Category: 28mm

Review: GoA Strike on Kar’A Nine

Warlord Games a while back released a starter box set for Beyond the Gates of Antares. It’s is a smaller set with fewer models and designed more to be an introductory box set. Strike on Kar’A Nine is focused on Concord and Algoryn forces and provides a more ‘complete battle in the box’ compared to its other starter box.

First off I’ll commend the choices for armies within the box. Algoryn verses Concord is a better choice of introductory forces compared to the Ghar. The Ghar are cool. But they play completely different from just about every other faction. Even worse, new players will likely get stomped by them and their near impenetrable battle suits until opponents learn to play against their weaknesses (cough… net ammo… cough) and turn the tide, making Ghar difficult to play effectively. This faction just takes a bit more finesse to tune and play compared to other armies. As an introduction to the universe, Concord/Algoryn troops are better matched.

I won’t spend much time covering the minis in the set. You can likely dig around and find that info elsewhere. You get 10 Concord troopers and 15 Algoryn with a full spread of drones (plus 2 light drone platforms for the Concord). The figures are plastic and are nice sprues with a full range of options for weapons and gear. I’m really happy to see the Algoryn get plastic for rank and file minis. It certainly keeps the cost down when building up a force and they’re nice minis.

Aside from the minis you get a set of templates, pin markers, a full set of dice, including a few special order dice (which I’ll use for distortion dice as I’ve got sets in other colors for Bolt Action). Included is also a paper playmat and cut out terrain. There are also a few printed rulers and a cardstock reference sheet. A decent battle-in-a-box spread of goodies to allow people to get cracking (once they assemble all their multipart figures of course). The battle mat also has a full art poster so you’ve got something to throw up on the wall if you’ve got your own battle mat.



Along with this are several books. A short booklet covering the modeling aspects for assembly and painting tips/color schemes, an A5 (pamphlet size) edition of the rules, and an introductory scenario booklet. The introduction scenarios break the rules up into short chunks. They offer a short narrative setup and give precise force lists for most of them. If the rule basics aren’t covered in the scenario write up, they recommend the players to read specific sections. The first few scenarios just use a handful of models and cover movement and shooting at the basics.

As how the 5 scenarios progress, more rules and larger forces keep increasing until the full range of models in the box are used. It’s a good way to get people exposed and learning the game. Instead of dumping a full rulebook at their feet along with a 20+ forces to paint and assemble, they can learn the game in bite sized bits of information.

The scenarios are really small, truncated engagements. The first scenario has only 3 models (each with their own order die) for one player, while the other players has 2 two-man squads. The rules cover just the movement and fire rules with one player only trying to get their Concord troops off the table.

The second scenario ups model count introducing ambush orders and squad drones. The Concord player is trying to get to the deployment area of Algoryns with destroyed squads offering points. The third scenario presents larger forces including support drones. This third fight adds pins and details the full complement of orders like Down and Rally. It’s a big fight, but bonus victory points are awarded for getting forces off the enemy table edge.

The fourth scenario is more of a narrative battle. The Concord is recovering a drone while Algroyns need to destroy it. This adds sprinting and assault rules. Lastly, the fifth scenario is an all out battle adding additional ammo types for leaders and their mico-x launchers. Each scenario is designed to build on the previous, just adding additional rules once some basics are out of the way. A pretty clever implementation to make the experience of learning the game a bit easier.

Now onto the rulebook. As mentioned it’s a softback small sized edition that is somewhat truncated. The book covers much of the rules including terrain (a full 4 and ½ pages). They do provide a short overview of each faction and a smattering of the universe background. The rules do not have army lists which is fine. Otherwise complete rules save one thing, no vehicles.

This omission for the rules kills the set for me. I can’t imagine the extra 4 pages and a bit of added art layout would be a deal breaker keeping the costs down. Honestly I feel it would leave a sour taste that you buy into the game, a touted rule book included being somewhat the carrot to entice your purchase, only to find out vehicle rules are missing. You have to buy the PDF or hardback edition to get the full set of rules. It’s a poor decision on what could have been a great product.

Otherwise Strike on Kar’A Nine is a solid set. You have base forces for creating two armies, where you could focus on one faction and still have a handful of models to teach the game. You have a smattering of paper cutouts and battlemats to provide a full experience to GoA, all of which is portable and leaves a small table footprint. It’s just marred by an incomplete rule book.

So I have to make a plea. Hey Warlord, do a right for your customers and release the vehicle rules as a free PDF. It’ll be a nice nod of thanks to new players that bought into Gates of Antares through the Strike on Kar’A Nine boxed set.

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Frostgrave in Summer: Final Excursion

After several delays and a short hiatus due to holidays, we finally wrapped up our campaign. For our seventh and final excursion, unlike my last game we’d be playing no special scenario. Just a basic run and grab with a small twist. Wandering creatures would enter the table on a 12+ instead of a regular 16+, increasing the likelihood something would muck up the battle.

I was facing a necromancer that had a pretty tough warband. We both got off our out of game spells allowing me to add an additional treasure using Reveal Secrets and my opponent getting a zombie to add to his warband strength. Despite the normal scenario, we decided to go all out with the terrain and add an unusual feature. The entire map would be bisected with a deep stream that was uncrossable save using a few key bridges. Fortunately the span of the stream was just long enough to jump at a full 6” sprint.

The layout made the battle unfold over the bridges. I’ve come to realize my AAR is just a general impression of the entire game with tons of details missing. As per usual I got caught up in the action and didn’t record many notes during the fight.

My opponent was flinging bone darts left and right which kept my spell casters trying to hide behind cover much of the initial part of the game. Both my opponent and myself got initial enemies flung far forward on the table using Leap and Push, respectively. I was able to get my barbarian forward on the right bridge, while my opponent got his infantrymen across the bridge to my left.

