Friday, 29 August 2014

A Little Bit of Frostgrave

I'm always hard at work. Allegedly. So this afternoon's 'work' saw me and the author, Joe, playing a game of Frostgrave, Osprey's forthcoming (2015) fantasy skirmish game.

I'm biased, clearly, but even so it's a cracking game. Initiative each turn is determined by a die roll, but activation alternates within each turn: the Wizard with initiative (and up to 3 henchmen within 3") acts first, then the opposing Wizard (and, again, up to 3 henchmen), next, the Apprentices (and up to 3 henchmen) in order of initiative, and finally any henchmen not already used. This keeps play fast and furious, and no-one goes for long without having the chance to do something. Each activation is move (or reload for crossbows) and another action (shoot, attack, move again, cast a spell etc.).

So, here are a few pics from our first game. I was using my vaguely Mongol-themed gang, and going up against Joe's splendidly named 'Mareek of the Monkey God'.

We're playing on the delightfully ergonomic spare desk in the Osprey Games office (affectionately known by a number of names: 'Isengard', 'The Games Dungeon' etc.), using the pre-painted Gothic terrain from Gale Force 9. On an aside, I can't rate this stuff high enough - it looks great, and is solid as anything.

The scenario was pretty basic, but indicative of the kind of games that Frostgrave offers - not only were there 6 treasure tokens scattered around the board (green plastic meeples as my dedicated tokens are still awaiting paint), and a central well from which a Wizard can drink to get a boost to his abilities in a campaign (which would be great fun to play through - the game and its myriad options are very pro-campaign). Guarding the well were 4 zombies which activate after all the players' gangs and either dash straight for an enemy within 10" and LOS or move randomly according to a scatter die roll.

As you'd expect, both gangs rushed toward the treasure, with my Wizard picking off the zombie guards and reaching the well with 3 treasure tokens slowing down the less important members of my gang. Joe's more elite, but fewer in number, troops advanced more cautiously, and ran into my waiting forces, looking to do some damage, then clean up what treasure remained.

On the right flank, our Apprentices butted heads, with a raised zombie under my control tying up Joe's advancing troops quite effectively until reinforcements could arrive, but at the cost of my Apprentice being poisoned by a spell and reduced to 1 action per turn!

Around the well the rest of the gangs clashed, with some dramatic moments, climaxing with one of my crossbowmen leaping over the well, landing, and picking off Joe's Wizard with a critical hit (straight 20... double damage!).

With his Wizard, a man-at-arms, and a thug knocked out of the game, Joe eventually decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and withdrew, leaving my gang in control of 5 treasure pieces (at the death, one of his thugs grabbed an isolated token) and with a Wizard MVP who had taken out 2 zombies and drunk from the well. Clearly, a clever author letting his editor win!