Inside Stargrave: Hope Eternal – Solo, Cooperative & Campaign Play | Osprey Games

September 29, 2022 by brennon

At the end of our last themed week for Stargrave, we talked with Joseph A. McCullough about what was coming next. We were very excited to hear that Stargrave: Hope Eternal was going to be bringing solo and cooperative play to the tabletop in addition to a massive campaign (Hope Eternal) that players could dive right into.


Find Out More About Stargrave Here

Buy Stargrave: Hope Eternal Here

Well, Hope Eternal is now out. You can buy the book from Osprey Games over on their webstore and get stuck into the third big expansion book from McCullough for his awesome Sci-Fi skirmish game. So, with the game being out in the world, it's worth diving in and finding out if this is worth snapping up.

Work Together Or Go It Alone?

One of the big aspects of Hope Eternal that is worth diving into right away is the fact that we get access to new and updated rules for playing Stargrave solo or with friends. The entire Hope Eternal campaign is designed around you attempting the game in this way and so it's nice to see these updated and tweaked rules give something truly epic to test themselves against.

Hope Eternal Cover - Stargrave

Building on what was available in Quarantine 37 and Dead Or Alive, Hope Eternal's solo rules have ironed out a few of the kinks when it comes to developing the system and to that end, you'll find some new tips and ideas for building crews and more.

Starting with building crews, if you're attempting the game solo the rules just say to build a normal crew and probably shift your mindset towards this being less adversarial. You can also dive in cooperatively and either share the burden of a normal crew with a friend or create what are called Half-Sized Crews. These give players their own set of characters to play with that can be developed into two different full crews after the Hope Eternal campaign. It also probably offers up a nice way to build a sense of ownership over certain individual miniatures and by extension throw some spanners into the works when it comes to who lives and who dies!

Coop & Solo - Stargrave

A few changes have been made to the turn sequence as well to account for the lack of an opponent but it's fairly minor if you're already a veteran Stargrave player. There are also additional AI activation options for the creatures that you'll be running into and it works in a nice flow chart style so it's easy to follow.

Essentially beyond that, not much has changed between the regular versus format and this new solo/cooperative venture. At its core, this focuses on what McCullough loves about his games, telling a story. You certainly get that with a versus clash (well, most of the time) but when you have to work together to overcome a puzzle I think that it sticks in the mind that little bit more. It's definitely why I like my cooperative games like The Lord Of The Rings: The Card Game and Gloomhaven as well as miniatures games like Rangers Of Shadow Deep (another McCullough game).

This all then builds up to unleashing you on Hope Eternal.

A Massive Narrative Campaign

Most of this new book is given over to the Hope Eternal campaign itself. Once you're through the quick update to the rules (by page fifteen), the book opens up to cover the absolutely sprawling and fascinating Hope Eternal story.

Hope Eternal Part One - Stargrave

At its core, the Hope Eternal campaign runs across ten linked scenarios that tell smaller parts of a much larger story. I don't want to delve too deep into exactly what each of these scenarios are but, it's safe to say that you'll be doing some pretty daring stuff. As McCullough says in his introduction, the focus here was to tell a story with meaning. Most of Stargrave has been about crews just scraping out a living. This is where your crew can do some serious good in the galaxy and in a very Star Wars-like fashion, avert some terrible fate from befalling all those innocent lives not able to make a difference.

To give you a little bit of an overview, you'll be exploring a pirate outpost early on where intelligence leads to the uncovering of a space station capable of enacting a supernova-level event. You'll then be following the trail of evidence and information so that you can bring an end to this space station before finally having to infiltrate said space station and make sure that those in charge never get to enact their plan!

Train Heist Art - Stargrave

All of that sounds like it could be done in just a few games but I really haven't done the amount of work McCullough has put in justice. You're going to be doing train heists, battling against pirates, dealing with unsavoury characters and meeting memorable heroes and villains that will stay with you and get stuck into some very Hollywood-style situations. Maybe you fancy taking on the role of The Magnificent Ten?

When you come to a given scenario you'll find information on setting it up, the foes involves and what happens in terms of special rules and if you win. You'll also find a section at the end of each dedicated to what happens if you fail. In many cases, McCullough has written interesting little extras that could change the outcome of subsequent missions. You are also allowed to have a do-over (it's your game after all) but I do like that in there are a few options here and there to fail forward and continue telling the story. Even Luke and the gang didn't come out of every situation unscathed in Star Wars!

Robot Chase - Stargrave

I really like that this encourages a few different mindsets to settle in. Do you go full narrative and take your losses on the chin and keep plugging on to see what happens? Or, do you take on a completionist mindset and try and ace all of them, re-trying to see if you can solve the puzzle? Since the focus here is on playing alone or with a friend, there are no hard and fast rules and I like that you get a lot of freedom here to make it what you want.

Each scenario comes together to create a fascinating session for the player or players involved. Much like with Rangers Of Shadow Deep and the solo/cooperative scenarios in the likes of Frostgrave, I think players are going to have a lot of fun trying to buy, build and paint the different miniatures, monsters and terrain that they'll need for each encounter. What's even better is that all of that can then be used to play normal games of Stargrave later! It's essentially like building your gaming collection as you play!

Worth A Shot?

What struck me was I was reading through this is something McCullough mentions early in the book. Hope Eternal has been designed so you (and a friend) can pick up the main book, this and a few miniatures and just start playing. Solo wargaming has become something of a hit over the last while what with a global pandemic changing how we play and whilst I'm happy I can now play games with friends again, it's good to see that the lessons learned during those years have become baked into game design. As well as that, the world is a fast-paced place and planning meet-ups with friends can be a pain in the ass. So, having a game that you can dive into like Stargrave with its own massive campaign could be the thing that keeps a fair few folks here in the hobby rather than giving it up for a different pursuit.

Chased In The Dark - Stargrave

So who do I see this book being for? Genuinely, I think this would be brilliant for someone who loves wargaming and wants to try something different. I bet there are a lot of people painting up miniatures right now and then wondering if they'll ever get a game. Buy Hope Eternal. Use your existing miniatures collection or maybe all-in go in with a close friend or partner who likes the hobby and try this. Having read through the different scenarios, I think you'll have an absolute blast and come out the other end of it with proper water cooler-style moments to talk about when you're sitting down to paint or having a coffee way down the line.

Space Explorer - Stargrave

Would this work for someone starting out? I reckon so! When you're getting started you might not have a good crowd of people to play with but I bet there are one or two people you know who could be tempted. Get stuck in with this! You'd only need a handful of player miniatures and then you can get stuck into the "hobby" element of what we do by making fun aliens and terrain to play your games on. Even if you can't find a pal to play with, the in-depth nature of the solo experience here should keep you entertained for a good few months!

In my eyes, this is another solid hit from McCullough. You can tell he loves writing these rules and coming up with new ideas and if you're already sold on Stargrave, I could see this being a no-brainer. I think it will be great fun coming back next year and seeing how people's Hope Eternal campaigns turned out. Did you become the hero?

Are you going to be diving into Hope Eternal and will you be playing solo or cooperatively? 

"...the book opens up to cover the absolutely sprawling and fascinating Hope Eternal story"

" I bet there are a lot of people painting up miniatures right now and then wondering if they'll ever get a game. Buy Hope Eternal..."

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