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.
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.
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... ;)