Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review: Dreadfleet

You'll not find a box with more Cadavers or Broadsides!!!

OK, I think it's fair to say that I could potentially be considered a hostile reviewer, where this product is concerned. My cynic radar went off of the scale with how this product was announced, and then pimped out to the world, via a veiled threat of buy it now or miss out. It is this crass sort of marketing ploy that normally backfires, and does more harm to a companies reputation than good. That's a genuine shame because most people, perhaps even myself included, were judging the game on how it was handled as a product launch, rather than its merits as a game. However, rather than knee jerk into a rapid review of Dreadfleet, like some people have, I've taken my time to read the rules, played some games with various opponents, and have tried to judge the game on its constituent parts, and more importantly how it plays. I'm glad, in a way, that Games Workshop are still willing to give new products like Dreadfleet a go. It's just a shame that this new product isn't going to be given a decent shelf life, to see how it would have performed and evolved long-term, although after playing it I think it's a wise call to have made it a limited release. Although, looking at the shops round by me,  they're all still struggling a week later to sell their 15 to 20 copies they were given. So it's shelf life might be longer than the Games Workshop management wished for. Possibly running into half term, and dare I say it, the start of the Christmas sales period. That was not what they planned!!!

Product Description

It has stuff in the box.

This is a wargame in a box. And yes, there is a difference to all those 'games in a box' I've been buying. Those games are pretty much board games, and while Dreadfleet comes with it's own admittedly nice playing surface, it is not a board game. You get 10 main ships in the box, a few sea monsters and teeny tiny auxiliary ships and other stuff that are really just tokens. There are also a fair few islands, obviously with the now obligatory Games Workshop skulls, so there is also scenery in the box. The rulebook is actually a really nice little book, it's full colour and contains a lot of evocative artwork, but those who can't stand John Blanche's work should probably skip past most of that! The rulebook obviously contains the rules (now that would be an epic fail) but also a lot of background, and what gamers like to term 'fluff'. It's clear a lot of attention has been lavished on the book and those involved should feel rightfully proud of their achievements. There have been reports of some quite serious binding problems with it, but genuinely hand on heart I have not had a single problem with mine, and if I had you'd know I'd let rip with a broadside of my own... sorry I couldn't resist! Their are a few cards, which fulfill various functions in the game and while they look nice enough they don't actually feel that good. I thought looking at the size of the small cards that they might have been Fantasy Flight Games cards, but they don't feel quite as thick, or glossy. They could still be Fantasy Flight cards though, just not their premium cards. However the best thing in the box is undoubtedly the mat, now its not often that I, as a red blooded male (OK, a male) get excited about fabric, but you know what? It's not half bad! Although it's size does limit its usefulness for other game systems really.

The rulebook... why bother? Just draw random cards.
Gameplay 3.5 out of 10

Right, I'm going to get this out of the way right now. I haven't really enjoyed playing the game at all. I think there are just so many random elements at play here that skill plays very little, if any part of who is victorious. Now that might be OK for most people and indeed, I think it's OK for the odd game every now and then, but when you draw a fate card that means you're fleet is screwed before the game even starts... well it doesn't make you want to carry on. The underlying game mechanics are fine, if a little simplistic, and I think Phil Kelly has done a good job on the core gameplay mechanics. It's not too revolutionary or ground breaking, but there is a workable little game at its heart. What screws with this little core, for me, is just how random the wind is, and those bloody 'fate cards'. That's not even mentioning how the fricking damage works! It's clear that these randomising elements were brought in to level the playing field down to the best dice rolls and card flips. But is it fun? Not in the slightest.

At this stage all seemed well... we'd yet to play a game

I played the game with some of my close gaming buddies, you'll know the name 'The Cursed' and 'Mr Chaos Space Marine' if you've been reading my blog for a while, but we also had Sorrowshard from the Rant in E Minor blog, a confirmed Phil Kelly fan. He was the evenings designated 'voice of reason'. I hesitate as I say that though, because he rapidly became the games biggest critic, coining phrases like 'it's made of fail and AIDs', harsh? Yes. Un-PC? Definitely, but I feel the sentiment. Or my personal favourite 'man it's so bad it actually negates the power of awesome curry. Nothing should negate the power of awesome curry'. Want some more soundbites? From the cursed 'oh God, being raped by a Rhino sounds like more fun' to which Mr Chaos Space Marine replied 'and probably less painful'. Still not enough? How about 'FFS, how long does it take to play this game, I think I've missed two birthdays' or 'guys I think my life is passing before my eyes' and 'it's a total fun sponge' and least I forget 'I've got it! I understand it as a product. Games Workshop are using it as an evil plan to suck the life essence out of us all. I mean I feel like I'm dying right now, what about you guys?'. Those were the ones that I could put into print. It's a bad game people. Very, very bad.

Dreadfleet with grown up kids

Why? I hadn't caused any damage, but his ship was wrecked!

The first issue you'll come across is the playing area. I thought at first the 5' by 3' 6" gaming mat was a genius idea. Mainly because that is standard kitchen table size, however the game requires a lot of space around the outside of the play area, and eventually my games migrated up stairs to my gaming room and my 8' by 4' gaming table. Now I'm not the first person to point this out, and I'm pretty damn sure I'll not be the last, but keeping that gaming mat in place is a pain in the arse to do. It's easy to snag or catch, and just makes playing the game difficult, as it's easy to totally feck a game up by dragging the mat and moving all the ships and Islands. Playing the game with weights on each of the corners became rapidly commonplace. It's not like you can play the game without the mat either, as you need the wind counter tracker around the edge to track the winds position. It's not a big deal, but it is yet another minor annoyance. However, it did make leaning over the playing surface quite a hazardous task and a bit like doing a Krypton Factor challenge. If that cultural reference has sailed over your head, you're either way too young or not British!

My least favourite game mechanic. EVER!

But onto the game itself, if I must. The profile of the ships is all pretty easy to understand, as is the way they move. There isn't really too much to remember, and looking at the ships profiles they're all pretty much of a muchness. The first bit of random injected into the game is the initiative phase, which we're all used too. It's a straight forward roll a dice each and away you go, initiative can alternate every turn, which is neither a good or a bad thing really. Although it does mean you can't plan ahead safe in the knowledge you're going first or indeed second in the next turn. The next phase is the status phase, now ironically this actually became one of the longest phases to bloody play in the game because so many different effects ended up on each ship, and resolving them all became a minor industry, and so very, very dull. The worst phase though, and the one we all felt was what probably totally ruined the game was the fate phase. I don't think I've ever hated a phase in a game quite as much as I have this phase. In the first game I played, before a single ship had moved or done anything, I ended up with 4 damage cards on me because of 'fate'. Sorry it's rubbish and meant neither of us wanted to continue the game because it was just so randomly unfair.