I managed to get most of the luck regarding wandering creatures though. Most came in on the right edge and on his side of the stream. That tied up his wizard and retinue, allowing me to be more aggressive with my soldiers. On my left, I had a healthy distance covered with Push and threw my infantryman into the fray, allowing my thief to sneak off with some treasure.

To my right I backed up my barbarian with a man-at-arms and my wizard. All the while my treasure hunter sneaked around the back, securing some treasure. Only to have a swarm of undead spawn and start to shamble towards him. To my left I had quickly gathered a pile of treasure near my deployment zone with one of my thieves.


One of his trackers got hit with Blinding Light, effectively neutralizing him. His other archer got harassed by a pack of rats. They weren’t much of a threat, but for several turns he was locked in melee and could not get any shots off. This gave me some breathing room to pepper his advancing soldiers with my archers. My bowmen didn’t take out any key soldiers but certainly put the hurt on wounding a few.

The undead to my left kept pursuing my treasure hunter. However he was able to use his superior movement rate and had just enough distance to get away. My archer positioned himself to be closer to the creatures and on the following turn they clambered up a ruin wall to go after him instead. This allowed my treasure hunter to sneak off with some loot.


Of course my cunning plan of controlling the bridges went to hell when my opponent starting using Telekinesis to drag treasure over to his side of the stream! I had not time to waste and got my soldiers stuck in. I figured I had to hit him hard near his wizard and threaten him with my soldiers to keep him from positioning unclaimed treasure out of my reach.

The right side became a bloodbath, where soldiers dropped from each warband. But I managed to come out on top. However, quite ominously my opponent halted me whenever I tried to remove one of his casualties. He calmly corrected my actions with a, ‘No. Don’t take him off the board. It’s important to mark where the bodies are.’ I realized then I’d likely be knee deep in freshly raised zombies shortly.

Fortunately a bit of luck came my way and I was able to snatch the initiative for a round. I skirted my wizard around to get his zombie soldier in sight and used my scroll of Control Undead. The shambling follower lagged behind so my opponent had used it as a bodyguard for his apprentice. Now it became a follower for my warband! It harassed his apprentice, getting into a round or two of combat. His apprentice would manage to win rounds but not hit high enough to inflict damage. So he’d push off and then spend most of the next turn moving trying to keep his distance. At this point in the campaign, losing an apprentice would have been a disaster.

Taking that cue on protecting your apprentice, I had mine scurry behind some cover and try to stay out of sight. Both my barbarian and man-at-arms crossed the bridge to my right. They cut down the soldier opponents, including the poor blind hunter that could not shake off the effects of Blinding Light.

My opponent gathered up his Necromancer and flung bone barbs at his attackers, felling my man-at-arms and impaling my barbarian so much so, he eventually wounded him. I still hurled my barbarian forward trying to get into melee with his wizard. However the crafty necromancer kept his distance throughout for the remainder of the game.

In the end my opponent has cast nearly twice the number of spells I did. Despite having several spells that only needed 7 or 8 to cast, I failed them miserably. I can’t complain though as the initial part of the battle I got much of the turn initiative and was able to keep the pressure on his warband. At the conclusion of the fight, I had most of my warband intact where my opponent had most of his felled. Because of his losses, he wasn’t able to effectively get the treasure off the table. He got 2 piles to my 4, and I even managed to be holding a 5th for a slight bonus of coin and xp (one of our better house rules I think).

This was the last battle of the campaign for me, and I could not have had a better one. All the chaps in my league are a ton of fun to play against. In fact to be blunt I can be the most competitive bugbear of the bunch. I don’t know how they put up with me sometimes. I had dug myself in a hole the first battle of the campaign and never managed to get myself out. In points based primarily on getting treasure, I was solidly in last place for the league.

The big question for us was will we do another. We were all full of piss and vinegar at the beginning of the campaign. However time and schedules got swamped, and our ‘Summer’ league turned into a spring one. The progression and several fights are fun, but realistically we can only get one game a month in. Originally we hoped to get about 2 games a month in which would have been perfect for a summer league. Seems 7 fights are just too long for our schedules.

My other complaint is the progression. If we compress our league I might consider proposing doubling the XP and tweaking getting new spells, or more out of game actions. Maybe even increase the starting budget to allow for more base improvements, just something to give a boost to the warband management portion of the league. We adopted a rule that you could freely buy spells from your school at the grimoire vendor, in addition to random offerings. Likely reducing the cost for in-school spells would also be an incentive to get additional spells.

Ghost Archipelago is in my mitts. I doubt I’ll get into that too heavily and likely never even play a game. But we might lift the campaign rules and treasure tables from it. Seems to curb the excessive swingy results that you get in Frostgrave some. Might have to play [with our campaign rules] a bit more. Regardless, it was a fun league. Maybe this year we’ll revisit the ruins of Frostgrave again for another campaign.

Frostgrave in Summer: Genie in a Bottle

I had the gaming scheduling gods show me favor and was able to sneak in another game over the past few weeks. To break up the typical magic schools I faced throughout the campaign, my opponent would be a chronomancer this time. We were nearing the end of the league and I decided I needed every moving body I could get on the table. I opted to give my wounded man-at-arms the boot and hire an infantryman and barbarian as replacements to casualties I received from my last game.

This battle would be a challenge. There was a 25% chance each treasure picked up might create a genie that would wreak havoc on the table before eventually wandering off. Not having any spells that would cause magic damage worried me. I did have a magic weapon though. I failed to notice Banish as a spell within my school tool. In retrospect after my last game, having a chance to destroy a demon outright would have been useful, especially as a genie is also considered one.

Nevertheless I pressed ahead. I was successful in casting Reveal Secrets and made it a point to ensure when I placed treasure that I’d get a chance to put a bonus pile close to my deployment zone. Other than that, I stuck by a standard with my setup. I had two groups with my wizard and apprentice each leading one with my archers ready to clamber up some terrain and provide covering fire.

