Have you heard of Osprey Games? The fact that you are on this website suggests to me that you have. They remain one of my favourite publishers. This company publishes a vast variety of wargames that might otherwise be considered Indie or Historical in nature. They offer an excellent selection of games at fantastic prices.
Osprey takes the gems that they find, help edit the author’s work and wrap it in a beautiful presentation of layout and art. When I get my hands on an Osprey book, I love flipping through the pages and seeing what is in there. Sometimes I play the game and other times I take ideas from one game and port them to another.
The way I look at it is that if I am playing a game in a non-tournament environment, no one from Osprey is going to visit my house and lock me up for cherry picking their rules here and there. In fact, many of their authors, like Joeseph A. McCullough, encourage you to cherry pick the rules from their games and encourage you to use the ones that you want.
Joseph lists many parts of the book within Frostgrave (and his other games) as “Optional Rules.” The idea is to take the game, have some fun with it and make it yours.
Yes, some books contain mistakes, but that happens to pretty much every company out there. When pointed out, Osprey does take steps to fix the mistakes through errata. Glaring issues I believe that they tend to fix in future printings of the books.
In this Post…
In this post, I am going to give an overview of the games they offer, list out some of my favourites and make mention of what we can expect from Osprey Games in the near future.
While Osprey Games publishes Board Games and Role Playing Games on top of Miniature Wargames, I am going to focus on their Wargames products, and will mention some of their upcoming products too.
Through out, I use images from Amazon, which link to the products on the Amazon Webstore. I also link to DriveThruRPG for relevant products that they carry. I am part of the affiliate sales networks for both sites. If you make a purchase using these links, you will help support Must Contain Minis at no extra cost to you. In fact, you might also be saving yourself some money too by buying from them too.
With that out of the way, let’s get into it.
So Many Games!!!
Osprey Games publishes so many games! Over the years, it is hard to believe how many they have added to their catalogue.
First I want to talk about their Osprey Wargames Series. I call this their “Blue Series” books based on the colour of their covers. The value of these books is unbelievably good. Generally, $20 can get you an interesting ruleset with great artwork.
These books are honestly how I first discovered Osprey Games so many years ago. On top of their Wargame Series, they publish the books to the games Bolt Action, Frostgrave, Oathmark and so many more.
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of their many noteworthy titles.
Frostgrave is Osprey Game’s runaway hit! This game is excellent and I can’t say enough good things about it. The second edition released at a bad time right when our worries of COVID-19 started. That said, if you have a young family or some friends living at home, I couldn’t think of a better game to play during lockdown.
Here is a link to the Frostgrave: Second Edition PDF on DriveThruRPG
The second edition took a fantastic game, cleaned up its presentation and made changes to better balance the system. This game has a huge amount of expansions available and Osprey Publishing made the decision to keep the expansions from the first edition good for the second edition too. This means that if you buy into their second edition, you have a plethora of expansions already available.
My Favourite Frostgrave Expansions
Some of my favourites include Thaw of the Lich Lord, The Frostgrave Folio, and Perilous Dark. Thaw of the Lich Lord takes your Wizards through an adventure campaign where you take on a Lich Lord and his Minions. This is a great adventure for necromancers and with the right magic item, you can learn to raise Skeletons instead of Zombies with your Raise Zombie spell. So cool!
The Frostgrave Folio gives you many more optional rules including those for a new character class called the Captain and new rules for brewing potions. On top of that, you get a few interesting mini-campaigns that I find are playable in about an afternoon.
Perilous Dark gives you rules for solo game play and dungeon crawls too. On top of that, the expansion also tells you how to play cooperatively.
For me, Frostgrave blends together the perfect combination of Role Playing Games (RPG) and Skirmish Miniatures Wargames into a perfect mix. It is well worth a look!
Even more popular than Frostgrave is Bolt Action. This game Osprey partners with Warlord Games to publish. It is popular in my area and pretty easy to find pickup games when desired.
Some people might get upset at me for stating this, but if you take an older edition of Warhammer 40K, reskin it as World War 2, and add in a more interesting initiative system, then this is what you get. As such, this game is a perfect stepping stone for mainstream wargamers (people who play 40K) to enter into the world of Historical Wargaming.
Some players move on to other systems after this that work more as a “simulation” style experience of WW2, but for me, Bolt Action is perfect. The writers of the system know that it is a game and did what they can to make the game fun and fast moving.
On top of that, there is an absolute ton of expansions and miniatures available for this system. Of all of the Osprey Games available out there, this one is the easiest to find and existing player base for. It also seems to be the easiest one to find at your FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store).
The other Osprey systems tend to be better if you start the collection and draw your friends into playing.
My Favourite Bolt Action Expansions
Osprey has books for every part of the war for Bolt Action. Some of my favourites include Campaign: Market Garden, Campaign: Sea Lion and Campaign: D-Day: Overlord. Most of those titles are self explanatory of what is in there with one exception. Campaign: Sea Lion is actually a “what if” book where you play out that battles that would have happened if Germany had invaded England. I have a review on Campaign: Sea Lion for those interested.
