Tag Archives: Osprey Publishing

Frostgrave Wizards & Warbands added to my collection


My friend John Montrie just came back from a trip to China. He took some of my  figures to paint with him on the trip. As if things weren’t busy enough in China! Anyway, he’s back, I picked them up today, and they look just lovely.

And a bad of Frostgrave generic medieval soldiers, of which this is just a sample.

FUTURE: At this point, I have purchased almost every wizard in the current pantheon from Northstar Figures. I don’t have their Illusionist but I have some Reaper Bones figures that will make excellent replacements (see previous posts). I don’t have their Witch figure because I want to go with a more traditional Witch figure and not the African/Voudron style figure Northstar is using. Not pictured is my Necromancer and Apprentice (FGV105) and Summoner and Apprentice (FGV108). I’m okay for Wizard types for a while, but I will be getting the aforementioned witch and that’s about it– some of the Reaper figs I have been painting lately could make excellent Illusionists. From the semi-official Northstar line, I will probably still pick up specialty hirelings and another box of Frostgrave Soldiers. I have enough skellies, but might want to invest in the Gnolls once they are retailing.

Frostgrave at Comics and Gaming, Fairfax, 4/23


My friend Subir has been working hard on setting up a small but somewhat regular group to play miniature games somewhere near the loci of Fairfax City. We decided on Comics and Gaming in Fairfax City. This is a nice place, catering mostly to the M:TG crowd from appearances. They have a good selection of on the shelf gaming stuff supporting card gaming, board gaming, and mostly the big two or three of miniatures gaming. More importantly they have an annex room with a lot of standard 3 x 6″ tables.

SLADE THE NECROMANCER’s warband Click to embiggen.

Necromancer SLADE and Apprentice TIMMY late in the battle. Yes, Slade was laying low when he got down to TWO hit points. Click to embiggen.

After diving headlong into Frostgrave at the recent COLD WARS convention, I decided to bump up my Frostgrave holdings– I have (most of) the standard wizard types plus apprentices, in the process of being painted (along with a warband of generic soldiers). For Saturday I did a quick black primer of my Cultist figures and used my Necromancer figure, “Slade”, along with his apprentice, “Timmy”, then added a little flesh color here and there so they weren’t TOO embarrassing. Hey, I have my standards.

Frostgrave Cultists box, after assembly, pre-primed.

My Frostgrave warband, minimal paint slapped on (that day). Since they are a Necromancer’s warband, the black colors seem appropriate.

We are trying out campaign options for this game, which is new to me, since I’ve only run single skirmish games at conventions. This element of the game turned out to be a lot of fun. For starters we had to figure out where the Wizard hangs out (Page 137 of the Rulebook PDF). I chose a Crypt, since it seemed to work well with a Necromancer. Turns out I didn’t “get” what the benefits of a starting location were.. being from the Crypt, I can raise Zombies with a +2 effectiveness! However, since I can only have 1 at a time, what would the point of that be, it would only make a pretty simple spell just a little bit easier.

Slade (left) two thugs and an archer move out, with the boys giving the old man some cover.

Slade and crew (right foreground) work on one treasure token (purple) and Timmy moves under the overhang to mess with other players caught in the open. BONE DARTS away!

My main wizard, Slade, was under an overhanging building on the second floor, when someone got a bead on him and nailed him pretty good with an arrow from the second floor. Fortunately, not fatally.. but it did make him very cautious the rest of the game. Timmy made up for it by flinging the BONE DART spell right and left (it was my cheapest spell available). I nearly clobbered the Wizard on one of the opposing teams (dropped him down to 2 HPs), so he was as cautious as I was afterward– maybe more shy, since he exited off the board.

My opponent to the right played it cautious with his Wizards, keeping them under cover. and using spells that could move things and people (like Leap and Push) to get to the treasure quickly.

On my left, I was donnybrooking with Subir’s Thaumaturgic warband. He had a lot of levitating style spells, so his style was ALSO to hide his “Varsity” squad of Wizards and try to levitate the treasure off the table.