Its a form of cruel and unusual punishment!
However, that was nothing. In subsequent games, the fate deck has swung the game wildly from favouring one side to the next. With no skill. No rhyme, nor reason. To be brutally honest with you the fate phase has more influence on who wins and who loses than the people playing the game. Is it fun? Not to me it isn't, and it leaves any victories and loses feeling totally hollow. As Mr Chaos Space Marine put it, 'the game may as well be a deck of cards you all draw from, until one of you pulls the winner card'. Yeah it is that bad. Why the ships are even placed on the board is beyond me. However, when they are on the board, controlling them is about as pleasurable as rubbing your face against a cheese grater, actually on second thoughts that's probably more pleasurable. Why? Well the wind, it changes its mind more than the current coalition Government! Every fate card you pull changes the wind, sending it either clockwise or counter clockwise around the board edge, they also change the strength of the wind. If you have a 'sail' ship this makes planning any tactical movement nigh on impossible and it's such a joyless task because of it. What happens pretty much every game, is that all your and your opponents ships end up in the center of the board randomly being blown into islands or each other, while you roll dice wandering what the point is.

But what of the much vaunted 'broadsides', I hear you ask? Oh boy! Well yep every ship can deal a 'devastating' broadside, not to each other mind you. No, they deliver them to your face and sap your will to live, and more than likely your opponents as well. Why? Well let me explain. Broadsides work at short, medium and long ranges. Nothing out of the ordinary there. At close range you're on 4+ to hit, medium 5+ to hit and at long range 6+ to hit. The number of dice in the broadside doesn't decrease, just the probability of hitting. Again nothing wrong with that. Each ship has an armour save to make, depending on how hard a hull they have. So far nothing really that should cause so much ire, right? Well yes, but after you've made those armour saves, any you failed means you have to draw a damage card... randomly. I've had a ship limping around with 6 damage cards all on different areas, still being effective, meanwhile I've watched as opponents were unlucky enough to draw 3 of the same type of damage card, say crew, and have their ship sunk. Even though theoretically they'd been doing better. It's mind numbingly stupid and just feels cheap. Conversley when you've hammered a ship with loads of damage and it's all nicely spread out, you feel cheated. So the action phase is full of epic fail as well, and nothing you EVER do feels like it was down to skill.

We could feel our life force slowly drain away

However, the most damning criticism is saved for just how long this dirge of a game takes to play. Were it entertaining, or even mildly diverting it wouldn't be so bad that games can take upwards of four hours to play. Yeah, you did read that right, four fricking hours of mind numbing tedium and mental torture. I don't think the English language can properly describe the emotional scar that has been left on my psyche. An indelible black stain so foul it hurts. I feel somewhat damaged by the experience, I don't think I'll ever look at a dice or a card in the same way again. It sucked all of the joy out of the evening, and none of us had the will to try the excellent looking Blood Bowl living card game from Fantasy Flight Games. We briefly discussed if a quick game of Gears of War, Dwarf Kings Hold or Infinity might lift our spirits, but we decided we couldn't face another dice roll that night. This game is a joy vampire, feeding off of any love for the hobby you might have, until all that's left is a dried out husk, where once before stood an enthusiastic gamer.

If your copy of Dreadfleet still looks like this, get your money back. Now!
Dreadfleet with actual kids

Look, I know we're grizzled cynical gaming veterans. We are a demanding bunch, and we've played many different games over many years, and we're not going to be the easiest bunch of people to please. So I inflicted Dreadfleet on my nephews, because I thought it might have been a kids game. May God have mercy on my immortal soul... I'm screwed aren't I? I'm going to hell for child abuse, where my soul shall burn for all eternity and damnation, writhing in agony and pain that transcends all other worldly known forms of pain. Eternally cursed, driven mad by tortures unspeakable. Yeah, it's that bad. But, it started quite well. Nephew 1, the eldest of the two (15 years old) actually wanted to give it a go. He actually used to play wargames with me when he was younger, although I was saddened to find out in his local group of friends, wargaming has died somewhat. However, he seemed up for it. Even though he did say some of the ships looked like 'playmobil' toys. Nephew 2, the younger nephew (8 years, going on 9) just seemed excited to be playing a game, because he hadn't played many before.

To be fair, Nephew number 2 quite enjoyed the game and the act of rolling the dice and pulling the cards. Me and the Cursed tried our hardest to put our brave happy faces on, we did pirate voices. We bigged things up, and it seemed to be working. Dreadfleet wasn't that bad now was it? Nephew number 1 though started to look less convinced 'why the hell has the wind changed again?' but we pushed on. It was no surprise that Nephew number 1 with his superior age and gaming skills was positioning his ships better and should have been dealing the damage. However, he started to look frustrated 'how come I have more damage on my ships? He's shot me once! Do we have to use the fate cards'. Nephew number 2 though still seemed to be finding it funny that his older brother was beset by ghostly pirates, flying pirahna and other random crap. Then something started to happen, nephew number 2 asked me a question, 'when will this game end?', a sure sign that he was getting bored. However, just to make sure that I got the none too subtle hint... 'I'm bored now.'

Anguish, agony, boredom. So many emotions.
Oh dear, one game of Dreadfleet and my two nephews were unsure, 'do you want it for your birthday I asked?'... puzzled looks came back across the table... but nephew number 1 is shrewd, 'how much does it cost?', 'well £70' I replied. Pause, 'nah you're alright. I'll take the money and run'. Hmmm, we taught this one well I think. Nephew 2 wasn't so sure though, 'I want the ships' so maybe we had a convert after all. 'Can you play a different game with the ships?' oh OK, maybe not. I think he really only enjoyed our amateur dramatics, and the joy of rolling dice. He'd have been just as happy playing any game at all... in fact, that was exactly the case because he actually had more fun with other stuff. So I'm left scratching my head about just exactly who this product is aimed at. Or indeed what it's true purpose is. The visual veneer puts adults like me off, yet attracts younger kids. The game though is too long and 'involved' for those younger children, and eventually it'll bore them. Yet it has none of the tactics that us adults wanted, and a complete lack of control that begged the question why bother. As nephew number 1 put it 'if a wargame isn't about planning your movement, what the hell is it about?'... quite! As to it's purpose, perhaps it was designed to be so dire that we'd all think 8th edition Fantasy wasn't so bad after all, it's the only plausible excuse for it being so bad.

