Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dreadfleet open box review

SDC10938Having the good fortune to get my grubby little mitts on a copy of Dreadfleet a little early, I thought I’d share my opinions on Games Workshops most recent publication.



The box art is, as expected, excellently printed and easy on the eye. The main image is by John Blanche and it is clear it’s his work, as is the majority of the art in the rule book; all 96 pages feature incredible imagery. The artwork follows through on the game cards.


Three packs in total, two packs of small cards and one pack of larger cards. Around the sides of the inner box are the instructions for building the models and various game accessories.

The box, unopened, weighs in at a little over 2.5 kilos. Yes, I weighed it! Lighter than Space Hulk and a smaller box.




On to the models, everything that isn’t card or paper is the bog standard grey plastic, those who enjoy painting and building their models are in for a treat. GW has designed the kits along the same lines as Assault on Black Reach, Isle of Blood and Space Hulk so it’s all click fit. The level of detail is easily up to the standard we’ve come to expect from GW plastic and once built and painted you’ll need to pack the models very carefully or masts, flags and other fragile components will end up looking like the wrecks before too long.





The majority of the Warhammer Fantasy Battles races are represented by a ship and the rulebook, SDC10945rather obviously, has a detailed entry for each of the ten models which includes a background story and details of special rules. Stat lines consist of 6 attributes, Speed, Hull, Crew, Broadside, Handling and armour. I won’t go into detail for the stats; I think I’m pushing it a bit having the game already. The twelve dice are average and there’s nothing special about them, you get 11 ivory coloured and a red one.


It would have been nice if the dice were a little larger and perhaps had a nautical theme, but oh well, maybe there’ll be a limited edition dice set available?


Finally included in the box is the game “board”. Not so much a board as a table cloth, or at least that’s what the missus called it. I don’t think the photo does it much justice by way of showing the design, but you can see where they were going with it. The missus describes it as having the feel of cheap nylon, I think the intent was to give it the look and feel of an olde worlde silk map, I wouldn’t say they failed, that would be harsh, but it definitely doesn’t have a silky feel to it. but it does feel very durable which is the important thing. At 5 feet by 3.5 it’s large but it will fit on a fair sized dining or gaming table, assuming your gaming table isn’t themed, that would make for very rough seas.

Personally I’m looking forward to putting the models together and getting them painted, I’m also keen to start playing. Whilst the rules do look a little complicated I’m sure that it will only take a couple of games to grasp them and blasting your enemy out of the water and sending them to Davy Jones’ locker.

Of course the main question is what are the negatives? As I mentioned above, the dice, I think a little effort could have been put into them, maybe an anchor where the one should be or perhaps a skull & crossed bones. My second gripe is the amount of work involved before you can actually get to play. Of course you can simply snap the kits together and get on with it. But, for me anyway, part of the enjoyment of collecting these games is to paint the models. It’s so much nicer to see painted models in play rather than the dull boring grey of the plastic. The other thing that’s missing, in my humble opinion, are more detailed building and painting instructions. It’s all well and good putting a quick guide on the outer edge of the inner box, but they’re not particularly clear and there’s not a great deal by way of a painting guide. A four page guide would be handy. The only source available is the small photographs in the rulebook or the images on the GW website.

My favourite model in the box? It has to be the Black Kraken, those chaos dwarves and their engineering skills, it’s submersible, can’t wait to learn how that works in the game. I also think GW could have done some of the work for us, with so many models to build and paint, some of the counters and other gaming accessories could have been better presented by casting them in multi coloured plastic, but maybe that’s just me being lazy.

Despite the few negatives I like what I’ve seen and I’m glad I have a copy. I strongly recommend it and I’m sure that it will give you great pleasure both from the hobby side and the game.

Enjoy it me hearties, hoist the main sail and prepare to catch the wind and have your timbers shivered and your buckles swashed.

I’m sorry, but did you really think I’d get through this post without the ubiquitous pirate reference?

Something else I picked up today was liquid green stuff. This is most definitely a WTF moment. Apparently it sets hard and can be worked once set. Sanded, drilled and cut just like the two part putty. To be honest I’m dubious, it looks and smells like extra thick green paint. GW also have a “now you’re taking the p*ss” release this month, a set of files specifically designed for the finecast range. For file read fine emery board, blokey types may not be too familiar with the product, basically it’s finely ground glass/grit/sand glued to a flat wooden stick. They can be bought in a budget priced outlet, the type where stuff costs a pound or less and you can buy about twenty for a quid rather than a possible three for £4, they’ve also bought out a second prep kit that contains two items, one looks like some form of tool for removing flash from finecast models, the second tool in this kit can only be described as an over sized toothbrush, because you clearly haven’t thought of using your girlfriends toothbrush to clean your models.

I’ll post my view on Liquid Green Stuff when I get a chance to use it. My main concern is that it may have a very limited shelf life.


Special thanks for this post go out to my secret supplier for the early provision of the game, and to the missus for holding up the game board cloth so that I could take the photo.