Dwarven Dungeon Delving! Grimskald’s Torch & Shield Launches On Kickstarter

October 11, 2023 by brennon

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Have you ever wanted to dive into some dungeon delving with a band of plucky Dwarves? Well, Grimskald are now on Kickstarter with their awesome-looking new miniatures game, Torch & Shield. Dive into your Dwarf Holds in search of treasure whilst battling against other Dwarven clans and whatever monsters dwell in the darkness!

Torch & Shield Kickstarter - Grimskald

Torch & Shield Kickstarter // Grimskald

At its core, Torch & Shield is a rather in-depth miniature skirmish game where you get to build an awesome clan of Dwarves and delve into one-off games or campaigns where you wage a war for treasure and set up all manner of grudges against both fellow Dwarves and some of the deadly monsters that have overtaken the ruins of the Dwarf empire that once dominated the mountains.

World Map - Torch & Shield

World Map // Torch & Shield

The world that Torch & Shield inhabits is one where the Dwarves were driven from their lands by the deadly Hellions. Ousted from their homes, the Dwarves have now decided to head back to their old homes in search of treasure and perhaps the restoration of their former glories. Delving crews have now been set up amongst the various clans and they are looking to head back into the darkness and perhaps come out with some mighty treasures in the process.

The background and such of Torch & Shield is already quite in-depth and I love that whilst they have lore, there is plenty of space for you to play around within their world and tell your own stories.

Copperbrow Dwarves - Torch & Shield

Copperbrow Dwarves // Torch & Shield

As it stands, there are three different Clans for you to choose from as you start your adventures in Torch & Shield. You can play as the wealthier Clan Copperbrow with their love of blackpowder weapons or the militaristic Ironthanes with their doughty iron discipline. Lastly, there is Clan Buldahr who are powered by a will to claim honour in the fires of combat, preferring to avoid the use of ranged weapons and instead seeking to get up close and personal with anything that stands in their way. Can you tell that Clan Buldahr might be my favourite?

Ironthane Dwarves - Torch & Shield

Ironthane Dwarves // Torch & Shield

Buldahr Dwarves - Torch & Shield

Buldahr Dwarves // Torch & Shield

Within each of these clans, there is a lot of customisation when it comes to how you want to equip your warriors and where you take them as characters. The miniatures that you get in Torch & Shield will be available digitally or you can get your hands on SioCast plastic miniatures as part of the campaign (which we'll look at later). Additionally, the game is What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) so you can use the multipart nature of the miniature kits to create the warband of your Dwarven dreams hopefully.

Torch & Shield - The Gameplay

As mentioned above, games of Torch & Shield are played out as either standalone scenarios or as part of a larger campaign. You can dive into the game in a competitive fashion, testing yourself against another Dwarf Clan to see if you can complete your objectives before them or you can play the game cooperatively or solo. All three modes of play are catered for in the rules so you'll not be missing out if you choose one over the others.

Torch & Shield Gameplay - Grimskald

Torch & Shield Gameplay // Grimskald

Based on the mission selected, you'll dive into a scenario within the depths of the ruins and strive to complete your objectives in order to win. That might be taking out opposing miniatures but it could also be sealing a breach into the abyss where monsters are pouring out of or you've managed to drag a chest of treasure out of the dungeon and to the relative safety of your camp.

What's nice about the way that a game of Torch & Shield is set up is that it focuses on these close-quarters dungeon-delving adventures. You could use the dungeon tiles that are available as part of the campaign (or make some yourself!) but you could equally have as much fun playing on a grid map that you might use for your roleplaying games. The game also seems well set up for people to create their own scenarios and have fun with the toolbox of options that Grimskald have included as part of the rules.

Talking of rules, we should probably dive into a discussion on how it works. I won't go into massive amounts of details about the rules as there are two great videos (see below) that talk more about what Torch & Shield is all about. But, I'll give you a quick guide!

Character Card - Torch & Shield

Character Card // Torch & Shield

A game of Torch & Shield plays out over a number of Phases. You have the Delve Phase where you will draw Activation Cards from a deck of normal playing cards and work out who is going to activate using which card. You activate in descending order from highest to lowest card, choosing which card you apply to each character in your crew before moving on. This is then followed by a Monster Phase where the creatures in the darkness activate, a Fight Phase where engaged miniatures battle against each other and then an Event Phase where cards are revealed that can unleash traps and all sorts on your Dwarves!