This pretty much was a repeat from last time regarding documenting the game. I just got caught up in the action and didn’t keep stringent notes. But it turned into an unusual game. Both of us were able to quickly get forces towards the middle and scoop up piles close to us. My opponent being an chronomancer was rapid firing Fleet Feet, giving his slower troops some additional movement each turn.

Being a crafty opponent, he was able to cast Wizard’s Eye at a perfect spot. That allowed him to fire off spells from a great vantage point over most of the treasure. It worried me enough to keep my casters out of direct sight. I could have tried to dispelled it but needed those precious initial actions to cast Push and other spells on my own warband.

The wizard’s eye went to great effect, as his boosted quick moving troops were able to gather treasure and then be targets of Leap, vaulting them off towards the table edge. I got my forces forward quickly with Push, but was unable to hamper any of his troops effectively. I easily was able to cast Blinding Light several times, including targeting his apprentice. But my opponent shook them off easily, practically maxing every willpower roll to dispel them.

My opponent made quick work of an infantryman that I rushed in towards the left. His soldiers cut him down and I tried to keep them at bay with archer fire. Meanwhile to my right I got a man-at-arms and treasure hunter up to take on one of his infantrymen. They were able to overwhelm him but then scattered as one of his trackers peppered my followers with arrows.

All the while my archers suffered the same fate of amazing defensive rolls from my opponent. In the end we managed to wound a soldier or two. But between ineffective hits and good shooting rolls that were shrugged off by high defensive rolls by my opponent, missile fire was ineffective the entire game. My opponent cast Elemental Wall to break up the table and get some cover for his men, however I was able to dispel it.

Between all the activity and melee at the middle of the table, I was able to scoot my thief forward and scramble off the table with some treasure. I also was able to manage a successful Transpose and a few more Push spells to get others carrying loot to away. For the battle overall, I did pretty decent getting 4 treasures, but overall for the league that wasn’t enough. I needed to prevent my opponent from gathering any treasure. They were able to get 3 treasures gathered, evading any arrows shot at them from my archer as they retreated towards their home camp.

What stood out from this game was that we had seven treasures on the table. Every single time we picked one up we were gritting our teeth waiting for the genie to appear… and it never did. Everytime we rolled under a 15. A couple of wolves and a skeleton roamed in but were quickly dispatched. Super strange that it never happened. We pretty much decided then on a new house rule for further games using this scenario. If the second to the last treasure does not spawn a genie, it will immediately appear near the figure closest to the last remaining treasure pile, ensuring that it spawns.

It was fortunate for us, but also a bit of a letdown as we were both expecting havok from the genie. I can’t complain too much though as I recovered 4 treasures and managed to get all my soldiers back alive. In the end I scored some nice scrolls of Summon Imp and Control Undead, two +1 staves, and a grimoire with Destructive Sphere. I decided not to invest in learning the spell as the elemental school wasn’t quite my strength. Instead I went about improving willpower, health, and my fight skill (which oddly enough doubles as a means to dodge arrows). I put my last level into Transpose hoping that with a roughly 50-50 chance of casting it now it might come into play.

One last game and our league will wrap up. Hee, have to see if I can manage to get out of my solid position of last place.

Alien vegetation terrain using straws

I dabble in 15mm sci-fi gaming and lately been using my models as proxies for Beyond the Gates of Antares. Getting terrain together can always be a bit of a chore and at times heavy on the wallet. You can get lots of railroad, medieval, and WW2 terrain easily, but sci-fi stuff is somewhat of a niche market. So inevitably I get to tinkering around making my own.

Vegetation is always something tricky. A really good source is simply aquarium plastic plants, but I decided to try and go the full craft route and thought of working with straws. By melting them partially, they fold open and get this weird pitcher plant type of look. I used a lighter and carefully melted the plastic passing it over the flame. I would also put a little heat on sections of the straw and carefully bend it some to give them a few kinks. Be mindful not to apply too much heat, otherwise you’ll end up burning another hole into the main section of the straw. StrawB

StrawA

A word of warning, too much heat and your plastic straw will catch fire. Not to mention the fumes are toxic as hell, so do this in a well ventilated area (I also had a fan behind me blowing the air away). After melting the ends of the straws, I used hot glue to mount them to some plastic card as bases. I then gave them a coat of primer. I tend to have trees and the like on individual bases so I can move them around. When painting them up I used primarily a green base coat along with some highlights of bright colors to draw out a lot of contrast.

StrawC

Thrown on some felt, they make for some decent vegetation that is a little different from your typical plant foliage. A pretty easy project and if given a more diligent paint job (compared to what I did), you can get some great looking plants.

StrawE

StrawD

Side Note: For 15mm terrain, straws can make for some decent obstacles too. Stacked and lined up, they can serve as large metal or concrete culvert pipes.

Frostgrave in Summer: The Living Museum

I should be calling this series Frostgrave in Winter now. It had been ages since our club was able to meet over the past few months but I finally managed to get a game in during January. I ended up going head to head with another Necromancer. I still was a little tepid to blow all my cash and kept a warband of thugs, archers, an infantry man, and a man-at-arms going. With my finances a little low, I felt it difficult to justify dumping it into heavy hitters. My opponent had a pretty fat treasury and fielded a barbarian, a few trackers, infantrymen, and a couple of thugs to round out his warband. I was pretty outclassed, and his figures were better painted to boot!

We had a pretty compact setup in the center of the table. Like the complex temple, treasure taken would randomly activate a statue creating a living construct. Surely we’d have a big scrum in the middle. I still didn’t want to risk a lucky shot with his trackers so I deployed in cover, broken up into two main forces. I had by archers and a thief stick at the periphery though. I lucked out and was able to successfully cast Reveal Secrets meaning I’d get one extra treasure close to my deployment area.


