It seems like everyone and their dog have taken to playing Frostgrave. Wait, what? What is Frostgrave, anyway?
Frostgrave is Osprey’s new fantasy skirmish game. And though new, it’s taking the tabletop wargaming world by storm. Here’s why…
What is Frostgrave?
Frostgrave is a skirmish miniatures game set in the frozen ruins of an ancient city. Once inhabited by the greatest wizards, it has been covered in ice and snow for decades. Now, as the Great Thaw has set in, wizards of all sorts are entering the city in search of ancient treasure and arcane knowledge.
Each player takes on the role of a wizard from one of ten schools of magic. The way spell selection works gives playes an immense amount of freedom to play each wizard the way he or she wants to play.
Each wizard can bring along an apprentice and several different types of henchmen. Your warband size rarely ventures beyond 10 man strong, which means you don’t have to paint up a huge amount of miniatures to begin playing.
Battles play out in several phases. Players roll off to decide who begins, and the first player starts his wizard phase. In this phase, the player can activate his wizard and up to three henchmen within 3 inch of the wizard. The wizard can try to cast one of his spells, and the henchmen can try and attack opponents or carry treasures off the board.
The opposing player then does the same, and the turn goes back to the first player for the apprentice phase. If the player has brought an apprentice, the apprentice and up to three henchmen within 3” can now do the same. The apprentice is basically a weaker version of the wizard, and has a harder time casting spells, but should not be dismissed easily.
The final player phase is the soldier phase, in which any remaining soldier not previously activated can do something. After that, if any creatures are found wandering the ruins, it is their turn to act, and the first turn is over.
Wizards gain experience as they fight more battles, gaining more powerful spells and magic items in the process. As such, it has been compared to Mordheim, but the similarities are rather superficial. While the wizard and his apprentice gain levels, the henchmen do not. The mechanics are also rather different to Mordheim, and uses a twenty-sided die instead of the usual six-sided dice. That said, people who enjoyed Mordheim will most surely enjoy Frostgrave as well.
While it is a relatively new game, it has taken the world quite by storm, having gained a lot of popularity in its short existence. Already the game, released by Osprey, has had one full fledged expansion and two mini expansions. Thaw of the Lich Lord is a campaign of linked scenarios, culminating in the battle against the Lich Lord. Hunt for the Golem is a mini campaign in which a Golem is rampaging through the city, while Sellsword is a mini expantion introducing Captains to lead the soldiers.
A new full expansion is coming out this summer, Into the Breeding Pits, in which players can take their battles into the underground lairs of the city.
While the game can be played with whatever suitable models you may have lying around, Northstar Military Figures has an official line of miniatures for Frostgrave, including models for all of the wizards, many of the encounters and two different plastic sets with which you can create 20 henchmen, which are also interchangeable.
A new plastic set is going to be released as well, allowing you to create Gnolls for the new expansion, and they are constantly releasing new miniatures to complement your collection and make sure you can field everything that is in the books.
So far, the game has proven to be very popular, and with expansions still looming on the horizon, my guess is it will only become more popular. Soon, we will cover Frostgrave some more. Stay tuned!
Pictures used with permission from Northstar Military Figures and Osprey Publishing. Get your copy of Frostgrave here.