Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dread Fleet: Unboxing

Dreadfleet arrived today! I came back from a rotten day at class, trudging through boring textbooks and dusty papers to find this glowing, warpstone-infused gem sitting in front of my door. By Sigmar, it smelled of skaven hide and salt spray, as if it had been delivered by a bilge rat soaked in rot-gut. The box weighed at least a hunno pounds, but I threw it over my shoulder like a dead cabin boy and hauled it inside. I knocked on the wooden doorpost three times, spit on the floor, and turned around twice before reaching for my scimitar.
 With a few deft strokes I sliced into the iron-hard packaging and looked at what lay inside. It was a vision of indescribable beauty- a unique blend of art, skill, and madness. It was indeed the fabled copy of Dreadfleet from Games Workshop along with exclusive novellette by Phil Kellly! My heart skipped a beat and I could scarcely stifle a primal roar of excitement and wonder!
 Yeeeeeessssss! This kicks ass!
 Here is the box in all its glory. Bigger than an FFG standard game, smaller than a coffin box. The artwork is gorgeous and I have been informed that Battlefoam is selling custom inserts for the ships and cards. Which I will buy.
 Inside are some shockingly good plastics. Hopefully you have seen the painted ships already, but even those do not do them justice. The level of detail is in-freaking-credible. For example, the main ship of the dreadfleet is actually a castle surrounded by the broken remains of other ships. Around the doors of the castle are little gallows- with nooses. On the Heldenhammer, the shingles on the roof are super tiny. Even so, some of them are sculpted to appear broken. keep in mind that these ships are only about 2-3 inches long but represent vessels capable of holding over a thousand crew. They even put the super-detailed Dystopian Wars figures to shame. Hands down. No contest. Amazing.

The rulebook is a real beaut, too. Full color, lots of artwork (mostly John Blanche- sorry Ben!) that is very nice as well. I particularly like the naval combat scenes. I would like to get some prints, I think. The rules are all together in the first part, there is a fluff section on what the ships are fighting about, there is a breakdown of the ships themselves, and then a scenario section with 12 scenarios and campaign rules to boot. Ship's stats are very straightforward so it would likely be no trouble at all to fit in some Man-o-War ships as well with some homebrew captains.
Here is a picture along with one of my cadians (28mm) so you can get an idea of the size. I can already tell they are going to be a breeze to paint. The sprues come with all sorts of goodies. I am particularly pleased with the small stuff, like dragons, monsters, and especially the sails. there is not a single "throw-away" piece in there. The ships even come with their own fully sculpted water base. There are also several game markers, like a ruler and wind counter that will also need to be painted up. Since everything is snap fit, you could be playing in the time it takes to cut them out and put them together. I will be giving them the full treatment, however, with glue, files, and green stuff.
The terrain is great. The volcano, for instance, is not just a bubbling pit. It has a temple built on the side with a place to throw sacrifices over the lip. The floating village is not just an island with a palm tree. it is a spooky tower built on the back of a giant skeletal sea turtle. The game also comes with a couple card decks and ship reference cards. Did I mention the map? You get a cloth map to play on that is big enough to be a bedspread. The cloth is high-quality, too. I mean, Billy could sew a dress out of this stuff and go out on the town!

Final Thoughts:
Ok, so you have heard me wax eloquent about the new game. I am a GW fanboy, that is true. When they are on top of their game they do it better than anyone else in the industry. This is clearly a product being used to show their skills off, just as Space Hulk did a few years ago. But in that is the problem- it is only a museum piece. They are not going to market this to a generation of gamers as they did with Mordheim, Necromunda, Warhammer Quest, or Battlefleet Gothic. This is a one time release that only a few hobbyists are going to buy, shucking out over a hundred dollars for the privelege. It is not compatible with any of their other games and does not get them started on a new army. I hope that the opposite is true and lots of 13 year old kids pick it up and learn the hobby. However, since they are likely already sold out, that seems unlikely.

That being said I am still looking forward to painting it up and throwing some dice around. This will have a place of honor in my collection. Now heave ho!


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