Monday, 30 December 2019

Two More Frostgrave Solo Missions

We're three missions in now, and I've enjoyed them very much. The second single-player game, "The Weapon Shops of Isher", involved running across the board, stealing two treasures from a vault, and running back out again. Easier said than done, as a horde of gnolls (once again, nobly portrayed by the undead Romans) and a huge gnoll warlord (portrayed by a troll) poured in. In fact, they poured in rather faster than anyone expected, because I misread the scenario. Glurk and his kleptomaniac friends escaped, but not before Roger the Archer and Nobby the crossbowman/dwarf were killed and the thug brothers so badly wounded that they missed the next game.

Sir Vaylance and his dwarf friend get a surprise

The third mission, "Dog Days", involved the warband travelling to the edges of the board to destroy four crystals. Until the crystals were smashed, magical hounds (or bloodletters of Khorne, in my case) kept appearing and piling in to fight. This game involved some real swings of luck, including a moment where Snow White the treasure hunter tried so ineptly to destroy a crystal that she fell on her face and suffered seven wounds.

This little fellow killed three demons, somehow

Overall, I've really enjoyed these missions. Frostgrave is a great system, and seeing the characters progress is entertaining. As far as I can see, there are two main problems: firstly, the d20 involved can lead to some wildly differing rolls, which means that the safest way to proceed is often to bunch up groups of very skilled soldiers to gain the biggest possible bonuses for supporting one another. Actually, even this tactic is still vulnerable to bad rolls, but it helps.

Secondly, while the constant respawning of villains is effective and makes for close-run games, it does get a bit samey, and the satisfaction of racking up a row of dead monsters at the side of the board (I assume other people do this too) isn't there.

Perhaps standing on the spawning point wasn't the best idea

But overall, it's a lot of fun. The system is slick and easy to grasp. The games are the right length and have the right level of challenge and variety. Also, I've realised that each game introduces a slightly different mechanic for future use. In that way, the adventures in Perilous Dark are a kind of tutorial for people wanting to write their own.

So forward Glurk and his merry band - on to their next adventure!


Wouter said...

I like what I see and hope that my book with the rules arrives soon.
My biggest gripe with the game is indeed the d20 (same with D&D), but overall the rest makes up for this flaw.

Toby said...

It's definitely the big problem with the game, and one that makes it quite hard to prepare tactically for what happens. It stops the game feeling "serious", which is both bad and good. But it is a very good game, and definitely worth a look. If you want to do the solo missions, you'll need both Perilous Dark and the main rulebook. There are also a few solo missions in The Frostgrave Folio. Hope you enjoy the game!

Wouter said...

I've already played the game once a few years ago and I already have the main rulebook and a few others. But my copy of Perilous Dark hasn't arrived yet. The system has actually grown on me by playing Rangers of Shadow Deep and I noticed that a lot of the follower archetypes are interchangeable, so there is no reason to pick this up again and try to get a few more games in with my son. I prefer the cooperative mode though which is also why I need the Perilous Dark book.

Toby said...

Rangers of Shadow Deep looked very interesting, but I couldn't find a paperback copy of the rules in the UK for less than £30. Does Rangers work in the same way, with followers and d20s?

Wouter said...

It does, the biggest difference I guess is the fact that it's scenario driven and meant for solo or co-op mode. At the start you create your ranger, very much like you create your wizard, and you pick your followers.
There's a card system in play that randomly determines which encounters show up. This could be monsters, but also things like a fell wind that makes shooting harder. I have the PDF and as it isn't a full colour rulebook it's pretty cheap to just print it of.