I’ve got a small collection of game-related news and items that may be of interest to some of you. These are in no particular order, but some do have a time limit on them.
Osprey Games continues to offer up more wargame products than I could ever hope to play, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. On their website, you can view new products coming out up to three months out, but if you monitor their Facebook page, you’ll also get sneak peaks of games that are even further down the pipeline. Right now, I’m enjoying a few new wargame books as well as anxiously awaiting a couple more that are near release.
Outremer: Faith and Blood by Jamie Gordon
I’m not a big historical wargamer, but I know they are hugely popular with many people. Releasing in late April 2018, this skirmish wargame book is part of the company’s Osprey Wargames Series (easily identified by their blue band covers). Covering the Crusades, circa 1095AD, the 64-page book provides both one-off and campaign style wargaming, with players taking on the roles of either Crusaders, Military Orders, and Saracen (a generalized term for armies that served under the Crescent of Allah). Players are provided rules for a basic warband and for “upgrading” and improving your fighters as a campaign progresses.
I read a LOT of skirmish wargame rulebooks, even those I don’t play, mainly because I enjoy examining different styles of rules. The Outremer ruleset is extremely simple to understand and offers some interesting differences I’ve not encountered elsewhere. Salvation is an interesting idea — a player may choose to have a warrior drag a fallen comrade 1d6″ in a direction in lieu of losing both his actions. A Challenged Faith Test, similar to Morale rolls, is also a concept that fits well with the game’s theme.
The book includes six campaigns as well as dozens of tables that let you fine-tune your warband with unusual characteristics. Weapons, Armor, and Equipment all have their own tables, not too long and not too thin, offering up a good mix. Warbands are based on a standard point system for outfitting your army and the simple stat boxes consist of less than 10 traits to track.
All in all, a pretty cool little skirmish wargame for you historical wargaming fans. Filled with some great artwork as well as painted miniatures by the author himself, if you’ve been looking at running a Crusades campaign, you won’t have to wait much longer. Outremer: Faith and Blood releases on April 19, 2018.
Burrows & Badgers by Michael Lovejoy
On April 19, 2018, Osprey Games is releasing a new game called Burrows & Badgers: A Skirmish Game of Anthropomorphic Animals. Yep… if you’ve ever wanted to play a Frog Warrior or a Turtle Wizard, now’s your chance. The game provides rules for creating a warband that consists of small, medium, large, and massive creatures… a total of 39 creatures in all from Mouse (small) to Rabbit (medium) to Armadillo (Large) to Beaver (Massive). Each creature comes with a cost, so don’t expect to be filling up your warband with too many large or massive beasts.
The 128-page hardback is filled with full color photos of animal minis painted and fighting and slinging spells, along with some incredible black-and-white sketches of a variety of animals that include a Fox Archer, an Otter with a Blunderbuss, a Mouse Pikeman, and more.
As with many skirmish wargames, the rules are a more simplified set, and B&B keeps the game moving fast with a limited number of actions (6 — Sprint, Attack, Shoot, Cast Spell, Search, and Hide) and fast resolution of combat results. Rules for magic are divided into 6 different schools of magic (Light vs Dark, for example), and there are special skills categories for Fighting, Shooting, Cunning, Strength, Movement, and Innate abilities.
There are 12 scenarios provided (but one-off games are also supported), but what I absolutely LOVE about this new set of rules are the behind-the-scenes things going on between games. Before and after battles, warbands can roll on charts that allow them to scavenge, resolve injuries, perform upgrades to the ‘den’ (the home of your warband) and much more. Warband members will increase in skills using an XP system and can trade with for equipment and spells and rare items. The game also offers a Fate Point system that you must declare before an action is taken (burning 1 or more of the 10 Fate Points each warband begins the game with); the Fate Point system can mean the difference between life and death in many situations, but when the 10 points are gone… they’re gone.
Burrows & Badgers releases on April 17, 2018. If you’ve been looking for a fantasy skirmish wargame setting that involves furry animals… you’re in luck. I’m not sure how cute they’ll be, however, when your opponent has you facing down a spell-slinging Dark Magic badger wearing Bletchly’s Cloak of Concealment and readying his Life Eater spell. Good luck!
Players of Frostgrave will be happy to hear that Osprey has two new expansions coming soon. Frostgrave: The Maze of Malcor (available June 28, 2018) provides new creatures, items, and some new adventures but what I’m most anxious to see are the new “lost” schools of magic and new experience system.
