01 March 2016
Something wicked this way comes…
Osprey Games | Fantasy skirmish | £9.99 | 2+ players | 90 minutes | www.ospreygames.co.uk
Well, you certainly can’t accuse Osprey Games of resting on its laurels. After only launching Frostgrave a few months ago, creator Joseph McCullough is back with the first supplement: Thaw of the Lich Lord. It’s great to see Osprey supporting the product so soon after release and Thaw of the Lich Lord closes with a teaser for the next expansion (Into the Breeding Pits), which is due for release in July. After thoroughly enjoying the core game, we were excited to get to grips with this latest release.
Thaw of the Lich Lord is a 66-page book that takes players through a narrative campaign with a linked storyline. The background features the terrifying Lich Lord who has escaped his icy imprisonment and is now trying to take over the abandoned city. As this evil necromancer rises to power, his minions are attracted to the frozen wastes and players must unite to overcome the horrifying monsters and cultists before facing the powerful Lich Lord himself.
The campaign is divided into 10 chapters that all help to tell the wider story and gradually increase in difficulty until, of course, you face off against the big bad guy himself. A nice element is that each chapter has a different set-up and some special rules that fit into that particular part of the storyline. For example, in the first mission there’s an eclipse that means vision is hampered so line of sight is gradually reduced each turn, while other quests feature particular wild animals that are roaming
the board, including the brilliant Rangifer, which is a cross between a reindeer and a human. For those who struggle to come up with their own ideas for campaigns, Joseph has really done a top notch job in creating some exceptionally varied and enjoyable adventures.
Something to consider when
playing through Thaw of the Lich Lord is that Frostgrave is, typically, a versus game in which warbands led by powerful wizards go head to head in order to get treasure. For the most part that’s true of Thaw of the Lich Lord however there are some missions later in the campaign that are likely to require temporary allegiances in order to overcome them. This has the potential for some fantastic backstabbing, as one player sees an opportunity to grab some treasure (despite the fact they’re meant to be working together). Just remember that it’s only a game… and you can always get your revenge in the next game.
Alongside adding the story mode to play through, Thaw of the Lich Lord also includes a host of new spells, soldiers to recruit for your warband, treasure to hunt down and beasts that you might find wandering around the frozen city, such as the previously mentioned Rangifer. One of the most interesting spells, which can only be cast while playing through this campaign, is Lichdom, which turns a necromancer or other wizard capable of casting necromancertype spells, into an undead lich. The problem is that it’s exceptionally dangerous and can see your wizard gain a permanent injury or potentially lose their life. As such, the decision to cast the Lichdom spell isn’t one to be taken lightly but the benefits – for someone who fancies being a nasty undead wizard – are tempting. The idea of casting this spell ties very nicely into the theme of the book too, as the draw of the Lich Lord is likely to become ever more appealing as a player progresses through the campaign and eventually, when they’ve levelled up enough, there’s the opportunity to turn to the dark side. This would definitely make an interesting twist for the campaign when playing as a gaming group. What’s more, just like the original Frostgrave rulebook, miniatures manufacturer North Star Figures has created a new set of hard plastic soldiers. This time they’re the Cultists, the wicked men and women who have sworn their allegiance to the Lich Lord. Although they’re used in the campaign as minions for the Lich Lord, there’s still the opportunity to use them as normal soldiers in your warband and they would look particularly good in a necromancer-themed group. Just like the Frostgrave soldiers released previously, the Cultists collection comes packed with options to create 20 different figures, including the option to turn some soldiers into zombies or skeletons. Once again, the detail on these hard plastic miniatures is absolutely fantastic and we’re sure they’ll find plenty of uses in Frostgrave and beyond.
Finally to complete your Frostgrave miniature collection, North Star has released a Lich figure, along with his apprentice. It’s great that when you make the potentially game-changing decision to cast the Lichdom spell, North Star has a miniature to represent this monumental change. We’re also chuffed that North Star has a Rangifer miniature planned and it looks stunning.
Thaw of the Lich Lord really has everything you could want in a supplement… although it would have been good to potentially include the errata for the main Frostgrave game. That said, for the £9.99 cover price, you’ll get hours of game-time and some unique rules that ensure this campaign plays very differently to your standard Frostgrave outings.
It’s great to see Osprey Games giving some more attention to Frostgrave, as the original is a unique and entertaining fantasy-style skirmish game. Thaw of the Lich Lord is a dramatic campaign with hours of gameplay time and would make a great addition to your regular gaming sessions with fellow wizards.
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