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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gates 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our campaign kicked off a few weeks ago and the first expedition into the ruins by Bitches’ Brew was a complete disaster. I faced off against a chronomancer who cleverly used an old ork Mordheim gang for their warband. I started off with a gamble trying to summon a medium construct before the game which fizzled horribly despite having a casting number of 11. Fortunately it was an out of game spell, so my wizard’s head didn’t explode. However it pretty much set the tone for the game which went into a downward spiral from there.
I mostly flanked one edge of the table with my apprentice and had my wizard head off to the center to scoop up some treasure.
My opponent got two warhounds which headed off my apprentice and a barbarian that managed to get into a scrum with my wizard. Fortunately my wizard had a man-at-arms and a thug within melee distance to get into the fight.
Unfortunately for my apprentice, the thug accompanying her tried to make a grab for some treasure and left her high and dry.
All the while those precious turns I was locked in melee, my opponent could cast freely. While he wasn’t doing many direct damage spells, leaping a few crossbowmen up to a tower to try and snipe off my soldiers wasn’t pleasant. I managed to take out his barbarian and a thug from the game, but not before his warhounds dragged down my enchanter.
In return he took out my entire warband save for an archer and two thieves that got a haul of treasure off the board (thank god my leap spells worked at least). In the end he cast 8 spells to my 3. I fizzled a lot of 8-10 casting spells too and had a fair share of abysmal rolls.
My opponent was able to only get 3 piles of treasure off including a grimoire and several choice scrolls. I managed to snag a +1 shooting bow. As for my other treasure I eagerly rolled to see what loot I found and rolled… a 1, just a measly 160 gold crowns. Even the gods of fortune were mocking my warband.
The good news thankfully was that my wizard and apprentice survived the encounter with only bruises to their ego. I managed to escape with much of my warband intact except for some scrapes and bruises. However one of my archers and the man-at-arms were far too injured to make another go and would have to sit out the next battle. I decided to hole up in an inn and make it my base of operations as I planned out my next expedition.
While my opponent got almost 4 levels of experience, I only got one. I decided to double down on enchant construct and lower its casting cost by one to a base of 7. I limped away from the battle with a couple of painfully learned lessons. I need to keep one caster well out of combat. While I wasn’t worried too much about losing my wizard, the simple fact that I could not cast anything several turns locked in a fight killed my chance for getting that precious experience from casting spells. Tactically I was fairly solid, as my soldiers were within range from both spell casters for most of the game. But I slipped up when I forgot they could do an intercept move. When my wizard and apprentice were rushed, I could have had another soldier step up to cut off my opponent. Something I need to remember next time.
I never managed to get a decent shot off between my two archers (mostly due to horrible rolls). But they did provide a threat and kept a few soldiers scurrying for cover rather than rushing to treasure. At the very least they also occupied my opponent’s crossbowmen with a few volleys back and forth as they tried to pick each other off. My man-at-arms though performed well. I have to admit having high armored troops helps a lot. While he didn’t have much success landing blows, that few extra points in armor meant my opponent had to really roll high to get any serious damage through. I might see about getting an armor enchant spell to toughen up my soldiers some in the future.
We’ll be starting our Frostgrave campaign soon. Last time I mentioned my enchanter wizard and the different spells in her spellbook. I thought I’d continue on with choices for how I filled out my warband. As always, I had to also pick up an apprentice for 200 gold. You are really severely limiting your warband by not having one. The other bonus is that they can offer group activation for another three models. However I see it more having her there for buffs and support over raw damage, as they don’t cast as well as their master. That leaves me with 300 gold to fill out my warband. Keeping with my wizard, I’m using a Reaper Bones mini to represent my apprentice.
For my soldier followers I am opting to use proxies. I think a few choice selections from my Saxon and Viking warbands for SAGA will do for now. I’m using primarily figures from Wargames Factory and Gripping Beast. They are each decent plastic kits with the Gripping Beast figures being pretty nice. Both sets are an exceedingly good value though and for practically disposable fodder in Frostgrave, not a bad choice as minis.
You need to get treasure off the board. Having some models that can squeeze out an extra inch of movement is helpful. So I have two thieves that will be my dedicated treasure haulers with their move of 7”. They are pretty pitiful in combat so I am intending to drag treasure towards them and have them work on getting loot off the table. Having two would cost me 40 gold.
Next up are a couple of bowmen. Getting hit by arrows is not fun. Unlike melee where you’ve got a chance to return a heavy blow back, being the recipient of ranged combat means you either get killed or have to hunker down and take arrows being shot at you. Also at a two foot range on a 3’ by 3’ board, a bow is nothing to sniff at. I could have gone the route of crossbowmen, but I wanted the flexibility of being able to move and shoot and right now I don’t expect to need heavy hitting bolts, my opponents likely are using lightly armored troops for now. So two archers are a good buy at the minimum, costing me another 100 gold.
The next purchase was a bit of a extravagance but I decided to pick up one man-at-arms. Not really a heavy hitting soldier but has a little more defense. Buffed up by my wizard or apprentice, they can offer a bodyguard of sorts if needed. Likely they won’t do much but having one within a few inches of my wizard will potentially sway off that odd soldier rushing in to fight my wizard in hand to hand. Getting one would set me back 80 gold.
Lastly, to have a few more bodies I ended up getting some cheap thugs. At 20 gold each they hit a little harder than a thief and can drag off some treasure. Ganged up they can also deal out some damage, so I expect them to flank along with my thieves or possibly work as a team together. Getting two would cost me another 40 gold.