Frostgrave: The Grimoir (also available June 28, 2018) will offer Frostgrave players Spell Cards for all the magic in the Core rulebook and the five expansions (this includes the new Maze of Malcor).
Finally, the second Frostgrave novel, Oathgold by Matthew Ward, releases on June 28, 2018. I really enjoyed the first novel, Second Chances, and its fleshing out of the world of Frostgrave. (This second novel looks to focus on the barbarian culture of Frostgrave.)
Star Wars: Legion
Fantasy Flight Games has released new details on both the Han Solo expansion and the General Veers expansions. These expansions provide a miniature as well as new cards that work for either Rebel or Empire side. The Q3 release dates have not been released.
Note: If you’re wondering how long it might take to paint all your stormtroopers, rest assured you can have some amazing looking troops ready with just some white primer and a little bit of black painting. I recently put a video up showing how fast and easy it was to create a weathered stormtrooper (along with some other miniatures) using The Army Painter Quickshade product. You can view that video here.
Kickstarter Alert: Godtear
A new legacy boardgame that is generating a LOT of buzz is Godtear from Steamforged Games. It will go live on Kickstarter on April 6, with a special exclusive for those who back in the first 24 hours. I’m quickly becoming a fan of boardgames like Gloomhaven that mix boardgame, miniatures (standard size and OVERSIZED!), and cards… and everything I’ve heard and read about Godtear makes me think this is going to be one amazing game.
Speaking of Gloomhaven… WOO HOO! A new expansion has been announced for an October 2018 release. It’s called Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles and will include 20 new scenarios and one new class PLUS seven new monsters and fourteen new items!
Fat Dragon Games 3D Printed Miniatures
Fat Dragon Games will be releasing very soon a series of miniatures that can be printed with a 3D printer and require no supports. Best printing results will be done with a 0.25 nozzle, but pretty decent results can be had with a 0.4 nozzle.
Each set of minis will come with three versions/stances, starting with the Turdles. Additional mini collections will include skeletons, orcs, dwarves, and goblins… and I’m told there will be more added. No details on pricing yet, but FDG has never been expensive for their Dragonlock line of terrain tiles and I cannot imagine the figures will not be extremely affordable.
Be sure to check out Fat Dragon Games’ website for more details. The best thing about miniature STL files is you buy them once… and then print as many as you need. Go ahead and build that 100 piece skeleton army!
Arkham Horror Fiction
My complete and utter fascination with Arkham Horror: The Card Game continues to grow, especially with the upcoming expansion, The Forgotten Age. Fantasy Flight Games has also begun offering fans of the game a new product line in its Arkham Horror Fiction — small stand-alone novellas that feature one or more key characters from the game along with bonus cards that can be used in-game. The novellas are great for fleshing out some favorite characters, and the bonus cards are true collectibles that cannot be found elsewhere.
Right now, three books have been released (and I’ve read them all):
Hour of the Huntress by Dave Gross (Jenny Barnes is the feature investigator)
Ire of the Void by Richard Lee Byers (Norman Withers is feature investigator)
The Dirge of Reason by Graeme Davis (Roland Banks is feature investigator)
Two more are “on the boat”:
The Deep Gate by Chris A. Jackson (Silas Marsh is feature investigator)
To Fight the Black Wind by Jennifer Brozek (Carolyn Fern is feature investigator)
Note: The books are available for Kindle but do not come with the bonus cards.
I’m hoping that FFG will continue to grow this series with many more novellas. My favorite so far has to be Ire of the Void with the new investigator Norman Withers, but I have a friend who LOVED Hour of the Huntress because she always plays Jenny Barnes with her matching .45s and this story explains how she got them!
Kickstarter Alert: Unbroken (A Solo Fantasy Game of Survival)
This Kickstarter has about 20 days left, but it’s already exceeded its funding level and continues to grow. It’s a solo game… right up my alley! Your party has been killed… you’re the lone survivor. Fighting your way back to the surface, you’ll encounter monsters and traps and other encounters. The game has added a ton of Stretch Goals and many more remain. There’s even mention of expansions. The game materials look great, and it promises a fast 20-30 minute game for the solo player. Check out the Kickstarter to see some playthrough videos, too.