If you’ve never played a wargame before but would like to do so, this is the perfect time for you to make that jump. In late October, Osprey Games will be releasing the core rulebook for Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago, a skirmish wargame written by Joseph McCullough. This is a spin-off game that takes place in the same world as the original Frostgrave, but it is completely standalone. While Frostgrave takes place in the ice-covered city of Felstad, the new Ghost Archipelago game takes place in the Lost Isles, a mysterious set of islands that appears and disappears every few centuries and is the location of the fabled Crystal Pool that imbues special powers to any who drink from it.
One of the fun build-ups that has occurred before the release of many of Osprey’s games is called a Nickstarter. It’s named after Nick Eyre who runs North Star Military Figures. Similar to a Kickstarter, it has backer levels and “stretch rewards” when certain funding levels are met. There’s also the fact that backers can get the core rulebook and other items at a discounted price if they participate in the pre-order.
For the Ghost Archipelago Nickstarter, funding levels have already reached $30k (at the time I’m writing this), which means all backers, no matter the level, will be receiving a free metal Snake-man miniature and a free metal Drichean Warrior miniature. (These are creatures/NPCs that players of the game might encounter during scenarios.) At $35k, all backers will get a free metal Tribal Warrior miniature. All these miniatures were cast from the prototype molds that will be used to create the plastic model mini kits that will be sold later (and will consist, typically, of 20 miniatures per box). There’s no word yet on what will be rewarded at $40k, but current backers (this player included) are anxious to see what we can do over the next seven days…
And that’s where you come in. Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago are skirmish wargames. This basically means fewer miniatures per player. Unlike a game such as Warhammer 40K, that can require a major investment of dozens and dozens of miniatures (not counting the gluing and painting), skirmish style games are much easier on a budget AND they often come with a more simplified ruleset. That’s not to say that Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago are in any way not as fun when compared to their larger wargame brethren. I’ve introduced a number of players to Frostgrave, and the one thing I consistently here is just how enjoyable the games are… the social part, the ease of combat, and the often hilarious failures and successes that occur. (You can read my side-by-side comparison of Frostgrave and Ghost Archipelago here, and the write-up includes some comments from two new players of Frostgrave.)
At the most basic backer level (Crew), you’ll receive a copy of the core rulebook (hardback) and five free Treasure tokens that feature into the game’s mechanics. The next level (Specialist) receives a copy of the core rulebook, the Accessory Pack (30 Heritor Ability cards and 30 Warden Spell cards and an exclusive Blood Burn Die which aids in keeping track of a Heritor’s blood burn level throughout the game), Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: Tales of the Lost Isles (short story collection), and the five Treasure tokens. Higher backer levels exist, so definitely check them all out on the Ghost Archipelago Nickstarter page here. I’ve backed at the Warden level so I can get the 20 crewman miniature box and two metal figures of my choice from the Heritor and Warden selections. (Heritor and Warden are like your commander and sub-commander roles, and Crewmen are the infantrymen.)
I cannot wait to start playing Ghost Archipelago, and from the speed at which the Nickstarter has grown, apparently, a LOT of other folks are excited, too. I am expecting to meet a lot of new wargame players at my local gaming stores in late October; the introduction of a new skirmish game is always a good time to jump into the hobby.
I’ve also found that skirmish-style wargames are fun to play with my kids. My oldest son enjoys the tactical part of the rules–measuring out his movements, looking for places to block line-of-sight, and using group movement rules to his advantage. I’ve promised him some GA minis of his own to glue and paint right next to me. He still loves his video games, but I think he’s starting to understand the enjoyment that comes from assembling your miniatures, painting them up, placing them carefully on the gaming table, and taking your time to make decisions. Rolling dice is fun, too, right?
Check out the Nickstarter page, and if you’ve been thinking about trying out a wargame, the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago rulebook is an easy and fun read. You’ll be jumping to go play a game when you finish it up!