Category: Miniatures

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.

Frostgrave in Summer: The wizard and warband.

The gang wrapped up our last league for Frostgrave a few months ago and everyone was eager to give it another go. I licked my wounds some from last time and pondered what to try out for this new league. We decided to change the point structure for the league some. Points would be awarded for hauling off treasure primarily and a point for every 250 XP earned. At the end of the league, treasure and crowns would award 1 point for every 500 gold (or sell value) as a final bonus to earned points. This time we’d also try for a longer league going for 7 games and might possibly increase the number even more.

Another twist was to jumpstart our wizards some. We’d start with 200 XP that could only be used to improve the casting value of two different spells. We’d also begin with a potion of Healing. Just a little means to improve spellcasting and some resources to get over a bad first outing if needed. We all still had to fill out our warband with 500 gold crowns though.

This time around I decided to mix it up and play a Thaumaturge. I selected Blinding Light, a surprisingly vicious spell (provided my opponent kept failing their resist rolls) as my offensive spell of choice. I also selected Dispel. Too many times I’ve seen Elemental Wall being used to wreak havoc on my advances and shunting off avenues to treasure, so I wanted a means to get rid of them. Lastly I was torn between Shield and Heal, but figured I’d be more likely to empower key spells if having a decent chance to recover on a later turn, so Heal rounded out my primary school of magic spell selection.

For my allied schools I went with Push and Transpose. Transpose would be that risky spell to cast but Push was a little easier (and one of the selected spells to focus on for my initial XP). Push isn’t much of an offensive spell, but a great means to shift a pesky archer out of an elevated position, or shoo away any wandering creature getting too close.

My last allied school spell was Reveal Secret. I figured I needed at least one out of game spell. The high casting cost would be a pickle some. However I decided to select a Tower as my base of operations. This would bump down the casting cost to a more reasonable 12. I figure being able to get one additional treasure close to my deployment zone would eventually help my warband earn some phat loot over the league.

For my neutral spells I went with Enchant Armor with a pretty risky casting cost of 12. Being able to bump up armor a little would be helpful and give my troops some lasting power. My final spell would be Fog from the Witch school. A little LOS denial and a means to provide some quick cover and possibly herd wandering creatures away from my warband was ideal. The biggest reason was also the low casting value. Having a +4 penalty for being in a neutral school meant anything higher would just be a spell taking up a slot in my book. Having a 12 casting value meant I had a better chance of getting it off (and lessen the chance of taking damage from a botched casing roll).

For my warband itself I kept things cheap. Mostly thugs and thieves were the bulk of my warband. I also picked up 2 archers as I was limited on direct damage spells and ranged attackers would be useful. I did choose a man-at-arms to serve as a bodyguard for my wizard. Of course I also had to get an apprentice, leaving me with a pittance of gold in my treasury.

I kept the same wizard model but decided on a different narrative for the warband. Hearing of the demise of Elvira, another talented wizard decided to make her own name in the crumbling ruins. Gaining Marsha, an aspiring apprentice, and a paltry sum of coin she managed to cobble up a warband of ne’er do wells. Taking the name “Wanda’s Wanderers“, she took up residence in an abandoned tower, eager to see what glory, power, and wealth to be discovered in the ruins of Verdantia.

Wargaming in Seoul – Miniature Zone

Ever on the prowl for wargame stores, I caught wind of this through some folks over at Dice Latte while visiting during a weekend trip up to Seoul. Miniature Zone is a small store near the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Located on the 5th floor of an office building, it’s a compact place with several tables for in store gaming.

Primarily the games played are Warmachine and Hordes, with some Infinity thrown in. The store stock carried represent those games pretty well. Some historical gaming is also done with Flames of War pretty popular among the playerbase there, but mostly that’s people bringing in their own models over product carried by the store. They also sell a pittance of board games, and the more recent releases of Magic are available (but cater more towards the local Korean language).

The shop itself appears to have a limited stock. They focus instead on fostering an online community and encouraging online orders. Folks can leave messages to the staff on minis they want on the community forums, and they’ll make an order through their distributors. Because of this, the hours of the store are very limited. From about 12 to 10PM on the weekends you can find folks there. However during the week it’s best to pass trying to visit.

