Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dreadfleet - Review

For two bleak decades the Undead reavers of Count Noctilus have plagued the oceans of the world. After each raid, the Dreadfleet disappears into its lair as quickly and silently as it appeared, far from the reach of Man. And yet there remains hope. Captain Jaego Roth of the Heldenhammer has vowed to hunt down and destroy Count Noctilus and his Undead captains once and for all. With him sail the most notorious and cunning of the pirate lords of Sartosa, each borne to battle upon a giant warship bristling with cannons, organ guns and bolt throwers. At the stroke of midnight on Geheimnisnacht, most forsaken of nights, the Heldenhammer and her companions sail into the realm of undeath known as the Galleon's Graveyard. One by one, Count Noctilus and his vile allies move in to stop them.

Thusly Games Workshop introduces their latest one off game - Dreadfleet! Much like space hulk it functions as a standalone game for two or more players, and comes with everything you need to start playing off the bat. You and your enemy can either take control of the titular Dreadfleet, or the Grand Alliance. Unfortunately sound effects aren't included, but if you can't - or your friends wont - make medieval pew pew noises while you imagine sending cannonballs and sea drakes to obliterate your foes then you are lame.

I haven't had a chance to play yet, myself, because I'm very finicky about painting and modding everything perfectly before I use something. I have seen people at the local GW play it though and overall it seems like a very popular game now, and a nice changeup from traditional tabletop skirmishes or wars.

The game was released in limited numbers to each Games Workshop and independant retailer. Interestingly whereas all the GWs I've visited sold out in the first weekend, all the FLGS (Friendly local gameshops) I've been too still have stacks of them left. Maybe if you're more used to Warmahordes or Malifaux the Dreadfleet won't appeal so much.

If you are still looking for a copy near Leicerster, check out Tabletop Tyrant. They had loads left when I popped in.

Now onto the contents of the box!

It's a stand £70 boxset, much like the army boxes and Island of Blood/Assault on Black Reach sets. Ofcourse you can get it at a standard 10-20% off at independant retailers. I was happy with the price though - my mum grabbed it for me from Games Workshop as an early christmas gift.

The actual box itself has some gorgeous designwork - fantastic artwork on top and a gorgeous picture of a game in play on the bottom. It's also a very sturdy and strong box. My AoBR box is now 80% masking tape but I can see this box lasting very well even as I move it from place to place. It would be nicer if more of their boxes were of this quality to be honest.

It's also one of the only things I've been able to unpack and repack neatly without having to bend the laws of time and space.

The back of the box promises the following contents;

I'm pleased to say that my box came with everything! The wind gauge, navigation rod etc are found in the sprues to be glued together and painted. And the instruction book is downstairs which is too far for me to walk right now...

So rather than flicking through sets of books for rules and damage etc most of the action is self contained in the cards you can see. These are also quite sturdy and have snazzy artwork.

The mat is 5' x 9', and you can throw it anywhere. I can confirm it is large enough to use as a blankie.
Photo soon!

Now in general Games Workshop's plastic sets and sprues have been a hell of a lot nicer recently. Detail,
strength, design. Thankfully the Dreadfleet is no exception.

Here you can see the scenery that comes for the board. Islands and shipwrecks to be navigated by your tiny armada. Most of them are really nice; however I really don't like Games Workshop's habit of using malformed skulls everywhere in all of it's scenery these days. A few too many of these pieces are just boring poorly sculpted skulls and flat sides for my liking, but the others include a fortress, shipwrecks, and uhh... fuck it most of them are crap skulls >: |

Most of the navigation pieces are on this sprue too, as you can see on the right and down the bottom. These actually have a good amount of effort put into their design for what effectively are coins to flip and rulers to measure.
Sprue number two to come out is half the size of this (A3 sized) one.

Our first ships of the Dreadfleet! When it's light again I will be replacing these close ups with macro pics.

Skabrus on the sprue and painted by GW

The awesome Skaven ship - carved from the body of an Orb Leviathan (aka Anglerfish) captained by an awesome undead skaven pirate lord, Skretch. This Orb Leviathan (after it's role in Finding Nemo) destroyed Skretch's original fleet and then manage to swallow his flagship whole, taking captain and crew with it. Who then took the most obvious course of action and ate the fish from the inside out, which was then brought back to life by captain Noctilus.
As silly as the backstory is I can't help but find this one adorable for it's tiny warpstone bell mounted afront the fish's head like an evil escas. More evil escas... Very skaveny indeed.

The Curse of Zandri on sprue and painted by Games Workshop
 A ship made to enact revenge on Captain Roth for raiding the tombs of Zandri, made using the bricks of the tombs themselves using the hooded Necrosphinx of Zandri as it's figurehead. Also onboard are various titans, obelisks, giant sun ray shooting sapphire and hundreds of tireless undead power rowing. It is kept afloat by MAGIC.

The fluff on this one is a bit sillier - if someone kept stealing your stuff, would you turn that stuff into a boat and then sail it to them?

The detail on this one is nice, especially the hundreds of tiny oars. Ties very neatly into the new tomb kings designs and themes, although I find the scaling to be a bit off. I find the pyramidal structure doesn't have proportionate detailing and does make me feel like I'm looking at a tiny plastic ship, rather than a large cow very far away. Uh, ship.

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