Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Frostgrave Game #2 - The Mausoleum Scenario

Game two of our ongoing Frostgrave campaign. It was carnage!

Spells aplenty. Combat aplenty. My soldiers falling like flies, aplenty. In the last few turns I only had my Wizard, a Knight, an Archer and my extremely useful Raised Zombie to play with. I have to say my Raised Zombies have proven of great use in both games - that and the FOG spell!

I didn't take notes of the game, and the photo's are just what I grabbed while Stuart was planning his moves. This second game flowed far smoother and, without having too much terrain, the game was decisively concluded in a couple of hours. This second game has highlighted to me the issue of how the experience gaining system can unbalance rival warbands, in such a quick period of time. I've been looking at a couple of house rules, however, to address this issue.

Some fluff:

Being the Personal Journal of Airon Revan, Journeyman Magician of the School of Illusion.  
Entry Two: My Nemesis bested me again.  
Drawn towards a treasure-rich mausoleum, myself and Anjileec led our men forward to give battle to the undead denizens of that place. Again we were met by the rival band from our previous encounter - though it seemed some alterations to its man-power had been made.  
In the ensuing three-way battle we felt the loss of our wounded treasure hunter, numbers being firmly in favour of our rivals. Skeletons emerged from their crypt home in steady fashion and seemed drawn to my men like iron-filings to a lodestone.  
With my men falling all around me, Anjileec fell also. Suffering from a crushed arm we discovered, after the battle. With only a hundred gold coins gained from this encounter, I, myself, held the rear-guard while my men retreated from the battleground.  
Wee Jim, my faithful dog, was badly injured in this action. But then the stupid mutt shouldn't have charged into a suicide attack against a stronger opponent. Idiot animal! 

Photo's: (I used the flash for the majority, but when compared with the other shots you can see the differences. I don't know which works better?)

The game was played at Stuart's, the terrain being a mixture of his (the better stuff) and mine.
Pre-Game Set-Up
 Pre-Game Set-Up
Turn One(ish?) 
 Stuart's warband fighting the skeleton guards, 
and the thief picking up some 'Telekinesis-moved' treasure. 
 My warband moves forward - Raised Zombie leading one of the pincer attacks!
 First turn, or so.
 First turn, or so.
 Stuart's nice terrain
 Stuart's nicely painted warband and skeleton
 My warband moving forward, amongst the ruins I built
 My apprentice leading from the back - all five of my fighters shown (the smaller dog is just hidden by the wall) won't survive the game and will be moved to the injured pile. 
 Stuart's 'Man of the Match' probably belongs to his crossbowman. In this, and last game, that figure has taken out more of my men that any other of Stuart's warband.
 Near-enough the last turns - My knight is legging it towards the table edge with some gold (not shown), the last of my fighters belonging the Left Pincer attack is about to be taken out of the game, and my Wizard is trying to save the day with the raised zombie and an archer (who will actually get killed, next turn).
My knight at the bottom of the shot, and Stuart's Thug, Thief, Ranger and I can't remember what else, all moving towards the board edge with treasure. I tried my hardest to secure an equal share of the loot, but my men were just too outnumbered and kept getting taken out of the game.
My 'Injured Pile' at the end of the game. 
The 'right-hand' treasure hunter missed this game, but all the rest fell during the action.

Post game, when Stuart totalled up all the treasure he'd won for himself (and the experience gained, alone, from securing that treasure) it was evident how quickly the rival warbands can become unbalanced. As it is now, Stuart's warband is well in advance of mine in money, magic items and the abilities stakes - unless his wizard gets killed next game, should he have another run-away success his warband will become stronger to the point of handicapping my own in future games (and any new player would also be in the same position as me, against Stuart). 

I'm not moaning, nor taking anything away from Stuarts success, but I feel that this is part of the rules that I'd like to address with a house rule. As so;

Possible House Rules For Frostgrave
In an effort to try and keep rival warbands balanced, in regard to experience gains and rapid advancement of "Levels". 

1) No experience gained for each treasure recovered.

