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!

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