Monday, February 1, 2016

Back to the Frozen City...

I did not actually get to playing En Garde! over the weekend, but last night I did finally get to kick off a new Frostgrave campaign just with the family. I thought it would be fun to run a campaign just with the family - and it would give me an opportunity to get back up to speed with the rules and playtest a few scenarios before the 12th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash/Winter Wargaing weekend coming up in lightly less than four weeks! Originally I’d planned to run a A Song of Blades and Heroes campaign, but decided to switch to Frostgrave because… well… it would just be easier… Mostly because I’ve been working on a new campaign system for Song of Blades and Heroes, but I knew I wouldn’t have an opportunity to fully playtest it at all before the wargaming weekend and I hate trying out totally new things at a campaign weekend where there will be a little bit of competition and, even among the friendly gamers I’ll be playing with, holes in the system would likely be found (alarmingly quickly) and exploited… Frostgrave is at least is a known quantity – I know what to expect from it… and it’s fun… I’m sure it will be a great weekend!


As we got started a bit later than I expected, we simply played a standard scenario without any special rules or even any wandering monsters (which is, I think, a first!?). Next week we’ll spice it up with something new!

I think all of us, except perhaps The Boy, tried out a new type of spellcaster that we’ve never played before.


Amanda played an Elementalist named Winona and her apprentice Raisin(…? Yeah, I have no idea…). Exploring the ruins with them was a Tracker named Tammy, two Treasure Hunters named Helen and Ellen, and three Thugs names Sandra, Melissa, and Carrie. (The figures are all from my own collection – Amanda likes to play, but can’t be bothered to get her own figures…)

The Girl played a band of giant anthropomorphic mice lead by a Chronomancer names Rumpy Silkskins and his apprentice Glinda Mistletoe. With them were three Archers names Redfeather Tickle, Milly Greenbottom, and Tilly Yellowpatch, a Crossbowmouse named Lara Dustfur, Two thieves named The Blue Squeaker and Lumpy Cheesecakes, and Infantrymouse names Admiral Browntail and a Warhound names Flash. The figures are all the frem The Girl’s own collection and, with the the exception of one of them, were all painted by her.  (I think this is the first time ANYONE had played a Chronomancer in any of our games so far)

The Boy rolled out with another Lizard Witch warband lead by Bloopblupblop and his apprentice Sithana. He commanded a Knight namd Sthanos, two Infantrylizards names Sotha and Hiskanal, two Javalineers names Hroot and Grook, a thug names Gurth and Theif named Inkath.

I tired out the Soothsayer (using my recently painted Green Wizards). Alvareda and her apprentice Jonquil led a band of rough sorts; Lars (the Archer) and his brother Darragh and his other brother Darragh (both Men-at-Arms), four Thieves named Will, Jenny, Alfonso, and Cerebus (an Aardvark!?), and a big mean dog named Spike.

Despite the decision to allow the new Captains presented in Sellsword, no on opted to try one out…?


Before the game got going my soothsayers successfully cast Reveal Secret (allowing me to place an extra piece of treasure just in front of my deployment zone. The Boy’s Witch also successfully summoned an Animal Companion – a giant Ice Toad who was quickly named “Ribbet”

It’s been a while since I’ve played so I didn’t have the smartest set-up. Jonquil went off with the three brothers leaving Alvareda with the thieves… so all the hitters with one spellcaster, all the carriers with the other… doh…

Jonquil and the three borhters set up next to a treasure – looked like easy-pickins…

Alvareda and the Theives with three more treasures that looked easy enough to grab – we would be in and out without any contact with the other delvers of the ruined city!

Then Amanda’s Elementalist set up with eyes on that same treasure…

On the flank I had The Girl’s Giant Mice Chronoimancer warband. WE always seem to end up having a non-verbal “you-take-these-I’ll-take-those-and-we’ll-leave-each-other-alone” type pact in all our games of Frostgrave…?

The Boy and his Lizard Witches were across from me and I would have no contact with them at all.

On the first turn the Elementalist went first and whisked away that closest treasure to an eagerly waiting thug who then picked it up and ran!

The Theives with Alvareda quickly snatched the treasures in front of them and readied for a quick get-away – eyeing the giant mice with suspicion! Alvareda successfully cast Mind Control on Tammy – the Elementalists’ Tracker – but Tammy successfully resisted

The Mice and Lizards mixed it up a bit – in the course of the game Mouse Archers took down two Lizard Javelineers.