During the weekends however it hosts quite a bit of in store gaming. There are lockers players can rent out to keep models and gaming gear (which is pretty nice to avoid hauling everything around every weekend). They have a few tables available with a decent amount of store terrain.

One thing I’ll note is the Korean staff were very friendly and willing to chat in English. They seemed eager to answer questions and willing to welcome new blood into the local tabletop fold. The place doesn’t seem a bad choice if looking for space to play miniature wargames. However be mindful it appears to be pretty much your typical local game store dungeon (not too clean and not too organized).

For directions, take subway line 1 getting off at the Hankuk University stop. Leave the metro station through exit 6. You will walk to the first block and go right. Entering the first building on your left through a door in the alley, go up 5 flights to the shop. It has a corner view of the street below. Be mindful there is no store sign on the building or anything in the stairwell to indicate the store exists. I understand when I visited they were in the process of moving from the 4th floor to the 5th, which likely explains the lack of outside advertising.

If you’ve got list of items you want and willing to wait for a few weeks, Miniature Zone seems a decent option for buying wargaming minis. I’d also consider hitting up the place if you really need some space to play. Clearly some legwork is required on the boards or the Facebook page to drop a line about wanting to reserve a table to play. However it seems to have a friendly vibe to the store, and people willing to have expats part of the regular crowd.

Frostgrave in winter: final expedition

In preparation for my last game of the league I decided to see about creating a large construct and was successful casting it with my apprentice. I tried to cast a more reasonable spell of Create Scroll with my actual wizard but fizzled that out of game spell. I spent my out of game actions then picking up an archer to replace a casualty and the potion vendor. I got cold feet picking up any potions though as my gold reserves were pretty low. One aspect of our ranking was based on the amassed cash and treasure we gained, so I decided to hold off on getting any.

Our last game for the league would be somewhat like the first, just a simple mission to get as much treasure as possible without any other special scenario rules. The only change would be that creatures enter on the board on a 12+. We set things up facing across from each other and set about trying to haul off at much loot as possible. My warband was 2 archers, 2 thugs, 3 men at arms, a barbarian, and a hulking large construct. I set up in two groups moving in on either side of the board with my archers set on high ground.

My opponent’s warband led by a summoner.

I was facing off against a summoner which brought a construct of his own! Honestly the game was a bit of a blur. My wizard got pelted once with a crossbow and horribly failing several spells meant losing a chunk of health. Both of my groups moved up and tried to secure what treasure they could. I focused several turns of fire on a single ranger but was unable to land a hit.

My thief manages to scoop up some treasure.

My apprentice is slowly surrounded by creatures.

A medium construct wanders in from the left flank.

For much of the game I simply could not get any low casting spells off, and finally was able cast Leap a few times on a thief to get them off the board with some treasure. Having creatures wander into the battle on a 12+ meant that a slew of beasts and undead were on the board. I just seemed to get the preponderance of creatures though. A pair of wolves and a medium construct came in on the sides and quickly got stuck in with my forces, while an armored skeleton and a pair of zombies shuffled off towards my apprentice from my side of the board.

My opponent moves forward, summoning imps ahead of his troops.

‘Boss! Don’t worry I got that imp right in my sights.’ SPLURCH!…wet sounds… ‘Aw nuts.’

Meanwhile my apprentice is fighting for her life.

All the while my opponent was able to rapidly summon imps and demons, bolstering his forces. I decided to get one of my thieves around some high walls and allow for them to slip away with a Leap spell, as a summoned imp scampered towards my wizard. A archer tried to line up a shot while the creature was free of any cover and failed to land a hit. The imp was then upon my wizard, rolled a 20 to hit, and did a whopping 8 points of damage dropping my wizard.

A pair of wolves finally turn their attention to my opponent’s soldiers.

My thief sneaks off the battlefield, while my archer finally gets that pesky imp.

Morgana gets caught up in the slog of hand to hand combat.