Detail 7 out of 10

When will it end? Someone pass me the cyanide

Boy, where to begin? At first glance on the spru's the ships looked relatively detailed. However, on closer inspection I don't think they are. They're not bad given they're actually plastic ships at quite a small scale, and to be fair plastic isn't all that great at picking up fine scale detail. Games Workshop do well to get the detail they do out of the substance with their miniatures. No, plonking these ships down next to some Dystopian Wars ships just shows what detail can be crammed onto miniatures that small. Forget, for a second, any stylistic preferences you might have, I don't think the Dreadfleet ships on detail alone stand up to the latest resin offerings from Spartan Games. Stylistically I don't like them either as they have a very childish design to them that doesn't appeal to me personally, but, if they float your boat then feel free to ignore what I've just said. They will also be a right bugger to paint because they come in many fiddly little parts that get in the way of each other so it's probably best to either paint these on the spru or as separate pieces and then glue them together. Below are my brief thoughts on each ship in the box, with the studio paint job:

  • Heldenhammer - Yikes, I guess for me it kind of looks a bit like a floating banana, as the curve of the ship from front to back is just too exaggerated for me. The sails look OK but the fo'castle looks over the top even for a 'fantasy' based game. It looks like a kids toy, and maybe the colours they've selected to do the studio paint job in don't help with that. But for me it's just not an aesthetic I personally find pleasing. Although I'm aware others more than likely will disagree with me, and that's fine. But this is my review.

  • Seadrake - I normally go nuts over anything to do with pointy eared elves. So this should be a home run, but it's not. Looking like a strange cross between a Viking longship, tea clipper and an Ulthuan mages tower.. it's a jumbled up design mess. The dragon on the back could have been a nice touch, but the angle it is sitting on the ship makes its profile look weird and gives the ship a weird 2D feel. Yuk.
  • Grimnir'sThunder - It's not all bad though! I adore the Dwarf ship. Its boxy, it's mechanical looking and it's totally awesome. A+. Now, although I currently have Dwarf Warhammer army I think it's fair to say that I don't normally get on the the aesthetics of the short fat beardy ones, so this is a win for me. It has some nice internal details too.

  • Swordfish - This boat was almost, very nearly, perfect. As a boat it looks good, the hull is a nice shape and there's some nice detailing on it. I like the height of the sails, and think it looks the part. Then I look at the prow. Now I know its supposed to have a ram on it. I know it's called the Swordfish, but that nose on the thing looks ridiculous. Total face palm moment. The sail to the back also unbalances the piece slightly. Still overall it's not half bad.

  • Flaming Scimitar - Great idea for a boat, really imaginative in some respects, but suffers from the problem that a lot of the other boats suffer from, insofar that they are hulls with whatever building the race has, stuck on top. I'm not too sure the two Djinn work either and the sails leaning forward like they do doesn't quite work in my opinion. However, it's not as irksome as the Seadrake or Heldenhammer.

  • Bloody Reaver - Horrible mess of a miniature. It's a castle, on a rock surrounded by broken ships, a skull or two and some teeth like things. I guess it's an update of the horrid Man-o-War Black Ark miniature in some ways, and I'm sure that was the inspiration. Thing is the original wasn't very inspiring either! One of my most hated Man-o-War ships. Look it's a hodge podge of ideas that does not come off at all.

  • Skabrus - I quite like this as a concept. The idea that the Skaven have taken some long since dead whale like creature, gutted it and filled it with warp lightening cannons. What's not to like? Well the miniature for starters. It's just so nondescript in the flesh, if you excuse the pun. There's no detail and it just looks like a pimple or a floating turd.

  • Curse of Zandri - Looks like something you'd see in an episode of Stargate... and no that's not a complement. However, compared to many of the other ships in the game there is actually some nice detailing on this ship itself. The oars in particluar are well defined and the pyramid has some nice markings. It is just that I don't like the look of it.

  • Shadewraith - Brilliant idea. Fantastically well executed, arguably the best ship in the box for me... and half of it is missing. I love it though, and I don't think it could've been done in any other substance but plastic. The skeletal type frame of the ghostly ship is great and being able to see straight through it shouts ghost ship. As do those tattered sails. It hits the design brief bang smack in the center of the target for me. I know some don't like the flappy bits underneath the ship, but I don't mind them.

  • Black Kraken - Now this is the best 'ship', and I use the phrase loosely, in the box. I love it, just like I love the Ika Squid from Dystopian Wars as well. It keeps the steam punk fan inside me happy and it does look utterly ace, with its metal tentacles and huge metal gears whirring away. Only thing is why the hell would a Chaos Dwarf sorcerer ever venture onto the high seas? I mean, don't they slowly turn to stone? One quick shove overboard and mutiny complete!
I think though, it's fair to say my youngest nephew thought the ships were cool, so maybe other young kids will like them. A few more things for you to consider about the ships. They have some very delicate pieces and clipping them off of the spru's you need to be careful, because some of the bits look like they might snap, if you got careless. Also watch out for 'flying plastic' syndrome. We've all had it happen to us, when little plastic parts hurl themselves into the air as they are released from their 'plastic spru prison'. There are a number of small parts on this spru that you'll need to cup with your hands, or clips into a plastic bag, so you don't lose them.

The rulebook is a good quality book, for a game in a box rulebook, and is actually a really good size, with lots of nice colour pictures and back story. The layout is clear and well presented and I have found it easy to flick through and to use as a reference tool while playing. This is aided considerably by a really neat touch, which is having a comprehensive Index of terms and rules printed on the back page cover. A really nice touch and one that others should copy. The rules are clear enough and precise, and the page design is full of character. It's loaded with some very nice looking artwork as well. The cards though, although clear enough to read and well designed are flimsy feeling and are a big disappointment. They feel cheap, and after thumbing through the cards for games like Gears of War and Mansions of Madness recently. Dreadfleets cards do not stack up against the cards from those products. These cards will also get a fair old thumbing through as well during the game, and I fear they'll look tatty and dog eared in no time at all. The final component though is that sea mat. The detailing and surface print is really, really nice. I can also confirm it's pretty much non-crease after spending some time trying to see if I could get it to crease, all to no avail. Look what I put myself through when testing products for you guys!!!

A glimmer of quality in a sea of crap!
Quality 7 out of 10

Wow, lets start with those cards. They're utterly dire, some of them are already starting to bend and bow after only 6 games. Can that really be right? No I don't think so, because other similar sized cards from games like Mansions of Madness that have seen many more outings, so far still look as good as new. The size of the cards really did make me think they might have been produced by Fantasy Flight Games, but holding the two products side by side they really aren't comparable. One is thick, firm and has a plastic feel to it, a quality card. The other is a Dreadfleet card. Horrid. The gaming mat isn't bad, but actually in use it's a bit too light and easy to move or catch with a watch, or other such blingery. It doesn't actually work in practice as well as it probably should. Nice idea, and even too an extent, a well executed product, it's just not a fit for purpose as a playing surface, especially on a nicely polished kitchen table, if you can find one it'll all fit on! The miniatures though are what is the biggest disappointment for me. I expect quite a lot now from Games Workshop plastics, and it's their own fault it really is. Because they do such a great job with their plastics, and they have set the bar high for themselves. However, I am not impressed with the quality of the ships and all the Islands. They look cheap and they feel cheap. The only quality component in the box that does its job well is the rulebook, and as I've pointed out elsewhere others are gripping about the quality of the binding. Again I must stress I've had no such issues and I think it's probably just a dodgy batch. Thing is, with stock levels 'supposedly' running down do you want to risk getting one of the duffers, when they'll be none left to replace it with if it does fall apart?

