Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frostgrave Review




I was luckey enought to get a pre-release copy of Ospreys new frantasy wargaming rules "Frostgrave" written by Joseph A. McCullough.

I have now done some reading and also had a couple of test games so I thought I would need to share some of my thoughts about the rules. Just a statement, I don´t consider me to be a Fantasy wargamer, but I do like good games in any gengre.

The Frostgrave book indeed have a high production value, It is in the usual Osprey format but Hardback wich I really like even if it will add to the price, which is set at around £15 by the way. The book are 136 pages all full coloure and are well writtes as far as I can tell as a non native English speaker. As it seems are all drawings and miniature pictures are dedicated for Frostgrawe and no re-use of old Osprey pictures.


The context of the game are a frozen city that are full of old magic arcefacts that Wizards from all around the known world have cone to seize for them self. The Wizards are accompanied by ther loyal Apprentice and a bunch of roughtneck sellswords. As all the Wizards are really self centered they ofcours don´t want to share the hidden tresaures, so there is a need for some serious disscussion...


So now you know whay you have come to the Frozen city... Your alter ego in the Game The Wizard are the main character of your warband and the only character that get experience in the campain game, but don´t be bothered about that, your Wizard won´t as he is the one and only... Your Wizard have to choose one of the 10 Wizard Types that tells you what kind of Wizard he is and What spells he can master. In each of the Types/Schools you have 8 Spells to choose from, but you are only alowed 3 of them from your primary school, the rest of them must be taken from the other schools so by the start of the game you master in total 8 spells...this gives an opportunety for some major list building.


Second are you Apprentice or at least if you chose to hire one... as each Wizard have just 500 gold crowns (gc) to hire his Warband with, the 200gc for an Apprentice are quite some sum to spend on jut one follower...but what wizard would not want to have an Apprentice that can continue his work...and you also would get one more spell caster on the table, and that, my friend, can be very usefull in Frostgrave...

Third you have all the Soldiers, that you hire to do the dirty work... there are all from Warhounds to Knights that want to get your gold and serve for you in the Frozen City, But remember that you can not have more then 8 Soldiers in you warband. That can of coures also be good as the most minis you have to paint are 10... Wizard, Apprentice and 8 Soldiers :)


The actual game rules are very basic, I think that is good as you also have to spend time to know and know when to use your spells,

Each turn start with a initiative, rolled with the only dice needed in the game a D20, highest starts to activate his Wizard and if you want up to 3 Soldiers near him, tha then secon player Activate his Wizard and so on with Apprentices and last Soldiers that wasn´t activated with the Wizard or the Apprentice, easy but still lots of tactical decissions to make.

When activated the mini can performe 2 actions: Move, Shoot, Fight, Cast Spell, Pick up stuff etc.
Movement are the basic 5-8" that are in most 28mm wargames but for Fight, Shoot and Spells you use 1D20 and add your stat-line modification, in an opposed roll to your opponent, highest wins.

There are very little other modifications to any of the action rolls, like for Close Combat there are only one modification otheren then the miniatures Fight value. Not every ones cup of the but I realy like the stripped down modifications, makes the rules move faster and you can spend more time to figure out when and how to use your spells, after all thats way we play Frostgrawe, to be a kickass Wizard.


The Basic rules are really easy and the thing I think will lift Frostgrave and make the rules fun to play are the spells, deciding which to give to your Wizard AND most of all the Campaign game, to se your Wizard develop and grow stronger with the help of his warband. One-of games might be fun for some time, but if I will continue to play Frostgrave there needs to be some thing more and the answer are the campaign system. As with the rest of Frostgrave the campaingn system are rally easy but it put one more layer to the rules and add to the fun of playing a Wizard in his quest of might.

There are also a quite large section with non-player characters like Trolls, Giants, skelletons, Zombies and other monsters that the Brave Wizards and his followers can encounter in the Frozen city. The stangest one are the Icetoad...never heard of that one...

To make the gaming even more fun there are 10 scenarios included, can´t say much about them as I haven´t plyed them out yet, but they indeed seems to give good games. The only drawback are that quite some of them state that you should have specific terrain and specific non-player miniatures, but as the crative gamers we are I´m sure that most people will handle that with ease and what minis and terrain they have at hand.

If you hope to get Elfs, Orcs, Dwarfs and other clasic fantasy stuff you will be a bit disappointed as they are not mentioned at all in the text and there are no pictures of them to be found. All the Wizards and followers are Humans as far as I can see. BUT as the rules are so generic and easy I wouldent bither to much of that and use the same stats for any fantasy Race, just choose followers that fit your race, like Archers, Trackers and Rangers if you run an Elf Wizard and for the Orc Shaman looking for magic item in Frostgrave I would use all kind of fighter Soldiers, an Ogre would work as an Barbarian maybe, the possibilities are endles. I for example use Chaos warriors as Men-at-Arms for my Summoner Wizard.

I would say that Frostgrave are a well writen game, that are easy and nice to read, you get a lot of inspiration from all the eyecandy in the book. The rules are very easy to learn, but the spells and the use of the campaign system won´t make them "to" easy so they get boring.

Even as I´m not a Fantasy wargamer I would recomend you to have a go at the Froztgrave rules, the book are at £15 but on the other hand you probably only need 10 minis to play and a game take 1-2 houres so it´s perfect for a club evening as I also think it will work very well with up to 4 player in the same game.

So pack your Magical codex, your wand and extra warm clothes as we are going to the Froze City :)


Winter is coming...sorry could not resist... ;)

15 comments:

  1. I'm pretty excited to see how the sellsword miniatures come out. I've always liked painting troops for winter battles, and I am hoping they're sufficiently period and not fantasy that I can use them for Lion Rampant, or even Might of Arms!

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    1. I think you find pictures of most of them on the North Star site.
      The look very nice to me, especially the Plastic ones, that realy looking forward to get.

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  2. Thanks for the review - very interesting to read. Hopefully we'll see some AARs in the future!

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    1. Thanks !, I´ll see what I can do:)

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  3. What about Trolls and Vättar...?
    You know of what theme Im thinking...

    How are the posibility "skägglav" it up ?

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    1. I had the same ideea Jonas ti run a Viking/norse mythology campaign. There are stats for Trolls, giants and other stuff, not vättar by name but i'm sure you Will find a usefull Statt-line

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  4. Visually this looks very appealing, I look forward to a test game at the club! With only a few minis to paint before gaming, this could be a fun little diversion project...

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    1. Test game yesterday ;) i Will ofcourse run one for you to matey:)

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  5. Great review Michael! Not really my thing but interesting just the same!

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  6. It could be interesting and gives one a chance to paint up some interesting things.

    Christopher

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  7. Most useful review.I look forward to reading about your first games.
    Alan

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  8. Nice review Michael! And nice test-game too!

    Now pondering what to paint up as a war band ...

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  9. Sounds like an interesting concept with a wizard and his/her soldiers. Managable too. Somehow I get Blood Bowl vibes (i guess because of the team-like concept and that it is best in campaign mode) and that is always a good thing in my book. :-) /Mattias

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  10. NIce write up! I cannot wait till this ships. I hope that I can find some regular player.

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  11. Useful review and I'm looking forward to getting my stuff from Northstar not too far in the future

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