Finally I am going cheap and using my enchanter school spells for all their worth. I plan on casting enchant construct for a medium construct before the game (and hope I am successful getting the spell off). A nice bit is that they stay around until destroyed, just like a hireling. Although the bad part is I have to roll for their fate just like a soldier if they are removed. I’m hoping to save a little cash in between games and be able to scrounge up for one or two heavy hitters. So it’ll be risky but allow me some more cash to replenish casualties, or pick up more expensive soldiers later.
The entire warband is 460 gold, leaving me 40 in my treasury. Going with a powerful enchanter wizard and her aspiring enchantress apprentice, I can easily see the hired thugs taking up a rough and tumble name. Likely it was something muttered jovially over a few mugs of ale, out of earshot from their employers. But I expect after a while the wizard took it up with some grudging endearment. So I’m eager to start up my campaign and see how Bitches’ Brew fares exploring the ruins of Frostgrave.
One nice thing that Osprey and Warlord Games is doing with the new edition of Bolt Action is pretty much keeping all the older army books usable. No updates will be made to them. The exception though would be the german army. When Bolt Action first hit, the germans seemed to have gotten stuck with the first army book curse.
A hallmark of 40K was that with each new edition, there would be several new codex books released updating all the races. Commonly the first book would end up being ‘underpowered’ compared to the other armies that were released later. More cool ideas and better balancing (or imbalances) would come out after a new edition was released. Typically the first army book would have point costs and choices that seemed ideal on paper, but after a few years of essentially further playtesting from the community at large, later releases of army books would have better options and point costs more in line with their relative value on the tabletop. Sadly, this was viewed from many the same for Bolt Action regarding the germans.
I’ll start off and cover stuff that hasn’t much changed from the first edition. You still get a nice product that covers the german army and various units that were seen throughout the war. There is a brief historical overview of the conflicts and different theaters the german army participated in, then a breakdown of the force organization and options for a reinforced platoon, followed up by theater specific force lists. The layout follows the new format seen in the force lists of the 2nd edition book, which I think is a little easier to read and digest. I haven’t gotten too deep in the lists, but for the most part it seems the costs and unit options are the same as the first version.
The german army has a few new nation rules though. The replacement of fallen NCOs and Hitler’s buzzsaw (LMG and MMGs get an extra d6 shooting) are still in place. One big change is that all german officers get an extra die for giving orders to other units. In effect a 2nd Lt. acts like a 1st Lt., and a 1st Lt. pulls 3 dice like a captain, etc. which is a big change. With the right deployment you can get very effective turns activating several units within command range. I like this new rule for the german army and it’s something that somewhat reflects the discipline and leadership much of the army had in WW2.
The other new nation rule which is a little more flaky is Tiger Fear. Every enemy unit that sees a vehicle with this special rule acts as if it has an additional pin except for orders to fire on that vehicle. Now for a Panther or an actual Tiger, I could see this as a nice flavor rule. But this also applies to the Panzer IV which to me sort of pushes that into OP territory. You suddenly have a medium tank that can make it difficult for enemy units being able to advance and take objectives, simply by seeing it on the table. I expect Tiger Fear to be heavily house-ruled for many people.
You have a scattering of a few new units. Ambulance vehicles can now be chosen which operate as both a transport and as a medic unit, which is interesting. Additionally there is a special section at the end which covers units and vehicles that had night vision gear for those night fight games.
The Good – This is a fairly comprehensive book for players that want to field a german army for Bolt Action. You get a lot of options including several special units and theater lists that cover much of the war including a few that have some special rules for engagements at certain time periods (such as limited fuel for the end of the war, or unreliable new production panther tanks that were mid-war). I like that the german army also has a few extra nation-specific rules which can bolster their force some. As typical for these books there is a lot of great Osprey artwork and photographs, along with a comfortable layout to read the unit choices and costs.
The Bad – Aside from the few extra paragraphs for the nation specific rules, you aren’t going to find much different from the first edition. There are a few minor changes here and there (such as light infantry mortars no longer being able to fire smoke rounds). But essentially the point costs and unit selections are just about the same. On one hand you might be pleased with this, meaning you don’t have to alter up the composition of your platoons much. But on the other hand, if you think there were glaring imbalances with point costs for certain units, they are likely still there.
The Verdict – If you are a new Bolt Action player and fancy fielding a german platoon, this is a must buy. You get so many options and choices, along with lots of theater-specific lists to let you dabble in more historic TOE forces, it’s worth getting. It’s also an attractive book with a lot of material to offer a decent source of information for both painting and modelling, as well as a touch of history.
If you are an older player of german forces, this might be worth picking up. You could likely take a pencil to the older edition and mark down the few special rules and changes to some key units. Other than that, you could simply commit the new nation rules to memory and work with your old book. You aren’t going to find much here that is new or different from the first edition. In fact, I’d say embrace a more environmentally sound choice and possibly get the PDF version and alter the few special rules in your old print edition manually.
It’s an attractive book and the new nation rules are worth noting. However it’s likely not something you absolutely need to have a print version of if you’ve got the older edition (just use the new nation rules). Yet for new players, the 2nd edition is certainly something to buy if playing a german army. A pleasant book with some more material other than just unit profiles and force selectors to serve as an enjoyable light read for a german army enthusiast.