Cheap and nasty feeling card components
Service N/A out of 10

I guess this could possibly be scored as the best service ever, given it turned up unannounced ready for me to play without even lifting a finger to get it. Thing is though not many of you out there have friends like me, who think nothing of dropping a few 'notes' to cheer a fellow friend up. Except I'm not necessarily sure that's what was originally intended now. You see, having played the game I'm sure they intended it to actually kill me. Yeah, I think Dreadfleet is that bad it might drive you to suicide! However, you all know what you think of your local Games Workshop, or local games store, or the mail order service you normally use, so insert your own relevant score above! Just remember every time someone buys Dreadfleet and Angel dies... and no, not of the Blood or Dark variety, so there really is no upside to buying this game.

Price 5 out of 10

Yeah, yeah, I know I got it for free, and I should be way more grateful. Perhaps that's true, and I am grateful to the friends who got it for me, I really am. Because I am glad I've been able to play it, and give you all my honest thoughts on it. However, I am reviewing this as if I'd dumped £70 of my own money on this product. Right now I don't think what is in the box is worth anywhere near £70. I look at what I got in my Dust Tactics box set and the first Edition Descent box set, then I glance at what you get in Dreedfleet and it just doesn't seem to me to be as good a deal. I don't like the miniatures, I don't think there is that much actually in the box when all is said and done, and I'm not too sure it is that great a product over all. I wouldn't knowingly spend £70 on a copy right now if I was walking into a shop, I'd rather drop that money getting something for one of the games they still plan on supporting. Maybe if I had kids it'd be something I might play with them. Plus looking on ebay, it's quite clear that despite people trying to sell them at £140, they are not actually selling for that, or anywhere near that right now. It seems people are trying to break the box sets up to sell the individual components, which doesn't bode well for it holding its price long term, like Space Hulk did. This isn't a gaming investment.

Dreadfleet as God intended. Sealed, never to be opened.

Overall 5.5 out of 10

I'm going to be honest and say that scoring this has not been an easy task in the slightest. On the one hand it's not a bad game to play with young kids, in some respects, but even then it takes too long and can drag on too long. As a pure game system, without those stupid bloody cards, I'd be tempted to give it maybe a 6 out of 10. I suppose for some who just want to roll dice and switch their brains off it could be fun, if that is all you are going to play it for. Because the fact remains it's so random that tactics might as well be throw out the window. It's all down to the luck of the dice and the draw of the cards, and with kids I'm sure that's brilliant, if the game wasn't so boring, and long to play. With grizzled gaming veterans those problems are just exacerbated, if we want silly fun games we know there are way better products out there! If you want a proper tactical game you can forget this. However, it wasn't designed for that, it's a one shot release. I think aimed at kids around about 10 to 14, it's a hobby diversion to try and keep things fresh I guess for 40k and Fantasy gamers, whether it works as that is a moot point for me, because I'm currently playing neither game, and this certainly won't entice me back. But, the biggest problem it has as a product is that it was a dead game before it even sold a single copy...

The game system that Phil Kelly has written does deserve, in some respects, to have been given a bigger hearing, and maybe more time to grow into a proper game system, instead I feel like Phil was probably developing the game with one hand tied behind his back. It should have been Man-o-War Mk.II. But it's not. This is part of Games Workshops problem. The same problem I mentioned a few weeks ago now, the Design Studio can't support, or develop these kind of niche game systems properly, for the long-term. Because it doesn't help support their retail chain and vice versa... so I find it a frustrating product. On the one hand I'm really pleased to see that Games Workshop were willing to give something new a go, and also that they let Phil Kelly run with it, even if it was a swing and a miss. Yet on the other hand, the way in which they have released this product is so very, very annoying, it feels cheap and for a £70 product that's not good. Plus it's a rubbish game. I really don't think most people will get £70's worth of pleasure from it, because as I've said the games it produces are dire, joyless events. I think it'll get played a few times by most, maybe even only once or not at all. Then it'll sit on the top of peoples wardrobes gathering dust. It's such a waste, and I wouldn't spend £70 on this game now, knowing what I do, and I'd advise you all to steer well clear of it as well. Peace out!


  1. Wow. It went over a lot better with my crew, but I agree; the Fate cards are terrible.

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  2. @Lo, I really honestly feel bad giving the game such a kicking. Not because I don't think it doesn't deserves the kicking. It does, no, because it might spell the end of GW experimenting, and that really will be a shame. It's just such a joyless experience. The whole product is really badly thought through, was it even play tested? The length of the games should have told them that the product needed changing. It just takes too long to play for not much action.

  3. i'm surprised that you gave it the high mark you did!! :-) 2 years ago i would have bought it without a second thought probably played loads of games but now i've played better games by other companies, I can see the randomness and the lack of playtesting in most o their products.Once gamers cross the line of Gaming I think GW will struggle to get them back. Every Fail they have heaps more pressure on 6th edition 40K as the only thing to renew GW. It was a shame we couldn't have got a game of something else in last night to hide the bitter taste of this.

  4. In case any of you are wandering, Unique_Geek is the cursed. And I owe him a fair few hours of his life back after yesterday!!!

  5. A very similar experience to mine ( Funny how you can almost feel all the joy being sucked from the very marrow of your bones as you play.

    The core mechanics are fine, but then they're not really different to half a dozen other naval games. This sort of naval game has a core of tried and tested rules that work and have worked for decades. That's no slur on Phil as it would be foolish of him to fix what isn't broken. It's just unfortunate that what he added over the top of that sound core produced this... experience.

  6. @Quirkworthy, I think that's a fair summation of how I think about it as well. I had a read of your review as well, having spoken to other gamers whse opinions I respect, many (not all) have come to similar conclusions as I have. Not all dislike the look of the boats and islands as much as I do though. However, aesthetics are a very personal thing. Most have picked up on the same things we both did:

    1) Too random,
    2) Takes far too long to play
    3) Saps your will to live

    Its bizarre how many people in different parts of the world, all separate from me have reported similar experiences back. It's a total fun sponge!

  7. Wowzers thats a review !! taken me a while to get round to reading it as the pain-ting just went on and on.

    DE finished (for now) Infinity here I come !!!

