After mouthing off about how the Dreadfleet Captains POD expansion wasn’t stupid or useless back here, I passionately put off buying it for several more months. We recently passed through our favorite gaming store on the way home from vacation, though, and that gaming store has a Seductive Wall of Fantasy Flight Things with FFGTV. Seduced by the Wall, I threw a whole bunch of FFG stuff into our basket that I didn’t need, and the Dreadfleet Captains expansion made its way in. Having now made time to take a look, I thought I’d say a few words about it.
First of all, to its critics: yep. You’re not going to use this one often, so there’s no need to pick it up unless you have a specific idea about how to work it into your campaign or you’re a completist like me. In the box are ten quirky NPCs from the Dreadfleet ships, ten new sailing/pirate-related actions such as “Conjure Wind Spirit” or “Fysh Bite,” six location cards for places on and around a ship, and ten standee cards.
I’m impressed by how much info about the game mechanics FFG crammed onto the playing-sized cards; you have everything you need to run the NPC in a fight right at your fingertips, plus a small portrait. Turn the card over to reveal a slightly larger picture that you can share with your players. Each of the Captains has a couple of special abilities to make him a more challenging combat opponent. The action and location cards are standard stuff, although I’m very fond of the Overboard card with its jaunty octopus tentacles reaching up menacingly from the sea. I am also rather amused by the standee cards. Although I use miniatures, FFG has gone out of its way to ensure that players have a (relatively) inexpensive alternative with the cardboard standups generously provided with each set. Flattening those and providing them in card form cleverly continues this trend.
What’s sorely missing in this set, of course, is the fluff. Who are these guys? What’s their story? What are they like? With the sheer strangeness of the captains and so much existing lore, it’s a shame that you have to go elsewhere to find out, but there’s no lack of material out there. You can pick up the Dreadfleet battle game or read the Black Library Dreadfleet novel. (It’s available on iBooks!) Games Workshop will be delighted to sell you more stuff, have no fear.
Overall, FFG’s Dreadfleet Captains is a vaguely interesting but quirky expansion that nobody needs to play WFRP. If you’ve got some decent reason to feature the captains or would like fifteen location and action cards that have to do with ships and pirates, though, you might find it a good use of your $10.