FrostFayre 2017 & Aquarium Mats

Recovering from running FrostFayre 2017, seven of us played all day 10am-6pm.

Frantic last minute preparations in the village hall, as tables were set up, figures chosen and last minute changes to rosters were made.

Table 1-only a single car’s worth (and not even full) worth of scenery enabled me to set this one up.

And Table 2.

I was Umpire for the first set of games, and so today am rather tired as I was also the caterer, feeding the 5,000 with bread and fishes, ok, 6 of us with pizzas !

Now wading through the 70+ photos Louis took.

On my return last night, my parents provided a belated Xmas present that had been held up:-

Yup, some mates of aquarium plants. They come on plastic grids and can be popped off, or cut up in to useful “organic” shapes.

This one as you can see is about 25-35mm high, ideal for jungle terrain for Ghost Archipelago.

My parents had got me three of these mats as a bundle off of Amazon after all of us had scoured pet shops and garden centres only to be told that staff knew what we wanted but could not order them, nor could they say when they would be next in stock as it was up to suppliers.

Once again, the local shops lose out. 😦

Watch out for this stuff being carved up and added to bases shortly.

GA: The Cow Incident

In late November my mother announced that unlike the previous 5 years, we would be exchanging presents with my Aunt and Uncle. So I had to revisit my Xmas list and dream up some more low value items the family could buy.

So I hit e-bay for some cheap scenery for Ghost Archipelago.

Of course, the photos are quite small, so I failed to spot the white blob on this item that I received yesterday.

Yes, a cow and calf, on an aquarium ornament. (AKA wargaming scenery piece)

For more information on small cows:

Onwards…

Obviously meant as a corner ornament, the back side (!) had no static grass.

So…

…the cow was sawn off with a small hacksaw I’d bought before Xmas, and replaced with a fern (GW Barbed bracken piece).

Some more static grass.

And some more static grass for the back side.

Arachnophobia, Ghost Archipelago style (and a DOH! moment)

Whilst prepping for FrostFayre 2017, I am clearing up some items in the to do pile. This time the second box of giant spiders I found.

Painted up for Ghost Archipelago.

I added a few pieces of barbed bracken for good measure.

Base don this critter’s markings.

So far so good, I started on a third batch of skeletons…

DOH !

yes, I’d superglued the torso on to the legs the wrong way round.

The perils of doing models late at night after a few too many glasses of vino collapso.

GA: Thoughts

Right well I had the first game and then followed it up with the after game rolls.

Reading through the potential outcomes was very interesting. If you lose your specialists, your Warden or Heritor, a trip to the Mainland is required to replace them. If you want to sell stuff, ditto.

But that’ll cost you 200GC straight off. So you are going to be saving up for that trip, and you’ll have to have even more money/items for when you get there.

Players of frost grave will think so what ? I mean the last couple of FG games I got nearly 200GC easily (one was even 800GC)…which brings me on to the treasures in GA…

There’s only five treasure counters in the standard GA game. One less than FG. One has to be placed centrally, which overcomes one complaint I have heard about FG and players being a bit too beardy.

But what you get is a step down from FG. So my Heritor Vicky, got a grand total of 60GC from her 3 treasures, and the opponent 105GC.

This means that going to the Mainland is going to be some time – probably every 5 games or so.

During that time accidents happen !

Sio you’re going to have to be very careful about using your crew as “meat shields” as the specialists won’t be easily replaceable. Ditto kitting out your crew as you won’t be able to get the fun stuff often.

Similarly, as the ship can only be upgraded back at the Mainland !

Another series of challenges that are very different and makes GA a very different beast to FG.

GA: First Game

As commented in my previous post, playing a game is much better than reading the book.

So I sat down and did the second war band randomly rolling the Heritor’s abilities. By happenstance, the abilities meshed well (Fling; Crushing Blow; Steelheart; and Deathstrike) and it was obvious he was a combat specialist and I chose a model accordingly.

L-R: Heritor; Warden; Archer; Crossbowman; Freebooter; Tombrobber; and 2 Crewmen.

Warning, here follows more pictures of lots of naked land and plastic models on a poorly presented table, warmers of a nervous disposition should sit down and or avert their eyes.

So with two war bands written up, I went for a simple head to head.

