A cold wind howls, as it always does, through the crumbling ruins of the frozen city. And as you look to the faces of your apprentice and your tired, hired soldiers, an odd thought strikes you. If there's still some semblance of treasure and glory to be found in this picked-through ice-hewn urban sprawl... what trophies must the great wide yonder hold? With Frostgrave: The Wildwoods, a new supplement for the fun and fast skirmish wargame Frostgrave, you can brave the wilds around the city for yourself! Osprey Games sent us a copy of the new book ahead of its June 20th release, so follow along for our thoughts on Frostgrave: The Wildwoods.
Created in partnership between Osprey Games and North Star Military Figures, Frostgrave is a wargame ruleset where each player controls a wizard, their apprentice, and a band of hired help. One of the most compelling aspects of the game is that fact that it's miniatures-agnostic, meaning you can use any kind of miniatures you'd like for the game (though, it must be stated, the miniatures produced by North Star Military Figures for the game are incredibly detailed, customizable, and evocative). Written by Frostgrave creator Joseph A. McCullough and illustrated by aRU-MOR, Frostgrave: The Wildwoods finally opens the game up far beyond the normal scope of play, in ways I'll dive into below. Want to know more about Frostgrave, check out my review of two previous Frostgrave Supplements, Frostgrave: Fireheart and Frostgrave: Blood Legacy.
Frostgrave: The Wildwoods Brings Thematic Rules To Terrain
The first new rules readers will encounter in Frostgrave: The Wildwoods are five new terrain types that can be overlaid over a game. Those types are: Forest, Mountain, Bog, Ice, and Urban. Each Terrain type gets a bit of description on how to build your board (because, if you're not aware, Frostgrave is an incredibly terrain-heavy game). And then each type has fun new rules that add challenges to your game board. These new terrain rules add tons of theme, and go way beyond simple instructions to "add more trees" if you're playing in the Forest.
Instead, Forest terrain can lead to dangerous (or advantageous, depending on where you're standing) forest fires. Mountain terrain features a sheer precipice on one edge of the game board, and players have to be wary of avalanches. Bogs are full of shallow freezing pools, hidden pools of water, and amphibious creatures. Ice terrain is, as you'd guess, extremely slippery, and Urban terrain can incorporate a mixture of some of the above-mentioned traits all bundled into one ruins-strewn game board.
The game also features new rules around hazards unique to the area, like hot spring geysers and frozen lakes, fighting and traveling in small boats, and maintaining supplies for your warband throughout your trip. Finding your way in these The Wildwoods can be difficult, so the supplement also includes new soldiers to hire.
Frostgrave: The Wildwoods Introduces Three New Soldier Types To The Game
Of course each new supplement promises many ways to customize your fighting warband, and Frostgrave: The Wildwoods is no exception with the introduction of the Guide (and more expensive Expert Guide), the Trapper, and the Trophy Hunter. I love the way each of these new soldiers for hire add more flavor to your party.
The Guide helps you navigate the various Dominant Terrain Types, the Trapper doesn't consume supply points (because its assumed they're good at hunting for their own meals) and can, as you'd expect, set traps. And the Trophy Hunter is a skilled fighter who gains even better stats when fighting "prized game" which means anything with the 'Antlers, Horns, or Bounty' traits.
Want to take those new soldiers out in the Wildwoods? There's a new six-part scenario included in this book called 'The Tower of Storms,' where adventurers go out in search of the titular tower, which was said to predict the weather. From a sinking mausoleum full of petrified men to the Temple of Cats full of Snow Leopards and Sabretooths, all the way to a frozen lake and, in the final scenario, a 'Demon Haunted Isle,' the new campaign is custom built to showcase all the best new features and creatures from the book.
Frostgrave: The Wildwoods' New Treasure and Monsters Keep The Game Fresh
One of my absolutely favorite aspects of Frostgrave are its copious treasure tables. I wish I could show off pictures of these gorgeous tables full of magical items, weapons, and armor that will ignite your imagination, but Osprey Games has asked that we don't spoil that (and for good reason, that's half the fun of buying a new Frostgrave book).
But I'll just tease a few of these new treasures and you tell me if they amp you up for adventure. We've got Sealskin Armor, a Beastslayer Blade, and Spiced Arrows, to name a just a few magical pieces of gear. For Magic Items, there are treasures to be found like Golden Mead, a Bag of Snacks, and an Animal Whistle (among others).
Along with all that new treasure, Frostgrave: The Wildwoods also includes 23 new Creatures to face off against in the game, including Bog Men, elemental caveman-esque Firekeepers, hulking Mammuts, Moose, and, representing one of the largest populations of creatures in and around the Frozen City, the Rangifer, a half-human, half-reindeer monstrosity!
Frostgrave: The Wildwoods Final Thoughts
This is, put simply, another gorgeous, compact tome that is filled to the brim of its 95 pages with everything you need to continue adventuring in the world of Frostgrave. I feel that this is honestly an absolute triumph of a supplement, as Frostgrave: The Wildwoods brings entirely new direction, focus, and motivation to the game. And while there are no new spells or wizard options included with this supplement, there are plenty of other ways to expand and customize your warband. This is, as is - in my opinion - usually the case with Frostgrave supplements, the gold standard for how best to expand upon a gaming system.
Frostgrave: The Wildwoods is available for preorder now via Osprey Games.
The copy of Frostgrave: The Wildwoods used in the creation of this review was provided by Osprey Games. The author playtested this material over three gaming sessions, totaling five hours of playtime inclusive of reading through the entire supplemental book. All photographs courtesy Osprey Games.