Me and Captain Birdseye. We're like that. Which explains why I was so pleased to be presented with a game that combines my two great passions: strategy and naval warfare. Moreover, World War I naval warfare. Terrific, I though. No - honestly.
If you're familiar with Waterloo, Austerlitz and Peter Turcan's other wargames, the 3D graphics and text parser used by Dreadnoughts will come as no surprise. It's by Dr Turcan too, you see.
You're the Admiral of the Fleet, and you order ships around by typing in things like FULL SPEED, ASSIST THE NOTTINGHAM and (straight out of the manual, this one) SIGNAL THE TIGER TO STATION YOUR SHIP 2 MILES OFF THE STARBOARD QUARTER OF THE FLAGSHIP. This requires some pretty spirited typing at times, but the results are generally worth the effort. The game's workings are sophisticated and perfectly balanced, and much more involving than is generally the case with these things.
Then, of course, there are the graphics. As usual they take ages to draw (but this tends to go unnoticed in the context of the even longer waits while the computer does its thinking). And there are some good explosions and things.
I have to confess to not really having gone a bundle on any of Dr Turcan's previous games. The results simply didn't justify all the waiting around as far as I was concerned, and I quickly got bored with them. So I was quite surprised to find myself actually enjoying Dreadnoughts.
Enjoying it, mark you. This is largely attributable to the game;s accessibility. Although the manual isn't much cop, lacking a step-by-step guide to getting started, the game can be basically be left to its own devices to start off with. In the absence of orders from you, your fleet will take the initiative and fight battles of its own accord. Then, as your confidence builds up, you can begin to 'take the com' and throw in a few ideas of your own. (This is how all wargames should be - I get fed up of repeatedly having to issue trivial orders to every unit on the map just to prevent them from sitting there looking dumb).
Dreadnoughts is a really smashing wargame, and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys sitting in darkened rooms waiting for their next movement phase to come around. I simply couldn't find fault with it (other than the lack of speed, the price and the fact that it's a naval strategy game).