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Cardboard Children: Dreadfleet

A Piracy Problem

Hello youse.

I had a column all ready to go for you today, but then something amazing happened.

So, let's take a look at a freshly announced Games Workshop game and come to a decision on whether or not we're all going to pre-order Dreadfleet.


This morning I rolled out of bed and turned on my computer so that I could tweak and finish my latest Cardboard Children masterpiece. I took a swing by Twitter (where you can follow me and talk about games 24/7 - @robertflorence) and saw this on my timeline:

@chrisgilboy: @robertflorence dreadfleet, yay or nay?

Of course, I'd heard the rumours. For a couple of months there's been talk about GW doing some kind of naval battle game. You have to give GW their due – when they want something kept secret, they keep a pretty tight wrap on it. Rumours and little suggestions and winks were all that existed. “Dread Fleet” had been mentioned as a title, but even then that was only a maybe. And then there were the Wanted posters in the GW shops and floating around online.

I want to make a Sesame Street gag here, but I'm resisting.

This told us that 17th September was the big day. So something was coming, right? But then, it wasn't a Space Hulk or a new Warhammer Quest or even a new Blood Bowl, so I kinda forgot about it. I wasn't exactly counting the days. I was interested, but not on the edge of my seat. I didn't even know it was 17th September today. Writers don't ever know what date it is, unless there's a deadline looming.

Then I rolled out of bed and:

@chrisgilboy: @robertflorence dreadfleet, yay or nay?

Click. Tap tap tap tap tap. Games Workshop website. BOOM. There it is.



What is it about Warhammer? I've often asked myself this. Just what is it about Warhammer? Why do British geeks love Warhammer stuff so much? Now, I know some of you are going to wade in with “I HATE GAMES WORKSHOP” patter, but come on – if you are a geek who grew up in the UK, Warhammer is at the very core of you. Your heart is probably a skull. We love it. It is us.

But why?

I've often thought that it might be the brick and mortar shops that do it to us. I can remember, as a child, encountering Games Workshop shops and being blown away that such a place could exist. A shop, right there on the high street alongside boring clothes shops, where adults play with toys. And such beautiful toys. Grown men rolling dice and laughing, teenage girls painting, and old guys glueing together scenery. And me thinking “Adults do this?”

Or could it be the Warhammer design? There's something intrinsically British about (and I really don't mean this in a bad way) the borderline naffness of GW design. God, what do I mean here? The stuff is beautiful. From the design of the Warhammer Fantasy Skaven Screaming Bell to the design of the 40K Eldar Autarch, it's all beautiful. But at the root of all Warhammer design is a lovely British quirky naffness that informs everything else. Skulls hanging off of everything. That naff black metal feel the 40K stuff has. It's the spirit of the teenage long-hair outcast in fine resin form. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Or is it the fluff? The back story of the Warhammer worlds? There's the Lovecraftian, chaos-god heavy world of Warhammer Fantasy, with its amazing Cockney lad Orcs and Witch Hunters. And there's the tongue-in-cheek ONLY WAR standpoint of the 40K universe, with its always-on satire on religion and government and beauracracy. There's just so much going on behind those little plastic toys. There are great writers and great artists creating these fantasy worlds full of little pokes and jabs at the establishment. Subversive stuff. Stuff that the British are great at.

Point is, I've not been designed to ignore something like this: PIRATE BATTLES ON THE WARHAMMER HIGH SEAS. The only words that don't excite me are “ON” and “THE”. Everything else has my finger hovering over the pre-order button.

Lets get to the contents of the box.

