Despoiling through the snow: Frostgrave

Of the many games which has taken off in the past few years, Frostgrave seems to be the one that a lot of people have gotten into over a short period of time (it’s still less than two years old, released July 2015). I’m sure there are many reasons for this, and though a lot of people have scoffed at the miniatures, saying they’re like something from a decade ago, one thing is for certain, it hit the ground running, and appears to be still going great guns. This is excellent for me, because I love it.

I first heard of Frostgrave from my pal, Phil, and his brief overview of it got me interested straight away (cheers Phil!). A thousand years ago, the city of Felstad was thriving with the best magic users of the world and riches beyond measure. When one such magic user cocked something up, the whole city was frozen and cut off from the outside world.

Nowadays, its started to thaw out, and wizards, looters, barbarians and cultists are all drawn to it in search of fortune, glory, and of course, the all important loot.

In the game itself, players take control of a wizard and their warband to head into the ruins of Felstad to see what they can loot. Below are two wizards and apprentices, and two of their war band. The warband miniatures are from the plastic box of ‘Soldiers’ you can pick up for the game and are made up in such a way that you can customise them with ease – I’m currently building a Barbarian warband which I’ll be posting about over the next couple of weeks. [Batbarian Warband now included]

The rule system is quick and easy to pick up, and it is great fun to play, either as solitary games, or as part of a larger campaign. While the rest of the warband don’t advance with experience, your wizard and apprentice will gain experience and improve as the campaign progresses, learning new spells, gaining magical items and bragging rights. As campaigns progress, you can build up your warband and add extra miniatures with special rules to aid your quest for treasure and powerful artefacts, such as the bard, templar and pack mule:

Bard, templar, pack mule

Each scenario has an objective of some sort, as well as certain number of loot counters (pictured below) that players can pick up during play. For each token your warband has at the end of the game, you get a role on the treasure table and can get gold or magical items. The gold you can spend on more soldiers for your warband, weapons, potions or magical items, and the treasure you can kit out your warband, or flog for gold.Frostgrave-Treasure-TokensAs well as giving you prizes at the end of the game, picking up treasure can also give you some nasty surprises, and you have to roll to see if any wandering monsters stroll onto the game table to cause indiscriminate mayhem. Nothing causes a brown trouser moment more than innocently picking up treasure and finding a vampire standing behind you sharpening it’s teeth.

The picture below shows some of the miniatures I use. As well as the standard Frostgrave miniatures, I also have some from Mantic Games (skeletons, zombies and ghouls – good miniatures, and a decent price to boot) and Heresy Miniatures (Greater Demon).

Frostgrave-CreaturesWith each of the Frostgrave expansions, North Star have released a box of plastics as well as a variety of metal miniatures to expand your games or to make new war bands. If you’re interested in the game, they usually run a Nickstarter, which is similar to Kickstarter, but through them instead. I’ve picked up a lot of Frostgrave stuff in this way.

The plastics come with four of the same sprue for a total of 20 miniatures, with more than enough parts to make them all individuals. Below are front and back images of the sprues available:

They come with plastic bases for each that you can decorate as you choose, but there are many bases available if you don’t want to use them. I’ve used a lot of Renedra paved bases (these ones) as they are great for Frostgrave, and pretty cheap too. The bases below are the standard ones, and you can see them painted up on most of the miniatures shown in this post.

Basic bases

One of the great things I like about this game is the variety of miniatures you can use, and the relative cheapness for a warband. For around £32.00 you’d be able to buy enough for two warbands, and after that it’s up to you where you go. If you already have miniatures you can use, there’s nothing stopping you from using them, and the Official Frostgrave group on Facebook regularly has people’s homemade warbands being posted up – as well as some outstanding terrain. Below you have two miniatures I use as captains, from Heresy on the left and Hasselfree on the right. As the game is so open, there are loads of companies out there you can pick up miniatures from.Heresy-miniatures-and-hasslefree-miniatures

If you’re interested in fantasy skirmish games, I’d recommend giving it a go. Its quick, fun, and can has great campaign options. Currently there’s a new version of Frostgrave called Ghost Archipelago, which is more jungle/tropical/island based. The rules are just as good as the first, and there’s sailors and pirates too, so what’s not to love?

Thanks for reading.

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