Friday, 7 March 2014

A First Post...

I have every hope that this blog will help galvanize my gaming hobby – if I can get in the habit of posting semi-regularly, I should be painting and playing regularly too!

After a slack couple of years on the games front, I've got back into the swing of things recently, mostly thanks to my friend, colleague and gaming buddy writing his own fantasy wargame (I may have commissioned the project as well, but let's leave nepotism aside for now... While I think on, his own blog, The Renaissance Troll is well worth a visit): Frostgrave.

Essentially, it's a skirmish wargame pitting rival wizards, their apprentices and their henchmen against each other in the frozen ruins of a once-great city. Rather than the usual high fantasy magic system, this setting sees magic as a shadow of its former glory, and its practitioners a tiny group of scholars and researchers. Frostgrave, however, is a city built upon the use of magic, and the ancient empire that once inhabited it left behind many valuable resources that these mages are now after.

It's a nice concept, and one that really plays up the use of magic – wizards (and their apprentices) learn spells as they develop over time, and while each one adheres to a certain school (e.g. necromancy, enchanting), they can make use of most of the spells they learn – so a necromancer, in addition to raising zombies and the like, can also, in a pinch, throw a fireball or enchant a weapon. Going magic-heavy is a little unusual for me (in D&D I'm usually a fighter/ranger/rogue-type), but the 80 spells in the game (8 each for 10 different schools of magic) give a lot of variety.

So, with getting in on the playtesting in mind (not to mention being asked to demo the game for various people in the office), I started building...
The whole gang
The two crossbowmen
Two of the five thugs
One of the spear-armed thugs
The remaining two thugs and an attention-seeking crossbowman!
The ranger – this guy is one of the tougher henchmen options, and I'm really pleased with his veteran look.
Finally, the wizard and his apprentice. I'm particularly fond of the Conan-esque feel the wizard has going on with the wolfskin, the armour plates and the skulls.

Kitbashing with plastic kits is probably my favourite part of the hobby, and I have dozens of half-finished and unpainted conversions lying around my desk. This first gang for Frostgrave incorporates elements from Fireforge's Foot Sergeants and Steppe Warriors boxes. As befits their status, the wizard and his pal got a few extra bits – the wizard's head is a Warlord Roman veteran piece, his armour is from a Wargames Factory samurai box, and the pouches, skulls etc. they both have are from various GW kits. The apprentice's basket hat is actually a Steppe Warrior shield – probably my favourite bit of the whole gang!

I wanted a vaguely Mongol look to these, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The thug-heavy list is a good way of maxing out your gang from the start in Frostgrave, but as they're just armed with a hand weapon, it's not the most varied force to field. For the next gang, there's going to be a bit more variation in terms of henchmen types, and it'll be smaller as well – bonus!

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