Monday, 26 June 2017

Review: Ulterior Motives for Frostgrave

A while ago, Osprey Games sent Must Contain Minis an advanced copy of Ulterior Motives. For those that don't know, Ulterior Motives is a card based expansion for Frostgrave that adds extra player objectives.

A Review of Ulterior Motives
Must Contain Minis Reviews Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives.

As one can see, Ulterior motives comes in a nice little package. Compared to the books, it is actually quite small.

Ulterior Motives vs Frostgrave Core Rule Book
Ulterior Motives is quite a bit smaller than the books, but is a welcome addition to the Frostgrave lineup. 

Pricewise, this is the most expensive expansion for Frostgrave to date. It comes in at $35 Canadian ($26 American) while the core rule book runs for $28.95 Canadian ($24.95 American). With that price difference, one has to wonder what comes in the box. The box comes with 40 objective cards to expand the game. Each card has plenty of text outlining new goals for players to achieve. Is it worth the $35? I think that is up to each individual player to figure out on their own - but I am a fan.

To use Ulterior Motives, each player draws a card and that card will describe what the player needs to do to gain extra treasure and/or experience (in addition to carrying treasures off the board). Below are two sample cards.

Sample Frostgrave Ulterior Motives Card
A "Secret" objective where the opponent does not know what you have to complete. Red Herrings are added as elements to keep your opponent guessing as to what are your true motives.

Sample Ulterior Motives Card for Frostgrave
A "revealed" objective card where both players know what goal you are working towards.

As one can see, there is no artwork on these cards. Instead, there is a good amount of text geared towards the game. Some of the cards are revealed to the other players while some of them are kept secret.

The ones that are kept secret have something called "Red Herrings." These Red Herrings are objects placed on the table to help obscure what hidden mission a player is trying to accomplish. To use many of the cards in this product, one needs specific pieces of terrain. The items needed include: an Arcane Disc (flat stone about 2" in diameter), a Gateway, a Pit, a Runic Stone (like a monolith or gravestone), a Sarcophagus, a Statue, a Trapdoor, and a Zombie

North Star Military Figures makes terrain specific to this expansion, but one could easily make their own objective markers or use proxy pieces from other companies.

Overall, I like this expansion. It adds an extra level of complexity and uncertainty to the game in that players are not trying to achieve the same objectives. In fact, I like the idea of separate objectives so much that I did a homemade version of Ulterior Motives for the Frostgrave demo games I ran at Hotlead and Broadsword.

Something I find interesting is that one of the instruction cards states that Ulterior Motives is just a starting point and it encourages players to create their own cards.

Quality wise, the product is excellent. It comes in a great little box and the cards look good. There have been a few complaints on the web that the boarders on the cards printed unevenly, and one can even see a sampling of that problem on the first sample card in this article, "Rest in Peace." To me, this issue is not a concern - but others hold a different opinion.

Who I would Recommend Ulterior Motives to...

I would recommend Ulterior Motives for anyone that has played Frostgrave for a while and wants to expand on the game. Ulterior Motives is the type of product that breathes new life into missions that one has already played. It takes Frostgrave and turns it into a game about more than just collecting treasure and carrying it off the map. Ulterior Motives could be used for the base game and most of the campaign books too, which makes it a highly useful expansion.

My feeling is that this product is right for Veteran and Experienced players. Beginners would likely enjoy it too, but I recommend that they work through some of the other Frostgrave campaigns before moving into this expansion.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Osprey Publishing provided Must Contain Minis with an Advanced Copy of Frostgrave: Ulterior Motives for Review Purposes.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Thoughts on Blood & Plunder Kickstarter (No Peace Beyond the Line)

Blood and Plunder is a Historical Based Pirate game set in the Caribbean during the 17th Century. The game looks gorgeous and it shines through in both Firelock Games' website and their Kickstarter page for their newest campaign (No Peace Beyond the Line).

Logo from the Blood and Plunder Kickstarter Page. Used with permission from Firelock Games. 

Now this is a Kickstarter Campaign that I have been looking forward to for a while. The lowest pledge with miniatures is the Crew Pledge at $75. This pledge comes with one box of 25 models from one of four sets that the pledger can choose, an extra model and the new book. The best value pledge (at a lower price) seems to be the Captain Pledge at $110. This comes with all of the items from the $75 pledge plus a Piragua (a small dug-out sail boat), a deck of cards for the game and a legendary figure miniature.

For me, the Captain Pledge is the way to go, but I have a buddy asking to go in on the Duelling Captain's Pledge together to save some money. The Duelling Captain's Pledge comes with two of everything except the new book. That would work for our needs.