I ended up getting in a mire of wandering creatures while my opponent was able to get 4 treasures off the board to my 2 piles of loot. He did get a few of his soldiers wounded, but was able to clear out his side of the board and limp his units behind cover (or off the board). With my wizard gone and my apprentice caught up in a melee with wandering creatures, I was unable to get any spells off. I dig manage to get my large construct into the fray with Leap, but eventually it was cut down by the armored skeleton. A one health creature just took so much effort to drop.

In the end my opponent got the lion’s share of treasure and came away with a nice haul of coin and an orb of power. I did get a few grimoires which was nice and likely could pad my treasure earnings. While my wizard recovered from their wounds, they only managed to get a smattering of XP while my opponent was able to walk away with 3 levels!

Drawing my total for the campaign, Elvira the Enchanter emerged as a level 10 wizard with some XP change to spare (1075 XP). Bitches’ Brew had 235 gold in the treasury along with some other items. 1 scroll of health worth 100 gold, 2 potions of healing (50 gold total), a potion of invisibility and of invulnerability (100 gold total), 3 grimoires (750 gold at 250 each) and a level 3 staff of power (250 gold).

My total treasury was worth 1485 gold and another 1075 XP meant I had earned a paltry 2560 points. A pittance compared to my other league mates. Hee, seems Elvira will soon find herself walking down the steps of the old dilapidated inn she chose as a base, only to find a cold fire, and an empty hall as her apprentice and hirelings have sought better prospects elsewhere.

Frostgrave in winter: the living museum

The last expedition into the ruins wasn’t quite a complete disaster, so I went about revisiting the composition of my warband. I opted to keep a pair of thieves and 2 archers but let all my thugs go. I ended up with 3 men-at-arms and a raging barbarian. With my trusty medium construct in tow, I had a pretty formidable force behind the Elvira the enchanter and her apprentice.

livingmusa

livingmusb

This time we would be playing the living museum. Somewhat similar to the previous game except this time I could expect construct statues to be running amok rather than just smashing whoever was in contact with it. Initially I deployed with archers in a central ruin tower, with wizard in a group to the right and apprentice in group to its left. My few thieves would be scurrying up the middle. The prize was a central square of ruins that held all the treasure.

First turn I had rushed in, used telekinesis to drag treasure near away from a statue. With my other men-at-arms rushing in. Morgana, my apprentice fizzled her Strength spell on the construct. Undaunted they moved forward.

My opponent was the same elementalist as last time and he deftly moved in with his apprentice lurking in the corner of the table. A few marksman and a tracker clambered up a central tower, facing off my own archers. The elementalist successfully cast Elemental Wall cutting off much of the approach from my apprentice, forcing her to try and go up the side of the ruin square. Meanwhile my opponent rush in and at the end of the turn most of the treasure was surrounded by the elementalist warband. As they approached a pile of treasure, an armored skeleton moved in the side of the board while a small construct stumbled onto the table on my side of the board.

My wizard successfully cast a strength spell on a man-at-arms but ended up getting shot by a crossbowman. My apprentice used a scroll of elemental bolt on a tracker which was successful and hit, but did a pitiful amount of damage. My thief scrambled in and got a hold of some treasure while the group around the wizard piled into the center of the ruins.

My opponent finally picked up some treasure and then the constructs came to life. Of the three he picked up, most activated closer to his men which was fortunate for me. But he was able to have other soldiers get stuck in while the others dragging treasure slipped away. The enemy wizard cast another elemental wall sealing off the direct approach to his flank, effectively cordoning off my apprentice.

The center ended up being a huge scrum. we ended up getting wrapped up in engagements against the constructs. The enemy warband suffered much of the brunt losing a man and getting some wounds due to melee with the constructs. Opponent lined up and fired off several shots at my wizard wounding her badly. My archers returned fire trying to focus on one tracker but was unable to land any effective hits.