I’ll keep this brief as it was a solo effort, and the models/scenery aren’t all that good, but it’ll give the reader an idea of what went on.

With only 8 models in the war band, set up becomes a bit more tactical. If you want the central treasure which gives the most XP, you have to be careful. If you want sheer numbers of treasure, that’s a different tactic.

NB: As per previous updated post, you can have another couple of crew ! See 20.

Ghost Archipelago also is the haunt of Pinja Numas ! (Similar to Ninja Pumas, only smaller, and more furry)

Now I know why the GA Accessory Pack includes that dice.
I used my Heritor’s “Spell Shield” ability in turn one.

Earth wave, used by my “opponent” to shift a treasure closer to their forces, similar to telekinesis but not as good. As others have comment, whilst the casting value of spells is lower in GA, so are the effects.

Brambles – similar to Wall or Fog.
As cast by my Vine Warden.

Random encounters on 12+…oops here’s a Stalker Saurian…

Top of the world Ma !
The opposing Heritor gets to the top and claims the treasure, at the same time as my Savage does on the other pile of rocks.

And is joined by “my” Heritor, Vicky, who trashes the enemy Mercenary.

End of the game – I had 3 treasures including the central treasure, and the opponent had two.

One model down and needing to roll on the recovery chart.

Lets start rolling on the after game XP and treasure charts as well…

What did I learn ?

To be cont’d…

GA: Creating a Warband (Updated)

I often find that reading a game rulebook doesn’t really bring out all the nuances of the game, and that actually playing the game is the best way of assessing it.

So rather than simply leaf through the book and dribble out some thoughts and pictures of pages that have probably been shown elsewhere (and even on you tube), I decided to go ahead and make up some war bands using the Ghost Archipelago rules.

Note – there is NAKED lead, plastic and resin in these photos, so be warned.

So I’d unpacked the pile of lead, and started snipping at the plastic kit. Here’s the war band, all 8 of them. (L-R) Heritor, Warden, Savage, Archer, Guide, herbalist and two (plastic) crewmen.

Reading the book there are some notable differences from frost grave. Firstly, you have a maximum of 8 in your war band, not ten. You can increase this number just as you can in Frostgrave, by upgrading your ship’s capacity, but the war bands will nearly always be smaller.

Heritors – having never played the game this is a stab in the dark. You can randomly roll for them, but I decided not to for the first war band. Throughout the book, there is artwork of statuesque female red heads. As a redhead, I decided to base my character on this artwork and one of my ex-gf, which helped me determine her abilities. So they were mostly based around intimidation: Steelheart and Burning Eyes popped out at me !

You never upset a red head.

Wardens – the spells are similar to but distinct from the Frostgrave spells, less of a stab in the dark (I”ll reserve that for my enemies)

Now one thing I noticed and I’ll discuss later, was lack of ranged firepower, so whilst I chose a Vine Warden (the equivalent of schools of magic) I ensured I chose a ranged offensive spell.

I also chose another female model for the Warden, once again there is a very balanced gender theme throughout the GA rulebook, and no they’re fully clothed with no chain mail bikinis. The figures produced reflect the artwork in many ways.

The Crew. Well you basically only have 6, and as far as I can see, when recruiting the first set of crew you have a freehand without any gold crowns to spend.

Update: A pointed out in the comments, you can have up to 8 crew, so the war band can comprise of Heritor, Warden, 4 Specialists, AND 4 crew.

So I chose a Savage for the sheer grunt power (think Barbarian), an Archer, and a Guide both of whom have a bow. The later two are again females !. Then the fourth Specialist (the max you can have) was a herbalist. Chosen because he has three equipment slots, and looking at the rules this might prove useful in the short term. Once again a small change from frost grave means that the Heritor only has 4 items slots, and the warden only 3.

Then I took two ordinary crew, and equipped them with hand weapons and shields. This might prove a mistake we shall see. The one thing I did note was that ordinary crew cannot have any ranged weapons – so no bows of X-bows !

Building the war band took longer than a frost grave war band, because the Heritor and Wardens have different abilities/spells, plus there is a bit more balancing you need to think about.

Probably spending time tinkering with my spreadsheet also took more time so I may be more pessimistic about times.

For the test run game I will randomly determine the Heritors abilities just to test that out too..

As you can see I also spent time on Sunday and Monday visiting pet shops for some scenery !