Torch & Shield: Learn to Play #1 - The Basics

When a Dwarf wants to do an action that requires some skill (picking a lock, attacking another miniature etc) they will have to roll a test. Fives and sixes are counted as successes on a test and this is achieved by rolling a pool of dice equal to the relevant statistic. For example, if you were rolling to shoot or fight a miniature in combat you'd use your Martial Skill dice pool, You pick up the relevant number of dice and see if there are any modifiers which add or subtract dice from that pool. From there you roll away and see if you can hit those precious fives and sixes!

Torch & Shield: Learn to Play #2 - Advanced

As well as using cards to activate and perform regular actions, cards can also be used to perform a series of special actions, some of which are universal to all and others are tied to particular characters. What's really nice about all of this is that the core of gameplay in Torch & Shield is pretty simple and easy to get your head around but the intricacy comes in the way all of the advanced elements come together. With such a low miniature count, time can be afforded to be more in-depth and complicated with your game mechanics and I love that Torch & Shield feels like a roleplaying game at times as much as it does a skirmish wargame!

Monster Card - Torch & Shield

Monster Card // Torch & Shield

What's also nice is that the game really plays around with the idea of light and darkness down in the depths of these Dwarf ruins. The fuel on the torches that you bring down into the darkness will eventually burn down and if you're not careful, you might find that the lights go out and you could end up getting dragged off into the gloom by terrible monsters. For example, Monsters that you run into in the darkness will end up getting benefits if they get to attack from the shadows!

Monsters - Torch & Shield

Monsters - Torch & Shield

It's worth backing the Kickstarter, even at a low level, because you'll get access to the Quick Start Rules for Torch & Shield so you can dive the game a go yourself. The team at Grimskald have put a lot of work into the rules already and inside you'll find sample Dwarf crews for you to play with. You'll also find many scenarios to play and plenty of information on the intricacies of the rules.

Read Grimskald's Battle Report - Brewery Bash

I am very enamoured with what Grimskald have put together here and I could see a lot of folks having fun with the game. Make sure to check out the videos above to see a breakdown of the rules and watch out for more as Grimskald has already decided on their first expansion for the game!

The Vaults Of Zarn - Torch & Shield

The Vaults Of Zarn // Torch & Shield

The Vaults Of Zarn will be the first of a series of campaign books which will introduce new Dwarf Clans, new monsters and deadly Overlords for you to fight against. You will also get rules for playing as the Monsters themselves. In The Vaults Of Zarn, you'll face down the Krell and the deadly Howler. I love that Grimskald has already set their sights on expanding the game and taking things in new directions.

Torch & Shield Pledges!

There are a number of pledge options for Torch & Shield that allow you to pick up miniatures and rules in a digital fashion or physically should you desire.

Thane Tier Pledge - Torch & Shield

Thane Tier Pledge // Torch & Shield

You can just get your hands on the rules if you like and use whatever miniatures you have in your collection to play the game. So, if you just want the digital rules then go ahead and dive in! If you would like some of Grimskald's miniatures then you might want to go for something like the Thane Tier which comes with two Clan Boxes, a Monster Box and the PDF/Print rules for Torch & Shield.

You can also go for something like the Digital Tier which comes in at a lower price tag and gets you all three Clan Boxes, the Dungeon terrain, the PDF Rules and the Monsters.

Digital Tier Pledge - Torch & Shield

Digital Tier Pledge // Torch & Shield

There is also the Greyshields Tier which gets you all three Clan Boxes plus a set of printed dungeon tiles for you to build up your gaming space. Essentially, whichever way you want to approach Torch & Shield, you have an option that should suit you.

Make sure to check out the Kickstarter Page in more detail to see the different pledges and also what they have coming up in terms of Stretch Goals and Add-Ons!

Torch & Shield Kickstarter // Grimskald

I am very tempted to get myself together Buldahr crew and start doing some dungeon delving!

Will you be backing this campaign?

"...games of Torch & Shield are played out as either standalone scenarios or as part of a larger campaign"

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"...the game really plays around with the idea of light and darkness down in the depths of these Dwarf ruins"

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