Hoary Old Chestnuts

DFLogoWhen I sail through the stats for this site, I am often surprised by the continued popularity of my Dreadfleet review, and even more of my Salvage Project. This is even though I’ve done nothing with it since Jan 2012. Every now and again someone asks whether I’ve done any more on it. The short answer is no.

I suppose that there are many folk like me who spent all their gold hoping for a great game to go with the lovely models, and were disappointed. Despite this, and given the lack of resale value it’s hardly surprising, many have hung onto it.

I was looking at my copy the other day and wondering what to do with it. It may be worth half what I paid, if I could sell it. There’s certainly nothing else I want to use any of it for, so I can’t repurpose it to a different live project. Which left me to ponder whether it might be worth resurrecting the Salvage Project.

On the one hand I’m certainly not short of projects. On the other, it’s a big box of uselessness as it stands, and I need the shelf space for something else, or for it to earn its keep.

On balance, what seems like the best way forward is to give it one last go with the revised rules. The nightmares stopped a while back, and some of the cloying awfulness that hung around the box has dissipated. Maybe I can start from a relatively clean slate and see whether the revised game contains a worthwhile germ of a game I’d like to keep.

One more chance then. Fail here and it’s off to Davey Jones for sure…

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29 Responses to Hoary Old Chestnuts

  1. Jeff Briggs says:

    I know this is a game I have been interested in picking up but with the bad mojo around it and living in an area that I would have to twist both of somebody’s arms to play it with me I can’t justify the price people ask for it. I would go as high as $55 shipped. But I do understand people not wanting to part with it at that price and hoping to find someone to pay more. The hunt will continue but I’m ever ready with the spear gun to pull the trigger and capture this whale.

  2. Matt Price says:

    Egads man, do it! I painstakingly painted up my set, even while the reviews were starting to come in that ranged from “pretty bad” to “worst thing ever”. And the ships aren’t even the right size to repurpose them to Man o’ War… I would love, love, love to breath new life into a game that I’m now too attached to to sell (I liked how my paint jobs came out!) and have only played once, in a whiskey fueled evening at Kubla Con in California. I would absolutely love to have an excuse to pull this out and play it again if ever there was a REAL set of rules to use!

    Just make sure you include campaign rules, level progression, multiple skill trees and varying captains to choose from… (juuuuust kiddin’!)

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Looking back on my previous posts, I am inclined to even more brutal pruning than before. but we shall see what happens when it gets on the table. I have to find a victim to play against first…

  3. garathon66 says:

    It gets brought out at intro nights in our university group (it’s my copy of the game) because it looks beautiful all painted up…but gods are the rules awful. Nobody who plays it ever asks to play again. I’d love to see something done with it.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Surely you can think of another, equally pretty game to demo with. One that enthuses new players and makes them want to carry on gaming. There are thousands to pick from…

      • garathon66 says:

        Oh we have loads! Space hulk comes out, some of the classic boardgames- recent years sees 6 player DB and some nice DZ sets. But we get mad committee members who are obsessed with the striking visual of a weird pirate battle game!

  4. makerofgames says:

    I’ve held on to my Dreadfleet box in hopes that this salvage project would fix it. I’m very excited to hear this news.

  5. davekay says:

    I don’t know. There are so many games being released now that are excellent right out of the box (too many to play, really) that I just think ‘why spend time fixing a poor product when there are so many good products out there?’

    • Quirkworthy says:

      If I didn’t have it already then I wouldn’t go anywhere near it.

      The only reason I contemplate this is that I already have it on the shelf. In order to sell it (at a 50% loss) I would have to put in effort anyway. That’s not much of a win. So, if I can spend a little effort making a fun game out of it then it’s worth the time.

      It’s also a design challenge for me. Can I take this bloated, soul-sucking box of randomness and make a fun game out of it? Without just starting from scratch?

      • davekay says:

        Off the top of my head – there’s a few different ships in that box, so how about re imagining the game as a ‘wacky races on the high seas’ kind of game. Tongue in cheek, over the top.

        • Quirkworthy says:

          You could do that. However, if I’m starting a design from scratch I’d choose to work on one of my own instead of fixing someone else’s work. For DF I’d prefer to take what’s there and find a way to play out the existing story in the form of a more enjoyable and much shorter game. As I’ve said all along, it’s only the gameplay which lets it down. The art, models and idea are fine.

          Why don’t you do the wacky races idea and I’ll do this, then we’ll all have two ways to play with DF instead of none? That would be even better!

          No reason I have to be the only one working on salvaging the thing 🙂

  6. Keith says:

    The Dreadfleet posts on my blog still generate a huge number of hits as well, I think there is definatley still an interest in this. But like many people I played it once and never again, hope you do manage to make it playable

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I wonder if people still do play this (in its vanilla form).

      last night I did a little surfing on the topic and couldn’t see much evidence. I was intrigued to see the BGG site rating it so highly. Their rating system is supposed to be how likely things are to come out and get played, and to be rated this highly it should be played all the time. There’s a disconnect here.

