I was recently able to try out a game Frostgrave at one of the local gaming stores. I have had my eye on this one for a while thanks to Wee Blokes and Battleshed Diaries but I'd never had a chance to play so I was excited to see what the hubbub was about.
Let me tell you its worthy of the praise that its received.
The basic game system is very straightforward, so much so that I was able to pick up on all the basics after skimming through the rulebook for about half an hour. Once Chad (the man responsible for organizing this particular campaign) had arrived, he told me to go ahead an put together a warband, broke out a couple of boxes of Dungeons and Dragons prepaints and less than another half an hour I was ready to roll.
For our scenario Chad decided to keep things pretty simple so it was just basically a smash, grab, and go; grab some treasure, smash anyone that gets in the way, get off the board as quick as possible.
To give you some idea how things played out, the table we were playing on was absolutely packed with terrain and the four of us each deployed on our own table edges. For this game there were four of us playing; two running level 0 wizards (Matt and myself), John running a level 7 necromancer and Chad running a level 8 soothsayer. I had no idea what this meant at the time but with my background in rpgs it sounded like us newbies were going to get ripped apart. Wow was I wrong!
I didn't take any pictures but the basic run down was that John's level 7 wizards died in the very first turn when he became a pincushion thanks to Matt's marksmen (archers can be quite deadly in this game, especially when you are fielding them as a group). This doesn't remove the player from the game (no caster kills here folks!) but it does put you at a pretty hefty disadvantage. Even so John was able to hold his own especially since his apprentice was able to tie up Chad's soldiers with a repeated casting of summon imp. You wouldn't think this would be a big deal and normally it wouldn't be but the dice rolls for the imp attacks were ridiculous!
Meanwhile, Chad was busy doing his own thing and gathering up treasures when he decided to push his wizard to death to get one of his spells off. It was in the last half of the game that this happened so it wasn't too big a deal... until one of my archers managed to put an arrow in his apprentice and take him out too.
By this point the game was wrapping up and our warbands pulled back off the table to see just what loot they had managed to find, not to mention see if the dead were really dead. For every soldier, wizard, and apprentice that has "died" you make a die roll to see what really happened to them. There's a good chance that the soldiers are just dead or injured but the wizard and apprentice are made of sturdier stuff (yes, I even typed that with a straight face...). For these two there are more detailed injury tables which could hinder some of you abilities while still leaving you alive for the campaign... unless you are Chad of course. With not one roll but two consecutive rolls of 1 on a d20 both his wizard and apprentice died, in the process also costing him all the magical gear they had collected so far. Can you say ouch?
Flush from my victory (which in this case means not dying and reaching level 1), I headed home and started digging through my Bones Kickstarter minis to see what I could do to really make my little band of miscreants my own.
Needless to say I think this game is definitely worth looking into even if you aren't really a miniature gamer. In our game only John was actually fielding his own painted minis while the rest of us were just using random prepaints. There are no set races in the basic rules so you can pretty much just put whatever you can get your hands on onto the table and play. On top of that you are limited to a maximum of ten in the warband including your wizard and apprentice so even if you decide to field actual painted minis you are looking at a very reasonable investment in time and money.
Now to get to painting so I have my own warband ready to go by our next game. Until next time....