    I think my review might have been less eloquent , (something like a poop in a bag sent to Lenton, at very least a bill for my time.

    Derp-Fleet , christ where to start, I think you have been pretty objective and fair all things considered , but I have to admit that I see things in black and white for the most part and honestly i would struggle to justify giving it more than 3 out of ten.

    You put a LOT of work into this review, sign me up for lab-rat duty anytime, I think if I had not enjoyed the company as much, I would have had to give into the inexplicable urge to end myself....

  8. @Sorrowshard, I am so, so, so very sorry that I put you guys through this. I am almost certainly heading straight to hell for this aren't I?

    Glad to hear you've got the Dark Eldar done. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you can do with the Infinity figures.

  9. Yeesh, this is depressing. I've been enjoying painting the ships and looking forward to trying it. This kinda (forgive me) takes the wind outta my sails :/

  10. i am sorry to say that i agree with you on all aspects of your rules and game-play criticisms. that said, there are a many ways it could be altered and 'fixed' by the player to better suit their preferences, so i am going to experiment with higher broadside damage, different cannonball types (range, rolls to hit, types of damage inflicted etc. the obvious ones - roundshot, chainshot and grapeshot for hull, speed and crew damage), removing fate cards, or at least selecting ones that don't unbalance the game, and changing the way the wind works. the reason i am going to take the time to do this is because i disagree with most of the things you say about the models :)

    i LOVE these models. seriously, i cannot tell you how awesome i think they are. i KNOW they are cartoony, and unrealistic, and in some cases just plain crazy, but that is why i think they are so great. they capture the Warhammer world, and the pirate theme, and combine them in a way that just appeals to me! in fact, they are the first miniatures i have seen since i painted the Last Chancers 5 years ago that made me want to paint them.

  11. @Minijunkie, if you have a product / game and you brought it for your own reasons, don't ever let anyone tell you that you should or shouldn't enjoy it... me included!!! :P Honestly, play the game for yourself now you've got it, and come to your own conclusions. These are just my thoughts and those of my review subjects. Mr Chaos Space Marine hasn't commented because I believe he's currently rocking backwards and forwards in the corner of a darkened room, sobbing uncontrollably! I think Dreadfleet broke him.

    @Atreides, I was thinking of trying to 'right' the 'wrongs' of the Dreadfleet rules myself and then posting them up here. If people are interested I might give it a go... I sorry though that many who have brought the product are feeling the same way as I do about the game itself. Glad you like the miniatures though, so at least you've got something out of it. lol. Look as I said in my review the aesthetics of the ships didn't all float my boat, some I liked, but most I do not, but that's a very personal thing.

  12. Yet another great review.

    I need to say this-
    You inflicted this on CHILDREN?
    AFTER you tried it yourself, and KNEW how terrible it was?
    Yer a bad, bad man you are....

    Are you sure Sorrowshard didn't convince you to do that?
    Those D'Eldar types can be tricksy....

    Seriously, though (as much as I can be. Nyah), I'm pretty sure a lot of us are....unsurprised to see poor reviews for this.

    Ok, this is just an opinion of mine (you and I tend to throw these around, Frontline. Heh):
    I really think that GW has been on a downward spiral for 2 years or so now.
    The three things that were....more unfail than fail are Space Hulk and the Dark Eldar Codex.

    They went and stepped on their dicks with the DE Codex- they made sure to release the GK Codex need to go on...

    But Space Hulk was a rare gem, I think.
    No, I don't play it or like it myself, but I was happy for the fans who WANTED IT.
    I think that had a lot to do with it's success.
    The fans were wishing for it, and GW gave it to them.
    Boom- cash in the register.
    Seems like a simple formula, no?
    Give yer fans what they want.

    GW, however, in their infinite wisdom, never, ever seems to see it that way....and now THIS.

    Did I ever mention how much I would love to see Epic Armageddon re-made?
    I would friggin' love that.

    But noooooooo....we get Dreadfleet...
    Good luck on that spiral, GW....

    I'm with Unique Geek on this one- 6th edition better friggin' be good.
    The ironic thing is that even if it IS, GW will muck it up with a new 'codex bullshit cycle.'

    My head hurts now...I need to lie down...GW makes my head hurt now....

  13. Oh, wait...did I say THREE things...
    I'm sorry, I was wrong...there were only two...

    So I'm wondering if even the kittehs find any value in this game, Frontline.
    Like, are the ships worth chewing?
    Is the mat comfy fer nappies?
    ....or did you have to sprinkle catnip on it to get them to even come near it, so dark is the aura of fun and life sucking misery it exudes?

  14. @SinSynn, I really am the one out of my group of test subjects trying to be positive about this. Unique_Geek said it should have been 1 out of 10, Mr Chaos Space Marine said 0 out of 10 and Sorrowshard saying he would struggle to give it 3 out of 10. Looking over the review I might have been too easy on it. I hate this game, it totally destroys any fun left in any room it's played in.

    I know, inflicting it on youngsters was an awful thing to do. Their poor impressionable minds, I wander whether it has been like wargsming aversion therapy... will they now think pain and misery are linked with rolling dice and flipping cards? In my defence though, I truly thought having played it that maybe we weren't the target audience and that kids might love it. Now maybe my nephews are smarter than the average bear and are atypical for their respective age groups... but I don't think they are.

    As for GW and remakes, we have 2 more years to go before the 25th anniversary edition, plus next years profit boosters will be the planned launch of 6th Ed 40k (it better be good otherwise they could sin without a trace) and whatever tie ins they do with the Hobbit.

    Dreadfleet means we won't see Man-o-War MKII ever as far as I'm concerned.

    Epic, I'm sorry SinSynn it's just not going to happen. They want us all to have those huge scale battles... just with bigger toys so we have to spend more money, hence them killing it off and releasing Apocalypse.

    Warhammer Quest, it's a no brainer to many hobbyists, even those who hate GW would lap it up. So in my humble opinion they must have a damn good reason for not re-releasing it... or they really are complete morons.

    Necromunda... not going to happen people. They don't want you all playing small skirmish games where you're happy playing long campaigns with maybe 12 models maximum, that kills them financially.

    Mordheim, rinse and repeat what I typed above for Necromunda, replacing Necromunda with Mordheim.

    Battlefleet Gothic, you saw what Dreadfleet was to Man-o-War... now apply the same sort of shift to Gothic. That's it, think about it some more... yeah, I know *pats you on the back* his some tissues to wipe away those tears.

    Downward Spiral you say SinSynn, how dare you liken GW's trajectory to one of Industrial music's most important albums!!! You cur!!! :P I think nose dive would be a more apt description, 8th edition fantasy, Storm of Magic, the various army books and codeices... they need to get a serious grip on things before that nose dive becomes a flatline.

