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Dreadfleet review

 Post subject: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:21 am 
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Just thought I'd write up a quick first impression of the Dreadfleet box game as I just got a copy.

My pre-ordered box arrived Wednesday, the box is the same general size as the Space Hulk special release of a couple of years ago, just a little thicker, and a somewhat lighter.

The plastic sprues have really nice detail and there were no obvious problems with any of them, the ships generally are slightly bigger lengthwise (1 cm) than Man O War flagships from the respective races (ie. the Dreadfleet Dwarf ship is slightly bigger than the Man O War Dwarf dreadnought).

There really is alot of miniatures in the box including the scenery, it's all pretty nice quality, with good detail. The rule book is all color, heavier paper, contains a little bit of background of the ships and characters, full of Blanche artwork, pretty nice overall. It was pretty stiff when I got it so I carefully went through the whole book page by page and ran my finger against the inside of the pages as I turned them (I hope people know what I mean by this, I worked in a library ages ago and this is something we used to do with all the new books, it's supposed to help define where the pages turn and stop the spine from wearing out). The rules seem rather detailed, there are scenarios and at the end suggestions how to play a campaign. The are a number of decks of cards sealed in plastic(already to cut out), dice, and a bag full of little zip lock baggies to store stuff in. The 'sea mat' is rather thin, seems slightly thinner than the GW 'grass mat' they sell and the wrinkle free material appears to be polyester.

The Good: At first glance the models appear to be high quality with lots of detail. The rule book is actually very nice on it's own, especially is one has an appreciation of Blanche. The fact this box contains everything is a real plus for me, and I mean everything, scenery, sea monsters, the auxiliary ships and fliers, 'nautical navigation devices', etc. I find this to be a real plus (especially considering GW track record of releasing everything for 'side games')

The Bad: I was kinda disappointed with the 'sea mat', it just seems a bit thin, I'm hoping it doesn't move about during play. I was wondering all along how the mat was going to fit in the box (expecting something like their grass mat) and it fits in the box because it is rather thin. A surprising 'bad', the miniatures are rather nice, they deserve a nice paint job, they really do, I just don't know if I have the time amongst my other hobby 'demands' to give them the attention they really deserve.

The Ugly: Dreadfleet is actually pretty nice, it looks like a bit of time and effort were invested, the quality overall is top notch, one could even say it's a good value. I can see this being great fun with the grandkids on holidays. So why the ugly? A better question in the end may be why Dreadfleet at all? Even though GW is a multinational company that generates millions in sales and has store fronts around the globe they manage to still play that they are a small little affair that lacks the resources to support not only Specialist Games but even produce all the Codexes and miniatures for their core games. So when I look at the effort and quality that obviously went into Dreadfleet instead of being wholeheartedly happy with what surely is a quality product I am filled with question and pretty much regret that the time and the effort wasn't spent on numerous offerings I would have much rather seen lavished with such effort: a Battle Fleet Gothic box set like this would have been awesome, and heck, they could have generated sales for the minis they already have on the site, or how about Adeptus Titanicus with the five highly detailed sprues full of Epic Titans and scenery, on the fantasy end since that's what they are pushing why not Mordheim, etc. Am I happy with my purchase? Lets just say I'm quietly pleased, but at the same time more than a bit sad when I see what GW could be. If GW can put Dreadfleet out how can I not feel angst about the treatment they show for games I care about but they ignore.


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overview.jpg
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Last edited by WestSide on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:33 am 
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Good review, if a bit depressing at the end. :) Any thoughts on how the game will play?

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:59 am 
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Simulated Knave wrote:
Any thoughts on how the game will play?


It seems rather detailed, perhaps even intricate, personally I find that slightly intimidating (I play Epic 40k 3rd after all). I prefer my games, shall we say, elegant: easy to learn, hard to master. Dreadfleet at first glance seems to be full of special abilities and die rolls. I think the saving grace for me will be the scenarios. Just as in other offerings from GW some of the scenarios are simpler and build up in complexity. Each ship appears (not only visually, but game wise) to be unique, and in harmony with fantasy fluff. Hopefully this will encourage different tactics to be employed for the different vessels. I'm hoping when I have the chance to really give it a go, the game flows smoothly. The cards for the ships, fates, etc. are highly detailed and pretty self explainatory, so I am sure that will help move things along. Other than the above mentioned resentment, Dreadfleet looks like it probably will be a pretty fun change of pace from my usual steady gaming fare.


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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:28 am 
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I wanted Man o War, and while at first slightly dissapointed by the offering, I got over it fast.

So I am still waiting for it to arrive (should be today) and I kind of like the idea of the seperate and all in one game.

While we can sit there, gnash our teeth and proclaim to know how to run GW better than how they are run now, at the end of the day, games like this will always be in demand. It is for that reason that they will always hold their value. A nice thing to know if I find that I do not like the game or have no use for it in the future.

As for their specialist games - best that they remain in the hands of their fans and not subject to the need to make the next $$. People should be careful what they wish for.....

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:31 am 
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The damn thing is "good game" and "make money" are not mutually exclusive. 3e D&D was a pretty solid system, and made money hand over fist. The two were not unrelated.

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:52 am 
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Simulated Knave wrote:
The damn thing is "good game" and "make money" are not mutually exclusive. 3e D&D was a pretty solid system, and made money hand over fist. The two were not unrelated.

Serious? 3e D&D was going to sell no matter what. They are the GW of the roleplaying world.

Perhaps a better example is Vampire the Masquerade. High quality with no sales to their ongoing name...

Now enough of this you slithering cutpurse. Back to Dreadfleet or it's the plank for thee!