      Mind you, someone’s also gone into the Wikipedia page and rewritten that in a much more positive vein than when I last looked. previously it included a quote from one of my reviews describing it as the worst game GW had ever made. That’s gone, as are the other damning comments (there’s no shortage on the net to quote from), replaced by an outdated and overly optimistic rating of over 8 on BGG (no longer true).

      Fanboys? Sock puppets? Who knows or cares? I mention this only as an aside because I’m rambling. I’ve played it several times for myself and know exactly what it is. Don’t need Wikipedia to lie to me 😉

  7. Vinsssounet says:

    Hi hi, that’s good to hear !

    I was among the ones asking you news about this even though it was getting old 😉

    I’m glad to hear it’s still somewhere on your thoughts. Make us participate if it can lighten the burden for you !

  8. Torkel says:

    I painted the set and played it through with some friends around the time it came out (I think). We haven’t played it since, but it sits right below my Deadzone box on the shelf. 🙂
    I was happy to read this post, as I hope there is still a future for your salvage project! I really want to pull it out again!
    This reminds me…. I actually think that the Dreadfleet articles was what led me to your blog… Which in turn led me to back Dreadball in my first Kickstarter adventure. Which has since led to Deadzone and Dungeon Saga. Hah, I haven’t thought about how it all started before, until this post brought back Dreadfleet memories! Weird.

  9. Von says:

    Anything with ‘review’ in it seems to remain perenially popular. My ‘We Be Goblins’ review is the most popular page on my blog, bar none, even though I’ve barely talked about Pathfinder before or since. The only things to come close are the Iron Kingdoms RPG review and that thing where I got my knickers in a twist about Heinrich Kemmler, of which I’m not especially proud.

    I’ll have to ask the local club exactly how their Dreadfleet house rules worked; I remember having a not-totally-awful time at that, at least until it became apparent that the Vampire ship was utterly broken under those house rules and the others ganged up on me. *weeps* Still, there was the germ of something good in there…

  10. Nearly missed this one. Simply put, would love to see somebody try and salvage the rules the pile of great set of game components that came in the box.

    Dreadfleet is one of a small set of games I have around that manages to wow me when it comes to the setting and minis/game pieces, but when the rules come out to play things fall apart tragically. Dreadfleet and Sedition Wars are the big culprits for me, such wasted potential and even IP destruction.

    Would love to see just how much you’d think would need to be done to get Dreadfleet functional and fun to play. For me personally there were too many mechanisms that frustrated to hell out of me and the usual gaming crowd that could be easily fixed with house rules (random damage and the struggle against the wind were the big ones). It really isn’t all that easy to design even a small component of a game 😉

  11. Had an idea lately: to use x-wing movement templates in dreadfleet with simultaneous chose of where ship is sailing. The idea is – the longer template the more points of speed you need to buy it. The middle one can be bought with only 8 speed, the longest with at least 12. + you have bonuses for wind.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      That system works fine as spaceship games are really just naval games on a star field background (a lot of the time). However, I’d rather use what’s already there if possible. It’s supposed to be a quick fix rather than a wholesale change, and the movement isn’t a bit I think is a problem as it stands.

  12. Paboook says:

    You sir, have just made my day! Some hope for this cool-looking yet hellish game still remains! I am really looking forward to seeing the result 🙂

  13. Necromancy reply incoming 😉

    Got into a Facebook conversation today with some folks about the hits and misses when it comes to GW’s various games. Naturally Dreadfleet came up in the misses-category, with people being even more disappointed that those awesome game components weren’t being put to use than the actual game being rather poorly executed.

    Then somebody pointed our attention towards Irregular Games who are developing a Galleys & Galleons wargame for Ganesha Publishing (Song of Blades and Heroes, Song of Shadows and Dust etc.) and how he’d been using the Dreadfleet models to great effect test playing those rules.

    The actual game seems to be focused on 16th-17th century naval combat, but there will also be a fantasy module with monsters etc. So this could very well be the perfect tool set to get some use and fun out of our Dreadfleet boxes. Figured I’d pass on the info!



  14. Little reminder, resurrecting an old, old post 😉 But that ruleset Irregular Games was working on is finished and up for sale. Interesting stuff with the ability to build custom boats based on the Song of Blades and Heroes ruleset and get all sort of mythological monsters in there. Picked it up earlier today and it’s looking like a great reason to actually put those Dreadfleet models on the tabletop again! Bit of tinkering with custom profiles and they’ll work great. The only real loss seems to be captain abilities, which is something custom rules should fix quite nicely. Other stuff like the islands, monsters and auxiliary boats seem to be valid options with only the dirigible and dragon needing some custom work.


  15. carlos says:

    Hi! did you continued with this project? i just bought a copy of this game and found this blog.

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