  15. Well said, sir...
    I apologize for the NIN reference...I meant no offense.
    It IS a damn fine record, and an awesome live show that I was lucky enough to catch.

    I guess GW's business practices will continue to frustrate and confuse us, but I wonder if they're not more interested in pursuing a different crowd.
    GW's 40k brand has seen success in a series of videogames now, ever since the original DoW.
    Space Marine is doing ok, it seems- the demo and word of mouth have boosted sales, and reviews were positive.
    What I'm wondering is this- Does GW make more money overall from longtime fans, or from 'one-time' fans...y'know, the folks that get all into it for a while, buy a bunch of stuff but lose interest quickly?
    Are videogames the 'recruiting tool'?
    Does the 'turnover rate' of this kind of customer equal enough sales that they can virtually ignore the current disgruntled state of their longtime customer base?
    Am I totally wrong? Are the vast majority of 40k fans happy, and I don't see it?
    .....I dunno.

    ...head hurting again...

  16. @SinSynn, I think it's fair to say that the initial hit that you get off of a new customer for any wargame is a big one. Think about it, they need to buy rulebooks, their army and in GW's model they'll sell you glue, paint, tools, the whole range of add on sales all at an inflated price... hell they'll even sell you a tape measure double the price of those you'll find at a hardware store. Whereas us old timers might pick up a unit here, or some paint there. We might pick up a new army book to read through. We might even start a new army every now and then. I think GW's problem in terms of a business model is that they forced us to buy bigger armies and that reduced the likelihood of us starting another army. Reality is though it's clear to me that the stores I visit are focused on recruitment and that's pretty much all. They're really not bothered about retention as I'm more than aware that the staff have no 'retention' targets. Only the accountants at Lenton Lane can tell you the reasons for this apparent direction... and indeed if it is working for them my friend. Long term though if your business becomes a shark always looking forward to its next customer, for ever swimming, one wrong turn and that's it poof!!! No more. People keep on saying GW is too big to fail. Well if they screw 6th ed 40k like they did 8th then honestly they might find themselves starring down a barrel of a pretty big gun.

  17. Isn't Skabrus supossed to be a (floating) turd, anyway?

    I bought turdfleet and then I read your review (and quickworthy's) but I still think I can do something with the game and I like the models (except the floating turd). Maybe we can tweak the rules and remove the cards in the process.

    I feel sorry for Phil Kelly, he wrote the codex for my favourite 40k armies (even if I don't play the game), SW and Dark Eldar (although the last one went a little bit over the top with the eeeeevil for my taste). And then this...

  18. @Mr Pharmacist, I agree, as I've said in my review the underlying mechanics of the game are pretty sound. Much of it we've seen in other naval or even space combat games before. So the chassis is solid. Sadly it's the body work that needs re-doing. As for Phil Kelly I'm constantly told he's a really nice guy, and I actually think his fluff etc is quite good in the army books that I've seen. But on this I think it's not only him but also GW as a company that dropped the ball. Others might enjoy the game, but me and my unwitting test subjects did not. Right now I believe out of the 4 of us I'm the one like least hates it. Now that's saying something... I thought Sorrowshard was going to throw something at me for asking him to review it with me.

  19. poor sorrowshard. on the plus side he must have accumulated some pain tokens for later use?

    I'm with Minijunkie these reviews have made me a sad panda and I feel like the picture of the mother duck who lost her ducklings after they cross over a drain...sniff poor ducklings.

    I am still hopeful you and Quirkworthy missed the rules on page 16 which fixes all the issues ; )

    as for 8th edition yep its ridiculously... something ... I don’t know I just struggle with it.

    Warhammer Quest will never happen. maybe a dungeon crawl but it won’t be anything like Warhammer Quest, where' the money for this? if they produced a similar set but updated miniatures it would a cost a fortune to produce and ship and b would only be purchased for the miniatures which GW wouldn't want.

    and has anyone actually played Warhammer Quest? the game is fun but it’s terrible really. the mechanics are poor and the rules are unclear. it also has a fair share of terrible luck (ever rolled the "1-1" 7 times on the unexpected event table and ended up with your level 5 party facing a Great Unclean One losing your characters in such random way is just as frustrating)

    sorry about that I think that bitterness has been with me since my last party perished 6 years ago fleeing across an ice floe with no lantern

  20. @Minirol, I'm sure he'll get over it. I do however hope he doesn't now bump into Phil Kelly at the ToS tournament this weekend, what with his dark glances... sorry... dark lances and Dreadfleet I'm not too sure Phil would survive the encounter!!! :P

    8th edition is boring, its predictable, yeah sure charges are random and magic is silly. But, its the massive blocks of point denying Infantry and negative defensive gaming style that kill it for me. Its a lot of effort to paint the HUGE number of figures required, set them up... all to play a game that sucks and is boring. I've got way better things to do with my time.

    As for Warhammer Quest, yeah sure OK it's not the best example of a Dungeon Crawler there has ever been, I accept that. Much of the love for it is obviously via rose tinted specs, however I have seen it played recently and on the whole it still stands up OK today. Sure it's no Descent Journeys in the Dark, but I don't think it was designed to be. However, clearly you have some deep rooted anger issues. My therapists couch is available is you ever feel the need to talk about it. ;)

  21. Very good review, i'm glad to see something that isn't GW fanboi slathering.

    The guys in the store really pressured me to buy with the whole "limited time only".

    They were doing a count down of how many of their 20 copies were left during the release day.... they stopped at 16, I popped in a week later and could see 12 copies on the shelf.

  22. @Vomkrieg, I guess what annoys me most about peeps who have sent me silly PM's over this review is that after talking to them rationally, it actually turns out not many of them had actually played the damn game. No they were telling me I was wrong, and that Dreadfleet was great, and not only had they not played the game, but of the 6 people who decided to tell me how wrong I was, only 1 owned the feathering game... and he hadn't played it yet. Although I did calm him down and he's agreed to tell me what he thinks after he's played the game.

    As for the count down thing, the shops round here were doing it as well. I also had to take the Coventry store manager to task over a comment on that stores Facebook page,he'd claimed Dreadfleet was worth £150 on ebay, and that's what it was selling for. Way to have confidence in your product there mate, if that's how they choose to sell it then you know it must be shit!!! After I informed him it was an outrageous lie, made no fiscal sense considering many shops still had copies. So why would I buy it for £150 when I can walk into any GW and have my pick of the Dreadfleets on the shelves for £70! It was also false advertising, which I believe is against the ASA rules, because the most a Dreadfleet at that point had gone for on ebay, was £73 including P&P sure some div had tried to sell it for £150 but he'd ad no offers and no one was watching it!!! He took it down, but from comments I'm hearing on the interwebs he's not the only idiot who has decided to sell the game this way. Its very, very sad.

