we got lots more in the pipeline! So please stay tuned, cause the Fireworks have just begun!
Next week, Anders will be able to take an entire month off all other responsibilities, and we will be able to focus even more on the projects we love. Thank you for helping us making it possible!
Tove & Anders
The prints are now running for Pieces from the Past, a scenario for Ensamma Vargen (Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf) that we developed for GothCon this Easter – and that is now ready for demo play all over Sweden. The heroes stumble upon the effects of a certain red gem and how it affects the young bloke who picked it up – and others! It will give the players an introduction to Sommerlund’s history from a different perspective, while at the same time putting them to the test. The stakes are high, but hope should be the last thing they lose in this tale of Light vs Darkness.
August Hahn wrote the story and Joe Dever had time to enhance it. Lukas Thelin has filled it with illustrations and Francesco Mattioli has provided more of his wonderful maps for us. Apart from the softcover, you will also get inserts with maps and cards to cut yourself, as well as pre generated Action Charts for 6 different Kai Lords. To play, we still highly recommend that you use the Ensamma Vargen Rollspelsbox or Ensamma Vargen Regelbok, to get the easy rules engine. Soon it will be available from www.åskfågeln.se and all well sorted gaming stores in Sweden.
For Sommerlund & the Kai!
Tove & Anders