The difficult part (once we decide which pledge to give), is deciding which box set of figures to select and whether to upgrade the ships. Below is a scale comparison of the ships. This is from Firelock Games' Facebook Page.

A scale comparison of the available Blood & Plunder ships. Image taken from Firelock Games' Facebook Page with permission from Firelock Games. 

Originally, I was a little sad that the Piragua is the base ship that comes with this Kickstarter. I was hoping for something the size of a Sloop or Brigantine. After looking at the above image though, I notice it is almost the size of a Sloop. It can actually hold 25 men!

An image of a Piragua from the newest Kickstarter Page. Image used with permission from Firelock Games.

This newest campaign seems aimed towards those that already own Blood & Plunder rather than new comers to the game. The reason that I say this is that none of the pledge levels come with a basic rulebook. The basic rulebook can be added as an add-on though and I would suggest that people check it out to see if it makes sense to order it through the Kickstarter. One could order it now through Firelock Games' website (or your favourite retailer) to get it today, or one could order it through the Kickstarter for a small discount and save some on shipping and VAT fees.

That said, there are some cool pledge levels here and lots of cool stuff for both the newcomer and veteran. If budget were no issue, I would love to go in with an Admiral Pledge and getting everything. I think this would be a really fun game to take to the local historical club and host some games. Imagine how impressive it would be to field a Fluyt and Galleon on a table to draw people to the game. :)

I really like the Fluyt. It is bigger than it looks and clocks in at near the same size as the Frigate - perhaps even a little larger. The Frigate was the largest ship from the last campaign and sports more cannons, but if I get the Dutch, I really want to get the Fluyt with them.

The European Land Forces and the Pirates and Privateers Starter Boxes also interest me. I think in the end, I will be purchasing the Pirates and Privateers Starter Box with a Piragua as my Captain Pledge. I also plan to add-on one Long Boat from the existing line to go with my Sloop and some Canoas.

With the Pledge level above and the French Bundle that I already own, I will have a horde of small boats to take against a larger opponent or two small forces for demo games.

My buddy is looking to get the Dutch or the Native Caribbeans, but will be taking just the smaller Piragua rather than buying a Flyut.

How about you, have you pledged into the newest Blood & Plunder Kickstarter?

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Unboxing Blood & Plunder - French Bundle

A while ago at a convention, I came across the prettiest game that I have seen in a while. This game was Blood & Plunder by Firelock Games. After playing, I reached out to Firelock Games and they sent me a Blood & Plunder French Nation Bundle.

Blood & Plunder French Nation Starter Set
Above is part of the French Nation Bundle. It also came with a Sloop Sailing Ship. 
The Bundle comes with 25 French Nation Miniatures, a Sloop Sailing Ship, and a deck of French Nation Playing Cards. They also sent along a rule book for me to read through.

The minis within all look very nice. Below is how they came out of the box - without any of the flashing removed.

The French Captain / Commander.
8 Flibustiers. These guys are good at shooting and love to get in close for a fight.

8 Milice des Cara├»bes. These are your standard infantry with plug style bayonet. 

4 Marins. These sailors love to get in on a close quarters battle. 

4 Boucaniers. These are the French Sharpshooters.
Also in the Bundle is a Sloop.

The Sloop comes with a card, Mast, Rigging Materials and Cannons.

The ship looks great even before it is painted.

Lots of space on this boat and this is the smallest ship that Firelock Games makes at this point.

I am really looking forward to seeing how good this ship will look once it gets painted. I still haven't decided whether I am going to give these to a commission painter or do them myself. Right now, I am leaning towards a commission painter as I really want these models to look gorgeous as it is gorgeous minis that drew me to this game!

A picture of a French crew at the Blood & Plunder Demo game at Broadsword. These ships and models look great all painted.

In addition to the Bundle, Firelock Games sent me a copy of the rulebook and this book is well produced.

The cover of the Rule book.

The back of the book.

I would like to thank Firelock Games for sending along this French Starter Bundle. It is excellent and I am really enjoying looking at what is in their newest Kickstarter campaign.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Discloser: Firelock Games provided Must Contain Minis with the above products for Review Purposes.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Blood & Plunder - Kickstarter Coming Soon!

Today I want to give a quick shout-out to Firelock Games about their upcoming Kickstarter Campaign. For those that don't know, Blood & Plunder is one of the prettiest games that I have ever seen. It is based on actual history of the Pirates in the Caribbean (during the 17th Century) - not the movie Pirates. :)

Below are some pictures from my last gaming convention where I played this game. Look at how gorgeous this game looks on the table!!!

Some intense ship-on-ship action.

