the first thing to say is that this post is not supposed to be a review. Just a couple of pictures and idea's about what happened during my first game of GW's new product.
So Phil picked up a copy of this game. He pre-ordered it from the GW website but it turns out he would have received it more quickly if he had just wandered into our FLGS on the day of release. Speaking of this, I wandered past same said store on Friday evening and they had 60 copies in the window. I really wonder will they sell them all.
I rolled around to his house yesterday and Phil already had the seascape laid out on his kitchen table. Unfortunately his kitchen table is slightly smaller than the seascape so we had about two inches of either of the long side hanging over the edge. The first thing that drew my eye was the little details within the water; ghosts, sea creatures. sunken cities. Very emotive.
We decided to play the first scenario but with three ships per side rather than the one ship outlined in the initial rules. So Phil had read through the rules a little and he filled me in briefly with the run of play. We then rolled off for the sides, I got the Dreadfleet, Phil the Grand Alliance.
After a couple of turns, the Shadewraith was engaged in a boarding action with Grimnir's Thunder. Both Captains had given each other significant damage and the dwarf ship was listing badly and on fire. The Heldenhammer then raked me with a broadside and had enough dice to role enough sixes to take me out.
This was just after the Heldenhammer had hammered Skabrus to the bottom of the sea. Grimnir's Thunder eventually succumbed to a munitions explosion after it was totally immobilised having no power in it's engines.
On the other side of the board, the Swordfish had rammed the Bloody Reaver.
After the initial ramming the Bloody Reaver's shear resilience eventually wore down the Swordfish, despite Phil having a ridiculous amount of damage and special damage cards associated with it.
So it ended up in a straight head to head between the Bloody Reaver and the Heldenhammer and the writing was truly on the wall when the Heldenhammer got into a position to use it's steam hammer on the vampire's flagship. But the coup-de-grace was finally applied by the auxiliary from the Grimnir's Thunder.
My first impression of the game was that the components were very good, especially the ships and the seascape mat. If I had the money to spare I would nearly get the game alone just for the models.
I have been reading some of the critical reviews about the game and in fairness a lot of them make very good points. The game with only 3 ships a side took 4 hours, (granted we were both learning on the go) which may be over long.
The level of randomness is huge, with the Swordfish at one stage being only one card away from being destroyed on it's crew and hull damage cards. Even the Bloody Reaver at the end of the game limped on for three extra turns because I did not draw the hull damage card that was required to sink it. You can cause huge amounts of damage but if your opponent is lucky drawing the cards they can get away it it.
I have read people critisise the fate cards also. From my first play through they seem like a fun way to mix things up. Then again we didn't draw a fate card in the first turn of the game that crippled one or several ship, like I've read in other blogs. Also the deck is small and could become quite repetitive with repeat use.
Overall I have to say though, I enjoyed my first game. Myself and Phil had a couple of good laughs and enjoyed ourselves. That is not to say the game is perfect or people don't have valid concerns or criticisms. I suppose how valid they are will be determined in time.
Wheither I would reccommend it our not is a dificult question. Leaving Phil's house yesterday evening I was tempted to buy a copy. But reading some of the reviews today really did point out some flaws which may not have occured to me, not having a huge amount of experience with board games.