Frostgrave

Initial thoughts on the tabletop war game, Frostgrave. It’s totally awesome, by the way.

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I intentionally put off purchasing Frostgrave until AFTER Dreadtober. It’s been popping up in all sorts of Facebook groups and blogs that I have been following and has really grabbed my attention.

The game is based around you as a wizard leading a party around the city of Felstad (the up until recently hidden city) to find treasure and goodies. Along the way you run into rival wizards AND all sorts of hideous monsters that must be bested. It’s a little reminiscent of the old Mordheim game of my youth.

Your character is a wizard from one of ten different schools of magic from Chronomancy through to Witch. You start with spells from your school plus a couple of spells from an affiliated schools. An Elementalist could have spells from the school of Necromancy, for example. Of course, every good wizard get and apprentice and will need a bodyguard of two to navigate the dark streets awash with enemies. And a full range from guard dogs through to Knight Templars can accompany you on your journey.

The game is immediately playable. I picked up the rules from my FLGS yesterday and had read them by bedtime. Frostgrave’s system is d20 based, and not overly complex. From reading the rules and the various accounts that I have seen around the place, the simplicity of the rules makes for an awesome skirmish game. However, there is a lot more depth to the game than the rules make out, especially as you begin to discover the campaign rules where the “fight” or “flight” option will help you build your henchmen as develop your wizard a lot faster than just throwing them all through the meat grinder and hoping for the best.

This has all the attributes of a brilliant game!

It seems that this is Osprey’s bread and butter. At the moment, they keep popping up with these amazing games from out of nowhere.

In Frostgrave, your turn is broken down to the Wizard’s action, the Apprentice’s action, your Henchmen’s action and then the Monster’s action. Yes, that’s right. On top of other wizards that are lurking around, you also have to worry about random monster running around the streets of Felstad. So now we have the old D&D random monster encounters as well.

The official line of miniatures come from North Star Military Figures and appear to be of high quality with characterful looking sculpts for all the wizards, apprentices and supporting ruffians. North Star also have sculpts for the bestiary.

However, with a sizeable collection of fantasy miniatures, it’s also very easy to assemble a war band from miniatures you have lying around.

I rate Frostgrave very highly and can’t wait to get a few games in and get my war band going!

More than that, I have been thiniing about what an interesting time it is to be a war gamer. With access to the internet, crowd funding and social media, making and selling a game is easier than ever. I have a few other theories that I’ll keep to myself for the moment.

What I was pondering is the way that the various games are sold.
If we have a look at Games Workshop (who sell toy soldiers, not games), they sell the rules and the models to play them. This went south with the release of Age of Sigmar, but for the most part it fits.
Corvus Belli, makers of the Infinity game, allow you to download the core rules for free. They will also sell you the official line of miniatures and the rulebook with all the background fluff in it.
Privateer Press are now doing the same thing. Rules free, buy the miniatures.
A Fistful of Kung Fu will sell you the rules and you can use pretty well any miniatures you want!

I think that it’s really interesting when you look at the options that we have as players along with the choices for distribution that the makers of games have available to them.

And that’s completely ignoring crowd funding to get a game off the ground.