Friday, 21 June 2019

Frostgrave: Second Edition


Well, the news has leaked, so I might as well go ahead and make an official announcement.

There will be a new edition of Frostgrave: Fantasy Wargames in the Frozen City coming from Osprey Games in June of 2020!

Why?

When I wrote Frostgrave nearly five years ago, it was my first real attempt at writing a wargame. Since that time, I have learned huge amounts about both game design in general and about Frostgrave in particular. I now feel that I can make the game significantly better. So, with the blessings of Osprey, I set out to do just that.

I had two main design goals:

1.     Make the game more fun, not less.
2.     Make the rules clearer, more balanced, and more streamlined, but not at the cost of #1.

For #1, I wanted to do two things. I wanted to make every spell in the game desirable and useful, and I wanted to increase the direct player interaction. The truth is, of the 80 spells in the game, there are about 20 that are never used, or at least never taken, because they are too weak or too specialized. I have gone through each spell one-by-one, tightening the wording, tweaking where necessary, changing the mechanics in others, and, in just a few cases, replacing spells with new ones. As I did this work, I concentrated on how these spells could, and would, be used by players to interrupt and interfere with the plans of their opponents. I wanted to increase the back-and-forth nature of the game, making each scrap for treasure an opportunity for a real magical duel.

For #2, I wanted to improve the whole experience of players, from reading the book and learning to play the game to running a campaign. I wanted to eliminate a few things that never quite worked right, or led to strange, unwanted results, and I wanted to increase the balance, both during a game and over the course of a campaign. A lot of these rule changes will be immediately recognizable to people who have read Ghost Archipelago and The Maze of Malcor, but there are a few new ones as well.

I am still making a few tweaks here and there, but most of my work is actually done. While I don’t want to reveal too much at this very early date, I can say that there are no fundamental changes. The game is still its wacky, D20 self. The ten wizard schools remain in the same alignments. Most of the spells haven't changed. The goal is still to grab treasure, gain experience, and try not to get killed by other wizards or wandering monsters. Frostgrave never cared which figures you used before, as long as they made you happy, and it is not going to care in Second Edition either.

Is this going to make all of your existing Frostgrave books obsolete? No. I mean, the original rulebook probably won’t have much use anymore, but all of the supplements, with all of their optional rules, scenarios, new soldiers, new treasure, etc., will still be usable for Second Edition. There are few things that will need clarification, but not many, and I’ll post a PDF covering those when the time comes.

I will be revealing more as we get closer to the release date, but it is still a long way off, and I hope everyone will still play many games of Frostgrave before then without worrying about any changes. I mean, Perilous Dark is still to come out first, so that players can have lots of solo and co-operative fun, and I’ve got a Frostgrave Immersion Tour to attend!

So, more news coming later, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

P.S. You won’t be able to Leap off the table with treasure anymore…

52 comments:

  1. Lovely jubbly. Will the Supplements need re-writing as well?

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  2. What about making henchmen more differentiated than just hit point and armour? This was always an issue for me in the core rules.

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    1. Check out the Legendary Soldiers in Spellcaster Issue 4.

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  3. Are there any plans to add some kind of henchmen experience growth ala RoSD? That's my play group's largest complaint when I try to compare this game to Mordhiem.

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    1. No. But you could probably just use the Rangers one.

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  4. I ordered the book like TODAY lol
    Would you release some sort of Errata to upgrade the book or the changing will be too much to be integrated in this way?

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    1. Well, you've still got a year to play it. While the changes aren't large, there are numerous small ones that would make an errata unwieldy.

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  5. Outstanding!

    My only concern is that I've seen a few Osprey books that have been marred by bad editing - like Horizon Wars leaving out the cover rules, or the mess with Ragnarok. Is there any way to put the community to work by maybe crowdsourcing the proofreading process?

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    1. The manuscript has already had many eyes on it. While some mistakes are inevitable, I'm feel confident there won't be any major issues.

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    2. Fair enough.

      Congratulations on the continuing success of the game!

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  6. This is great news! The only thing that was stopping me from playing it more, was that games tend take a lot of time in my gaming group.

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  7. I’m in. Gonna pre order.

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    1. I suspect North Star will have a big Nickstarter event.

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  8. Cant see me spending yet more cash on a new edition unless there is pressure from my group, I'm quite happy with the original rules. I am not a great fan of rule systems that have loads of supplements and new editions that's why I got fed up with WRG.

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    1. Hey, if you are happy as is, then certainly carry on, but I do believe that the new edition will be better, or I wouldn't have bother to have made it.

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  9. IMO, your the best game is Rangers of Shadow Deep ;)

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    1. Rangers got all the lessons I learned from writing the games that went before it. Just as this gains the benefit of having written Rangers (though more obvious in the forthcoming Perilous Dark).