Well, the thing to do when everyone’s acting so danged cautious is act INcautious. SO I rushed the guy on the right and shot some arrows at his Apprentice Mage to threaten him.

Here’s my thug rushing the two archers covering the Apprentice to my right. I ended up killing them both.. eventually

Like any good skirmish game, Frostgrave is about finding and using cover and the terrain, and trying to take the best shot you have this turn. Here I am shooting at the Apprentice to my right.. it sure made him nervous.

The first game ended with us pretty much evenly splitting three pieces of treasure each by mutual consent. The tactical situation was at the point where there wasn’t much we could do to stop that outcome, so it seemed sensible to make good on what we had in hand. This was my first “campaign game” so my level 0 dude went up to 2 with all that treasure and experience rolling afterward.

The second game, it was kind of anti-climatic. The wizard I was up against threw down some wall spells which made excellent cover for me, but basically segmented the game into “this is my half, this is your half”.. so it was more of a treasure grab than a fight per se.

Yep, that’s a wall spell. On the gripping hand, he can’t shoot ME through it, either. Note my wizard climbing high up where he can shoot off spells from cover, and the thug going for the last red treasure on the roof. Nifty…

So, yeah, we were done about 9:00 with two games in. This experience confirms that I think Frostgrave is a hell of a lot of fun. We basically had a pick up game here with unpainted dudes, scratch built hodgepodge terrain, and I had a blast. Frostgrave makes for a very entertaining evening– it’s fast, easy to play and easy to teach. I was playing with a couple of guys who had some experience (one about as much as I have, one with a lot more). I don’t regret investing in this system and I look forward to expanding my holdings.

Things I noticed:

1) ash.pikselin.net, the Frostgrave warband maker, is SO DANGED HELPFUL. It keeps an editable warband roster on your ipad, saves it online to your account, and enforces the math of buying a warband. The only thing it doesn’t do (yet) is add the little plusses and minuses of campaigning.
2) I love my new fantasy urban terrain cloth for Frostgrave. It’s perfect (see the pictures).
3) I’m pretty pleased with my Necromancer, Slade, but his spells were bogus. I need to think it through a little better next time. I made some stupid choices.. my opponents loaded up with Push, Teleport, Heal and Leap, very useful for this kind of game, and everything I had was either too hard to pull off or not of much use for getting treasure.
4) I’m also really pleased with the NorthStar figures I bought, but they could easily work with other 28mm fantasy figures too.

So, yeah, that was a thing. I’m liking Frostgrave a lot these days. I’m definitely up for playing more of it with a regular crowd of players.

IN HER MAJESTY’S NAME.. oh nooo, another project!


I’ve been trying to ratchet back on new periods .. okay, lets’ be honest.. I certainly think ratcheting back on new periods would be a good thing, I guess. It’s hard to achieve that goal lately, with the onrushing cult of the new that affects miniatures as well as boardgames. Latest example: IN HER MAJESTY’S NAME, imminent from Osprey Publishing. This has been a crowd-funded item from NORTHSTAR miniatures, but not, for once, from Kickstarter. In Her Majesty’s Name is a steampunk skirmish miniatures game by Craig Cartmell and Charles Mutton, to be published by Osprey Publishing in their “Little blue line” of odd period rules (I have two, as I have mentioned before– Dux Bellorum and A World Aflame). The descriptive blurb reads as follows:

It is 1895 and the world is in turmoil. In the decades to come, historians will reflect upon the cause of this state of affairs and many will point squarely at Charles Babbage. The perfection of first his Difference Engine, and then his Analytical Engine, gave the new scientific establishment in the Great Powers the tool they had so long needed in order to make a dramatic leap forward. The ability to make huge and repeatable sets of complex calculations revolutionized the world.

Within twenty years came the ‘invention’ of Cavorite, the perfection of miniaturized steam engines, electric light and motors, Radium Bricks, Arc weapons, Hydrogen and Helium Dirigibles, Road Trains, Calculating Artillery Engines, Sea and Land Dreadnoughts – the list is almost endless. Nothing is impossible when the wealth of a Great Power is coupled to the unlimited imagination of educated men of science and their engineers.

