Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Frostgrave Warband List…

So after two games of Frostgrave things are starting to take shape. Both Bull and I have been relatively cautious in our tactics so far, grabbing our three treasure tokens and skulking away, restricting combat to long-range pot shots and spells.

I've already mentioned my reservations about the game. I don't think it has the longevity of Necromunda or Mordheim but it has reminded us of what we love about the crew development side of those classics (even if your crew doesn't actually develop in Frostgrave!).

After the elation of taking out Bull's apprentice in game one was soured by the after-game rolling putting me way behind for game two, things have balanced out a little. I managed to sell a load of stuff to build up my gold reserves (one of the main universal criticisms of the game) and have turned my crew upside down.

The gang…

Yep, I basically binned my entire crew and hired a whole new elite bunch (something you could never consider in Necromunda)… and still have cash to spare.

I did look at the magic items to deck out my wizard and apprentice, but individually the items didn't have that big an impact (a +1 or +2 bonus when rolling a D20 doesn't improve your chances that much) so I didn't bother. Now the crew is in place (I can't really improve them any more except the odd magic item) I can turn my attention back to my Wizard.

The boss…

As I said, I sold everything I could and learned a new Grimoire spell – Furious Quill – to help clear out the vault. The main focus has been to get the casting number of my most used spells down as low as possible, so I've used my experience points to chip away at these.

I learned early on that you have to attempt to cast something every turn to get as much experience as possible in a game, even if it's an arbitrary spell of no particular use. This has helped me get to almost level 5 after just 2 games.

I only have the one offensive spell with Bone Dart. Whilst it has already provided some death and damage I could do with having options. Damage orientated wizards rule in Frostgrave so this would be the way to go it seems, even if it's a little one-dimensional.

Then there's the cash. I do have 300 gold left. Do I splash out on a base upgrade or fancy gear, or do I save it for a rainy day?

Saturday, 14 May 2016

First Game Of Frostgrave

An impromptu gaming morning today saw our first foray into Frostgrave. It's been on the radar since the back end of last year, but today myself and Bull finally got to give it a go.

Despite loads of reading up and warband prep earlier in the year I was completely unprepared for today so had to write out my list and make spell choices on the day, whilst Bull sat patiently waiting with his printed out spreadsheet and fully painted models.

Archer takes a pot shot at approaching enemy

Eventually we got stuck in to our opening game and things plodded along in a rather uneventful fashion. Bull sent his Apprentice's group forward to grab a token in my half of the board so I decided to let my Archer take a pot shot… miss. My Apprentice then had a go at casting Bone Dart – a suitably Necromantic shooting spell – at the rather brave, if foolhardy, enemy. Spell cast successfully and I rolled to shoot. After a little mental arithmetic it appeared that I had killed Bull's Apprentice stone dead! That sent shockwaves across the table – shooting is devastating if you roll a reasonably high score, let alone a 20. Everybody dived for cover next turn to avoid a similar fate.

Bull's Apprentice (the laid back dwarf) gets downed by the Bone Dart spell

The game rumbled on, a few shots pinging across the table here and there with with no more drama aside from one of my Thugs being taken out by Bull's Ranger. We'd each grabbed three lots of treasure and retreated to our respective table edges. I had contemplated making a charge into the enemy lines to mix things up, but had second thoughts and we all lived to see another day.

Should my Archer and Man at Arms (left) charge into Bull's retreating warband?

The after-game exploits are equally interesting as the roll for casualties, loot and experience related stuff. We got to choose our base and equip it, employ new bods and prep for the next game. All the killed models returned to their rosters none the worse for their untimely demise and we were ready to go again. Bull had managed to accumulate an enormous amount of money due to some good loot rolling and his new-look warband was very well equipped. I added a couple more Archers but nothing more, despite gaining an extra level of wizardry over Bull which made little impact.

We went into game 2 and this was even more cagey, with brick walls and fog banks being cast all over the battle. Some long range fire was exchanged – Bull lost a Ranger and I lost a Man at Arms and a couple of Thugs. 90 minutes later we were done with three more treasure tokens each and a lot of dice rolling to do.

So there we have it. Our respective warbands are established, both maxed out in number just needing better gear. Despite being a couple of wizarding levels higher than Bull, it has little impact in the game. Bull's mass fortune on the other hand speaks volumes, and he is now in a position to buy magical items and potions and really tailor his warband.

It's an interesting game with an exciting premise. I found shooting combat rather unbalanced due to the use of D20s – you either did almost no damage or wiped your target completely from the face of the earth, there seemed to be no middle ground. It's also a shame that the rest of your gang don't get rewarded for their exploits. It all comes down to your wizard and what he accomplishes in-game. The only problem with this is that he is the one character you're trying to keep safe and out of danger!

It's still early days for Frostgrave. Bull is very keen to get stuck in more and I'm interested to see how it develops. At the moment it's all feeling a little unbalanced to me, but we haven't even seen melee combat yet – our board was a little too open for that – so there's plenty more yet to experience.

Friday, 13 May 2016

New Butcher's Captain Fillet

It's seems an age since Salute, and I finally got around to building one of my key purchases from the event.

