04 August 2016

Review enjoy/hate #9 Frostgrave - miniatures in general too

After three games of Frosty Gravy I think I can comment on my experiences and how the system works. First some background from me & miniatures in general and then about my experiences with this new game.


I collected Warhammer Fantasy Battle figures, Warhammer 40k and Lord of the Rings figures in the past. I also received a large number from my two brothers, especially my eldest brother who still collects and models them to an extent. Most of these hand me downs were for a particular board game called battle masters, as well as a number from old board games and whatnot. I collected a few thousand points worth of Space Marines for my sins, mostly between 2001-2006 or thereabouts. I tried to collect a Skaven army for Warhammer Fantasy but never got past the prices I had one regiment of basic rats and the Codex. I had quite a number of Lord of the Rings figures thanks to the magazine and I also bought a few Haradrim boxes which were cheap at the time. Usually I just bought whatever minis I wanted in the end, usually during school lunch time I'd grab a cheap booster pack of interesting figures, its how I ended up with an Eldar Avatar, Giants, Beastmen and a range of others.


Mostly Warhammer 40k, and even that only a dozen times or so. I also played a few of the Lord of the Rings scenarios provided in the collectible magazine, which is also how I got most of my miniatures in that. Never played WFB but would have liked to have run either a really colourful Chaos army or a really boring but sturdy musket heavy Dwarf or Imperial force. Anything that let me use old muskets and muzzle loaded cannons.


You get a Wizard for free then an Apprentice (another, weaker spellcaster) for 200 gold, a Captain if you like for 100 gold and an assortment of others for your Warband. I usually buy Thugs, Thieves and Warhounds as they are all cheap and expendable. I also enjoy Archers, and had a Crossbowman to test one out. Of all the most expensive soldiers I bought a Marksman and he proved quite able at range and close up, probably the most versatile troop just slower. Ranged combat is brutal and at 24'' cover is vital, thankfully Frostgrave is so cluttered with terrain. Close combat is also vicious and generally favours numbers, though anything can happen.

Spells are vital in FG, allowing a range of different effects of you to use. You can summon zombies/constructs/animals/demons to aid in various roles, cast offensive spells to harm your opponents, cast buffs or healing spells and various other spells to control territory, change terrain, move around etc.

By itself, a good fun miniatures game with room for roleplay and customisation. Even better as a longer running campaign with fun emphasised and plenty of scope for tactics and trying new things and bringing different units to the table.

Game #1 

This was full of carnage - nine treasures I think to grab and not that much terrain, a good bit but not enough for FG. I had loads of cover and even climbed a tower with one of my archers and my Wizard leaped up there at one point. Y and Dave never played a miniatures game before but had enough gaming knowledge to fall back on that they were moving around and dealing damage straight away. We all shied away from each other and I managed to grab my three treasures easily enough, while Y got four I think and piled them up near her spawn area but kept going back in for more. Her forces were ultimately routed and some of her units carried a treasure or two off but left at least two up for grabs. Myself and Dave experienced the might of ranged attacks and my Warhounds succeeded in smashing into the side of him but it was messy and my Wizard teleported in only to be taken out. In the end I managed to get the most treasure out but suffered enough to realise FG is brutal at range or close up. This was also mainly just a demo so none of my Wizard's experience carried on - but that's OK, one of the things I loved about playing 1980's games like Space Hulk and 1990 Space Crusade is they at least assumed you'd continue on and play more scenarios.

Game #2

Probably the least brutal of the three games, it was with Ger and Donal and we started fresh with new wizards and warbands. We all had captains and apprentices of course. I elected to be an Elementalist this time, Donal went Necromancy and Ger was Summoning I think. Ger had little experience with miniatures but plenty with gaming at this point and was eager to learn and play and has the exact right mindset for this. Donal has plenty of experience across the field.

My Warhound pack plus Thief swung right to attack Donal but got caught up in all the terrain and he was being very cautious so I was perhaps too cautious too against him. My Wizard, Apprentice and Captain all had teams with them - Wizard and Apprentice just get XP and Treasure, while the Captain and the two Archers and Crossbow would be our base of fire and just kills anything that moved and provide cover etc etc. My two magical teams came up against elements of Ger's forces and the chaos in the middle but managed to lift our three treasures successfully. The Captain and his Archers were extremely effective, given that there was a lot of open space in the middle they really controlled it for the large part. Donal and Ger clashed a lot on their side of the table so I was lucky in a sense this time around.

Above is a (terrible) pic of second game. Note my Wizard and his two ranged helpers on the mosque thing on left, Wizard is third from left. My Captain is in the middle and to the right, in cover with a bow. A zombie has gone around the corner to get a treasure. That's my Apprentice team on the right, gathering another treasure. My Warhounds and Thief had already swept around the right side of the table, off camera. Ger's forces on the top left and Donal's peek out near the top and top right. Post game I got an Inn because I mistakenly thought I would get 13 slots for units, not 11 as it really allows. I would still probably buy it again though. I was lucky with experience from chests and spells cast and went to level 3 I think. I also bought a kennel for another Warhound and a Marksman for next time, all while still having 200+ gold left.

Game #3

I was mistaken this time starting off - 11 units total with Inn not 13, so I fielded 11 units but my magic users failed to create two zombies at the start. Poor placement meant my Apprentice was shot by one of Ger's archers at the start and it was a critical, putting him out of the game on the first turn. This was a huge mistake on my part and I really suffered in magical capability. My Wizard failed to cast any spells and was killed by one of the skeletons on the board by mid game, which was a disaster. I immediately began to downscale my operations, aiming for two of the central special treasures and the one treasure next to my spawn area.

Donal started in heavy cover and emerged strong, hitting myself and Ger very hard while he didn't seem to struggle against us but the randomly spawning skeletons seemed to favour him for some reason and were a major irritant. Ger was a strong presence across the field last time but this time he struggled a bit more but still grabbed his treasure and one major treasure. I finally got to send a pack of Warhounds around and crashed into Ger, and the wildly varying nature of the d20 meant that his Captain and a number of other units were killed in close combat - my WH were wiped out but at 10 gold each they were more than worth it. I could have shot at Ger's last unit with the chest as he was about to leave but then it would have certainly went to Donal so I let it go, and even then he had to evade Donal's Wizard shooting at him as he just got off the board.

Myself and Donal were probably most extensively fighting each other, our ranged units doing some horrific damage to both sides. It soon became clear that with Ger mostly wiped out and clearing the board first with two different treasures the end was near for me, with Donal still having most of his forces. My Captain and Marksman held their ground, with a mundane treasure near them. My Thief managed to get one major treasure off the board eventually and I nearly got another one with my Thug but a skeleton stopped that. Donal was soon surrounding my last three guys and had more troops on the way; I considered just trying to walk off board but my last three guys were rapidly wiped out and victory went to Donal.

Donal went up to level 9, Ger was somewhere behind that but my Wizard rolled a 1 on his recovery roll, killing him and ending my warband. Damn, but it was OK as I got to choose a new Wizard, Apprentice and Captain as well as the Warband. I am currently reading up on spells and going to come back as strong as I can. I'll definitely start with a light, numerous warband for my first return game but hopefully I can upgrade to new and interesting units later.

That last scenario was a bloodbath, with active NPCs randomly attacking their nearest target anyone was fair game. The d20 is good for this, it is distinctive yet it can be fickle. Most units can take a hit or two before going down but that's all, there isn't often a case of one unit taking several hits. I will definitely consider taking spells that control the terrain and battlefield more, as well as making sure to get some help carrying treasures (Zombie various other summons), outnumbering the foe and generally good spells like Leap, Heal etc.

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