Gorgeous sails. In adition to ship-on-ship action, the game can play ship-to-land.

The French crew looks awesome here. This is the same faction that I will be starting as my first crew.

Simply stunning!!!

Blood & Plunder can be used for land battles too!

Their Kickstarter Campaign starts this Wednesday so be sure to keep an eye on Firelock Games. I am very excited in seeing what is to come!!!

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 19 June 2017

Showcase: Ullr's Table Paints Conan

Robert Morris, a guy in my local gaming circles, has recently started a new commission painting business called Ullr's Table. Being that I like to support local businesses and the Conan board game (by Monolith Games), I decided to do a quick showcase of some pictures that he sent.

These pictures are all of figures from the Conan board game. Judging from the models pictured, his client clearly has the full Kickstarter version rather than the retail version that I own.

These first images are a part of the Kickstarter version as well as the retail version.

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game - Guard

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game - Archer

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game - Necromancer

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Rob painted all of these guys up fairly well. Below are some more pictures of his work on Conan. The upcoming figures do not come in the retail version of the game. 

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

Painted Miniatures from Conan the Board Game

This is some very good work by Ullr's Table. If you like what you see here, feel free to check out his new company. We, at Must Contain Minis, are looking forward to seeing more of his work.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Synergies between Mad Dogs with Guns and Bolt Action: Sea Lion

Many readers will have noticed that when I look at games and their components, one of the questions that I ask myself is whether I could reuse the components from one game in another. The reason for this is simply because I love to play many games and buying into multiple systems at once can be prohibitively expensive for someone on a budget.

Upon Inspection of these two books, I realized that one could use miniatures in one game for the other. It's always nice to stretch those gaming dollars further when one can. Both books are by Osprey Publishing

When Osprey Games sent me Mad Dogs with Guns, I looked at it and Bolt Action: Campaign: Sea Lion and instantly noticed that both games could use the same miniatures. Even though the settings are different, what constitutes a unit in Sea Lion could easily count as a gang in Mad Dogs with Guns.

With the price of weapons in Mad Dogs, it is likely that your starting gang will be armed with mostly melee weapons, hidden pistols and a small handful of rifles or shotguns. It is also likely that your starting gang will number somewhere between five to nine figures depending on how heavily you arm them. Of course, there are options to take more, but if you do so - they will mostly be equipped with just melee weapons.

Various groups from the British Local Defence Force and German Fifth Column carry similar armaments in Campaign: Sea Lion. For the British, either the Militia or Water Patrol units could double well as gangsters in Mad Dogs. If you maximize the number of defenders in an inexperienced Militia unit, you will have 14 men, of which only 6 are armed with guns. The others will carry improvised melee weapons. Likewise, the German aligned British Union of Fascists (BUF) and Gangsters can carry weapons in similar quantities.

While the gangs above do not carry Tommy Guns, the Headquarters unit from the German Gangsters can carry sub-machine guns. One could also model the British Home Guard in civilian clothes giving them access to heavier weapons that you may like to have in Mad Dogs.

Personally, I really like that the figures from one book are close enough that they could be used in the other. I honestly wonder a little bit if this was a calculated plan on Osprey's part to help each book out with the success of the other. Not a bad plan if it was on purpose.

So far, I have bought 16 figures that I plan to use in both games. The first set is a group of 6 Investigators and Cops that I bought from RAFM (Pictured Below). The second set is the new British LDV Section box by Warlord Games.

Above is a small group of cops and investigators that I picked up from RAFM's Call of Cthulhu line. I believe that these figures will work well in both Mad Dogs with Guns (as cops) and in Bolt Action: Campaign: Sea Lion (as Militia). 
For those wondering, Mad Dogs with Guns has many beautiful pictures in it of miniatures by Copplestone Castings (Distributed by North Star Military Figures) and Pulp Figures. I believe that those minis would also be perfectly acceptable for Sea Lion as well as Mad Dogs.

Do you consider whether you could use your miniatures in multiple games when you buy them? Please leave a comment below to tell me your thoughts on looking for synergies between games.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Tiszirain is Summoned!!! Frostgrave Battle Report

At Broadsword Three, I hosted yet another game of Frostgrave to a new group of players. For those that read my report about Frostgrave at Hotlead, I ran the exact same scenario there but this time, things went differently. This time, the Major Demon Tiszirain was actually summoned!

Frostgrave Forgotten Pacts Battle Report with homemade Ulterior Motives Objectives
After killing the evil wizard, a sinister player actually summoned Tiszirain himself! In the picture above, Tiszirain (the Centipede Demon) was painted by Jeremy Cada of Forbes Hobbies. Looks great to me!!!

