Games Workshop Announce Dreadfleet

No Comments


Back in my day (he says, putting his feet up by the fire and drawing back on his pipe), Games Workshop made fantastic, over-the top, ‘big box’ games in addition to their core tabletop miniatures systems. Games like Necromunda, Space Hulk, Blood Bowl, Dark Future and my personal favourite, a fantasy naval combat game called Man O’ War. These games are long, long gone, and if, for example, you want to get a few fleets of Man O’War miniatures together these days it will cost you a pretty penny on Ebay. Luckily, I bought these games when they were first released, and have built up a nice collection of miniatures for them over the years.

Although these games did have expansions and decent ranges of miniatures, they weren’t big money spinners like Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000, so they were dropped from the GW product line. Gamers like me waited in vain for them to return until suddenly, in 2009, a impressive new ‘limited edition’ of Space Hulk was released. Chock full of components and unique miniatures of incredibly high quality, and folding in some of the rules from expansions to make a stand-alone game, it showed that GW really could still pull out the stops and make an amazing miniatures-based boardgame if it wanted to. Space Hulk sold out of its print run pretty quickly, and it seemed thereafter that GW were content to leave Fantasy Flight Games to make money from their licences.

But to everyone’s surprise, it seems they aren’t done mining their old glory days yet. Dreadfleet has just been quietly announced, a truly excessive and wonderfully extravagant-looking production with a huge gaming mat, 10 fantastically detailed ship models, over 130 cards, and numerous other bits. And all I can say, frankly, despite the crazy price (AUD$190) is … gimme!

I don’t see any sign of ship template cards, so it’s possible this is a completely different system than the original Man O’ War, or at least a simplified version; and certainly that game has entire fleets for each of the races and offers much more in the way of variety and large naval battle action than this new incarnation. It does seem a little strange for there to be only ten ships, each from a different race. But in any case, this really does look spectacular, and will probably be another short-run sellout for the company. It’s just a shame these revamped re-releases are one-offs—but then that’s probably a good thing for gamer bank accounts.

Man O’War will always be a firm favourite of my game collection (and Uncharted Seas from Spartan Games also gets good reviews) but Dreadfleet still looks to be an impressive indulgence—and perhaps a reminder that there’s still a bit of life in the old GW yet.

Click here to watch a video overview of Dreadfleet (and reflect on how much more professional the Fantasy Flight preview videos are).

Also check out this preview, which talks about the artwork and development of Dreadfleet. It’s great to see John Blanche’s eclectic art style—which I personally think has much more character than a lot of contemporary fantasy art—dominate this new game.

Comments are closed.