Category: Wargames

Frostgrave in Summer: The Complex Temple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Spartan Games closes shop

It appears that Spartan Games is no more. I enjoyed their space fleet game, Firestorm Armada. But it looks like they couldn’t keep the company viable. A short snippet of their official statement:

“Rebel Publishing Ltd was formed in July 2002 and traded successfully for a number of years. Spartan Games was launched in 2008 and grew rapidly. However, the tabletop games market is challenging and has changed over recent years, and suppliers are predominantly a small number of large well-known names and several small, cottage industry, type businesses.

Initially the business outsourced production but following quality control and production management issues, manufacturing was moved in house between 2009 and 2011. Over this time and since, significant investment was made into machinery and infrastructure. The business also expanded to provide models for a well known video game, moving this into the tabletop games arena. However, significant new development costs, timing issues and the deflection of management time from the core games brands resulted in a significant trading loss for 2015/6. The business was able to continue to trade by raising additional finance and refocusing on core brands, and direct / online trading improved significantly. Results for 2016/17 were significantly improved.

However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.”

I wondered about them trying to expand too fast and dabble into too many systems. The Halo property was picked up and offered as another space fleet game which to me was sort of butting heads with Firestorm Armada. I heard there were rumors floating about having another trimmed down fleet ruleset for FA too. A reboot of sorts with Dystopian Wars also got a mixed reception with long time fans.

PlanetFall looked cool and appeared Spartan Games had some interesting ideas mixing it in with FA as a combined planetary invasion game. But makes me wonder with competition of Dropzone Commander, and Games Workshop always having Epic 40K in their back pocket, how the rule system would fare in the long run. It also appears some of their Kickstarter campaigns have been cancelled (see pic below).

I think fun, fleet game systems are sort of lacking and with the vacuum it looks like no one will ever take a real stab at them in the future. Either for fantasy or sci-fi, Games Workshop can just act as a market juggernaut with a re-release of old properties, essentially guaranteeing getting a chunk of cash from die-hard fans and out compete any newcomers. Shame.

If folks still have questions looks like email to spartangames@mail.com is your best bet.

Frostgrave in Summer: The Well of Dreams and Sorrows

Our summer Frostgrave campaign is in full swing and I managed to get another game in. This time I’d be going against another necromancer. Seriously, I think it’s just about everyone’s favorite school fluffwise with the pals I play with. Last time I fared okay but didn’t really get any treasure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frostgrave in Summer: The Keep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frostgrave in Summer: First Expedition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“For Wanda!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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‘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.

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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.