    So 20 copies in your local store hey? 150 x 20 so that equals 3000 copies, if you more than double that for mail order to 4000, my 7500 copies for the UK does sound too far off the mark now does it? 500 for Independents and you're there. My mole strikes again!!! Its not as big a release as some are saying. 80,000 copies... are you mad? When was the last time GW did those sorts of figures? I think the 30,000 figure world wide seems the most plausible I've heard, and even that might be a tad on the optimistic side of things.

  23. Excellent review, even if I am blind now thanks to your blogs background.

    I'm curious about something- if there's anyone out there who's played Man-O-War, was it a better system, and why didn't GW just rerelease it?

    What I find surprising is that GW has been moving away from random results for things. Streamlining better, because that makes better games... then they go and release this mess.

    As someone who still breaks out Warhammer Quest now and then, I gotta say that's the one I'm surprised they haven't rereleased yet... it could be a great gateway game into the hobby.

  24. @Dave G, thanks for the compliment, it's appreciated, oh and there's more where that came from. As to Man-o-War my rose tinted specs tell me it was one of the greatest games ever made... thing is the memory plays tricks on your mind. The card damage system for the ships looked ace but took up loads of space and putting the damage and flame counters on the ships sucked too. You'd probably do the whole Warmachine card thing now and use sleeves and dry wipe pens... ahh technology isn't it great? But, you now what, having flicked though the rules again I don't think it was too bad you know. I think it was the Sea of Blood and Plague Fleet expansions that right royally buggered it in the end you know. As to why they didn't re-release it, they can't, it would give their store a 4th core game to sell, and their current retail set up can't do that as it is now as their stores aren't properly staffed most of them. It would also be competing with the far more expensive to play games of Fantasy and 40k, so it could steal customers away from their own product as it were.

  25. Well, I meant do the limited run instead of spending all the money/effort on Dreadfleet. Maybe even just pick 2 armies to go with it.

    Similarly like what they did with Space Hulk.. releasing an old system they knew was good.

    also, I'll be reviewing Super Dungeon Explore when it comes in, but I tried their test rules using my old Warhammer Quest tiles... fantastic mix.

  26. The other thing that gets me about them releasing a new system is GW ALWAYS has to addend and faq. A new system is a huge gamble, unless it's looked at as ONLY a money grab. Old rules are reliable. New rules can be terribly flawed - which apparently they are and it shows that GW isn't very caring about their fans.

    They could have just as easily released Dreadfleet using Man-O-Wars rules and statlines from any two of the old armies.

  27. @Dave G, I hear you and I agree with you. I was playing GW advocate!!! ;)

    It's a game I like to play sometimes. You are of course right,and many other people have asked the exact say questions you have and expressed similar concerns and frustrations that you have. Thing is my good man, I really do not have any answers for you. I'd like them answered myself I guess.

  28. btw, suggestion for your background... darken the white or lighten the purple.. or maybe even change the text on the site to white background / black text.

  29. Changing the text to white background black text caused more problems for other people. Plus, as I'm dyslexic I find reading white on dark backgrounds easier, any colours (for links) I also struggle with when they are put on white. I've just gone through fiddling with the look of the blog for a while, I'll take your comment re the background under advisement. However I didn't want my blog to be just another 'grim dark' gaming blog. ;) Besides I'm now known for being the bright pink and purple blog... now I can't change that can I? I promise I'll have a fiddle with the backgrounds and see what I can come up with though. Might take me a while, because I've got things on my plate right now, but I will look at it.

  30. @frontline gamer

    Great example of what we refer to as "Drinking the GW Kool Aid". I have a good friend, who bless his heart really wants to work for GW. It causes me no amount of pain to hear him regurgitate GW marketing at me. Mainly as some of it is just lies and misinformation, i've given up correcting him (i.e his belief that Warmachine does than less than 1% of GWs sales). I don't want to ride him too hard as working for GW would be good for him as hes a good sales person and a good painter and has limited opportunities elsewhere.

    Dreadfleet was a classic, he had to borrow money (off me, i'm quite well off so its not an issue) to buy the damm thing as he was so panicked he might miss out. So caught up in the hype was he that he simply MUST GET IT AS ITS AMAZING AND THE BEST THING EVER.

    I'm looking forward to him bringing my copy (Still mine until he pays me back) over to my house for a game to see how it plays out and what he says about it.

  31. Missed this review before. Great review. Glad I passed on it.

  32. Nobody going to defend this game? I'll take a pop...

    You're completely correct that it doesn't work as a serious wargame because of all of the random elements. What it does work as is a kind of story generator. I've had a lot of fun laughing at my opponent's misfortune and struggling to fight back when I hit a bad run of luck.

    It's not Dystopian Wars, that's for sure! But it is quite a good laugh if you forget about being competitive and just play to see what happens. I think it's almost a co-op game (or maybe even a kind of RPG) in that regard, where you're both playing in an unfolding story, not actually worrying too much about winning.

  33. @FluffyPanda, that might well be the case, but it was neither marketed as such nor does the rulebook at any point give you that sense. I still think my biggest overall hang up on the game was just how long it took to play. I had a similar experience recently with Descent Journeys in the dark. I'm not too sure the narrative the games I've played have been anymore compelling than those provided by bigger and better wargames either. In the end as I say, it's all down to personal preference. This is my opinion on the game, and you have yours. I am at least glad somebody decided to try and stick up for it, so thanks for that. ;)

  34. I think that Games Workshop tend to assume that's how people play all games when they're designing them. If you read White Dwarf they certainly play up the randomness and crazy occurrences. You don't even need to go as far as Apocalypse or Storm of Magic to see that, their basic games are frequently decided by random events too.

    Think about some of the critical happenings of 40k that happen on the roll of (2)D6. Seize the initiative; a vehicle exploding or merely being unable to move for a turn; deep strike scatter; blast template scatter; sweeping advance... the list goes on. The statistical reliability of a bucket of dice plays a part in 40k, but many of the most game-changing events rely on random chance.

    So I did pretty much get out of Dreadfleet what I was expecting - a pretty slick game with easy to learn rules, lots of crazy events and very little thinking required. The wargaming equivalent of beer pong I suppose*.

    I don't mind that at all. I have many, many "serious" board and war games, including the type that you play with hundreds of little cardboard squares on hex maps, so it's quite a welcome change really. I think I would have been a lot more disappointed if it did play like Dystopian Wars actually, despite all the beautiful tactical nuance that you can find there.

    * I'm English so I've never actually played beer pong (we don't need any kind of excuse to get drunk) but I can imagine....