On top of these expansions (and more), the game keeps growing. An upcoming book that I would love to get my hands on is the Bolt Action: Campaign: D-Day: British & Canadian Sectors expansion. They even have a Wierd War variant of the game called Konflikt ’47.
Osprey Wargames Series
When it comes to value, there is no better option out there that I know of than these books. Again, about $20 is going to get you a whole ruleset with great artwork. I find that they are all interesting reads. Some of the games do not suit my interests, but Osprey Games has so many, it is hard not to find something that you will like.
I also find that people have different tastes. What I like, others do not. The opposite also holds true. That is the main reason that I do not attach scores to my reviews on Must Contain Minis.
That said, I am going to tell you the games that I think stand out in this collection of titles.
Anything by Daniel Mersey is good. In particular I like Dragon Rampant (which is a fun rather than serious game), Rebels and Patriots, and Lion Rampant. The Pikeman’s Lament always interested me too, but I have not yet had a chance to look at the rules or play the game.
Other good titles include Outremer: Faith and Blood (a crusades’ game), Zona Alfa (a salvage survival game) and A Fistful of Kung Fu (a cinematic martial arts game). If you like stealth missions, make sure to check out Black Ops.
While I made an effort to mention the above games, there are plenty that I could not comment on because I have not read or played the games yet. Right now, there are 25 games in the collection, and the collection continues to grow.
Have you heard of Gaslands? It used to be a blue series book. Now it is expanded into a hardcover book that lists under “Other Wargames.”
Osprey has a number of games that they Classify as Other Wargames. These games generally come as hardcovered books with expansions that are either hard or soft-covered.
In this section you have Last Days (a zombie survival game that I highly recommend), Dracula’s America (a weird wild west game), Mad Dogs with Guns and so much more. If you have kids, look into Burrows and Badgers for some anthropomorphic fun.
Some of the games proved very popular in this category and may be harder to get a hold of now. This includes Reality’s Edge (a cyberpunk game over 300 pages long) and Gaslands: Refuelled (a death race car game that plays a little like X-Wing the Miniatures Game). Gaslands: Refuelled is a title that I highly recommend as an affordable and extremely fun miniatures game. Reality’s Edge to me reads like and RPG book describing how to play a skirmish wargame. When I flipped through it, I kind of wondered if this was Osprey testing the waters with RPGs as it has that feel in some ways.
Osprey Games has so many titles under it’s brand that I am not sure if anyone has all of them. As such, plenty of titles are on my wish list that I have not yet seen or looked at. This includes Last Days: Seasons (the expansion to Last Days), Scrappers (a post-apocalyptic skirmish game), and Gamma Wolves.
All of these titles excite me. Of course, I am also a huge fan of Frostgrave, Oathmark and Bolt Action. I am so excited (and curious) to see what is coming for Frostgrave and Oathmark in particular over the next year.
Osprey Games into 2021
2020 has been a rough year and I think it will take a while before 2021 gets better. Right now, the province in Canada where I live has gone into full lockdown because of the pandemic. I believe the UK is in a similar situation. Hopefully the infection numbers start going down across the globe.
Due to the pandemic, I don’t think we can 100% predict where any company will go into 2021. That said, I do have a few places that I check for spoilers of what to expect.
My most anticipated game from Osprey for 2021 is Stargrave. I love what Joseph A. McCullough has done for Frostgrave 2nd edition, and I am really hoping that Osprey Games sends me a review copy of Stargrave. Wink-wink.
You can already pre-order the game on Amazon.
It will also be interesting to see what the first expansion to the game is. I am hoping for something that will have us exploring through abandoned space hulks (or space stations) full of exciting technologies and aliens. Something that can give a Rouge Trader or even a Space Hulk feel. That would be cool.
Oathmark will likely continue to be big into 2021 too. I believe that we will see more expansions and miniatures for the game through out the year.
I also heard that we can expect a sci-fi game by the author of Gaslands in the near future.
My guess is that this list is just a small fraction of what Osprey has coming. Osprey Games continues to be a company that I eagerly follow to see what they have releasing.
Wrapping it up…
Osprey Games is a fantastic publisher that covers many genres in the Indie and Historical settings. While this post covered miniature wargames, Osprey also publishes board games and RPGs. One board game worth looking at is Wildlands (and Judge Dredd which uses the same gaming engine but in a Sci-Fi setting). Of the two, Wildlands is my favourite because of its theme.
Speaking of Wildlands, it looks like there is a large expansion coming. This expansion is called “Wildlands: The Ancients.” From what I read, it adds solo rules and allows you to the play game with up to six players – plus more. That sounds interesting!
Of course, what excites me most is Osprey’s miniatures games. I really can’t wait to see what they have coming our way for 2021. Do you have anything on your wish list that you want to see?
If so, please share in the comments section below.
Until next time, Happy Gaming Everyone!!!