Frostgrave in winter: establishing the campaign

FrostgraveSo after a small local gaming event (Alleycon 2016) folks I played with were keen to get a short campaign running. Nothing major, just 5 or so games to see how a longer, continuous game with wizard advancement would work for us. So much of the game is geared to having out-of-game spells, which have a role more in maintaining and supporting your warband over raw power on the table. I am eager to see how these type of spells impact the larger game, if you will.

As much as I enjoy Frostgrave and appreciate the approach of a fast and loose wargame, I felt we needed some better ground rules. There is some stuff open to abuse and I’ve got a crafty gaming group. If they see an advantage that they can game, they’ll pounce on it. So I thought it better to try and lay a groundwork for the campaign that we’d all agree with.

Modified campaign rules – Frostgrave seems to have a Mordheim problem with warband advancement. After a few losses, you are likely going to fall behind and never catch up as the rich just get richer. So I worked with some community stuff out there and whipped up a version we’ll be using for our game. One particular thing I like about the rules people have thrown together is that the campaign management actions are limited. You can’t buy just anything and you have to choose carefully how you spend your time preparing for the next battle. I dig that.

There are a couple of changes I made to my older version of the campaign rules, one was the game length. Now instead of likely 5 turns there is a 50% chance of having a turn 6. After that there is a 10% chance of the game getting further turns. I like this as there is certainly a time limit and you have to push to get things done, but if you need to squeeze out another turn of movement, you have a decent chance of getting one.

Rules for placing treasure – Some campaign changes revolve around rules for placing treasure. First off placing treasure can be abused. Models carrying treasure can exit any board edge and the official rules state you can place treasure at least 9″ from your table edge. To curb any abuse plopping treasure a couple of inches from the side edge, treasure also must be at least 6″ from a neutral table edge. This means that players are going to need at least 2 turns to get treasure off the table. Another change is that at least one treasure out of the three must be 12″ from the player’s table edge.

Choosing sides for deployment – A last change to ensure a more fair game is that players both set up the terrain and treasure first, then roll to determine deployment zones. Both roll off and the player that rolled the highest can decide to either go first, or decide which table edge they want to deploy from. So this makes for a fun choice. They can choose to get the initiative on the first turn, or instead opt for the side that they think gives them the best terrain layout. And since no one knows if what option is available, they will try to set up terrain and treasure so that no one has a distinct advantage (unless they want to gamble they can win the first roll and select where to deploy).

Winning the campaign – This likely isn’t a perfect system but we are working along keeping a running advancement total. This is determined by the sell value of treasure, gold crowns, and XP of the wizard, with base improvements (as per listed costs) also being added in. The player with the most advancement points wins. So it’s all about cash and XP basically. The tough choice was to include improving the warband, but I decided against it. Folks can hoard their cash if they want to, as spending crowns to get soldiers won’t help their advancement total. But having more bodies means you can likely get treasure off the board, so in a roundabout way, the advancement points lost (as spend gold) buying a thief likely pays in spades if you get more treasure during a game because of the follower. We’ll see how that works out.

Select scenarios – Mostly this is due to available terrain, but I also wanted us to have the same number and types of scenarios we would all play. The first and last games would be regular battles without any special rules or terrain. The three games in the middle of the campaign would be three specific scenarios that could be played in any order. The Living Museum, the Well of Dreams and Sorrows, and the Complex Temple were selected as they don’t require much of a special table layout (like the Library or Silent Tower) and something we could work with given our available models.

I’m looking forward to our winter campaign. I am hoping to get some battle reports written up but likely they will be simple recaps. I usually get so wrapped up while gaming I forget to take pictures. However I hope this will end up being a fun little series of posts to put up and document how my warband fares through the campaign.