For the demo, I ran the "Rescue the Prince" scenario from Forgotten Pacts. Just like last time, I gave each player two secret objectives to complete for extra points (kind of like a homemade version of Ulterior Motives). One player (the Summoner) got extra points if he personally summoned Tiszirain and even more if he controled Tiszirain and walked him off the board. Another player (the Necromancer) got points if Tiszirain was summoned by the Barbarian Wizard or Summoner. Two players got points if the prince was rescued and carried off the board (the Enchanter and Thaumaturge) with extra points if they were the ones that actually carried the prince off the board. The Beastcrafter was Neutral. He got extra points if anyone rescued the prince, or if he gained temporary control over Tiszarain.

I set the table as in the picture below and predetermined the deployment areas of each warband. I kept the areas secret until the players selected their wizards and then allowed them to deploy simultaneously. All of the Wizards in this game are level 20.

Frostgrave Convention Battle Report (AAR)
The table before deployment. 
As far as all players are concerned, everyone wants to save the prince and prevent the Demon from being summoned. No one knew that the Summoner and Necromancer were working against the goal.

Frostgrave Convention Battle
The scene after deployment. In the middle left is the Summoner. Closest left is the Necromancer. To the right is the Thaumaturge. Next to him is the Enchanter and hidden in the top right corner is the Beastcrafter. 

To save the prince, players had to kill the four Chilopendra Demons to take down a force shield and kill the Wizard hiding within the ruined house. If they do this by turn 8, the demon would not be summoned.

All the players made a mad dash for the middle right off the top. The Enchanter and Beastmaster chose to focus their attacks on the Thamaturge crew while the Summoner focuses on the Enchanter and Barbarian Wizard (the one sacrificing the prince). It is a bit of a free-for-all as all players want to save the price (except the Necromancer).

The Summoner passes through the forceshield and sends in his Captain and a Winged Demonic Servant towards the Barbarian Wizard. His other Demon is on a "suicide mission" to attack the Enchanter's warband. He did this because he knew that once he controlled Tiszirain, he would lose control of the demon. You can only control one Demon at a time through a Bind Demon spell, so he figured that the other demon should be as far away as possible when Tiszirain appears.

The winged red and blue demon there is actually an Imp summoned to give the other side of the table a more difficult time. It is basically a speed bump to help the Summoner reach the prince first.

The Thaumaturge plays it cautious and moves his group as a large cluster. It is a good thing for him that no one on the board has an area of attack spell. His crew is made up entirely of melee hirelings. 

The Necromancer brings his bowmen and Wizard up to some cover. They choose to harass the Thaumaturge.

The Necromancer's Giant Golems and Captain go after and kill one of the Chilopendra Demons. This disables the forcefield affecting magic and shooting attacks into the house. 
The rush to the middle is frantic and the Summoner gets up there first. His speedy captain one-hit kills the Barbarian Wizard and his Wizard teleports to beside the prince. Everyone breaths a sigh of relief that the Barbarian Wizard is dead, and none of them realized that the Summoner was planning to Summon Tiszirain himself the next turn. Regardless, all of the players turned against the Summoner because they wanted to be the ones to carry the prince off the map.

At this point, the forcefield is down and the Necromancer is in a position to pick up the prince (the angel carrying a child) next turn. The women with two swords is his captain. The others don't want to let the Summoner to be the one to carry the prince off the board. The Beastcrafter sends three of his animal companions to take on the Captain and the Enchanter leaps up a Knight. 

The next round the Summoner shocks everyone at the table by killing the Prince and summoning Tiszirain himself. For summoning Tiszirain, I gave the Wizard a free attempt at the Bind Demon spell. The Demon gets heavy bonuses, but the Summoner was lucky and gains control.

Tiszirain arrives under control of the Summoner at the table!!! The other players are horrified! 

At this time, we are getting pretty close to the time limit of the game. We allow one more round before calling it a night. All of the players went for their secret objectives and kill points instead of the treasures so the Necromancer, Summoner and Enchanter were in the lead at this time.

Seeing an opportunity, the Beastcrafter runs up and attempts to control the Demon as well. He is successful!

The Beastcrafter Wizard (the Ape in Cape) gains control of Tiszirain. The Summoner's apprentice (the small green guy) tries to take back control of the monstrous Demon and fails. 

At this time, we reached our time limit. We didn't tally up the points because there were no prizes, but I believe the Summoner, Necromancer and Beastcrafter would have all been contenders for first place. 

Overall, it was a fairly successful demo. I had an enjoyable time and so did the players at my table.

Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!
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