The next turn Elvira cast Leap to get a thief off the board and then attempted to get behind some cover, securing some treasure. I gathered some other treasure with my other thief and began to trek off the board, moving at a crawl due to carrying a haul of loot.

livingmusc

‘Get over there boss! You should be safe behind the rubble.’ THUNK ‘Aw nuts…’

The following turn Elvira spent her action turn drinking a potion of healing and trying to gather herself, as my Morgana the apprentice fizzled another Leap spell. Frustrated by not being able to get a spell off, she rushed forward with the others and began to clamber over the elemental walls. This time, the opposing marksmen lined up solid shots against my wizard dropping her. Through casting Leap spells, my opponent was able to get 2 treasure off the board.

livingmusd

My thief struggled to haul the treasure closer to the board edge. While my lone apprentice and several soldiers finally got over the wall and rushed in. My opponent a few turns before smashed their demon in a bottle and it charged into a combat with one of my man-at-arms.

livingmuse

‘For WANDA! Er… Morgana!’

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The next turn a tracker on the ground lined up a shot and dropped my apprentice in one hit. Afterwards his group began to fall back as I cleared much of the ruined square. He moved his wizard around the ruined square sealing off any approach to the rear casting Elemental Wall. My warband made quick work of many of the living statues and the opposing thief in the square. But there was no turn 6, with my thief just inches from getting the treasure off the edge of the table.

Elvira recovered from her wounds but my apprentice was not so lucky and ended up gaining psychological scars, losing one of her will permanently. I had lost about half of my warband, but most recovered. I did permanently lose on my my archers though. In the end my warband had only got off one treasure earning a bit of cash from it, while my opponent walked away with three piles of treasure! I did manage to kill 3 constructs though for a fair chunk of experience.

However, losing my wizard and apprentice curbed my XP rewards a few points and I only managed to get one level. As Leap seems a popular spell to cast for me, I decided to drop the casting cost by one. Not quite the successful expedition I had hoped for and pretty much solidly cementing me in last place for the league.

Thinking up a campaign for Gates of Antares

3_round_campaignGates of Antares is my sci-fi skirmish game of choice as of late. One particular aspect I enjoy about GoA is that it has embraces more narrative scenarios over just having your typical tourney smash em up. However, one thing the rules lack though is a set of campaign rules.

I’ve been thinking of some ideas to get a framework of rules together for campaigns. Digging around I fell in love with some stuff over on another wargaming blog, Steve’s Balagan. They worked up a branching campaign system which is concise, builds on previous battles, and doesn’t get mired down in a lot of rules. I love it. I still want to putter around with some ideas for dealing with casualties and resupply. I might dig into Star Army: 5150 for that, as they have some nifty rules for running a campaign game.

While I might consider working on some static campaign maps, I wanted to possibly consider using a random mission system for battles. There is some great stuff out there which looks nice. I may use the idea of a static defender and attacker to shake up the mission objectives some, but the rules I’ve looked at are pretty robust. I also enjoy that each side has some more hidden objectives to add to the flavor of a particular engagement. Certainly a bunch of great stuff out there to tinker with.

Frostgrave in winter: the complex temple

From my last drubbing into the ruins, I decided to lick my wounds a bit and not spend too much cash. I only opted to do one out of game action, hiring an archer to replace a casualty. My other wounded soldiers recovered, so I was entering this fight with a full group of soldiers and my medium construct. I was still going the cheap route with one man-at-arms, 2 archers, 3 thugs, and 2 thieves (plus my construct). Having an inn for my homebase was finally paying off being able to field an extra soldier in my warband.

I was going to need it though as my opponent this time was an elementalist. He also was running a pretty decked out warband with marksmen and rapid moving treasure hunters and thieves. This time we would be playing the complex temple. A pretty simple scenario with treasure being near a type of construct pillar. I felt I would need a few soldiers to be near each other and add in a few attacks to ensure the pillars were destroyed. Winning the first roll, I decided to let my opponent choose their board edge and I would get the first turn.

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I moved onto the table having two groups, each clustered around my wizard and apprentice. A few of the treasure piles were in close proximity and I would likely be able to get to them within two turns. I moved in and began fizzling the cast rolls for both my Fog and Strength spells. A great start.