Maps is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs best song because it is about how awesome Karen O thinks boardgame maps are

This boxed game contains:

98-page Rulebook
(Only 98 pages? I was really hoping for 100 pages in my RULEBOOK FOR A WEE GAME)
Seascape Gaming Mat
(Now we're talking. A gaming mat that they claim CANNOT BE CREASED. With a sea on it. Nice! About 5 foot by 4 foot! Which means Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman could use it as a little nautical themed tantric sex mat!)
10 Warships
(Ten unique warships. And wait until you see them. Shit is bananas.)
10 Scenic Bases
(Yeah,so the models can merge nicely with the seascape mat. If you have the painting skills of the 'Eavy Metal team.)
7 Cog Auxiliaries
(Fuck knows what this means. Aren't Cogs something from Gears of War? Or something out of watches?)
1 Dragon Auxiliary
(DRAGON. Say no more.)
1 Dirigible Auxiliary
(DIRIGIBLE. Say no more.)
7 Islands
(Islands that look like...well, I'll let you guess what a lot of these islands look like. Guess. Warhammer. Guess. Take a guess. Who said “skulls?” YOU A WINNER!)
5 Shipwreck Pieces
(For me to use when my girlfriend hammers me at this like she hammers me at every other game.)
3 Sea Monsters
(What kind of sea monsters? You can't just say “Sea Monsters”. COME ON.)
5 Treasure Tokens
(For my girlfriend to collect as she hammers me at this like she hammers me at every other game.)
12 Dice
1 Wind Gauge
(NOTE: Insert joke about farting here before sending the column through. Yes, the RPS readers are a high-brow crew, but they'll probably still laugh at a fart joke. Do PC gamers fart? PC Gamers are kinda like the Royal Family of the gaming world. Do they actually fart? Check this.)
2 Ship's Wheels
(Ships don't have wheels. Major boo-boo y the GW researchers here.)
1 Navigation Rod
(I bet this is a ruler. I bet this is what they're calling a ruler. A 30cm Helix Shatterproof Navigation Rod.)
10 Warship Cards
55 Damage Cards
40 Fate Cards
12 Auxiliary Cards
10 Wound Cards
11 Miscellaneous Cards
(That's a lot of cards. That might mean a lot of variety in game events. That might mean-)

Oh, shut up. Why even do this? We're all buying it, right? Look, it is INSANE to buy a game with literally no idea how it plays. That shit cray. But I guarantee this – you will be able to sell this on and get your money back AT LEAST if this game is a bust. It's a limited release, just like Space Hulk was. It's like putting your money in a bank – a bank full of skulls.

Let me show you some pictures. I can't wait for Kieron Gillen to see this bad boy. It's the ship commanded by his favourite filthy Skaven. They've only gone and hollowed out the carcass of a dead sea monster, the manky pricks.

Clearly, I want to gush about SKAVEN DRIVING A BIG ROTTING FISH but I'm still chuckling at Rab's 'Ships don’t have wheels. Major boo-boo y the GW researchers here.' gag.

And check this one – my daughter will love this, being an Aladdin fan. It's a ship being blown along by a fucking Genie. A WHOLE NEW WOOOOOORLLLLLLD.

The health and safety people are going to have a fucking fit.

And check this. Chaos dwarves. Yes. We all love them. We all want them. Here they come, commanding a GIANT MECHANICAL KRAKEN.

If I play this, I guarantee that I'll spend all my time going THE KRAKEN WAKES!!!! excitedly. Admittedly, I do that anyway.

Who are we kidding here? Are you British and a geek? Who are we fucking kidding? Yes, I know you'll fuck up the assembly of these models, and I know you'll never paint them, and I know you'll never play it. But who are we kidding? Get it bought.

70 quid.

Some people are complaining about the price on certain forums. 70 quid is not that expensive for a board game these days. Fantasy Flight games cost that much in the UK on a regular basis. And Fantasy Flight, as great as their components are, ain't making no shit like GIANT MECHANICAL KRAKENS.

One more thing. It's a two-player game. But get this, they're saying that because each ship is unique, up to 10 players can play, taking a ship each. A free-for-all. So all you have to do is get together with nine of your friends and SPLIT THE PRICE. Seven quid each!!

You have nine friends who play games, right? Course you do.

NEXT WEEK – Tabletop gaming in the UK changes forever, as I introduce **********.

I'm serious.

I'll leave you with this video, all about DREADFLEET.

Watch on YouTube

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