Lars put an arrow in the thug with our treasure the Darraghs rushed out to grab it, but the Elementalist hit them with a fireball knocking Darragh our and wounding Other Darragh! Other Darragh soldiered on and, with the help of Spike, took on one of the elementalists Treasure Hunters.

And then I forgot to keep taking pictures…

Alvareda and Jonquil made a few more attempts at casting Mind Control on various members of the Elementalists – which mostly ended with them bleeding out their nose and ears (failing horribly!). Then Alvareda was hit by a scattershot from Winona the Elementalist and the two soothsayers spent a few turns trying to heal themselves… Eventually they got better and manged a few successful Combat Awareness spells too late in the game to have any affect (other than gaining them some experience).

In the end, the severly wounded Darragh managed to take down the Treasure Hunter and Alvareda successfully cast Mind Control on Tammy the Tracker – who was coming to get him. As Tammy and Winona were the only members of the Elementalist’s warband still on the table, the Elementalist decided to beat a hasty retreat of the table rather than fight her own hireling…

I really missed not having wandering monsters or special rules… it adds a lot to the game. Otherwise there is temptation to just grab a couple of the closest treasures and scarper…

The Girl’s mice soffered no casualties at all and hauled away three treasures. Among those treasure she collected 295 gold, an Orb of Power, and three Potions (Elixer of Speed, Potion of Invisibility, and Potion of Invulnerability). Her wizard gained 210 experience (150 from treasures, 60 from successful spells cast) and gained two levels.

Amanda’s Elementalist’s warband suffered four casualties. Her Apprentice was badly wounded and will miss the next game (or require some expensive healing!), Helen and Sandra were patched up well enough that they’d be able to soldier on next game, but Helen was a little more seriously injured and will give the next game a miss… Among the two treasures they hauled off the collected 120 gold, a Staff of Power (1) and a Grimoire of Invisibility. Winona earned 160 experience points (100 for treasures, 60 for spells cast). I think Amanda is planning to abandon this warband and try something else next game.

The Boy also suffered four casualties The two Javelineers and the Toad were all wounded lightly enough that they’d be able to soldier on next game, but Sotha the Infantrylizard will be out of action a bit longer. The Lizards collected three treasures which included 220 gold, a Grimoire of Wizard’s Eye, and three Potions (Explosive Cocktail, Potion of Strength, Elixer of Speed). His wizard earned 290 experience points (150 for treasures, 60 for spells cast, and 80 for taking out Raisin the Elementalist’s apprentice).

The Darraghs and Spike the dog recovered from their injuries quick enough that they’ll be ready for the next expedition into the frozen city. Among the FIVE treasures the Soothsayer’s warband collected they found 280 gold, Potions of Healing and Invidibility, TWO Scrolls of Raise Zombie, a Magic Dagger (+1), a Ring of Teleportation, and Grimoire of Fog. Alvareda earned 320 experience (250 for treasure and 70 for spells cast). She decided to improve her fighting and practice up on Mind Control and Combat Awareness. I am tempted to have her send one of the Thieves packing and hire a Captain... 

I like the Soothsayer – though most of my spells were 12+ to cast… I took Mind Control, Combat Awareness, and Reveal Secret for my Soothsayer spells, though I’m kind of wishing I’d taken Forget Spell… I think my first grimoire purchase will that. I also took Bind Demon and Control Construct just to be THAT Wizard that messes with EVERYONE’s heads… but with the current group of wizards it’s looking like those won’t be so useful. I should have taken Control Undead as well. Control Animal, being a Witch spell (which is opposed to Soothsaying) would be a tough one… I rounded things out with Heal, Invisibility and Fleet Feet. 

I think we’ll play a few scenarios out of the main book and then I’d like to try playing trough either the Hunt for the Golem or Thaw of the Lich Lord campaign (or perhaps BOTH!).

In other exciting – but Frostgrave related – news, just as I sat down to type up this game report this morning I had one email that informed me that my order from Black Tree Design has finally shipped (with figures all destined for Frostgrave and Dragon Rampant warbands and Lion Rampant retinues) had FINALLY shipped AND a note from Joseph McCullough himself informing me I’d been selected as one of our winners for the Frostgrave Wizard Sheet giveaway! How cool is that!?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I’ve started cleaning up the basement this weekend and had a big clear off of the workbench. It was getting mighty cluttered. I tend to just keep adding things to it fast than I can actually paint – keeping things “in the wings” to remind myself that I SHOULD paint them up in the not-too-distant future. What remained were a few remaining swashbucklers and lots of Medieval/Fanatasy stuff… and a few other odds and ends… hopefully I’ll get to finishing a few more things up this week before our next adventure into the Frozen City! 

