Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Dreadfleet has dropped anchor at Hephesto's Forge

That's right, my copy of Dreadfleet has arrived and it's looking mighty fine. I'll be going into much more detail this weekend, including a closer look at the rules and the level of randomness in the game elements (which might be helpful for those still on the hence whether or not to get a copy for themselves), but for the moment I just have a few first impression thoughts to share.

A. Miniatures & sprues:
The detailing on these miniatures is just insane, just take a look at the side of the Swordfish (click on the pic for a close-up):

And although at first I had my doubts about the textured seabases, because they do take up an entire sprue which could have been used for 2-3 extra ships, I fully have to admit GW (Nick Ho to be specific) have done a terrific job on these. Sure, an extra ship or two would have been nice, but they've managed to sneak in so much extra detail into those bases that they're well worth it

And while we're on the top of plastic, the sprue design for Dreadfleet is also very intelligent. Naturally we have the usual letter-coded parts to help figure out which pieces belong together but there are also several pegs and plastic rod puts specifically in place to protect some of the more brittle part. Nothing nastier than a very thin, broken piece of plastic afterall!

TIP: those wanting to get each and every detail on these ships painted to the highest standards will do well to first examin the miniatures closely. Quite a lot of the ships have details that will be greatly obscured when fully assembled, so some of them will look at lot better when painted in steps and then assembled. The Skaven-crewed Skabras is a very good example of this as the gusts and tongue of this beast/ship have been modelled to its base and become very difficult to reach once fully assembled

B. The rules, scenarios:
I'm still only getting started on these, but it does indeed look that the game has a lot of randomness in it. Between random damage effects, new bonus effects each turn because of faith cards and potential movement penalties and boosts there are a whole bunch of things that can upset your plans. This may be problematic in the first couple of scenarios where there are only a few boats and trippy movement combined with Noctilus' ability to control seamonsters can greatly influence the game (as has already been experienced by other gamers, for those interested check out Quirckworthy's first game right here: link).

Overall this game doesn't feel like it is meant to be a tactical seafaring gaming, but at the same time there is enough depth, fluff and interaction going on to keep it well out of the realm of the beer & pretzels games. However, given that this game has a much more atmospheric and casual feel to it there if of course nothing stopping gamers from adding their own custom rules. I can imagine restricting the wind rules or only drawing faith cards every other turn for example will help focus the game more on the tactical side.

Scenario and story-wise we get a lovely blend of over the top Warhammer Fantasy storyline telling, true and tried pirate themes and a healthy dose of humor. We have everything in there from a Vampire lord magically zapping his Sylvannan castle into a magical maelstrom, where he fuzes it with dozen of shipwrecks, thus creating the regenerating Bloodreaver; cannabalistic ghouls trying to toss your captains into a vulcano to summon an angry firegod and what better way to save your sinking ship than plugging up that cannonball hole with a cabin boy!

C. Game cards & seascape:

Both are quite nicely designed with lovely details and artwork, but they also seen a tad on the thin side. Which means that with lots of use they will be the first things that will start showing wear and tear. I am, however rather happy with the different sizes of the cards. Both the ship and order cards and nice and big to make certain both players (or more) get all the necessary info, while the fate and damage cards are just big enough to give the necessary information, but also small enough to keep the table from getting completely covered with them. And trust me, in some scenarios you will be dishing these things out by the handfull!

And that rounds up my first impressions of Dreadfleet, over the course of the next week or so I'll be having a closer look at the rules, as well as putting together some tips & tricks for all of the ships.

Given that I am a somewhat slower gamer, and not just because of my hectic work schedule, there will be many other bloggers out there sending lovely information and feedback on Dreadfleet into the web. So I'll be doing my best to try and find stuff that hasn't been discussed a dozen times already, specifically this means that if anybody out there has questions or wants more info about a certain part of the game then don't hesitate to let me know!


  1. Hi there!

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  2. Sounds cool, I'll head over and have a better look later this week!