Monday, December 19, 2016

Frostgrave Campaign

My local gaming group launched a Frostgrave campaign this month.  We have around 10 people participating, which is a great turn-out of active players for a campaign.  Most campaigns have a hard time even lifting off the ground, much less lasting for more than two games.  But it looks like this one is going to have legs.

We had two games of 4 players each.  Each player entered from a corner.  My warband entered from the lower right.

Each player may play up to 3 campaign games per month.  We're playing scenarios from the core rulebook.  I was hoping that we would play the story campaigns in the expansion books, but I guess that will have to wait for another time.  This campaign will end once a wizard earns and succeeds casting a Transcendance spell.  A wizard must learn all 8 spells in his discipline, before he or she is eligible to learn Transcendance.  Successfully casting Transcendance moves the wizard to a higher plane of existence, which ends the campaign as the departing elevated being says, "See ya, suckas!"

Troy played a warband of Dark Elves.  I almost played my version of that Dark Elf Sorceress, but I opted for my swamp-themed hags.

For the campaign, I generated a brand new party, temporarily shelving Old Man Tumbergrumbler and his Orc & Goblin crew.  For this campaign, I decided to still play Witches, but I went with a swamp theme, so that I could use a cool variety of figures that don't see much play these days.

Zoraida, the Swamp Hag
Plying her craft with her Voodoo Dolls.

As a matter of fact, Zoraida, a character from Malifaux, has never seen the gaming table.  To accompany her, I brought along some experienced friends from Malifaux, the Silurids.  For Frostgrave, the Silurids counted as Thugs.

"counts as" Thugs, for Frostgrave.

The game started with me on the back foot, as the enemy warband that I was destined to encounter first had a Level 6 Wizard, and I was a lowly Level 0.  On the first turn, the enemy Witch took control of my Swamp Thing (counted as a Bear, from my Animal Companion spell).  I was forced to massacre it with my own troops, before it spun out of control!

I am forced to backstab my own Swamp Thing, before it turns on my crew.

The cool thing about Frostgrave is that you can use a creative combination of models to form a theme.
Counterclockwise from top, I have a Swamp Thing by Reaper, a Saurus Temple Guard by Games Workshop, a Silurid by Wyrd, and a good old-fashioned Lizardman by Grenadier. 
This Lizardman is from one of my very first Grenadier box sets, from back in the early 80's.
Speaking of old minis, here is the Witch from the old set of miniatures that was made for the 2nd Edition of Talisman, the old boardgame by Games Workshop, circa 1991.  This paintjob goes back to around 1992.
For Frostgrave, this character is Esmerelda, Apprentice to the Swamp Hag.

My opponent aggressively bears down on my vanguard.
He cleverly camo'd his miniatures in pure white, to blend in with the snow.....
No, actually, they are <cough, cough> unpainted.  Am I playing Frostgrave or Warmachine?  ;-)

For taking out my Swamp Thing, I reciprocated the favor by having Esmerelda fart on a Voodoo Doll that looked remarkably like the enemy Apprentice (counts as a Poison Dart), sickening the Apprentice and reducing her meddling interference throughout the rest of the game.  Zoraida eventually took the enemy Apprentice out of her misery by breaking her Voodoo Doll in half (counts as a high-rolling Bone Dart!), earning an Apprentice-kill.

Shit's about to get real.
Our respective warbands met in a fierce scrum, and somehow my guys came out on top, despite being outclassed.  At this point, my opponent and I both were poised to vacate the board with 3 Treasures apiece, and I offered him a truce for the rest of the game.  He refused my olive-branch, however, prompting my Archer to put an arrow between his Witch's eyes as she peeked behind hard cover.

I ended up finishing the game with a healthy haul of 4 treasures.  Very respectable for a first outing by the Swamp Hag and plenty of money for upgrades!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hobby Birthday

Ha, ha, I crack myself up.  Hobby Birthday, get it?

No?  Well, last weekend was one of those "milestone" birthdays.  So to properly celebrate, I hoofed it back up to D.C., to spend the weekend with all my peeps.  I managed to fit in a game-night (boardgames and Magic: The Gathering); a jam-night (playing music and playing party games); and an afternoon playing a miniatures game.  A jam-packed (ha, ha) birthday weekend full of fine friends and hobby goodness.

My rental car for the weekend.
As one friend put it, "the perfect mid-life crisis cruiser".
Mike Brandt of NOVA Open fame, who mastered guitar in just 6 months -- but who still needs to learn "how to rock"....

My buddy, Steve, of the Cheatin' Steve's blog, hosted a fantastic game of Chain of Command.

Steve knows how to set up a beautiful gaming table.
I'm playing the retreating Germans on the bottom half of the table. 
Steve is playing the advancing Americans on the top half.  (Guess who wins this game...)

This game was my first introduction to Chain of Command.  I was very impressed with the ruleset.  With 60 years of historical rule-sets rehashing the same ideas, I was intrigued with some of the innovations that Chain of Command offers.  I particularly liked the fresh take on deployment rules; the leader-influenced activation system; and the command-dice system, which allows you to influence key moments in the game in thematic fashion.

"We have 'em on the run, boys!"
I lost The Battle of the Hedge earlier in the game.

All of the individual mechanics are quick to resolve, and they fit thematically with what you would logically expect to happen on the battlefield, supporting realistic tactics.  Our only complaint is that, in aggregate, the rules are a bit "busy", and they require a bit of investment, before players achieve a smooth "flow" in the game-play.  But Steve and I agree that the investment is worth it.

"Hut, hut, hut,....."
"Come back to the villa!  We'll make our last stand here!"
How's that for a motivational speech?
Despite forcing a retreat of the American forces on the left flank, my Germans lost the Battle of the Villa.

So now that I have a taste of WWII-style battle, I'm ready to dress it up with some proper accoutrements:  werewolves, zombies, and walkers!

Here, I'm finally painting up some of my old DUST figures, in preparation for Konflikt '47.