The one thing that all these marvellous advances have not brought is peace. Every Great Power has been jostling its neighbours for resources and more importantly, the latest technology. None can afford to stand still and allow its neighbours to advance their science and engineering unmolested. If they do, they risk being overwhelmed as the French were in 1861 by the Prussians’ mobile Calculating Artillery Engines, or as the Union was the year after that, with their ports put to the flame and successfully blockaded by the Confederacy’s Armoured Sea Dreadnoughts.

Some nations have also been tapping into older, more sinister powers, in order to produce an unholy combination of the mystical and the mechanical, such as the Prussian Todt-truppen.

Although there have been relatively few open conflicts between the Great Powers, a state of undeclared and secret war exists between them all. This is where the Adventuring Companies come in. These are the deniable clandestine agents of the Great Powers (and of other globe-spanning organizations). They act in the shadows pitting their skills, their wits and the latest technologies against each other, to obtain the latest scientific formula, artefact or other vital component.

Small groups of highly skilled and specialized operatives are brought together for each mission under the command of a trusted ‘Captain’. In Great Britain they work out of the Explorers’ Club in London. In Prussia their patron is the highly secretive Thule Society. In the USA they are mostly sponsored by the Secret Service. There are similar organizations in each of the Great Powers. They each have the choice of their nation’s latest arms, armour and other equipment with which to perform their missions. — From the North Star Website

If you’ve read any Victorian Science Fiction (especially The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), this is pretty standard stuff. Except this is a skirmish game set in that kind of universe. Not bad! I have traditionally used GASLIGHT or THE RULES WITH NO NAME when I wanted a go-too game for playing VSF battles. The skirmish scale suits me right down to the ground.

The book alone would be pretty interesting in itself (and I admit, I pre-ordered it), but there are all kinds of miniatures being released at the same time as the rules. Hence, the fundraiser. I am very impressed and find myself weakening.

The ranges are:

Lord Curr’s company:

Lord’s Curr’s Company

The Society of Thule:

Society of Thule

The Black Dragon Tong:

Black Dragon Tong

The Servants of Ra:

The Servants of Ra

Scotland Yard:

Scotland yard

An extra figure

Plus, a whole mess of nifty extra figures for different funding levels. This appears to be a common crowd-funding practice, adding incentives and bonus nifty things that the folks with deeper pockets get that the basic donors don’t. I have quite a few steampunk/VSF figures already, mostly from Eureka Miniatures and Old Glory (repurposed for VSF). I hope these match but I’m not concerned if they don’t. They look a tad bulky. The attraction of these rules and these figures is that the game will never require large armies of figures, from what I’m reading. It’s a straight skirmish game with individual figures. That means a low figure count and I won’t be breaking the bank.

What am I interested in buying? Well, all of them, really, but if I had to narrow it down to some good guys and some bad guys, I’d select Scotland Yard for one side (which is a traditional choice, I admit) and for the bad guys I’m conflicted. Prussians make wonderful bad guys, so I’m attracted to the notion of using the Society of Thule, but the Black Dragon Tong look wonderful. So I’m probably going to go with them, maybe supplemented with a few great Rail Wars figures that should match. In order of precedence I’d buy the Tongs first, Thule second, and the Ra Worshipers third. I don’t think one set is made any better than the other, I just am more interested in the Chinese mythology.

Terrain, ideally, should be fairly urban, and that’s always a problem in 28mm, as the bigger buildings take up lots of space on the table. I might be able to resurrect some of my Cow Town buildings but I don’t want to rely on that, they are far too American looking for this setting.

Anyway, I’m impressed. I’ve only purchased the (very reasonable at pre-order prices) rulebook so far on preorder so far and I probably won’t buy them until I finish a couple more projects for this Summer first. Still, this is VERY tempting!!!