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  10. Can't wait to see what you've got in store for us, I've got the whole family playing now.

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  11. @Joe, since you are making changes to the spells, what is going to happen to the spell deck of cards many including myself have purchased? Will there be an upgrade pack or will be required a whole new set?

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    1. While most of the spells haven't changed drastically, a lot of have slightly changed wording or slightly different effects, so a new deck will probably be necessary.

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  12. #2 is key. Sometimes overbalancing games can take the fun out of them. I hope the spells retain their character, unique themes, and all that. You may want to consider creating scenarios that encourage the use of lesser used spells?

    Since you are shying away from including a variety of fantasy races (such as dwarf or elf henchmen), I would suggest you add a short list of selectable traits for henchmen, stuff that would enable players to add character to their warbands without you having to do a variety of racial rules. You may have already done this, as I only have the rulebook. Would be nice to see Frostgrave offer some rules to entice me to buy Oathmark minis for my Frostgrave warbands.

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    1. Many of the soldiers in the supplements have more unique elements to them.

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  13. Hi there!
    My wife and I started to play Frostgrave a few days ago.
    This game is the reason for me to be in the hobby (wargaming and miniature painting & collecting) again after sooo many years!
    It's good to hear that Frostgrave is still growing!
    Thank you for your work!

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    1. Many thanks, and great that you can play it together with your spouse!

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  14. German version will follow by when? :-)
    P.S.: Bought your rules two weeks ago *dohh*

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  15. This is great news!

    Just wondering, is there any chance of including a solo/co-op scenario in the 2nd ed book?

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    1. Probably not, but before that Perilous Dark will come out with 10 new solo / co-op scenarios!

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    2. Is Perilous Dark for Frost Grave or Rangers of Shadow Deep?

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  16. Will it be released on Kindle?

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  17. OK you have my attention....& likely my money.....again!

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  18. Great news, Joe. We've been playing your game regularly ever since it came out up here in NW Washington State, and happily follow every step of its progression.

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  19. Marvelous news, I hope these changes will bring more equality among the different casters.

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  20. Great news. Have you ever considered making frostgrave a game for pc/consoles Joe? It's been done with various other board games. It possibly could be done for frostgrave? Just an idea. Keep up the good work as always

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    1. If someone approached with the right offer I would consider it, but it's far beyond my skills!

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  21. One way or the other, exciting times ahead for the Frostgrave world. Looking forward to the 2nd edition.

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  22. Can one hope for more aggressive and powerful monsters and more frequent their appearance?

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    1. You can house rule that pretty easily if needed !

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  23. Awesome! Looking forward to it ^^

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  24. Is the same planned for GA?

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    1. Not at the present, but I don't think the same kind of overhaul is needed for it. It already benefited from some of the lessons learned. That said, check out the next issue of Spellcaster (5) for a little addition I wish I had put in the game!

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  25. Would like to see an edition with supplemental rules suchthat I wouldn't have to look through multiple books in a game.

    Perilous Dark coming in October 2019 for us solo gamers! "These include guidelines for both dungeon crawls and adventuring in the ruins, new traps, unique random encounters, and four multi-scenario mini-campaigns to get players started."

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  26. Seeing the improvements to the system brought in by Rangers and various expansions made me want a second edition (or "definitive rules compedium") as well. Nice to see it happening.
    Personal wish would be to have a "matched play" ruleset included as well. My beef with campaign only games is that it's impossible to simply play with a random person at an FLGS because you're either going to play boring starter bands or have level difference give one player an unfair advantage. I also like messing with army lists and being constrained to one due to campaign really dampens my enthusiasm.

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  27. Been looking at getting the main rule book. Don’t know if I can wait a year for the new/updates rules.

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  28. A few months ago, on a whim, I grabbed some old minis I had lying around to paint, and have now descended into the full blown mini obsession of my youth once again! After sinking hours into Youtube refreshing my knowledge of terrain building tricks, game systems and miniatures companies, I decided I liked the "use any minis you like" philosophy of Frostgrave, the sound of the game, and the fact Northstar are providing lots of female sculpts with context appropriate attire, that over the weekend I picked up the Female soldiers box, a copy of the core rulebook, and the "Ulterior Motives" expansion - I was wondering if I'll still be able to use "Ulterior Motives" with the second edition rulebook? Keep up the great work!

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  29. Only one more year to go as an accredited playtester for the first edition and then back to obscurity! I've always maintained that once you buy the rules, they are yours to modify to taste. However, I'm glad that racial characteristics adds and stats for henchmen aren't in the official rules.

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  30. I've bought Frost Grave and Rangers of Shadow Deep, and all of their expansions... So, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for Frost Grave II.

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