Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Solo Intro to Frostgrave

Frostgrave kind of snuck up on me. Thinking back, I even recall seeing it sitting on a table in the Brigade Games booth at Historicon, but I never gave it more than a glance.

Then one day I get an IM from a gaming buddy who knew I was looking at the Reaper Bones KickStarter. It said (paraphrasing) hey, if you're still looking for some fantasy gaming, check out Kings of War or Frostgrave. I had not heard of Kings of War, but had at least seen some mention of Frostrgrave, so I checked it out.

The book is published by Osprey Publishing, so I knew it would be a quality book. But how about the rules? I found some previews and reviews online and it sounded interesting. It was available through Amazon Prime at an attractive price, but one problem - I was about to go on a week plus long road trip and not even one-shipping was going to get it to me in time.

I did manage to have the book sent to my dad who I was meeting later in the week, so I was able to get my hands on it for some late night and car ride reading - while riding shotgun of course.

Fast forward to the Sunday afternoon after arriving back home late Saturday night. I had been looking online all week at existing Reaper figures for possible wizards and creatures. I wan't able to piece anything together that made sense through online game stores (one would have a few pieces, but not all and then paying for shipping at two or three places made little sense). My last option online would have been to just pay retail through Reaper. Well, if I was going to pay retail, I figured I might as well try my FLGS. I was hoping to find one or two things on my list that I could check out (I had no experience with Reaper miniatures). I was pleasantly surprised to find just about everything I had been eyeing online. The biggest drawback was that they did not have the Summoner wizard I was looking for. But I did manage to pick up a Frost Giant, an Ice Troll, a Major Demon, and some animal companions, including a bear, leopard, and wolf. I had also picked up a new female Witch to replace the Apprentice you'll see below. Whether she becomes the Wizard or stays the Apprentice remains to be seen. Also in there is Warg who I felt was going to be too big to be a War Hound and am definitely thinking that afterward. We'll see how that pans out.

Rummaging through some 28mm Viking miniatures that I had been using or working on for SAGA (which was shelved) and then later Lion Rampant (which undeservingly has never gotten off the shelf), I found these eight which made up my initial warband.

Front (R-L): Witch, Barbarian (100gc), Thug (20gc), Thug (20gc).
Rear (R-L): Apprentice (200gc), Infantryman (50gc), Archer (50gc), Archer (50gc).
For a total of 490gc spent. I would later add Warg as a War Hound for another 10gc, spending all 500gc available to my Wizard.

Now that I had a warband assembled, I wanted to give the system a try. I did not want to find some more proxies to face off against another wizard that would then also have to be controlled by me, so I opted instead to just litter the makeshift tabletop with treasures and the available creatures that I had picked up earlier that day (sans Major Demon).

Yes, that is playdough and kid's paints... I got yelled at later by a three year old who had just awoken from a nap to find her father playing with her playdough. Not something I recommend, but in a pinch, it'll do.

So here we are set up. The red stones are representing the treasures. You can see the warband split as they set up on the left side. The Witch and Apprentice each have three soldiers near by and then Warg is splitting them in between.

I had given my Witch the following spells: Brew Potion and Familiar which are both Out of Game spells, and then Curse to round out the three from the Witch school; Steal Health (Necro), Leap (Summoner), and Strength (Enchanter) from the Aligned schools; and then Invisibility (Illusion) and Dispel (Thaumaturge) from the Neutral schools.

My Wizard actually failed his Familiar spell (only costs 8) but was successful on his Brew Potion spell, which he gave an Invulnerability spell to the Barbarian. The Apprentice did just the opposite, so he gained a familiar which granted him +2 health for the game.

The Wizard acts first and moved the three soldiers near him. He then empowered a few health to cast Leap to move the Archer up on to the ruins. However, this also meant that the Archer could take no further actions, so he could not use his second action to fire. It did alarm the bear who would later move toward him in the creature phase.
The Apprentice took his crew toward the wolf which was guarding a treasure. The second Archer fired but missed.

In the creature phase, the wolf moved into combat with the Infantryman who disposed of the beast.

The leopard, Ice Troll, and Frost Giant had no line of sight (LOS) to any warband member, so they all moved randomly for their first action.

The bear initially moved toward the Archer, but in doing so lost sight of him after his first move as he was tucked under the ruins, He then used his second action to move half distance towards the soldiers now in LOS.