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My apprentice moved up the right side and her supporting soldiers were able to dispatch the column in short order. A thief accompanying them scooped up the treasure and made a beeline to get off the board. I was getting a swing of luck gaining the initiative for the first few turns which helped.

‘Seems easy enough, Fred. Just move on in there and pick up that pile of treasure at the base of the column.’ CRUNCH! (wet sounds) ‘HOLY NUTBALLS!’

‘Seems easy enough, Fred. Just move on in there and pick up that pile of treasure at the base of the column.’ CRUNCH! (wet sounds) ‘HOLY NUTBALLS!’

I managed to get Fog off and cast it in front of my advancing soldiers to the left. This really borked up my opponent’s line of sight for both his casters and one marksman, forcing him to focus fire on my apprentice’s group. My apprentice cast Strength on my construct and I sent it to wade in and cause trouble with the enemy warband. At this point I tried to get a second pile of treasure only to have a column take out my thug with a single hit.

Added to all this picking up treasure meant we might eventually get some creatures wandering onto the table. I got a bit lucky getting a lowly skeleton to come in on my opponent’s board edge. It tied up a thief carrying some treasure. However my opponent finally destroyed it and got their thief off the board.

‘Back to back, men! Say, is that a wizard over there?’ ZZZZZOOOOOOT! ‘HOLY NUTBALLS!’

‘Back to back, men! Say, is that a wizard over there?’ ZZZZZOOOOOOT! ‘HOLY NUTBALLS!’

At another column a few wild dogs ran in and tied up my troops. Forming a tight cluster side by side, I figured I could get some gang up bonuses all the while allowing my thief to run off with the treasure. It got bloody and then my opponent decided to drop in a Grenade spell among them. Ouch. I managed to drop one dog and have my thief with the treasure get out of the combat with a Leap spell. The lone dog ran off and ended tying up my opponent’s apprentice for a couple of turns.

Things then really started to fold. My apprentice got pegged from a marksman and was wounded after empowering a Leap spell on my thief to get some treasure off the board. I decided it better to get her out of the battle rather than potentially risk losing her. My wizard got ventilated from a marksman too, and then from a Grenade spell which was dropped down among a cluster of soldiers accompanying her. Also wounded, Elvira decided to slip off the table to ensure +10 XP for surviving the fight and also not risk suffering any lasting permanent injury.

A treasure hunter from my opponent’s warband ran up and got my man-at-arms in a melee. He wounded him one round and the next round eventually took my soldier out. In retrospect I could have dropped the treasure and made a better go at it being supported by my archer. I was hoping to drop him in one round and then manage to stumble off the board being literally a turn’s full move from my table edge.

Instead my opponent was able to get their apprentice to pick up the treasure with a Leap spell. We managed to squeeze out a turn 7 and he successfully cast a Leap spell to get very close to a neutral table edge, but turn 8 never came. In the end my opponent got 3 treasures to my 2. I had also forgotten that if my wizard had interacted with a column they would get 50 XP (my opponent was sure to do that at least once during the game).

For the battle I played very conservatively and still lost 4 men, but all of them recovered. I only got off a few spells fizzling quite a few. However I did luck out managing to get the initiative for almost the entire game, and some clutch empowered Leap spells ensured I got some treasure. I also found out clumping up for a combat bonus is great until you get a bunch of Grenade spells lobbed at you.

With the XP I earned I was able to get three levels, buffing up my health and fighting skill. For loot I had gained a grimoire of Shield and had the XP to learn it, so I could add that to my spellbook. I also got lucky treasure roll discovering a Staff of Power that will be wielded by my wizard, Elvira.

As I had scrimped and saved for the earlier games, I also managed to stock up a decent amount of cash. Likely I’ll send my thugs packing while I pick up a few extra men-at-arms and maybe a barbarian for the next game. So while not a rousing success, the expedition wasn’t a complete disaster like the previous expeditions either. Yet at this point I am pretty sure I am solidly in last place for the campaign league.

Quick painting Russians – Contrast highlights and single wash

I’ve been plugging away at my russians making pretty good progression on them. I have a lot of figures to paint however. One of the nation rules for russians is you can get a free inexperienced 12 man rifle squad. That’s in addition to the three other squads I’m painting up. I’ve got a horde of comrades to paint.

