Monday, August 17, 2015

Frostgrave: First Game

After much anticipation, and many hours painting and assembling terrain, Joseph and I finally played Frostgrave for the first time on Saturday.  It did not disappoint.  We played the basic scenario (6 treasure counters, winner is the player who carries away the most treasure). 

I fielded my Elementalist warband.  The wizard Aethelstan and apprentice Eomund are finished, but the soldiers are still only base-coated, and need some highlighting and shading.  The soldiers are a mix of three Archers, and three Infantrymen. This was not an optimal starting warband for Frostgrave, but a small, relatively homogenous force of professional troops fits the concept I have for my warband, which I'll explain in another post.   Also, Joseph kindly agreed to a house rule whereby Infantrymen can optionally be equipped with hand weapon & shield in lieu of the standard two-handed weapon.

Joseph brought his Necromancer and apprentice.  They were supported by a mix of Viking and medieval figures from his SAGA warbands, namely a tracker, archer, thief, two soldiers, and two thugs.

We rolled out-of-game spells before starting, which resulted in Joseph picking up a Snow Leopard animal companion to add to his warband, while my wizard, Aethelstan, conjured up a Familiar.  We then each placed three treasure tokens, chose sides, and set up.

Here's the table at the start.  The board itself is Secret Weapon's Forgotten City terrain.  The buildings are a mix of Battlefield in a Box, Reaper Bones, Infinite Crypt, and a few other odds & ends, including an aquarium ornament. 

From the Necromancer's side.  The Necromancer and some minions are just out of sight on the right.  The Necromancer's apprentice and other minions are on the left.

Aethelstan and three of his troops moved up on the right.  Two of the treasure tokens can be seen on top of the buildings to either side.  The evil apprentice cast Bone Dart at the lead soldier, but luckily missed his target.

A turn later.  One of my archers took up a covered firing position on the right, with a treasure near at hand.  My three Infantrymen converged on the ruined tower in the center, and two men began scaling the partially ruined stairs to recover a magic staff and grimoire at the top.  Aethelstan fell back to the ruined terrace, which he would use for the rest of the game as a vantage point from which to launch spells.  My apprentice, Eomund, moved up on the left, and successfully cast Fleet Feet on one of the soldiers climbing the stairs.  In the center and on the terrace, two archers took hasty shots one of Joseph's minions, but both missed.

Aethelstan, from the vantage point of the terrace, drew a bead on the apprentice Necromancer, who was attempting to cross the open ground to reach my Archer in the tall corner ruin.  Chanting arcane words of power, balefire leapt from Aethelstan's outstretched hand, striking down the dark apprentice (Aethelstan successfully case Elemental Bolt, and rolled a 20...).  Aethelstan's familiar, a sinister little figure in dark robes, nodded approvingly.

Meanwhile, Jacob's snow leopard darted forward on the left, and in a single long leap, jumped over a low line of fallen stones, straight into contact with Apprentice Eomund.  Eomund drove the snarling beast away, and fell back to the left-hand edge of the board.   Eomund then cast Elemental Shield on himself, anticipating he would not escape easily from the swifter beast.

Sure enough, the Leopard charged again in the next turn.  We both rolled high, and tied, resulting in damage to both the Snow Leopard and Eomund--but most of his damage was absorbed by the Elemental Shield.

The Necromancer cast Leap on one of her minions, catapulting an enemy soldier directly behind poor Eomund.

Evading arrow shots from Joseph's tracker, two of my soldiers successfully claimed the ruined tower, retrieving the grimoire and staff.  Joseph's Necromancer and tracker moved up to intercept them.  One went down in a hail of Bone Darts and arrows, dropping the staff.  My third soldier scooped up a pile of coins in front of the terrace, and escaped off the board.

Rather than wait to face two foes at once, Eomund then attacked the Snow Leopard...and struck it down.  Alas, the enemy soldier then surprised him from behind, knocking the valiant apprentice senseless. 

At it happened a wandering skeleton then attacked the soldier, but after fencing for a turn, he easily defeated this minor undead.

Far off on the right, Joseph's thug scaled the corner ruin, dodging a couple arrows from my Archer, and then easily defeating the hapless man.  The thug then seized the magic potion treasure and escaped off-board.

While this was going on, Joseph's thief had recovered a magic ring, and his archer found a treasure chest.  Both treasures were spirited off-board, Aethelstan being powerless to stop them.  Aethelstan did manage to blast a soldier with Elemental Bolt though.

My Archer at the base of the terrace scooped up the dropped staff, and began to leg it.

Joseph's Necromancer, tracker, and a soldier, all converged on the base of the terrace, hoping to seize the staff.

However, it was not to be.  Aethelstan blasted the Necromancer with yet another Elemental Bolt and the Archer on the terrace shot down the charging soldier, allowing my two treasure carriers to escape with the grimoire and staff, ending the game with a 3-3 tie.

Post-game, we learned that Eomund had in fact killed the poor Snow Leopard.  Both sides had one soldier wounded, meaning each would miss the next game.  We finally rolled for injuries for the spell casters.  Both apprentices made full recoveries.  Joseph rolled for his Necromancer . . . a "2"!  The evil sorceress had been slain by balefire!  I then told Joseph to re-roll, and the Necromancer made a full recovery.

Aethelstan gained three levels, and the Necromancer advanced to level 2.  We both picked up 200+ gold, and an assortment of grimoires.  I still haven't decided how to spend my new loot, but will do so before the next game.

We both really enjoyed this first game of Frostgrave.  The rules were so simple, we were able to play with only minimal looks at the rulebook, even for a first game.  I like the combat system, which adjudicates who is hit, whether armor saves the target, and the amount of damage, all in a single opposed die roll.  It is very clever, and I think will make this game go very quickly once we've gotten a little more practice with it.