Fortunately I got the initiative and decided to move up and try for a spell. I successfully cast Fog which provided me a little cover from his ranged attackers and his apprentice. Those necromancers and their pesky Bone Dart was not a fun proposition to leave long avenues of open sight to my casters. I also successfully managed to cast Push from my apprentice and get an infantryman way forward in position near the statues.


My opponent moved in and slipped through the Fog, while his necromancer decided to throw a wrench into my advance and drop an Elemental Wall between our warbands. He began to scoop up treasure and unfortunately got the brunt of the medium constructs.

On the following turn I cast Blinding Light on his barbarian, making it susceptible to any nearby constructs. My opponent countered this getting his warband into the thick of the fight, tangling up the living statues before they could activate and cut down his barbarian. Your fight stat goes to zero and you cannot initiate any attacks making the barbarian an especially fragile target.

Honestly for the early part of the game, things were looking up for me. I got the initiative and managed to get off most of my spells, hitting his apprentice and his wizard once each with Blinding Light. They shook it off but losing the chance to cast LOS spells hurt. He flubbed a few spells and pumped up his casting rolls a few times too, meaning his necromancer was nearly at half health mid-game.

But things started to slip away for me. Most of the wandering creatures saw my warband as the more tasty morsels. I had to use my archers to dispatch skeletons and my apprentice to blind a minor demon that came onto the table. This alleviated a lot of pressure on my opponent that was able to take out several constructs, throw up another Elemental Wall, and start moving treasure off the board,


I turned around and Dispelled his walls and further decided to go all in with my warband, trying to take out his wizard. Sending in an infantry man and a man-at-arms, I figured round after round of attacks I’d eventually get a lucky blow in. Even if I could not kill him outright, I thought I’d be able to at least wound him. I was terribly mistaken. His necromancer pretty much aced all his fighting rolls and dispatched my followers. So much for my cunning plan.

That was enough to spook him a bit though, especially as my archers were essentially free to fire. I had lucked out on my Blinding Light casting roll for the minor demon and it wasn’t able to shake off the effects of the spell for several turns. My opponent was able to cast Leap on a few of his followers. Even a few peppered shots from my archers went wide and he was able to get his forces off the table. Meanwhile, a lone construct managed to take out a quarter of my warband, including my apprentice!

I was able to only get two treasures off. I got a good use of a Transpose spell and my thief scooped up an early acquisition that was found using Reveal Secrets. My opponent got 3 treasures to my two. I braced myself for the worst with my apprentice, but it appeared that Marsha was able to make it back to base camp in one piece.


I did lose a thug and my man-at-arms was severely wounded. I came away with a couple of potions and a paltry sum of gold. I also only was able to sneak out 3 levels of XP compared to my opponent that got 4 levels. A big chunk of this disparity in XP was my warband suffering so many casualties. With my newfound levels I buffed up my fight and health stat, and decided to throw a point into Transpose. It’s still a tricky spell for me to cast but I’m hopeful to be able to land it more consistently in the future.

The expedition was not quite suffering a drubbing, but not a rousing success either. I was really hoping for a third treasure and I found that the inflexibility of Push is a poor substitute to Leap. My opponents are able to clean up the board using that mobility spell. Regardless I am solidly in last place for the league. With only two more games left, I need a miracle match to hope in even going up a rank.

28mm Russian heavy weapons teams – Plastic Soldier Co.

As I mentioned a long time ago I decided to break off from my typical 20mm scale for Bolt Action and try building a force in 28mm. I settled on a Russian platoon and got the bulk of my troops from Wargames Factory. Their boxed sets are nice but heavy weapons teams were non-existent. I looked around and settled on Plastic Soldier Co. as an alternative.

They have a pretty complete range of Russians available in 28mm. I had gotten the 45mm anti-tank kits and liked them. So I was eager to check out their heavy weapons sets too. There are 2 sets of sprues that come with each box with a variety of models for mortars, MGs, AT rifles, and other crew members.

For mortars you have both minis for the 50-PM 41 as well as 82mm medium mortars. Interestingly, the 82mm mortar has a rectangular base plate. I thought they typically had round base plates, so this might be some variant.RusHVLtMortar

RusHVMedMortar

There are also two sculptures of minis armed with AT rifles. One is prone firing the weapon and another is carrying it. Along with the AT rifle troops are prone loaders.

RusHVATRifle

RusHVATRifleB

RusHVATLoader

Akin to the AT rifle models, you have Maxim M1910 MMGs in poses either being fired or transported with 2 crew (which I didn’t assemble). There are additional crew members but they don’t appear to be feeding the MMG directly or hauling ammunition. I am using a few as spotters for my mortar teams and possibly field them as artillery observers.

RusHVMMG

RusHV

The models are pretty good. They have enough detail to stand out if painted, but I will admit they aren’t as crisp as some other minis I have from different manufacturers. Nonetheless you cannot beat the price, variety, and quality of the kits. They are a great value and not bad if looking for a number of heavy weapons to round out your platoon.

Frostgrave in Summer: The Complex Temple

From my last game I had gotten some treasure but I’d be down a man unless I was willing to boot them out of my base camp to make room for a new hire. Having a pittance of gold, I decided to let my man-at-arms recover and go all in picking up a treasure hunter and a thief to replace some losses. This 100 gold spent pretty much wiped out my cash reserves. I figured I’d either go big or go home.

With my previously earned XP I decided to improve my defensive ability, bumping up both fight and health. A small bit folks tend to forget is that shooting is against a fighting roll of the target. The higher my fighting ability, the more likely I could have the awareness to duck and weave, avoiding arrows altogether.

I also decided to improve the casting of Push and Transpose. Of the two I found Transpose difficult to wrangle into using as there are so many positional requirements. You need 2 models within 10” of each other and also within line of sight to the caster. But I figured if I can manage a situation where I could set it up as a battle progresses, having an easier casting cost would be beneficial and a useful spell to have in reserve.

