Monday, November 4, 2019

Review: Ulterior Motives- Frostgrave

One of my goals for the year was to get more Frostgrave going in my local area. As part of this, I wanted to make sure I had all the latest Frostgrave supplements. I was confident that the all-female warbands coming out for Frostgrave would be a big draw for my family. However, that goal has gone nowhere this year. Related to that I picked up the Maze ofMalcor and Ulterior Motives. So far, this plan has not worked out at all and I have had not progressed in getting the game going. Instead, my family wants to play Burrows and Badgers so that will come next.

However, that doesn't mean I can't give you all a review. Unlike other Frostgrave supplements, this one is not a soft cover book. Instead it is a deck of 40 cards that are standard playing card size. Two of the cards cover some rules updates and how to use the cards. The rest are alternative side missions to add to the scenarios you are playing in the game.

Things I Liked
As I said in my initial Frostgrave review, much of the game will depend on the scenario and missions. The standard treasure hunting allows for a good basic game. However, the cards have some alternate rules even for Treasure placement.

Each card has a new alternate objective for the Wizards. These are in addition to the main scenario objective.

Each card has the following information:

The card name
A description
The rules
Red herrings

Red Herrings are generally other items that are placed on the board thanks to the card. There are a wide variety of options and most of them are not related to out right killing something. Therefore, the Ulterior Motives are trying to steer players away from just killing each others warband.

Since they are in card form, you can pull the cards out and put them on your side of the table to remind you what Ulterior Motive you have.

Things I Do Not Like
I like the new Treasure placement rules just fine. They are designed to force more movement on the board and warbands to interact a bit more. However, I do not like the fact that the rules are basically re-printed in the Frostgrave Folio.

Once the cards are drawn, you will get a pretty good idea of the Ulterior Motive of your opponent based on what new features or Red Herrings they place on the board. However, this whole mechanic is designed to off set the main weakness of Frostgrave. In addition, the players will have a lot of things to keep track of and focus on. This was intended to force warbands to interact but may do the opposite in actual practice.

The writing on the cards is pretty small and hard to read and small, especially for an old guy.

Meh and Other Uncertainties
I do not plan on reviewing and talking about all the cards in the deck.  After all, there are 40 of them!  Some are better and more fun than others.  Some you reveal so your opponent knows about them and others you keep secret.  A few you need special models or terrain bits for. 

So, this is a nice addition to Frostgrave. It allows the game to remain fresh longer. Plus, it will force players to work differently and think differently about what they are trying to accomplish. This will probably change up game play enough to keep a campaign going or to keep experienced players from drifting off to other games.

As a game designer, the deck of cards will give you additional ideas to make scenarios and secondary objectives for your own games. These complications or secondary objectives are a good way to try and avoid kill them all scenarios.

Overall, this is a good buy even if they are a bit expensive for what they are.

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