In my last article (here), I mentioned that my son (A.) and I had played our first game of Frostgrave last weekend. After so much preparation over the past month and more, this was a momentous occasion and needs recognition as such! We both enjoyed the game, even with the very limited number of soldiers that I have prepared so far.
One thing stands out, though. Unlike many battle reports where there is a single main attack, or the action follows just one group of individuals, our game had lots of activity all over the board. This is going to require a bit of adaptation as my normal battle report format won't really do. Instead, I'll try to summarise some of the more significant skirmishes and leave the rest out. Otherwise, I think this article would become very long and tedious!
Mysterio the Soothsayer
So, I chose to build my band around Mysterio, the soothsayer. To assist him, he has an apprentice called "Little Annie", plus a starting group of soldiers (archer, tracker, man-at-arms, infantryman, thug).
My plan: Mysterio will cast Wizard Eye as close to the opposition as possible then hide and use the eye to cast hindering spells at them. He and/or Little Annie will cast Discover Secret and Fool's Gold to increase the number of treasure markers; the soldiers will concentrate on collecting these rather than on fighting.
My son chose an elementalist and is calling him "Malcolm Firestorm". He also has an apprentice: "Ellie Icewater", also known as the Ice Princess. Like me, his band is rounded out with 5 soldiers (thief, man-at-arms, infantryman, knight, archer).
His plan (as near as I can tell): advance and blow everything to bits with lightning bolts!
On the outskirts of the abandoned city there once stood a sorcerer's mansion. It's ruined now, partly buried in snowdrifts and the forest is encroaching on the long-forgotten gardens and driveways. There should be much treasure to be found in and around the old walls (some of the treasure is even real!). It stands to reason, right? Sorcerers are rich old guys, so the owner of this mansion must have been wealthy...
Since we were playing our very first game, we decided not to play any special scenario, but rather to play a "standard" game.
Note that I succeeded in casting both my out-of-game spells and promptly ran out of treasure tokens! I needed one extra for the Secret I had discovered and another for the Fool's Gold illusion, but this was too much for my supply of markers. Consequently we had to revert to using an orange "stunned" marker as well.
In his very first turn, Firestorm summoned a demon. He did have to empower the spell to get a minor demon rather than an imp, but only with 1 point of blood. "Ah", I thought. "Can a level-0 wizard summon such a monster? I guess they can. Oh, sh*t!"
Not to be outdone, my wizard ordered the archer and the tracker forward. They both had unobstructed views of the enemy apprentice and both rolled high dice. With 2 arrows in her, Ellie Icewater was down and out of the game!
Following this, I cast a Wizard Eye onto one of the ruined walls, thus enabling me to keep tabs on the opposition even in their most likely hiding places. So far, so good.
There then followed a rush for treasure tokens. My men reached most of them ahead of the opposition, though my furthest advanced soldier was horribly exposed. 2 enemy soldiers attempted to tackle him but both were struck with Blinding Light spells cast via the Wizard Eye. For a while, they could only stagger about, completely disoriented. However, the enemy wizard and his knight were also approaching and there were just too many foes for Mysterio to blind them all...
At this point, I realised that my plan had a flaw. The rout began as my heavily-laden troops tried to haul off their treasure. First, his demon struck at my flank...
Little Annie managed to save my soldier in the centre with a cunning Leap spell, taking him well out of a losing combat with the enemy knight [you can do that - use Leap on a combatant, right?]. However, the enemy hordes were advancing fast now; they weren't encumbered with treasure!
My archer actually won a round of combat against the demon and staggered away, badly injured. It didn't do him much good, though - he was dropped by an enemy archer before he had gone far.
Meanwhile, the enemy wizard stormed forwards, throwing magic bolts at all and sundry - but missing with everything (OK, he did occasionally inflict a minor burn, but no real damage).
Another successful Leap helped my apprentice and wizard to leave before they were hurt too much, along with most of my few remaining henchmen.
My final soldier (the Tracker) was caught and felled by the demon, though to be honest he was probably doomed by this stage anyway - there were so many enemies around.
- Me/Mysterio: 1 archer and 1 tracker K.O.ed. The archer will miss the next game, but the tracker is fine, really.
- Son/Firestorm: 1 apprentice K.O. She's not hurt, though and can take part in the next game.
- Me/Mysterio: 3 treasures, resolving to some gold, 2 grimoires (spell books) and a set of magic armour.
- Son/Firestorm: 4 treasures, worth quite a lot of gold, plus the odd scroll, grimoire and magic horn of healing.
Oddly, we both received the same number of experience points (240) and so both wizards advance to level 2. I cast many more spells - after all, I had a working apprentice for all of the game - and gained points for that. However, A. clearly got more treasure and scored higher in that regard.
In a game with a high number of treasure tokens (due to my Reveal Secret and Fool's Gold, even though nobody was particularly fooled by the latter), the temptation was to grab as much as possible without regard to the enemy. However, I found that with the very limited number of soldiers (mostly because level-0 wizards cannot afford many, partly because of the mix of figures that I had available), that meant there was no-one left to protect my treasure-carriers. They couldn't move fast and weren't as good in a fight. At one point, my men were carrying 5 of the 7 treasure tokens available, but I couldn't hold on to all of them.
Disappointingly, no wandering monsters appeared during this game. All that work preparing a sizeable collection of models and they couldn't be bothered to show up!
Some big die rolls were made early on (shooting the apprentice, summoning the demon) and these had a considerable effect. However, magic is unreliable: Firestorm spent all of the game after his initial summoning success without achieving much. His profligate use of elemental bolts sure scared me, though!
So, what's next? Well, I think I need more soldiers, especially of the cheaper types (thug, thief...). It would be interesting to add some different players into the mix on occasions; this might well be possible over the upcoming holiday season. Finally, although the "standard" game is just fine, I would really like to play some of the scenarios as well; they all sound most interesting. Roll on the next expedition into the frozen city!