I’d be fighting another necromancer again. I swear the guys in my league are drawn to the dark arts. He had a fair number of infantrymen and nimble trackers in his warband. I got a bit of luck thrown my way though as he was unable to summon a zombie to bolster his warband at the beginning of the game. Still, being a body short for the scenario was not going to be fun for me.

We decided to play the Complex Temple where a series of strange columns are placed for treasure. In order to get any loot you have to ‘fight’ the column. The plus side is that all treasure is worth an additional 20 gold and if your wizard attacks a column, they get an additional +50 XP. For my coinless wizard, having an opportunity to get some extra experience was welcome.

I was able to have an additional treasure due to casting Reveal Secrets. However I had some trouble placing it due to the abundance of treasure near my deployment zone. One house rule we use is all treasure must be at least 6” from neutral table edges. We do this as regular troops with 6” movement have to take an extra turn to get it off the table, which in turn allows the opponent a chance to intercept soldiers hauling off treasure. But this also results in more treasure being centrally located, so unless I place most further towards the centerline, I have a hard time placing any extra treasure near my deployment area from the spell.

Quite honestly, this was another game I got wrapped up in and didn’t bother with proper notes or a lot of pics. The first turn I moved up my wizard with a thief in tow to snatch treasure from a nearby column. My wizard was lucky to win a round of combat and gained the treasure, but was saddled down trying to haul it out of line of sight. My crafty opponent lined his wizard up to keep me in his LOS. If I dropped the treasure and lost initiative, I was certain he’d cast Telekinesis to drag my booty just out of reach from my wizard and thief.

One of my thugs scampered in to collect treasure found by Reveal Secrets and began to haul it off the table. I would be able to secure some treasure at least. However the downside was I’d be another man short the entire game with my thug lumbering back to base camp with a chest in tow. I moved up my treasure hunter and infantryman, skirting a wall to avoid being a target for Bone Dart to see what trouble I could get them into.

My apprentice moved up to a column on my far right. The thug accompanying her was able to smash the column and gain some treasure. However with all these columns being cracked to pieces, the noise would certainly garner some attention. Sure enough a skeleton and pair of wild dogs ran into the area and made a beeline towards my apprentice and her comrades.

My opponent was able to easily secure treasure from columns on his side of the table. Casting Fleet Feet, his soldiers hurried forth and his trackers got up to some high ground to cause havok. I had my thug try to cut down the 2 wild dogs. One was killed but later during the turn the other tore him to pieces. I had my apprentice back up and cast Blinding Light on the remaining dog while my archer shot at the skeleton.

On the other side of the battlefield my infantryman threw caution to the wind and attacked. He downed a tracker and tried to get to grips with the Necromancer’s apprentice, but failed to reach him. I had my treasure hunter linger in back with hopes he could dash in and snatch up any dropped treasure.

With my wizard out of sight behind a wall, Wanda was able to drop the treasure and prepare to enter the fray, as my thief lugged the prize off the table. Meanwhile my opponent got his necromancer to smash a column and begin dragging away a pile of treasure. Casting a deft Leap, his other men began to scramble back to his base burdened by the loads of coin they found. All the while the necromancer hurried to a pile of rubble to cover his warband.

My opponent decided to get one of this fallen soldiers back into the fray casting Raise Zombie. My infantryman was now facing an apprentice and a newly raised corpse. I then pulled an ace from my sleeve and had Marsha the apprentice use her scroll of Control Undead. The zombie now a thrall under my control, the tables turned and my followers were easily able to dispatch the necromancer’s apprentice.

Finally able to slay the skeleton on my far right, my thief scooped up a pile of treasure. I had my archer drop out of position and make a run towards the rear. In the final turns of the game I was finally able to cast Transpose successfully and switch places between the archer and the thief carrying treasure. Now suddenly much closer to the board edge I was able to add another pile to the haul of loot I gained during the battle.

My opponent wrapped up the game retreating but got 4 piles of treasure to my 3. A fair outing but the necromancer warband still came out ahead. I came away with a fair amount of gold to fill my coffers to a respectable 220 crowns. I also ended up with a pair of grimoires of Control Construct and Awareness. I also ended up with enough XP (along with unearned XP) to gain 4 levels.

Aside from improving my health, I went ahead and put most of my points into improving Push, Blinding Light, and a risky focus on the spell, Transpose. Like Push, it’s a spell that needs a little maneuvering and placement to work. But if successful Transpose can really help get treasure off the table, or potentially ruin the plans of an opponent by throwing a creature their way.

I also walked away with few casualties. I only lost a thug and my man-at-arms would be well enough to fight the next game. I need to consider possibly spending some coin and get more sturdy followers for the last few games. The campaign will be wrapping up soon and I’m solidly in last place. But at least I haven’t had an abysmal expedition….. Yet.

Frostgrave in Summer: The Well of Dreams and Sorrows

Our summer Frostgrave campaign is in full swing and I managed to get another game in. This time I’d be going against a Chronomancer. This would be a small departure from my typical necromancer opponents. Last time I fared okay but didn’t really get any treasure.

We were playing a good scenario to get early in the campaign, the Well of Dreams and Sorrows. Basically your regular Frostgrave game with a large well in the center of the board. If your wizard is able to drink from the well you get a whopping 100 XP. But you need to approach this with caution. You will face your demise instantly if pushed into the mysterious pool.

This was another game I got wrapped up in and forgot to take enough photos or get proper notes. Having my stomach full from a tasty brunch didn’t help either. Hee hee, the downside of playing at a restaurant can mean a lot of distractions. At least it was a bit to early in the day for a pint and I settled on having several cups of coffee instead.

