A wordy post that has been a
week month in gestation for various reasons, looking at Frost grave and why its a bit of a different beast to other war games.
I’ve played with JP, Jim, Richard and Alan, so have seen some different play styles. JP and I have been through all the scenarios in the main rule book, and JP has done some of the Dark Alchemy scenarios. I’ve also bought the Arcane Locations supplement have Into the Breeding Pits and Thaw of the Liche Lord. So that’s a lot of scenarios and supplementary material.
So with a good dozen or more games under the belt, more like 20, I’ve had some time going up the learning curve, and I’ve spent time on the LAF Frostgrave forum.
I’ve really enjoyed the game, more so than my previous preference Mordheim which was great.
I think it boils down to a few points, that I’ve worked on for the last week:
- breaking out your old lead
- campaigns and character development
Bring out your lead
In the same theme as the Oldhammer community, the wider range of troop types in Frostgrave allows me to field. So the old Clerics, Rangers, and Thieves get dragged out. They’re not suitable for straight up war game skirmishes, as they aren’t heavily armoured or armed. But they look the part as ragged minions in Frostgrave, even more so than they do for Mordheim.
Obviously, Wizards are much much more important, and you get two of them, so all of a sudden it isn’t just about a grey bearded chap, you need a character figure as the centrepiece of your war band, and then a younger side kick to look the part.
It’s also forced me to paint up and base the treasure chests that have been knocking around for decades, and also some warp stone shards for Mordheim.
So all the figures I bought three decades ago, are now about to be painted and played with finally !
There are ten schools of magic each with eight spells in the core rulebook, so plenty of magic to get your teeth stuck into. This gives you plenty of options as to how you want to play your “character” and war band.
On top of that, Wizards are also able to bump up their stats quite a lot.
As if that wasn’t enough, you can get lots of magic items, again far more than Mordheim, and they can really make a difference to the two points I’ve made above.
So you get a lot more bang for your buck in terms of characters, even your Apprentice can be developed in different ways if you’re clever.
Ok, so that’s the Wizards, and one of the criticisms of frost grave was that there was no progression for any of the troops.
Well the Sellsword supplement changes that. the Captain is a character in their own right, and have unique skills and can carry their own items making them a potent force to support and augment your wizard.
There are ten scenarios in the main rulebook beyond the basic head to head option, which is a darn sight more than Mordheim. It is true that you need more special scenery pieces than Mordheim, but they’re more fun and leave you with scenery to be re-used later.
As the scenarios are more specialised, you can easily graft on a couple of the Mordheim scenarios as well.
The supplements also come with even fresher ideas and linked mini-campaigns which leads me on to…
Campaigns & Character Development
Yes, campaigns, more than just a linked sis of scenarios when the same war bands butt heads time and again, a narrative structure. The supplements do this much better than the Mordheim ones did (sorry, I really doo like Mordheim, but its lack of structure is showing its age).
This also gives the Characters (Wizard, Apprentice & Captain) time to develop both the usual stats increases but also anticipate and predict their opponents activities. So for example Lady Catherine now has a few scrolls to deal with abominations that JP’s Wizard Thaddeus (who is EVIL and must be destroyed) conjures up – Imps – Demons – undead.
The larger range of magic, and magic times also helps with this, allowing players to read about certain items but never actually find the blinkin’ things !
A simple example, is my buffed up Captain, who Thaddeus’ lot won’t go near in a hurry because they are bitter about how he dealt with them last couple of times.
And as an act of supreme RPGing-ness (is that a word ?) I intend to ditch and replace with an entirely new and unbuffed Captain BECAUSE I HAVE PAINTED A NEW MINIATURE that better fits with the war band.
So anyway those are my thoughts, and I look forward to playing some more games in the new year !
Newly enthused for 2017.