2) alter the experience table to include:

+10 Exp. | For each enemy soldier that one of your soldiers takes out of the game.
+20 Exp. | For each enemy apprentice that one of your soldiers takes out of the game.
+35 Exp. | For each enemy wizard that one of your soldiers takes out of the game.

+20 Exp. | For each enemy soldier that your apprentice takes out of the game.
+40 Exp. | For each enemy apprentice that your apprentice takes out of the game.
+75 Exp. | For each enemy wizard that your apprentice takes out of the game.

This 'warband' experience is in addition to the normal experience gains awarded from a game (excepting that stated above in House Rules 1). 
All experience benefits achieved are still only awarded to the Wizard, however. 

Using my alterations, after our two games, both warbands would still be on a par with each other and we would both, I feel, be more satisfied recording the successes that our soldiers had achieved. [Stuart's crossbowman notching-up at least 3 'kills' and my knight took out Stuart's wizard last game.]

I'm also working on one of my own scenarios, that focuses more on combat experience gains than treasure hunting. But saying all of this, none of my ideas may work or become adopted by us.

12 comments:

  1. What a great looking table Roy!

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  2. Looks like a great days gaming!
    If you feel the sides are imbalanced, try the Troll Hunt scenario from Joe's blog.

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    1. @JP Price: Thank you, and thanks for the tip. I'll pop over and find it.

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  3. Hi Roy,
    It was a fun game but the Telekinesis spell does make it very easy for me to move treasure towards my figures. Perhaps we need to hide the treasure more out of sight.
    Thanks for the game though,
    Stuart

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    1. @Stuart Smith:
      Yes, Toxic Pixie over on the PD Forum has mentioned about their being fewer terrain in this second game than in our first.
      What I've said is that I'll try and get as much terrain as possible for the next game and create more of a maze-like alleyway system.

      I'm happy with the game, and the Telekinesis spell is just something else that I need to overcome, so I'll happily continue going forwards.
      We'll continue using the rules as written in the book, and I'll have a go with a few solo games with my house rules and see what, if any, differences it makes. But at the end of the day its as much about luck, spell-choices and having a good balance of troops as anything else. And they're available to all who are playing, so its just how your luck pans out.

      Cheers for now, and I'll see what you say when you send me an email.
      Roy

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  4. I have the rules but can't quite encourage anybody to give it a go yet ......will get round to it one day

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    1. @Matt Crump: I bought the rules hoping that I could bridge the gap between the historical players and the fantasy group in my local area. A lot of the fantasy chaps are familiar with Games Workshop's Mordheim, so I'm confident that they'll give Frostgrave a go when I turn up.

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  5. Great looking table

    Take care

    Andy

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    1. @Andrew Bruce: Yes, I have to admit that Bodvoc's table and terrain were something that I was admiring on the night. My bits complementing his, it turned out rather nice.

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  6. An interesting game, though a little one-sided and I'm guseeing your luck wasn't the best either.
    There is a distinct problem with this typpe of game where one side wins and with the advatages gained from winning, it makes it easier for them to win again.
    As there is only the two of you playing you should maybe have two 'bands ' (gangs ?) each. I'd be very disheartened by the way things are going atm - but I'm sure you'll figure something out.

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    1. @Zabadak: No, I've probably let my feelings influence what I wrote, as it was actually quite the balanced game.

      The only advantage Stuart actually had over me was in the number of soldiers he had, and that wasn't really telling. Luck with the dice probably favoured me 60/40, to be honest, and it only really went pear-shaped for me in the last couple of turns. Again, my reporting is to be blamed.

      But you are correct when you say that with this type of game, when its one-versus-one, should one person get on a winning streak it could make it all the more difficult for the other person to come back and win later games. At least I think so. Possibly there's going to be a third player, joining us shortly, so that should help with the balance of combat and the spoils.

      I also think one of the problems is me. It hasn't fully registered with me that the point of this game is stealing the treasure. It just seems strange to earn more experience from grave robbing than it does for your warband to do well in combat. But, this applies to both players so I'm not going to make a big deal of it.

      The next game might be totally different as I've finally got enough terrain to completely fill a board, with a ruined city. This should provide a different set of tactical problems for both players and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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