My opponent went all out with his warband. A templar, knight, man-at-arms, two trackers, a few infantrymen, and a handful of thieves meant he had a lot of hard hitting troops. I had a pittance of roughly 100 gold in my coffers so I was pretty stretched thin. I picked up a warhound and an infantryman to get my warband up to capacity.

I decided to deploy clustered up behind a group of buildings. Fortunately I was able to cast Reveal Secrets and get a bonus treasure that I could plop down just outside my deployment zone. The other treasures were pretty far though and would take much more effort to reach. I decided to get my wizard to rush the center and bring up my apprentice along one side, with an archer and warhound centered on the left corner. My opponent also decided to have his wizards approach the center. That well was too tempting to drink from.

First turn I approached and a thug was able to scoop up some treasure scryed from Reveal Secrets. I had my archers clamber up into position to cover my advance. I decided to get cocky and have my warhound charge ahead and get up into the face of a knight, while my archer fired off a few shots. No hits and my warhound was dropped almost immediately, but I did get a chance to hold off my opponent for a turn.

That plan went pretty much to naught as my opponent turned around and cast Fleet Feet allowing all those soldiers in clunky armor a chance to get some extra inches in movement. My opponent was able to get within proximity of most of the treasures on his side of the board, meaning more and more creatures might wander in on the table. I ended up getting both a ghoul over on my right, as well as a pair of zombies move in on my left. Unfortunately due to line of sight issues, they decided my warband were the more tasty targets and shuffled towards my men!

Fearing some pop shots to take out my low armored thugs and thieves, I had my apprentice lay down some Fog to cover my advance up to the right. I had my main wizard try to supplement her defense with Enchant Armor which failed. I moved by men up towards the well as did my opponent, while both our wizards lingered some in the rear.

Honestly the game became a bit of a blur as we burned through turns. The approaching knight on my left was a hassle compounded by the zombies going after my archer. He was able to snag some treasure and get off the board while by archer was fighting zombies. Both my archers peppered a few men, shaving off some health but unable to kill any. Fortunately my opponent was in the same situation and I compounded his difficulty some landing Blinding Light a few times.

The right side became a bloodbath, with the ghoul tearing through my men. I scrambled my apprentice out of the way and out of sight to avoid any chance of it attacking her. I managed to finally kill it between shots from my archer and a pitched melee with my soldiers. My thief won out but was severely wounded in the process. The lone thief was easily picked off by a few enemy soldiers that were able to close in.

In the center of the board the chronomancer stepped up and drank deeply from the well. I had my man-at-arms attack and bogged the wizard down in hand to hand. I decided the tempting offer to drink from the well was too much and spent a critical action sipping from the well myself. Another soldier entered the fray with my man-at-arms, won the combat, but did no damage to my soldier. I was a bit smug with my plans but forgot an important rule, the winner of the combat could break off or push their opponent away 1”. He promptly pushed my soldier into the well, instantly taking him out of the game!

Wanda was no slouch in combat however. I turned my attention to the chronomancer and was able to land Blinding Light on him. Eventually he was able to dispel it but my opponent decided his wizard had enough and ran behind some cover. Between shots from my archer and her wielding a magical weapon, she was able to dispatch any remaining soldiers. Pretty much free and clear, my wizard and apprentice ran off to try and secure some treasure. They both were able to fend off any enemies and frantically tried to position themselves for casting spells.

In the end with quick movement and Leap spells my opponent was able to get 4 treasures off. I was able to get my wizard set to carry off some treasure. A swift cast from Push got her to the edge of the table, but there were no more turns and I was stuck holding it, just out of reach from getting back to base camp.

Another game where I managed to secure the board, but unable to seal the deal and get treasure off the table. Push helped get troops out, but it’s simply too difficult maneuvering them afterwards to get into a good position to get them off the table. I knew Transpose could not be counted on, but it’s really hurting not being able to shift troops around with that spell either. I can’t bitch too much as most of the game I was able to get initiative and finally able to cast a fair number of spells. Drinking from the well helped too, and from previous unused XP, Wanda was able to acquire 4 levels.

For my treasure, I got a little gold and couple of scrolls of Invisibility and Control Undead that will come in handy. My man-at-arms was wounded and both a thief and warhound ended up in a shallow grave out among the ruins. Essentially 3 soldiers down and only a measly 120 gold in my coffers. I’ll have to think some on how to fill out my warband. Being a man down for the next game will be difficult but I don’t think I can quite dump the wounded soldier being so low on cash. Gotta mull on that for a while what I’ll do for the next game.

Frostgrave in Summer: The Keep

Last time while I didn’t lose my wizard or get swept from the field, I only was able to gather one pile of treasure (my opponent hauled away five!). Further, my man-at-arms was killed and I had a wounded thug. Already I was down two men for the next game.

That put me in a pickle. I had decided to throw out any concept of maintaining a healthy, full warband, and opted not to make my home base an inn this campaign. I couldn’t have an extra slot for my warband, and had no means to let an injured soldier heal up. That meant my wounded thug would be thrown out on his posterior to make his cot available for any new hires. I settled on a man-at-arms and warhound, and essentially spent all the gold crowns in my treasury.

Instead of an inn for my home base I chose a high tower. This was an odd choice but I had Reveal Secrets and figured I could double down on the spell. Essentially my base choice gave me a +2 casting bonus making it far more possible for my apprentice to cast (giving me some out of game options). And with both my wizard and apprentice attempting to scry a location of treasure before the game, more likely I’d be able to place down an additional treasure. I figured over the campaign it would eventually pay off.

That idea completely went to pot as I failed to cast the spell both with my wizard (Wanda) and my apprentice (Marsha). So much for being clever with my selection of a home base. Not getting an extra treasure would be doubly difficult this game as I was playing the Keep scenario.

It’s an interesting one. Most of the treasure are on these stone platforms. When you end your move on them, you teleport randomly (or end up staying where you are). There is also a cluster of treasure at the center of the board. As I mentioned earlier, having another pile nearby off the teleportation disks, and away from the middle would have been helpful.