Since there was no opposing Wizard, the Witch only moves himself into position to cast Steal Health. He fails, but since he's gaining some health anyway, goes ahead and empowers it through. The bear is dealt some damage, but takes his revenge on the Thug who rolled poorly and lost the combat and then all of his health. The Archer opted not to fire into combat as he did not want to risk hitting the Barbarian.

The Archer was no longer hidden behind the tower and the three creatures with LOS began moving toward him.

That would prove fatal for the leopard as the Archer rolled a Critical Hit and killed it.

The bear was proving problematic and I began to doubt we would be making it out alive as he took off 13 of the Barbarian's 14 health. But, just like the Archer, the Barbarian rolled a Critical Hit and killed off the bear. But the Frost Giant was gaining ground quickly!

The Frost Giant would cut the distance while the Apprentice and his crew worked their way to the first treasure (picked up by the Thug) and then drew the attention of the Ice Troll back toward them. The War Hound whiffed, but another Critical Hit, this time by the Infantryman, would bring the Ice Troll down!

Somewhere around this time, the sleeping beauty awoke and I stopped taking pictures. I did manage to get in a few more activations, but had to ultimately call on account of having to clean up my mess! Her words.

Anyway, the Barbarian drank his Invulnerability potion anticipating the Frost Giant closing in on him. The Archer repositioned while heading toward the treasure near the leopard's starting point. The Wizard began to withdraw. The Apprentice would try to Leap the Thug off the board, but that failed. The Thug then moved toward the table edge with the treasure.

The War Hound ended up moving close enough to the Frost Giant that it distracted him from the Barbarian, but ultimately cost it its health as the Frost Giant clobbered him. The Infantryman moved to and picked up the treasure that was originally guarded by the Ice Troll. I think he would have made it off the board. The Wizard and Barbarian would probably have had to withdraw due to health concerns. The Archer heading for the leopard's treasure would have managed to avoid the Frost Giant long enough to pick it up (he'd be out of sight on the other side of the ruins) and then would have been able to exit the near side with the treasure. I had initially thought he would need to return to my starting table edge, but the rules sa that you may exit the table at any edge except the opposing player's table edge.

I did not roll for the treasure or walk through any of the experience that would be gained for Campaign play, but may do so at some point for practice.

Ultimately, even while playing NPCs. I still had a good time and picked up on the rules pretty quick. I can hardly wait to play this Friday with another Wizard on the table!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Mid Year Review

Here we are in early August; seven months now behind us in 2015. I was instant messaging a fellow gamer the other day and we were joking about our backlog of miniatures to assemble/paint/get to the table. It made me think back to the end of 2014, just before New Year's, when I had compiled a list somewhere of my top 10 things to do in 2015. For the life of ke, I couldn't remember where I had placed this list electronically.
Well, I managed to find said list, buried in a comment on Facebook in our local historical gaming group. I don't recall if this was meant to be an ordered top 10, or just a list of 10. In any case, here it is... or was:
If I had to put my huge laundry list of unfinished projects/things I'd like to do in 2015 into a list of 10, I imagine it would look something like this:
1. 15mm Polish 1st Armored
2. Play Battlegroup
3. Blitzkrieg Germans (for Historicon BA tournament)
4. Attend Historicon
5. Warsaw Rising figures (28mm)
6. Attend more local events; in paricular Catawba Military Gaming Society events
7. At least assemble the moderns to get some walk throughs done on some of the available rulesets
8. Japanese and/or USMC (28mm)
9. Pacific terrain
10. Campaign something - BA, CoC, Battlegroup, something. PTO, Normandy, Blitzkrieg,  something.
Seven months later, here is my situation report:
  1. I did start working on #1. I have a handful of Sherman Vs, a Firefly, a Crusader II AA, a Sherman ARV recovery vehicle, three Bren Carriers, and 30 infantry - all in various stages of completion.
  2. I did get to play two games of BattleGroup at Historicon. I would like to play some more, but part of that relies on making more progress on #1. We do have a BattleGroup Kursk game planned, which of course does not require any of my Brits modeled as Polish.
  3. The Blitzkrieg Germans aren't moving lightning fast off the hobby table. I did get the vehicles assembled and even used them in a local game, but I never did get them ready in time for Historicon. In hindsight, I may have faired a little better in the tournament if I had.
  4. I was fortunate to attend Historicon for the second year in a row. I'm hoping that trend continues.
  5. I've really been slacking on #5. It remains high on my want list; however, finding time with all of the others things has been hard. A part of the lack of motivation may also come from the lack of Bolt Action games I've played this year. I imagine they will go hand in hand - if I get the partisans further along, I would be more likely to get in a game of BA.
  6. I'm 0 for 7 on this one as I've not attended a single monthly meet up.
  7. #7 is going well and there has been a strong push on the Skirmish Sangin front of late. Even earlier in the year, I managed to finish up what insurgents I have and we played some Flying Lead, Hearts & Minds.
  8. I did at least get most of my USMC done for #8. There are still a few vehicles left to do and possibly some more plastic figures, but I did compile a list and completed the modeling, painting and basing for it. The Japanese on the other hand... Only a few plastic figures have been assembled, and even then, I don't know to what level of completeness.
  9. I have started on #9, but haven't followed through yet to have a complete (or even a partial) game board.
  10. Sad to report that I have not participated in any campaign games to date. There are some campaign rules in Skirmish Sangin's Despatches No. 1, so perhaps that will see the light of day.