Guildball was going well just before our trip to Excel so it made sense to spend some money with Steamforged Games to get more Guildball stuff. I knew there was a new Captain coming in Season 2 for my beloved Butcher's team so when I saw Fillet was available at the show it was a no-brainer.

However, being such a new model there was no internet reference to help me pose or build the model. She comes in 4 pieces – main body, right forearm, left arm and weapon belt. The model itself is posed rather dynamically in full sprint. Unfortunately, being a rather skinny lass, there is a weak point at Fillet's left ankle and she was bending all over the place as I tried to attach the other pieces. I was in real danger of breaking her ankle completely at one point but got away with it. Careful storing of this model is going to be critical as it won't take much pressure to cause a disaster.

The belt went on easy enough, much like Boars except a lot smaller. The two arms were more of a challenge. The ball and socket on the model was next to useless so I did what I always do with such exposed elements and pinned them. Alas, her need to eat more pies came into play again as my 1mm drill bit struggled to get a decent hole in either arm as they were so thin.

Eventually we got there and she's nicely in one piece. There was no flash and virtually no mold lines which is most welcome after my earlier experiences with Guildball models. Looking forward to seeing what she does on the pitch and how she compares to Ox.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dark Souls Kickstarter

Well, it's landed – the new Steamforged Kickstarter and it funded in 3 minutes! That's surely CMoN territory!

Based on the video game series Dark Souls, the board game is playable solo or up to 4 players. It sounds mighty intriguing but at £80 entry point you're going to have to be committed.

It has to be said though that there are some amazing miniatures in here – it's very, very tempting but I can't afford a box of matches right now so it's not really an option, lol!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

My Salute 2016

So we made it in one piece to Salute yesterday (despite the rather bad roadworks on the way in).

Unlike previous years we jumped straight in with the purchasing – there was a limited edition Guild Ball model for Bull's team that he wanted so we had to make sure they didn't sell out.

I picked up the GB Season 2 rulebook (I don't have a hard copy of the rules so that justified that purchase) and the new Butcher's captain Fillet (because, well it's a Butchers model!). We saw the new Hunters Guild starter set but weren't tempted – though Bull picked up an entire Union team as part of a deal.

Steamforged were showcasing a new game that launches on Kickstarter later this week – Dark Soul. No idea what it is about other than it had a couple of players running around a very small board seemingly being chased by a rather large demon-knight type fella. I guess we'll see on Wednesday what it's all about.

We noticed there was a much broader range of punters at this years show – a lot more women/children/families there. It felt busier than normal and a bit more spacious but I can't say for certain. There were few demo games that caught our attention this year – some nice Frostgrave boards, a rather awesome 'printed perspex over a lightbox' space board.

I was glad to see Element Games there as they are my favourite online retailer right now. Alas their product range on the stand was quite poor, especially compared to Wayland and Troll Trader, so I didn't spend any money with them in the end.

I did have a couple of other purchases that I was looking out for. Despite being deep into developing my Project Hood game, I had a flash of inspiration last week and have developed a new mechanic for a sci-fi game. I thought I could make use of some of the Infinity models and spent some time looking for anything suitable. Randomly I ended up with some sci-fi nuns.

I also discovered that last week that I don't own any D8 or D12 dice, so that had to be rectified as part of this new project too!

Alas I managed to miss the Blogger meet up – we were chatting to Craig from Critical Mass (who I haven't seen since the show last year) for ages and before we knew it time had run away from us. In fact I didn't see any familiar faces wandering around this year which was odd – maybe I wasn't paying attention. I can't believe I missed the return of Fran the Angry Lurker!

Anyway, it felt quite low-key compared to last year (though that might be my own doing) but I still managed to come away with some goodies and enjoyed a few hours in the big smoke!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

How To Design A Faction Logo

I thought I'd post this graphic (below) as a visual reference to show part of the behind the scenes process involved in developing a faction logo for games (or anything really). In this case the logo in question is for the Nanomei faction from Anvil Eight's board game Aetherium.

We went through a similar process many times during the creation of the original Aetherium game box. It's easy to come up with something quickly, but if time is spent and thought given to a logo like this you can develop something far better than your initial sketches might suggest.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Do You Remember The Castle?

Tabletop Workshop's plastic castle

You may remember about 18 months ago I was waxing lyrical about a new range of plastic scenery that I'd recently 'discovered'. Tabletop Workshop created a series of kits that were perfect for my Medieval gaming. Alas not long after I'd invested some birthday money in their rather fantastic plastic castle kit the website disappeared and their Facebook page fell silent.

I never did get around to building much after the blog posts about it, but it's always been in the back of my mind as a project waiting in the wings. I think many people were rather sad that such an innovative company with a great product range should have fallen by the wayside.

Only last week, whilst tidying up the spare room I found the castle box and it reminded me I have a very exciting project in store.

Warlord Games' new Citadel

However, lo and behold this morning I discover that Warlord Games are releasing their new Citadel model… a model that looks remarkably, exactly the same as the Tabletop Workshop Castle!

They're also telling us that separate walls, towers and gatehouses will become available very soon.

Could this be time to resurrect my castle project? Is the gatehouse they're talking about is the famed gatehouse that TW were developing right before they disappeared?

Needless to say, Warlord haven't mentioned TW at all giving the impression it's their doing. Regardless, if it means that this kit becomes available again then I'm all for it!

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