Honestly the game was pretty much a blur (and I forgot to take a lot of pics). We squared off with myself huddled behind a central ruined building. I wanted to push up through the middle and also along my left side, while my opponent had the same idea. And my opponent? Another Necromancer with some thugs, thieves, warhound, tracker, and a raging barbarian. He pretty much had the same idea and gameplan.

As I moved up my opponent put up a wall cutting me off from the central treasure. No worries as I had Dispel Magic prepared to take care of just such a situation. I cast it with my wizard and failed. Then I cast it with my apprentice, and failed. I moved up and the next turn tried again. My wizard cast and failed. Then my apprentice tried to cast Dispel Magic…and failed. Mind you I didn’t just barely fail my casts. I flubbed so hard I took damage for most of the attempts.

I finally had my soldiers just climb over the thing. And of course once they dropped down over the other side a new turn came up. My opponent rolled to see if the wall would stay around another turn and it disappointed. Just when I spent all that movement getting over the friggin wall of elemental energy. My opponent’s soldiers were just out of reach for combat, so he quickly got off Leap on the pair from his casters.

Things went pear shaped for my opponent some too though. Oddly my apprentice’s group of soldiers convened on the far right teleportation circle. It was a cluster of men (and hound) fighting where I came out on top. Only a wolf decided to enter the fray and I got bogged down even more for another turn.

I managed to cut down the wolf and clear the area of enemies. My thug to hauled the treasure away while my thief, man-at-arms, and hound ran off to make trouble. My opponent ended up having their barbarian step onto a platform and ended up on my side of the field. My archers promptly perforated him. However my opponent was still working his men off the table with Leap and making good progress at it.

I finally turned my attention to his pesky archer that was throwing pop shots. A cast of Push and I was able to knock him off his ruined building perch. He didn’t take any damage but I effectively put him out of the fight a turn while he scrambled to get into a firing position. I then managed to land Blinding Light both on his wizard and apprentice.

My fortune for getting Blinding Light on both casters was hampered some by the initiative. I acted second for the turn, meaning my opponent was able to get a wizard spell off and they were also able to get an opportunity to break its effects. I just was barely able to get the spell off and his necromancer dispelled it easily. His apprentice wasn’t so lucky. This was enough for him though and he decided to get his Necromancer scarce, but was successfully able to Leap his treasure burdened soldiers off the table with him.

In the end we both walked away with two piles of treasure. One of my thugs bit the dust but all of my other men recovered. I ended up with a paltry sum of coins (roughly 100 gold) but scored a couple of nice potions (Invisibility and Toughness). I also got a +1 hand weapon. I’m debating some whether to keep the weapon. It’s tempting to sell and get some needed cash for it. But we have Genie in a Bottle as a potential scenario, so having a magic weapon able to do damage to it would be helpful. I’ll have to mull over it some.

I only had gotten two levels and put that into improving my health and fighting. This stung a lot. My opponent was able to cast twice the spells I could that game. I was unengaged the entire time and was trying to cast lowish (8-12 casting) spells but just failed too many times. And worse, I really failed casting most of them to the point of not making it worthwhile to burn health to get it off. Another odd game. Not too bloodied and got a bit of treasure off, but lagged behind my opponent with earned experience.

Frostgrave in Summer: First Expedition

We started up another league for the summer and my first match was against a necromancer. For this initial battle of the league we did a simple meeting engagement with no special rules. Just grab as much treasure as possible before the game ended. I got lucky and was able to cast Reveal Secrets, getting an extra treasure token that would be close to my deployment zone. My opponent tried to cast Create Scroll but was unable to muster up the magic to cast it successfully.

My opponent spent a bit of cash getting a pair of infantrymen and archers that he gathered around his necromancer. His apprentice lead another group of soldiers consisting of thugs and thieves (modeled as ghasts and ghouls).

I had a similar setup with my wizard, Wanda, having an archer, a few thugs, and a man-at-arms as a bodyguard on the right. While on the left side of the table I set up my apprentice, Marsha, with an archer, a few thugs, and thieves around her.

I got lucky with initiative and scurried forward. Successfully casting Enchant Armor on my wizard, Wanda with her defenses improved and flanked with several soldiers, was in a pretty secure position. My opponent was able to cast Leap thrusting one of his infantry forward towards some treasure.

During the apprentice phase, Marsha, fizzled her Enchant Armor spell and hustled in with one of the thieves from her group breaking off to gather a treasure token. Both my archers started to clamber up ruined buildings to get better vantage points.

The second turn my opponent demonstrated his breadth of spells which harried me the entire game. With both his wizard and apprentice he was able to cast Telekinesis on two treasures that were just within reach of my men. I tried to counter some with Transpose from my wizard but failed.

Marsha the apprentice however was able to get off another wicked spell I had chosen, Blinding Light. She managed to cast it on my opponent’s apprentice, utterly sapping them of any means to cast spells. My archers then were able to pepper some of this men with arrows. doing a bit of damage.

The following turn my opponent had his men gather up treasure and cast Leap, a spell that would be my bane during the whole battle. He was soon able to have his men rapidly make their way to the edge of the table. I was pretty much forced to have my men haul piles of treasure off by foot.

Fortunately my thief was chosen to do just that and that extra inch of movement helped (if slowed) in dragging off loot found on the battlefield.

With all the piles of treasure being discovered and being approached, rolls were made to see if any creatures would make their way onto the table. I ended up getting a zombie on my side of the board which shuffled towards Marsha the apprentice. I decided to play it safe and have one of my thugs linger so that he could intervene if the zombie came closer.