Ebook versions of wargaming rules, new-ish from Osprey


Dux Bellorum on Amazon’s Kindle Store

Osprey Publishing has been a major player in wargame publishing since 2008, when they published Field of Glory, an ancients miniatures rule set from Slitherine.  During that time, I’ve seen more than one reference to PDF versions of their rules online, and they might be legal, but I’m kind of doubting it as they all seem to be listed on torrent download sites.  Heck, I may be wrong, but it just seems not on the up and up– Amazon doesn’t sell a commercial PDF of Field of Glory, for instance.   Since 2008, Osprey has overseen a small explosion of wargaming titles, publishing several high quality hardcover color illustrated rulebooks and expansions– including Ambush Alley, Bolt Action, Tomorrow’s War and several flavors of Field of Glory, including the latest Napoleonic version.  Some of these, depending on Osprey’s relationship with the original company, may be available as PDFs (Tomorrow’s War, for instance, is available as a PDF version).  On another front, there is an even newer line of small, “quirky subject” wargames that appear to be one-offs, and these are starting to hit Amazon as 9.99 Kindle books.  The latest being Dux Bellorum, wargaming in Arthurian England, and The World Aflame, an Interwar Period rules set.  That’s great news.  Why?  Well, mostly a personal preference kind of thing.  PDFs are great for retaining layout and color photographs and the original intent of the author.. but they are bulky beasts when it comes to storage.  I much prefer EPUB when I can get it, as .epub appears to be a platform independent standard these days.  It’s also a very lean standard of publishing.  Most epubs on my Ipad 2 are 1 meg or less.  Most PDFs on my Ipad (the ones with lots of pictures, anyway) are 12 megs or more.  Do the math.  Aha! you say.. Kindle IS a standard.  It uses MOBI files!  Well, yes, certainly.  But anybody with Calibre and Kindle for the PC on their computer can get around that in about five minutes, and load the file as an EPUB, most of the time.
Now, why would we want an electronic version of a rule set on a tablet or E-reader instead of good old dependable paper?  Clearly, the answer depends on the rules.  For something large, hardbound with lots and lots of charts and more importantly, lots and lots of rules exceptions, I probably wouldn’t go paperless for a rule set like that.  For a short, relatively non-complex rules set like the new paperback trade versions being published by Osprey, I embrace the change wholeheartedly.  I ran two games of my own design at Gaming Camp last summer with just the Ipad and some paper roster tables.. I had everything I needed to make the game happen at hand, easy to find and hyperlinked for lookup.  I’d much rather have an Ipad handy for a straightforward, simple game (maybe printing out some cheat sheets for everyone concerned in advance) then toting the rule book around everywhere.  Besides, it makes for some fun reading in the off hours.

A World Aflame at Amazon’s Kindle Store

Osprey, by the by, double tapped me.  I bought both of Dux Bellorum and The World Aflame from them, directly, as paper books first and now just purchased the Kindle/eventually Epub version– and I’ve pre-ordered In Her Majesty’s Name in paper, which will probably have a Kindle version as well.  Great trend, Osprey!  I applaud this.

A little bit of a follow-up: As luck would have it, my PRINTED copy of Dux Bellorum arrived in the mail last night.  A couple of points: Much as I would like to convert my legally purchased copy of the Kindle version of DB to Epub for use on my Ipad, I can’t.   Wargames published by Osprey appear to be DRM protected.  And, no, I have no intention of doing anything illegal, so it looks like I’ll be reading these rules on the Kindle app on my Ipad henceforth.  Secondly, there are some limitations to the Kindle version of the rules.  As any wargamer can attest to, a wargame has plenty of tables.  The conversion has to do tables right to be useful as a resource for GMs.  My reaction is.  yeahhhhhh sorta.  The alignment was a bit messed up and the tables in the DB rules overran the margin a few times.  Still, it was readable and I didn’t lose any information, per se, I just had to swipe left and right to see the stuff outside the margins.   The DB rules are primarily black and white (printed) with some color plates and minis photos.  The printed layout was not replicated like it could be in a PDF, but it was still readable and useful.  So overall I’m not unhappy about purchasing rules via Kindle.