Getting to know Stargrave, the sci-fi sibling of Frostgrave

I finally got my copy of Stargrave, the sci-fi answer to Joseph McCullough's hugely successful and popular fantasy miniatures skirmish game, Frostgrave. I'm a devoted fan of FGV and so I've been excitedly absorbing the rules to Stargrave (which bear great similarities to those in Frostgrave) and beginning to think about constructing my warband.

Here is a review of Stargrave on the Wargammer website which I think outlines the similarities and differences of "Frostgrave in space," and also expresses some of the (albeit minor) criticisms early players have of the game. Most of these have to do with the rich background hinted at in the book and various strong allusions to "narrative wargaming," even outright roleplaying, that don't translate to the tabletop very well.

Honestly, I'm not sure this is a fair criticism. Frostgrave started out the same way. McCullough managed to hint at a deep and rich background in the original, surprisingly thin, rulebook with only minimal actual details of the world being pointed at. This inspired players to fill in the "missing" elements, build and name their characterful, custom warbands, and to create terrain based on the explicit and implicit details provided (so-called "gaming in the gaps"). I suspect Stargrave was designed in exactly the same way, and as players get stuck in, a community is built up around it, and more supplements, miniatures, and other products come out, more of those narrative elements will coalesce.

Like its predecessor, Stargrave does have a campaign system built into it, after all. It's hard to go ten scenarios into a campaign, with a warband you've literally built, named, and created a background for, and not begin to imagineer more of the world that you're mucking about in (and figuring out ways of folding that into your actual games).

Here is an introductory video about Stargrave and a play-through of the first scenario:

It's been fun watching YouTube gamers getting the rulebook and beginning to plan out their wabands and the terrain they want to construct for the ten scenarios in the book. Here are several such videos from Jim Kelly, The Tabletop Engineer:

Image: Cover art