Sadly, don’t have the space and set up to use an air compressor. That’s certainly something I want to dabble around with in the future. For now I’m stuck with hand painting everything. So I wanted to see about cutting corners some given I’ve have 50+ infantry to paint up.

Rather than put a lot of time into drybrushing highlights, I ended up using high contrast highlighting. The trick is to pick a lighter hue paint color and just touch on the clothing and parts that would catch most of the light. So you end up painting the folds and not the creases of jackets and tunics, lighten the top shoulders, highlight pant material around bent knees, etc. It will look a little off putting with the stark contrast, but that’s the result you want.
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You will end up following the highlight contrast with a wash. This is another trick I used to speed up painting some by sticking with one basic wash for the entire miniature. I use Vallejo paints and inks mostly. So I’ve got a nice selection of shades. However, for my russians I stuck with a single sepia ink wash for the entire figure. It’s a nice general wash that adds some tone to the figure and looks good over everything. More importantly, it helps blend in the high contrast highlights I gave to the miniature.
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One important bit is to soak up some of the excess wash that pools on the mini (particularly the feet). I used a paper towel corner that I twisted into a sharp point. Dabbing the end onto areas that have a lot of wash will draw up much of the excess, but leave enough behind to bring out the detail.

Some touch ups on the base, drybrush the boots some with a light grey, and a final sealing with a matte spray. Done. You get a nice effect by mixing the wash over the two colors of the tunic and pants. It’s quick and helps give some texture to figures that have a full uniform of a single color. A great technique if needing to speed paint a bunch of miniatures.RussianFinal

Frostgrave in winter: the well of dreams and sorrows

Between games we use a structured turn order where you have limited actions. You can’t go all out and hit up every magic shop and recruit all the soldiers you want. You have to make some hard choices and are limited to a single action (while your apprentice can help out running off to handle another task). First, I decided to choose an inn for my base of operations. The route my warband was going, I was going to need all the bodies I could get on the table and having an extra warband slot would help. Also this sweetened the idea of getting more expensive soldier followers in the future, as I had room at my inn base to let them heal up if they got seriously hurt.

I first began trying to summon a medium construct which initially failed horribly by my wizard, Elvira. Fortunately it appears that Morgana, the apprentice, had been taking her arcane studies seriously and managed to cast it. At least I’d be able to fill in one missing slot from my two wounded soldiers.

For my two choices of actions I hired a thug for 20 crowns and then had my apprentice see what they could wrangle up at the potion vendor. Making my random rolls, I opted to pick up a lowly healing potion for 50 crowns. Feeling a bit more prepared Elvira likely spent the next evening planning the next expedition into the ruins to follow up on rumors of a mystical well.

My opponent and I decided to play the Well of Dreams and Sorrows scenario. This time around random creatures could potentially show up. One change from the rules was we rolled for a random monster the first time any model approached within 1” of a treasure token rather than when it was picked it up. This broke up the tactic of players being able to secure the area first and then get the fastest model to haul the loot in case a creature wandered onto the board.

I set up my warband into two clusters and my archer with his prized bow of +1 shooting ready to clamber up a tall building ruin. I’d be facing off against a summoner and figured that having a few bodyguards within reach of my wizard would be helpful if the opposing wizard summoned a demon nearby. I went second and scurried about using telekinesis to drag some treasure farther away from my opponent, while my apprentice cast strength on a nearby thug.

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Elvira, escorted by her retinue of thugs and a stone construct, eagerly nabs some treasure.

My wizard, Elvira was behind a bit of cover but peeking out to cast telekinesis last turn meant she could be seen by a crossbowman that took a shot. They rolled high enough to take off a chunk of health but my wizard could take the hit, after all I could cast Heal (as well as drink a potion of healing if needed). Meanwhile my left flank moved forward to secure some treasure. Sure enough, my opponent began to summon imps to harass my warband and my soldiers got stuck in.

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‘A summoner. Why’d it have to be a summoner? I hate summoners.’

I huddled up my wizard behind a wall and then took a gamble. Across the board another crossbowman was perched atop a ruin. I had a chance for my archer to take a shot against him and my wizard was holding a healing potion. I figured if I could risk being a target for a wild shot for one turn, I could pull a pile of treasure towards me, and next turn quaff my healing potion. I had Elvira peer out to cast telekinesis again, and dragged another treasure to within reach. Both my thieves managed to grab some treasure and began to scramble out of the area.

Then things got all pear shaped. My opponent lined up my wizard in his sights and fired off a bolt… rolling a 20. So much for risking waiting a turn to drink a healing potion. My wizard dropped to the ground doubled over with a bolt through her chest.

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‘That crossbowman across the way can’t possibly hit me from hea-THUNK!’

The left side began to fold also. My apprentice was getting peppered with Steal Health. I had scooped up some treasure and successfully whisked it away using leap, however both of us had approached most of the treasure on the board. While for much of the piles, no one had quite rolled a 16+ but eventually that was going to happen. Sure enough an armored skeleton was rolled on the chart. Now the way all the warbands were spread out, I was in a better position. For both sides of the board my opponent had moved up their wizard and apprentice. I had a 1 in 4 chance of the skeleton stumbling out of the ruins on my edge of the board… which is exactly what happened.

Morgana the apprentice was just far away enough to be out of its grasp for a turn. I had a choice. Do I have my bowman fire off a shot, hoping to take it out and cast Leap on a thief to get treasure off the board? Or instead do I try to back off, run away, and keep my distance from the armored skeleton? I chose to cast Leap, my bowman missed, and the armored skeleton got into combat with my apprentice. Two turns later the skeleton cut my apprentice down and shambled towards another soldier. To add insult to injury, my opponent’s crossbowman finally took out my archer.

On the other side of the board, the summoner in the opposing warband rolled decent for summoning a demon, but decided to push the casting roll for a higher result. Now a minor demon was rampaging about rather than a lowly imp. His warhound and demon rushed my other thugs and construct to engage in a melee. After a few rounds the demon tore through my troops, but not after losing much of its health (and the warhound getting cut down).

On the left side of the board I decided I had enough, having my buffed up thug climb the ruined building and take out the enemy crossbowman. My opponent obliged and ended up getting another two thugs to join the fray. At least in that combat I made a lasting impression, cutting down the crossbowman and and two other thugs, only to be taken out by his health being sapped away from a Steal Health spell. The game ended on the sixth turn and all of my warband members being either killed or off the board with treasure. To add to my trouncing, the summoner teleported up to the edge of the well and was able to drink from it before the game ended.

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‘FOR WANDA! Er… Morgana!’

The proof was in the pudding. I only managed to cast 3 spells to my opponent’s 8. A horrible outing combined with falling behind in the league further, as I did not get enough experience to level up but a few. I took a risk and got trounced with my wizard, and the same could be said for my apprentice. I’m a bit eager to get all my soldiers out and about to secure treasure. I likely need to have a few linger, especially for those random creatures that might pop up.

Fortunately all of the warband recovered, except for my bowman that died taking this magic bow with him (and 300 gold crowns!). I also lost my potion of healing I picked up for my wizard, Elvira. For the most part I’ve been very lucky with losses and got a feeling I am pushing fate. Eventually I am going to get hit with much of my warband succumbing to their wounds. I need to try and curb my losses some in future games.

Treasure was a nice haul though. I gained a grimoire of Embed Enchantment, got a little cash, and couple of nice potions of Invisibility and Invulnerability. I bumped up my health and fighting stats. I might consider looking into buying and learning Enchant Armor. However I am only sitting on 350 crowns and am worried if I get hit with a really bad game, I might be wiped out budget wise if I pick up a grimoire as they cost 500 gold each.

The good news though was since my medium construct was still alive I could risk casting a few superfluous spells and was fortunate to successfully cast Write Scroll twice. I ended up with a scroll of Healing and of Elemental Bolt. At least with those scrolls combined with the potions, I can ensure I have some defense (and a little offense) for the next engagement.