Argh!

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:45 am 
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I like space hulk for everything fitting back in the box even once it was assembled. I'm curious as to how that would work out with all the ships you get since they seem to be rather tall and have plenty of thin bits that are just waiting to snap off.

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:14 am 
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Quote:
Serious? 3e D&D was going to sell no matter what. They are the GW of the roleplaying world.


Yes, it was going to sell. But it sold improbably well even for D&D.

And, more to the point, it being a good rule system didn't drive people into the wilderness (well, only the sort of people who thought THAC0 was intuitive and clever).

Quote:
Perhaps a better example is Vampire the Masquerade. High quality with no sales to their ongoing name...


Both of those are pretty debatable statements. And more to the point, it's a terrible example of something good selling well.

The point is that you can have a good ruleset and make money. It's quite doable.

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:43 am 
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Quote:
how about Adeptus Titanicus with the five highly detailed sprues full of Epic Titans and scenery


Because this might make customers look into epic, or even, horror or horros, spend money on epic. Don't want that when those customers could be buying the latest colour variation of 28mm space marines ::)

Anyway, if your only criticism of the release itself is a thin sea matt, sounds good.

Saw a new box of dreadlfeet sell on uk ebay a few days ago at under £70 with one bid. The resellers may be a bit over-eager ;D

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:14 am 
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Apocolocyntosis wrote:
Quote:
how about Adeptus Titanicus with the five highly detailed sprues full of Epic Titans and scenery


Because this might make customers look into epic, or even, horror or horros, spend money on epic. Don't want that when those customers could be buying the latest colour variation of 28mm space marines ::)

Anyway, if your only criticism of the release itself is a thin sea matt, sounds good.

Saw a new box of dreadlfeet sell on uk ebay a few days ago at under £70 with one bid. The resellers may be a bit over-eager ;D

I was in my local store last night, they had 16 boxes on the shelves (I was counting them while I ate a burrito). At the end of the evening, an employee bounced along in that cute sales mode they have (i.e. grafted into their personality), and this is paraphrasing the brief conversation we had:
Bouncy: "Have you played Dreadfleet yet? It's amazing!"
Me: "No not yet, looks interesting. How many have you sold?"
Bouncy: "We've sold 16, half of them, already! Plus nearly the same in pre orders."
Me: "Not bad. I guess Space Hulk was a bit more popular?"
Bouncy: "Ah, but Space Hulk has the advantage of being Space Hulk."
Me: "If only Dreadfleet had the advantage of being Man O' War."
Bouncy: "..."

It's not clear how many were bought by eBayers, but I think it fairly likely they will sell them all at some point. Silly to flog them on eBay until that happens.

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:22 pm 
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frogbear wrote:
As for their specialist games - best that they remain in the hands of their fans and not subject to the need to make the next $$. People should be careful what they wish for.....


Quite right, especially when one considers the GW corporate probably considers Fantasy Flight Games 'Horus Heresy' to be the re-release of Epic :-X


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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Vaaish wrote:
I like space hulk for everything fitting back in the box even once it was assembled. I'm curious as to how that would work out with all the ships you get since they seem to be rather tall and have plenty of thin bits that are just waiting to snap off.


I think everything will fit in the box even better (I have a bit of a time getting everything from Space Hulf 3rd back in the box). As for the sails, perhaps they should be magnetized like a flight stand, or some pull foam might be in order.


Last edited by WestSide on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:34 pm 
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frogbear wrote:
Now enough of this you slithering cutpurse. Back to Dreadfleet or it's the plank for thee!

Argh!


After staying up until midnight reading the rules (damn handsome book), fluff, and looking at the pictures, planning how to paint the stuff quickly and simply (ya right) I'm finding it hard to stay focused on the Epic Squat Army I've been working on :o

Guess that means, at least to me, Dreadfleet has an appeal.

Frogbear, looking forward to your impressions of the game when your arrives, I think you will like it. I'm actually thinking of selling all my ancient Man O War stuff as redundant :o


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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:28 pm 
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I should hopefully have the fine dubloon in mi hands tomorrow. Ar!

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 Post subject: Re: Dreadfleet review
PostPosted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:11 am 
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If I could add my two cents to the review...

I too purchased the game during the pre-order and it arrived at my place the day after the official release day.

I fully agree with Westside's comment about the time and effort put forth to produce the game, but I'm going to say I'm really glad GW did what they did. I have wanted the game ever since they put the first pictures out. Not because of the nostalgia of a new game loosely based on Man-O-War, or because everything was in the box you needed to play, but because of the sheer detail of the models and the character feel of the game. I was overly impressed with the ship designs and felt that they accurately represented the factions of the WHF World (not that I've ever played Chaos Dwarves and Araby). ;)

Pros - The entire box set. (and YES, I even liked the game mat)
Cons - The price tag...(kinda steep)
Ugly - The fact that this is probably a one-shot.

To me this game is kind of a hobbyist's dream. I myself feel intimidated to paint these models, but again I can't wait to do so. This product has kind of reinvigorated my feel for the hobby as a whole. I'll be taking my sweet time assembling and painting this little jewel of a game.

Although I'm kind of at a quandary about GW's randomness of this 2 year, new game cycle. Are they doing it for testing future markets? Driving their fans crazy by teasing them with the hope that this will be "The New System" (i.E. LoTR). Looking for the next system to replace LoTR in the future (although this new Hobbit movie makes me think that we're looking at another 10 yrs). Because they're bored?

And as for the Fantasy Flight Games comment, I think Horus Heresy is definitely EPIC...in feeling and scale. I love that game! GW should take some lessons from these guys. :P


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