The following turns I was able to successfully cast Blinding Light on my opponent’s wizard, but they were able to break the effects of the spell resisting it soundly. My opponent cast Leap again, and positioned his his men within a charge distance of my wizard. Things began to get hairy on Wanda’s side of the field, as she was being threatened by an infantryman while my other soldiers were off fighting in combats of their own. I got my man-at-arms to engage with the enemy necromancer, forcing one of this thugs to drop treasure and try and help out with the fight.

Things began to get hectic on the apprentices’ side of the board also. His archer lined up a hefty shot on my apprentice. My men reciprocated charging and dispatching a thug and moving in to tangle with others. My archer missed their shot against the lone zombie. Not engaged the zombie closed in forcing my thug move to fight it. A bit of fortune for me was that an ice spider scuttled in from the side edge and made a quick run towards my opponent’s men. Quickly taking some cover, my apprentice was able to cast Heal and replenish her health some.

The latter turns of the game things began to slip away from me. My man-at-arms severely bloodied the necromancer but their accompanying thug was able to kill him. I managed to kill a thug and an infantryman. However my crafty opponent didn’t get swept up in any bloodlust and cast Leap instead, getting other men off the board with treasure. Others also dragged their loot off as all my men were tied up in combat, including Wanda, my warband’s wizard.

With my wizard tied up in combat, I was as a risky position. If I forced combat and lost, my opponent could dig into my health and have another opportunity to attack further during their activation, essentially doubling the chances of me getting a poor attack roll. Even if they couldn’t kill me outright, they could grind down my health and possibly get in a lucky blow. So I held off on my actions, hoping to roll well when they activated later during the turn. My opponent did eventually learn the pain of ranged attacks. Severely weakened in health due to earlier combats (and flubbed spells), my archer was finally able to get off a successful shot and drop the necromancer outright.

“For Wanda!”

On the apprentices’ side of the board, my men were tied up in combat. The opposing apprentice was finally able to shake off the effects of Blinding Light and cast Leap on treasure-burdened soldiers. I decided to try a goofy use of Push and get my own men into the scrum. Digging into the rules however, the spell did not resolve as I expected. I thought I’d be able to cast it without any resistance but the rules were pretty clear cut. I had to resolve it as an attack. So even on my own man they’d get a fighting roll to determine the result. I had my opponent roll for my thug. Sure enough despite getting the spell off and a +10 to the attack roll, my opponent rolled exceedingly well essentially cancelling the effects of the Push spell.

On the wizard’s side of the board, Wanda the Thaumaturgist was fighting for her life. My thug was also locked in combat, so my opponent seized the opportunity with his other men hauling treasure off the table. My archer fired parting shots and landed some hits but they were ineffective at bypassing his target’s armor.

Things soured on the apprentices’ side of the table too. The opposing warband made quick work of the ice spider and in turn cut down my thugs and thief. I had another thug get into the fray as I had Marsha retreat behind cover. My archer on the far side of the board did one last desperate shot to nab an enemy soldier carrying treasure, but failed to hit.

Wanda the wizard became wounded, as well as my thug near a pile of treasure. They both were in dire straits. My apprentice sped off towards my wizard and cast Blinding Light at the infantrymen engaged with Wanda. I hoped that for a few turns I could hold off fighting the soldier, and while they were under the effects of the spell, they couldn’t attack. Meanwhile the opposing apprentice lived up to the name of their chosen school of magic. While I had gained some in the battle of attrition near him, he walked forward and cast Raise Zombie on a fresh corpse, adding another body into the fight. Eventually my thugs were overcome.

My opponent wrapped up the game getting more of his soldiers carrying treasure off the board. My thug finally dropped his opponent and was able to grab the last treasure, but was unable to get it off the table, limping along with one action from being wounded. The soldier fighting Wanda broke the effects of Blinding Light, only to suffer from it again as Marsha, my apprentice, cast it again. However this meant that Wanda the wizard couldn’t effectively do anything. She couldn’t break off from the combat and couldn’t commit an action to fight (risking a flubbed attack roll was too risky).

My opponent successfully cast Leap with his apprentice getting even more treasure-laden soldiers off. In the end he claimed 5 treasure(!) to my one. We only had one treasure unclaimed that my thug was holding. I’d get a small bonus for possessing it and a little gold, but it would have been great if I could have gotten it off the board. To make matters worse, I had one thug out of action for the next game and my man-at-arms died. The most expensive soldier in my warband was lost (along with all the gold crowns I spent to hire him). My opponent had 2 men out of action and his downed wizard came out of the battle with an injury.

For treasure my opponent similarly cleaned up. He walked away with 6 grimoires and over 700 gold. This meant that spending some coin to heal his wizard was trivial. He also picked up over 400 XP and the grimoire of Bone Dart. I’m certain when we meet again he’ll have that incantation added to his repertoire of spells.

I cast and failed about the same number as my opponent. Just too many turns Wanda was entangled in hand to hand with that pesky infantryman. Not getting much treasure also killed my experience for the battle. I only limped away with 200 XP and 90 total gold in my treasury. I did get a bit of fortune however with the type of treasure I discovered. Aside from the gold crowns I got a Fate Stone to my wizardly equipment for Wanda. Having a clutch reroll might be helpful in future games.

It was risky not having an effective movement spell for the campaign and my opponent reinforced that, as being able to cast Telekinesis and Leap made for a potent combination. I was unable to cast Transpose (which I should have expected as the conditions for casting it are also difficult to meet). Push is also difficult to pull off if trying to move my units around. I simply have to be more mindful of positioning and attempt to set up situations where I can employ those spells more effectively. Blinding Light was pretty vicious however and with a string of bad saves, able to seriously hamper enemy units, especially casters.

It was a strange game. On paper you’d think I would have swept the field but my opponent got the right spells off and was able to capitalize on grabbing treasure when possible, while I was caught in too many combats. I really had wished I could have stolen away one more pile from my opponent. Time to lick my wounds and plan out for the next expedition.