Solo gaming is great.. but gaming with friends is better.

It’s interesting how this hobby has changed for me. From what started as a group of friends at my work playing 40k (now over 2 decades ago), turned into many years of occasionally painting but also finding old miniatures at thrift stores. A few times, I went to Games Workshop official stores for short 50opt games.

It was actually boardgames that got me back into tabletop games. The world of boardgames has grown so much in the last ten years. Its hard to keep track of the new hotness. There are simply so many games now.

Many boardgames combine elements of tabletop wargames. The one that got me hooked was Core Space. Its a game that has a grid but it is optional. It uses custom dice and fantastic miniatures and inventory tokens. I need to crack it open again soon. I painted all the miniatures for that original game and all of the expansions.

The game that firmly set me into tabletop wargame territory was Five Parsecs from Home. It is a solo adventure tabletop game and unlike anything I had seen at the time.

After Five Parsecs, I tried Forbidden Psalm. Its a very fun lightweight tabletop game. There were a few issues I had with it though that I might share in a future post. The issues are fixable though.

Mostly, I have been deep into playing Frostgrave for over 6 months now. We play every week.

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Frostgrave is amazing as a group campaign game. The spells are fun and well-balanced. The expansion books add a ton more things that we have only started to scratch the surface of.

What I like about the math in Frostgrave is that is really easy to calculate. All attacks are an opposed D20 roll plus Fight or Shoot stat. Armor is reduced from the winner of the roll and damage based on that.
In Frostgrave, some people struggled a bit about it feeling random.. because the luck of the dice can play into it (like all wargames essentially). The funny thing about it is, that FEELING is simply because we are used to rolling large handfuls of dice. Which IS satisfying but is also just as random as rolling a single D20. The percent chances of a single roll are straightforward.

Having a group of friends that can connect over a shared interest is very fun and rewarding. The funny thing is: Frostgrave can be punishing if you try to play aggressively. You get overextended and quickly find it is better to grab the treasure and run for it. This can be hilarious and make for emergent narratives that are very memorable.

The game goes beyond encouraging houserules.. it actually requires the group to decide which optional rules to include or ignore. If you are curious what our optional rules are, I have it up on Google Drive. Feel free to copy it and modify it for your own game group!

Frostgrave, like all of Joseph McCullough’s games, is very demanding to the person that is crafting and painting the terrain and miniatures. I have had my 3D printer for about a year now and there is no way I would be able to play without it. The Frostgrave plastic miniatures are great, by the way. I have most of them and have painted all but a few sprues left of them. However, the special creatures can be tricky to source.

Frostgrave core beastiary

It was a lot of effort but I did get a complete beastiary together for one of the expansion books; Forgotten Pacts. Many are close enough proxies which is a standard thing for this game. Though it can be a bit frustrating because “close enough” can feel very unsatisfying. I really like the feeling of completion and this robs me of that.

Frostgrave; Forgotten Pacts

I don’t think I like PvP type games but its probably just 40k that left a bad taste in my mouth. Lucky for me, there are many skirmish games that incorporate the elements I love. I am especially excited about the games coming from Black Site Studios. I will try to post more about that, in the future.

The hobby part is a solo activity in itself. I find it therapeutic and meditative. Sitting alone playing solo games is great, don’t get me wrong, but grabbing a beer and rolling some dice with my friends is something I look forward to every week.

I am actually trying to get back into solo gaming. I am finally ready to start Rangers of Shadow Deep. Maybe I will put a post up about it 🙂

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