I'd still like to get in a game of En Garde! at some point this week - even if it's just a small game just to try it out.

I also need to get working on some MORE TERRAIN! 


  1. Another family fun Frostgrave Game. We find we don't seem to have enough wandering spawns, think we had 2 in total last game. We were debating making any treasure which is dropped for 1 full turn, would get a new wandering monster roll, otherwise its like you said, grab & run, with pretty much archers doing the only combat.

    Enlighten me more on this Wizard Sheet contest? Congrats!

    1. Thanks Terry!

      What we were doing in the fall was simply spawning one new monster at the beginning of each monster phase through the whole game. I'm starting to consider - for a standard game (where there are no special rules or monsters that start on the table or that arrive under certain circumstances ) to have each player seed the board with one (or two) monsters of their choice (deploying them pretty much as treasures - i.e. not in deployment zones and not within 6" of each other).

      I find when playing with my family we're really more role-players - we like to do things co-operatively and aren't super aggressive - so the tendency is to walk on, grab the three closest treasures and scarper. When there is conflict it feels... i don't know... forced...? So monsters gives us more of a challenge for that treasure without having to actually attack each other (much).

      I know other players are far more competitive and aggressive and actually like crushing other peoples warbands and taking ALL the treasure for themselves... So for them there is less of a need for wandering monsters as they create their own threats and challenges.

      The Wizard sheets, as i understand it, are just really nicely printed copies of the wizard sheets from Sellsword. Or maybe they're printed as a booklet...? I can't remember... I just remember seeing a free contest for free Frostgrave stuff on Facebook or in an Osprey newsletter or somewhere that simply required emailing Osprey at letting them know what your favourite spell was. I have to admit I don't really have an absolute favourite at the moment... so I just said Telekinesis - as I have used it a fair bit with various wizards - as have many of the others I've played with. (I made a point of NOT taking it with this wizard as I'm tiring of treasure chests flying about... and wanted to try something new - something others within our group have avoided as they were thought to be "a bit weak"...).

    2. I think if we play some of the Lich Lord scenarios, we may see a bit more cooperation amongst warbands, as there is now an NPC threat to everyone if we don't.

      Guess I need to pay attention to company facebook sites. I tend to only get on for a quick post & look at whatever is currently visible on the screen before logging.

  2. Great Blog post Tim! You guys sound like you had a great time. I think that one of the things you really show with your posts is how Frostgrave is a multilayered game. I think even more so than Mordheim. Feels like there is a healthy amount of roleplay in it to be truly escapist miniature gaming.

    1. Thanks Chris!

      Every game is what you make of it. I recognize that we, as a family, happen to be more of a not-so-aggresive/competitive, co-operative, role-playing type of gamer so I'm trying to tweak the game to suit our needs - add challenges other than just hammering on each other's warbands and building some sort of narrative around the campaign.

      Frostgrave can just as easily be used as a straight up, competitive, crush-your-opponents-into-the-dust type game if that's what floats your boat.

      Not saying one way is better than they other.

      I think Mordhiem was very much the same way. Some people played it with very elaborate and detailed almost-role-playing-adventure type scenarios, others played it as purely a competative game. It's too bad GW didn't see the value in it and put the resources into supporting it to keep it going. (It's funny... it's not like the game doesn't exist or we don't have miniatures anymore... why did we stop? Oh yeah, new games came along to distract us!)

      It looks like Osprey is stepping up in a very big way with Frostgrave with all the planned releases in the pipe for this year alone!

      I also saw on some forum or Facebook someone mentioning "Dustgrave" - their own homebrew spin on the setting - which really got me fired up as I have a PILE of terrain that would work great for a ruined city lost to the sand of the desert for millennia and recently uncovered in a recent massive sandstorm... Yeah, I could get behind that...

      Of course I could just as easily do all of this with Song of Blades and Heroes... but whatever... Frostgrave is what's got people fired up and I'm perfectly happy to play that for the moment.

    2. I agree Tim, I am still a big fan of Mordheim! We had a big group of players for a time 16 I think in the campaign. Making scenarios was becoming common & there were so many fan-made ones available too. We even did a Halloween themed event at Red Claw where Chris asked me to make some scenarios...I did a pumpkin one using Dollar Store Halloween pumpkins. It was great & we had a few players out of their gourds after eating them.

    3. I agree. I thik that Mordheim was a lost opportunity but the reality is GW is a model company first and support for games wasn't part of their core business. I actually think that Osprey, with their emphasis one publishing is actually in a better position to be successful in the long term.