  35. And I should have added... I completely get where you're coming from. You mention Descent, that's a good example of another deeply flawed set of rules and a game that can drag on. My group approached that far too seriously when we played it at first and calculated every move to maximise the odds of success. Good lord was that a long and boring game! It gets better if you don't worry about it too much.... though not a lot better.

  36. @FluffyPanda, I'd ask you to read my article on Beer & Pretzels games if you don't mind:

    If you can't be bothered just tell me to sod off... see I'm English too!!! :P My point being that you can play a good game however you want to play it. As a fun game, serious game, whatever. A bad game forces you into a certain type of experience. Ergo, Dreadfleet is a bad game.

    I'm also a statistician / researcher by trade and I have to say the idea of chucking lots of dice being more random is a laughable one. 2D6 isn't very random at all, their is a bell curve in results when adding dice together, i.e the majority of results being a 7. 1 dice of whatever type is totally random because every outcome has an equal opportunity, the moment you start chucking more around you have an element of certainty added every time you add an extra dice.

    I suppose it comes down to what people want from their games. For instance I personally find Munchkin really good fun, but there are tactics involved, I just personally think the random in Dreadfleet was what killed it as a wargame. It's clearly not a board game and therefore it's an uncomfortable product. I can play whatever game I want in a fun way, that's up to the players, trying to force fun invariably ends up failing.

    As for Descent, we played speed Descent whereby everyone bar the Overlord had 30 seconds to decide their move. We had time outs for toilet breaks etc. Did it improve the game? Nope. It just speed up the tedium. lol.

  37. "idea of chucking lots of dice being more random is a laughable one"

    I know... that's what I said. I said a bucket of dice is "statistically reliable", while a single D6 or 2D6 is largely just chance (weighted to the middle values for 2D6, admittedly)

    40K pins all of the key moments on 1 or 2D6 which are inherently random. A big combat can swing the game 500+ points in one direction on the outcome of a single roll for sweeping advance for example. In that sense 40K, and all of GW's current line-up are just as random and unfair as Dreadfleet. I'm just a bit surprised that anyone was expecting different.

    Right, I'm off to read that article. Be right back!

  38. @FluffyPanda, it's the vagaries of communication on the Internet, I was agreeing with you. lol.

  39. Ok, I'm back. Interesting... I'm kind of with you, but not entirely.

    I suppose there are four kinds of games:

    1) Shit. Can't be enjoyed no matter what you do. If you don't mind a huge flame war you can call this the Monopoly category.

    2) Serious. Can be enjoyed if you really, really put your heart and soul into every move, otherwise it's just meaningless. Starfleet Battles for example. Or chess.

    3) Fun. Can't be taken seriously, but can see you laughing out loud, commonly in your best mate's face. Dreadfleet lives here for me. (Probably Paranoia is my favourite example of an RPG in this style.)

    4) Gaming nirvana. Can be played however the hell you like and is still awesome. Tournament play where skill decides all one weekend, a six-pack and meat feast the next. This one doesn't have many members... possibly Space Alert. Maybe Chaos in the Old World. I vaguely remember thinking Necromunda might have been close, but I was young and probably wrong.

    For me, any game in categories 2-4 can deserve a place on my shelf, because depending on the mood of the evening I know that I can have good fun playing the right one of them.

    I don't think that every game has to fall in #4 in order to be deemed good. I certainly don't think that it's fair to judge 2 and 3 as inherently better than one another either - they're situational. There's no situation where I think I could have as much random fun in a game of Dystopian Wars without a lot of house rules, but Dreadfleet would need just as many to make it competitive. I think I'll continue playing both as written on appropriate occasions.

  40. Thanks for taking the time to read the article. The least I can do is give you a response. :)

    I'm going to disagree with you, but maybe not as much as you think. I agree much of the experience you have with any game is driven by the attitude you bring to the table top or board. And I think it's a very rare game indeed that can change people who approach such things with a mindset, no matter what that state of mind is.

    But you see fun, like humour is a very subjective thing. We all have differing tastes and I think any game that tries to force fun in one specific way is denying a large chunk of it's potential customer base from defining the 'fun' for themselves. For instance I've had silly games of Dystopian Wars not because of house rules or anything else, just simply because that's how both of us playing the game approached it.

    Sure there are games that lend themselves better to pure unbriddled fun, with your brain truly left of autopilot. And if they're cheap enough and quick enough to play then great, I'll normally give them a pass. Where I think the argument falters with Dreadfleet is the length of the game, with all these supposed 'fun' elements dragging endlessly on.

    But to use your 4 categories I'd be putting Dreadfleet firmly in the shit category because underneath it all is the standard mechanics you see in many a naval wargame, with an added layer of crap on top that gets in the way of what would otherwise be a fluid game. The game needed way more R&D and the various elements needed to be better understood as well as the length of play. I'm not talking about making Dreadfleet competitive by the way, I just didn't find it fun. If you like it's not my type of humour, and from the sales figures I'd guess an awful lot of peeps tend to agree.

    Genuiney thanks for taking the time to comment, as one of the reasons I started the blog was to hear what other gamers thought, even if they don't agree with me or vice versa. :)

  41. You gave a game you claimed could drive you to suicide, a 5.5 out of 10? That makes no sense.

    1. Nope it makes perfect sense. The product isn't just a game. It's the components as well. The game received 3.5 out of 10. If that's the most important thing to you then take that as the most pertinent score. For other the miniatures etc. will be more important, take the relevant scores in that case as the most pertinent. Overall as a product 5.5 is where I'd sit. Even though on the whole that is a little generous.

    2. But you also didn't like the miniatures (7/10?) and thought the cards were terrible quality (7/10)?!

    3. No I personally didn't like some of the miniatures. But others I really did like. The rulebook itself is actually nicely detailed as was the sea mat thingy. One thing you can never say about GW plastics is that they're poor quality. They're not. They're the best in the industry. I said as much. So you don't agree with my review. But I've written a detailed review and scored it how I saw it rationally, not passionately. It's as fair as I could be. Mechanicaly the underlying structure of Dreadfleet is fine, it's the layers of bollocks that did for for it. If I'd gone with my gut, I'd have gone 2 out of 10 overall. But reality is I had to sit down and try and be fair to the game as I could be. I'm trying to be a little bit more 'professional' and 'honest' about my reviews than some. The quality of the ships raised that score up massively because as I say GW plastics are really good. I'm happy with my qualified scoring and the detail I've given people. If you're not then I suggest you go read some other Blog. Cheers.

  42. I know I am very late to this party... Six years or so. But your review was spot on. Reading the rulebook my son and I thought it looked like fun. We ditched it afte four turns. (That was back in 2012 or so)...No wthe minis just look good on the shelf as they gather more and more dust. BTW: I have four game tables of various size. The Sea Mat was too large for even my biggest table.


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