I finally have my copy of Stargrave, the sci-fi answer to Joseph McCullough’s hugely popular and hugely popular fantasy figure skirmish game, Frostgrave. I am an avid FGV fan so I enthusiastically absorbed the rules for Stargrave (which have great similarities with those of Frostgrave) and start thinking about building my gang.
Here is a review of Stargrave on the Wargammer website which I think describes the similarities and differences of “Frostgrave in Space”, and also expresses some of the criticisms (albeit minor) that early players have of the game. Most of these have to do with the rich background evoked in the book and various strong allusions to “narrative wargaming”, even outright role-playing, which don’t translate very well on the table.
Honestly, I’m not sure that’s a fair review. Frostgrave started out the same way. McCullough managed to hint at a deep and rich background in the original rulebook, which was surprisingly thin, with only minimal real-world detail pointed out. This inspired players to fill in the “missing” items, build and name their custom war bands, and create a terrain based on the explicit and implicit details provided (known as the “play in the gaps” ). I suspect Stargrave was designed in exactly the same way, and as players get stuck a community is built around it, and more and more supplements, miniatures and other products are coming out, more of these narrative elements will merge.
Like its predecessor, Stargrave has an integrated campaign system, after all. It’s hard to fit ten storylines into a campaign, with a gang you’ve literally built, named, and created a backdrop for, and not start to imagine more of the world you’re having fun in (and finding ways to fold this into your actual games).
Here is an introductory video on Stargrave and a play-through of the first scenario:
It was fun watching YouTube players get the rulebook and start planning their wabands and the terrain they want to build for the ten scenarios in the book. Here are several of those Jim Kelly videos, The table engineer: