For the first time in over three years, I wasn’t able to attended SteamCon (a wonderful, Seattle-local convention that has embraced Leviathans from the moment I ran it with cardboard ships several years ago). While I was sad not to attend, luckily Alex and Andrew (part of our Demo Team) were able to not only run the game, but powered it up to a whole new level.
I’ll let them describe the game in their own words.
We had the opportunity at Steamcon V in Seattle to run an 11 player, 37 ship battle, to test the viability of large scale fleet actions.
We believe that this is the biggest public demo game (by points) ever run on one table at a time, on the West coast. Randall has run a 40 ship battle, and Gen Con was a 38 ship (at one time) battle, although AFAIK our points were higher with a larger number of Battleships vs destroyers (still waiting to hear back for the exact details about Gencon).
We set up 2 battleship squadrons per side, with two mixed destroyer/light cruiser flotillas, and a pair of heavy cruisers.
Leviathan class (Medusa class):
Jean Bart Class:
D. de Lome
Montcalm x 2
We started out with 15 mapboards, but later expanded to 19 boards, 3 x 6, with a couple of half-boards set up at the end. The two fleets were set up in a line on each long side, facing at an angle in opposite directions.
There were positions on each side, the battleship squadrons were in the #1 and #3 position, (from left to right) with a mixed cruiser/destroyer flotilla or in the #2 & #4 positions. A heavy cruiser was placed at the end of each battleship line, initially to provide cover for the rear of the line.
Thanks to Alex and Andrew for running such an awesome event and to all those that participated. Hope to you see you next year!
Been a while since the last update and so thought I’d make it well worth your while.
First, the Kickstarter. If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned anything else, it’s because we’re still waiting on our own data. I turned over 9 spec sheets and then an initial rough estimate on the first few months of a schedule to several manufacturers and that’s simply a pile of data they have to work over. Once they’ve worked it over to generate price quotes, then we have to work it over. Then plug that data into what we’ve been tossing around on the Kickstarter side so that it all meshes and what we say we can provide is what we can provide and at the best price for both you guys and us. Hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll really start to be able to provide additional details.
Second, and the “hopefully worth the wait”, we’ve had a lot of players for a long time asking for the elevation rules. And I’ve been hesitant for a long time, but ultimately I decided that my hesitation was likely a hold over of previous ways of doing things. And releasing materials for the players to enjoy and bash is absolutely what Leviathans is all about.
While we were at it, while we’d previously released the clouds, we thought it a good idea to simply roll them all in together. You can grab the free PDF here or saunter on over to the Downloads page and snag it there.
If, as you’re playing, you come across questions/comments/suggestions…by all means, drop into the forums and start discussing.
And I warn you…while it does take longer to play…it’s really hard to go back once you’ve started playing with elevation…. Enjoy!
Brace yourselves. As usual with these blogs, I may meander a bit, but hopefully by the end you’ll know where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and how you’ll get forthcoming details in the future.
For those that have followed the travails of Leviathans over the last few years, you know how much production issues have dogged this game. And a huge part of that is simply the learning curve it takes to make a game like this.
As many of you may know, Catalyst Game Labs has a tendency to go large. And while we’ve pulled off some very cool things due to our passion for always going big, it also means we’ve stumbled now and then.
We know how to make books. I like to joke that we can fall out of a bed and stand up with a book in our hands. However, with Leviathans we tackled a slew of new manufacturing items we’d never dealt with before. It would have been bad enough to have even one of those additional elements on the table, but we went ahead and tried to tackle a dozen at a time.
Where does that leave us since Leviathans published late last year? Well, it pretty much sold right out when it published. Which is fantastic! However, the way in which we packaged the game makes it unsustainable (again, that learning curve). As such, we need to find a new way to repackage the line so it can sustain itself.
We are currently looking at reshaping the entire line into something similar to how Sails of Glory/Wings of Glory (as well as Star Wars: X-Wing or Star Trek: Attack Wing) package and release their games and miniatures. This would in effect be a re-launch for the game.
“You had so many problems producing Leviathans before. What’s changed that makes you feel you can publish it now?” I can hear the questions ringing as I type this, and for good reason (those issues touched upon above). While there hasn’t been any release for Leviathans over the last year, we’ve done a ton of research, talked with numerous manufacturers, and listened to game companies that have been wonderful in their willingness to share information. We feel confident that this in-depth research and our new relationships with manufacturers that are tried and tested with these exact types of games/miniatures will make all the difference.
At this point, a few things to be clear about right up front: The game and rules are not changing one bit. We are exceedingly happy with the rules as they are and we’ve no intention of changing anything. If you buy future items for Leviathans, they will fit in perfectly game-wise next to anything you might already own.
Additionally, there will be an “Intro” or “Starter” box for the game, though the contents and overall size will be far more streamlined than the original Core Box Set. Since we’re in the process of finalizing pricing via the manufacturer, we can’t get into specifics. But there will be a box with rules, miniatures and dice…basically everything you’ll need to jump into a game.
“But what does all of this have to do with Kickstarter?” you may well ask (again, I can hear them as I’m typing). We believe it is important to be clear up front with those who have already invested in the game so that you will know what the new roll out of the game will look like. With that knowledge, the details of the Leviathans Kickstarter will be more easily understood.
