As mentioned before, my two favorite game systems currently include Bolt Action and Frostgrave. In today’s post, we take a closer look at Frostgrave and why you might want to consider giving it a try.
For those that don’t know, Frostgrave is by Osprey Games and is one of their many “hit” publications in the miniatures world. This game is popular and a spiritual successor to Mordheim. While it is a spiritual successor in many ways, it is still something very different. The games are the same in that you lead a warband through a fantasy based miniatures campaign. The key characters level up, can change their equipment, and hire new adventurers. It is different in mechanics and general feel. My preference is for Frostgrave, but I know everyone will not share my opinion.
That said, today I give an overview of Frostgrave to help you decide whether it is a system you want to play.
Getting into Frostgrave
To get into Frostgrave, all you need is a very affordable $25 book plus miniatures and terrain that you likely already own. That’s it. That is all you need!
That said, I am a huge fan and I want to own everything Frostgrave related!!! In fact, I already own most of it. Each additional book adds interesting rules, missions, and soldier classes that you can use across the entire system. Each book also generally has a campaign you can play with your friends.
If you are looking to encourage others to play, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have two armies (warbands). Each warband consists of 10 miniatures so you will have 2 forces out of just 20 miniatures. As far as terrain goes, any 3′ by 3′ table should work and the game gets even better when you pack that area with terrain.
More about that below, but the initial investment to get into Frostgrave is $25 for the rulebook (and another $35 if you want a box of the official miniatures). That one box of miniatures will build enough minis for two initial warbands. That means that you are in with two complete warbands and the rules for $60. That is great!!!
Overtime, you will likely want to buy more into the system and you may become a near full owner of everything like myself. 🙂
What Miniatures to Use?
Frostgrave is Miniatures Agnostic. While you are encouraged to buy the beautiful official miniatures by North Star Military Figures, you don’t have to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using your Mordheim or Age of Sigmar figures for Frostgrave.
I don’t own much in terms of GW Products, but I have enough minis to do over six warbands for Frostgrave by other companies. I use the official North Star Military Figures miniatures and miniatures by Reaper, RAFM, and from Board Games (like Conan).
In raiding your Fantasy collection, you will likely be able to come up with more than enough minis. To play, you need 10 minis per warband and some random creatures. That is not a high model count at all. Grab your fantasy miniatures, buy the Rulebook and you’re in!!!
Eventually, you will want more than 10 minis as you will want to substitute different models into your warband to cover different options of soldiers, but you will only be playing with 10 at a time.
As you can see from the pictures above, there is a lot of variety that you can throw at this game. It is just great!
Some people love the Frozen Cities of Frostgrave while others make up their own settings. I do a combination of both. For the most part, I keep the games set to a cold environment. That said, the game is generic enough to take it to pretty much any setting. Some people set it in a desert, in a jungle or where-ever their hearts’ desire. If you really wanted to, you could even set it in your Mordheim or Age of Sigmar terrain that you already own. The game itself is played on a standard 3′ by 3′ table and it is recommended that the table be somewhat dense in terrain versus some other wargames.
Below are some sample tables on which I ran games of Frostgrave. The games below are mostly on larger tables simply because I run the game at conventions.
As you can see, you can set up a large variety of tables for this game. Just toss together whatever you have and you are good to go! If it is not in a frozen city, that is okay. The game is about having fun with your friends, playing through a campaign, and leveling up your Wizard!
Frostgrave borrows many mechanics from RPG systems and the most enjoyable part for me is the leveling up between games. In leveling up, you can improve skills, cast spells better, or learn entirely new ones. You also get options to build a base of operations and to buy upgrades for that base (which gives bonuses and abilities to your warband). This Campaign system is the heart of the game in my opinion. Some will agree, and some will disagree, but leveling up your Wizard is what I think makes this game fun.
The miniatures portion of the game is also pretty good. It is simple, fast and easy to teach. The game can be “swingy” because it operates on a d20 system. Within the books, there are plenty of optional rules that players can agree to use. One of my favorites is the option to do Critical Hits. When you use the Critical Hits rule, if you roll a “natural 20,” the hit does double damage. This extra damage means that you can basically one-hit kill almost anything, which I did to Ash Barker’s Wizard with Zombie in one of my games with him.
If you want to know more about the rules, feel free to read my review.
What books to Buy??
This post is meant more as an overview of the system to encourage people to take a look at the game. It is not meant as a review. That said, one frequent question I get that I have never answered before is in “what order to buy the books.”
To start, all you need is the core rulebook. From there, if I were building a Frostgrave collection, I would buy the books in the following order…
Note: Where possible, I placed links to reviews on Must Contain Minis about the books.
- The Core Rule Book. Buy this one first and don’t worry about the expansions until you are comfortable with the core rules. That said, if you are a keener (like me), there is nothing wrong with jumping further into the system!!!
- My next purchase would be the Frostgrave Folio. This book gives many great new additions to the game including a third class that can level up (the Captain), new rules for brewing potions, and many cool scenarios.
- If you want to give your core rules more life, buying Ulterior Motives is a great way to go. It adds extra objectives to your regular games for some more variety and fun.
- For those into Necromancers and the Undead, Thaw of the Lich Lord is a great expansion.
- If you want to take your adventures into the dungeon (or like to focus on Witch characters that control animals), Into the Breeding Pits is a great next step.
- If you like Demons and playing as a Summoner, Forgotten Pacts is the book for you!
- Of course, Joseph’s own magazine Spellcaster Magazine is a good place to go too. The first issue adds rules for black powdered weapons. The second issue adds rules for mounts. There is more content in those magazines, but I decided to include just wants me excited about the issues.
- The Grimoire is a cool accessory that makes it easier to reference the spells and play the game. A nice addition for anyone.
As of this time, there are a few Frostgrave publications that I have not yet seen. These unseen publications include The Maze of Malcor and Spellcaster Issue #3. Otherwise, I have a fairly complete collection of this awesome game system! 🙂
For experienced players, would you buy the books in the same order as me? Let us know your list in the comments.
Wrapping it up…
Why should you get into Frostgrave? It is extremely affordable, allows you to use the miniatures you already own and is generic enough that you wouldn’t have to play in the frozen cities unless you want to. While the setting is generic, it also has flavor and the game is a blast to play. If you haven’t given it a try yet, take a look. $25 isn’t going to break the bank and if you don’t like it, that is all you need to spend.
If you want even more Frostgrave content, check out the Frostgrave section of Must Contain Minis. We have a ton of well written game-related content.
Please feel free to leave in the comments section stories about your favorite Frostgrave experiences and your opinion on the best expansions for new Frostgrave players to buy.
Thanks for reading!