So there you have it. The list of goals set out at the start of the year and where I stand to date. If you find yourself struggling to complete your own laundry list of tasks, I highly recommend making a list. I had not gone back to it at all in those seven months, but as you can see, just writing something down can have a lasting effect and may help you stay the course.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Skirmish Sangin SitRep: Patrol


The free scenario can be found on the Skirmish Sangin blog here: Patrol

I picked this scenario as our first due to the low model count. I swapped the 4 Royal Marines out for 4 US Marine Force Recon I already had painted. We put out the 5 least suspecting insurgent figures I had as the farmers. The board set up looked like this:

Using the top of the image as north, the patrol was to start at the poppy field in the (lower left) southwest corner. Compound 1 was directly to its north. Compound 2 was to the east. Compounds 3 and 4 were to the north and the Blackhawk represented the extraction point. The building to the northwest was were the farmers (and dicker) were congregating.

Aerial reconnaissance shows a quiet village. Perhaps too quiet.

Bravo Company is tasked with infiltrating the village from the southwest and inspect the four compounds (one not visible here). Farmers are in the area. ROE say the Marines cannot engage unless fired upon first.


"Hitman, this is Hitman 2-1 Romeo. Over."
"Hitman 2-1, this is Hitman. Standing by to copy. Over."
"Hitman, we have a military aged male on a cell phone at the north edge of the village. Requesting permission to engage. Over."
"Hitman 2-1, this is Hitman Actual. Permission denied. You are only to engage if fired upon. Proceed with mission. Over."
"2-1 copy. Hitman 2-1 is Oscar Mike. Over."

The Marines move up to the first compound and inspect the premises. No Taliban presence here.

The Taliban dicker calls in the Marine position and two Novice Taliban are called to the area armed with AK47s. One rifleman from Hitman 2-1 breaks away from the team and heads toward the crowd of farmers wanting to confront the man with the cell phone.

The gunner and fire team leader head east toward compound 2. But arriving from the west are two insurgents who come in, guns blazing, forcing the forward rifleman prone as they pin him behind some rock formations.

The Marine grenadier runs to the edge of the compound wall looking to provide some covering fire. Gunner puts his SAW to good use - first putting a light wound on the dicker and then later forcing the nearest insurgent threat to retire to the farm building.

The fire team leader initially fails to spot the once retired insurgent, but eventually does and then calls in the .50 cal fire support, call name Assassin.

"Assassin, this is Hitman 2-1 Actual. How copy?"
"Hitman 2-1, this is Assassin. I got you loud and clear."
"Assassin, we have an armed insurgent that has taken refuge in the northwest compound. Request fire support on target. Over."
"Hitman 2-1, this is Assassin. We're waiting to be cleared hot. Stand-by. Over."

The bunkered down insurgent fires his AK through the window at the Marine grenadier who has run up to join the rifleman behind the rocks. "F*ck this sh!t". The veteran grenadier launches a Forty Mike-Mike at the building. The grenade is slightly off its mark and hits the southeast corner of the building. The blast takes out the unconscious Taliban rifleman and further injures the dicker, who is now unconscious.

Before he was knocked unconscious, the dicker had successfully made one more call for support. Arriving from the east was a suicide bomber. He was making a b-line for the Marine gunner who was readying to clear compound 2. A snap fire by the fire team leader dropped the insurgent, who fortunately was not armed with a dead man's switch.

"Hitman, this is Hitman 2-1 Actual. Compounds cleared. Over."
"Hitman 2-1, bring it home. Copy?"
"Solid copy, Hitman. 2-1 Actual, out."

All in a day's work.