Intrigued, I picked the rules up and took a seat to have a read through. I should explain here I have been quite critical of Warlord's last couple of releases. Cruel Seas was quite buggy, and SPQR was basically unplayable as written. Both needed extensive corrections \ FAQs within a week of release. In this SPQR was by far the worse. Most of the problems with Cruel Seas were omissions or editing, and though some of this was irritating or puzzling, the game was still fun. Don't ask about searchlights. I really like Cruel Seas now. Sure there are some bits that need house ruling (err searchlights) and stuff that is counter intuitive but actually the core game is fine, and the models are excellent. SPQR has different problems which I've covered in an earlier blog post so wont go into again. Both these games had exquisitely illustrated rule books, and were lauded pre launch by Warlord and others as being the next great thing, only to cause quite a lot of displeasure when they were actually in the hands of the players. So given the previous two, I was quite cynical about Black Seas, which seems to have been "inspired" by Cruel Seas, and was receiving the same pre release fanfare. I decided to wait to let someone else take the risk of buying only to find another badly playtested or edited Warlord product.
So here was my chance. While Jamie W sat assembling the models (more later) I started to read.
|Jamie hard at work|
|Grabbed and settled down for a read|
So I while I was sat reading I asked Jamie what the models were like to assemble and he said "Dead easy". By the time I had finished my read-through (maybe half an hour) he had assembled all the models and was cracking on painting the first Frigate.
By the time I had finished rooting around and flicking through the box Jamie had done this using Citadel "Contrast" paints. You could have knocked me down with, well something appropriately naval. Literally less than an hour from sprue to this
So the models. Beautiful. Yes I know they're in the "wrong" scale for traditional Age of Sail games, but on this one I'm not buying into the argument that they chose the scale to make sure you bought their models. The scale means they can make these as plastic kits, and the detail is superb. The pre printed paper sails are a bold move, but they seem to work well - as Jamie has shown.
I can't do a full review of the rules - you have to play them to do that, but many of my concerns about the rules have been allayed, and my first impressions are very positive. The models are - well the ones I saw are first class. Or should that be First Rate? If the first impression holds true, I think Warlord have really hit the sweet spot here.