I was invited to try Frostgrave today with Chris and Greg. This is a reasonably new game with a huge following. The basic premise its that some ancient city has been locked in a glacier for many years. Now that the ice is melting, bands of adventurers, led by wizards and their apprentices, roam into the city in search of treasure and ancient artifacts.
We played this as a three-way game. Each of us had a basic war band, a wizard, and an apprentice. I used a band that Chris had already created. Greg’s band included cryomancers, represented by Dr. Who and River Song.
The activation system involves each player rolling a d20 at the beginning of the turn. Play progresses with the high roller going first, then the second highest roller, etc. There are three basic phases in the turn. Each player, in order, executes their wizard phase, in which their wizard and any minions within three inches of the wizard, perform two actions each. After all the wizard phases are complete, beginning with the first player, each player activates his apprentice. Again, any minions within three inches of the apprentice may activate as well. Finally everyone else activates, in player order.
Figures come in some basic categories, such as wizards, apprentices, templars, thieves, thugs, etc. While each type of character has different attributes for speed, fighting, shooting, willpower, health, etc. there is not a lot of differentiation. This is a game about wizards and magic, and the other players are really second class.
Before the game, the players choose which spells their wizards will be able to throw. The apprentice knows the same spells as the wizard. During the wizard’s activation, he may throw a spell. These ranged from things like “decay,” which would melt a bow or other type of weapon, “teleport,” “push,” which enabled me to magically force someone back, etc.
This game came down to the wire. Chris used a telekinesis spell to draw one of the treasures toward his folks. Neither Greg nor I could do much about that. In the end, Chris got four of the nine treasures off the table. I used a “mind control” spell to ensure one of Greg’s warriors, who picked up a treasure and then brought it to me. Greg tried to break the mind control a couple of times, but Greg was on a particularly cold dice rolling streak. I was able to move the man toward the edge of the table. Then my apprentice used his “push” spell to magically shove the mind controlled minion toward the edge of the table. I rolled particularly well, and Greg rolled particularly poorly. The result was that I pushed him off the table with a treasure while he was under my control, so I got the credit.
The final fight came when Chris and I were battling over a treasure. My wizard teleported to it, killing Chris’ figure who was carrying it. Then Chris’ wizard killed my archer who was moving toward it while my wizard tried to heal himself. Greg teleported the Doctor (his wizard) into the fray, and he took a magic dart from Chris in the back. My wizard picked up the treasure and teleported off the table. I ended with four of the nine treasures, tied with Chris.
In general, I like the game. There were a couple of ambiguities in the rules we had to push through. In general it works, and the game was quite fun.