A group of gamers here in Dubai invited me to join their club and last night was the first time I went and luckily they had a copy of Dreadfleet to test out for their store. This allowed me to try the game out and report my impressions in this Dreadfleet review.
Anyway, my initial impression is that the sets of models were superbly detailed with very few mold lines, etc. and putting them together was really quite easy. The GW plastic kits in Dreadfleet really are a treat to work with and the quality is great.
The Dreadfleet board and all the game pieces are also of a very very good quality. The board is a fine cloth which feels nice to the touch, very smooth and light. I’m not completely sure about the non-crease abilities of it but still we will see.
As for the game itself it took us 1 turn of play and about an hour and a half to get to grips with the rules of Dreadfleet and with 9 of us there (8 players and 1 referee), it was really fun as each of us had a warship to control and use. The mechanics of the game are well thought out (although I’ve never played Man-O-War or the Spartan Games, so I don’t know how they compare).
The game starts with different scenarios, initiative and the teams take turns activating a ship one at a time which is similar to other games systems like warzone so the tactics and dynamics are much more exciting and slightly more tactical. Especially when you factor in the wind and broadside firing, etc. The only thing I had a quibble with was that you could not ram another ship. You can board them, but not ram.
- As combat went, you can either:
- fire your broadsides
- board your enemy, duel captains and fire broadsides all in the same turn.
The damage was worked out using damage cards which was varied with stuff like damaged hull, speed, crew, broadsides etc. It actually made it a lot more interesting and the survivability of ships was increased some what.
Dreadfleet has the nice option of giving ships command orders at the beginning of the turns was also a nice touch (after you pass a command check of course) and added much needed boons now and then and made it more exciting as sometimes you could fail that check and your well laid plans went up in smoke.
Generally speaking as it was our first game of Dreadfleet I am sure we made lots of mistakes etc. but as a game goes I think it’s a lot of fun and can be very dynamic and tactical. I think as far as quality of game goes it’s really good, not much I can fault them on there. The rules set are fairly good and cover everything pretty well although there are a couple confusing elements to the rules but we did figure them out towards the end. I think GW have made a game which can be played by kids or by older generations and as a standalone game I think Dreadfleet is actually worth the money, but only just.