Our desire to move to Kickstarter is not just about raising funds. We are still 100 percent committed to Leviathans and want to give it every chance to succeed and find a community waiting to embrace the game and universe. We have three primary goals for the Kickstarter:
1. Regardless of whether the Kickstarter is successful or not, Catalyst will invest in repackaging the core line of the rules, as well as the already-available British and French ships, to make them available once more. Funds raised via the Kickstarter will help us more quickly flesh out additional ships (such as the Type IIIs) for those British and French fleets, while ensuring we can publish the additional faction fleets (such as the Germans and Italians) much quicker than we normally might. And depending upon the amount of funds raised, we may also be able to speed up the process on everything, allowing us to move the entire re-launch at a faster pace.
2. Kickstarter offers priceless marketing. The campaign is about raising awareness of Leviathans to a much larger crowd of people that might be very interested in tackling the game but have yet to see it or play it. Since the game has been out almost a year without any supporting books or ships, that marketing will be vital in the re-launch.
3. We published Leviathans under Creative Commons with the idea of allowing fans to embrace the universe and game in any way they choose. Kickstarter offers many ways for the community to become directly involved with the game. For example, some pledges might allow players to name future ships released in the line, while stretch goals might unlock new unique ships and help us determine different campaigns around the Leviathans’ 1910 world to pursue, and more. All of this is possible via Kickstarter.
I know there have been a lot of questions about how we intend to fix some of the issues that have plagued us from the past. While this is not an inclusive list, here are some answers to the most often asked questions surrounding Leviathans, Kickstarter, and Catalyst.
Q: During your The Duke Kickstarter, and especially afterwards, communication was not as frequent as it should’ve been. How will this be solved? A: One of the biggest things we learned from our The Duke Kickstarter is that Loren and I can’t simply try to squeeze a Kickstarter campaign into our schedules. So instead of stretching ourselves too thin, we’ve hired Julie Haehn to run this Kickstarter directly. Here’s a short bio of her experience and why we felt she’d be a perfect fit for Catalyst.
Julie Haehn has been working in the tabletop game industry for the past 12 years with companies such as Cheapass Games and WizKids. She has been involved with three fully funded campaigns with Kickstarter, including the incredibly successful campaign for Girl Genius, Volume 12; raising over $389,000! She is excited to work with Catalyst Game Labs to bring Leviathans to new success.
Q: What about Leviathans Online? Its Kickstarter failed. Why do you feel yours will be a success? A: While I still would’ve loved to see Leviathans Online succeed, unfortunately it fell when it was not able to really show anything to those that might have been interested. The board game campaign, however, is quite different. We have a game that has already been released and is loved by those playing it. What’s more, we have all the assets required for additional British and French ships, the German and Italian fleets, as well as the rules for the Captain’s Manual, and more. All of that can be shared directly in the Kickstarter, showing that we have a great, viable game with assets ready to march.
Q: How much will the new releases cost, and when will they be available? A: We are still working on the comprehensive plan for the Kickstarter, which includes the overall pricing and structure of the entire new line. We won’t be able to share those specifics until the Kickstarter launches.
Q: When will the Kickstarter launch? A: We do not have a set date yet beyond “in the fall”. We’ll provide additional details on this website in the coming weeks to remind people of the approach of this Kickstarter, and when we do have a specific date, we’ll be yelling it loud and proud everywhere.
Q: I’m not always following the website…can I get on an email list for those updates? A: Sure…just email email@example.com with the subject line: Leviathans Kickstarter Email List
For those that haven’t followed me all these years…Leviathans is absolutely a labor of love. I’m incredibly proud of the game and its wonderfully immersive universe and I (and Catalyst with me) still believe it has a place on gamer shelves. Via our new repackaging and the Kickstarter campaign, we believe we can get this game onto those shelves for years to come.
For those that have followed along during all this time, I hope you’ll continue this great, fun journey. For those just joining us, welcome!
As happens every year, Catalyst Game Labs is effectively closing down as all-hands are on deck to run Gen Con. Effective from tomorrow and running until roughly August 21st, the usual channels of communications (emails, website updates, and so on) will go unanswered.
Additionally, even once communications resume it’ll be another week or two for us to dig out of the backlog and resume timely responses.
For those attending Gen Con, we’ll see you in five days! For those not attending, thanks for your patience while we’re gone…we’ll have our usual stories and photos to share after the con.
I’ve moved having the Ship Quirks/Crew Abilities Deck at Gen Con up to about 90% at this time…looking very good. Again, no guarantees (it is Gen Con and Leviathans) but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic.
I thought I’d share the names of the various cards that will appear in the deck…give ya something fun to speculate about while we get this through layout and off to the printer. In no particular order….
Difficult To Helm
Inferior Structural Integrity
Superior Launch Mechanism
Superior Steering Gear
Large Caliber Synchronization
Easy to Helm
Faulty Rotation Mechanism
Sharp-Eyed Gunnery Chief
Expert Gunnery Chief
All-Weather Fire Control
Expert Damage Control
Angels of Mercy
Now here’s an interesting tidbit…I ‘just’ now noticed we have two almost identical titles: “Maneuvering Aces” and “Maneuvering Ace.” Yeah…don’t like that…one will change during layout proofing.
There won’t be new ships or the Captain’s Box at Gen Con. Still trying to work out a new process in production that will finally allow the line to move forward in a way that will be both profitable for Catalyst and a regular release schedule for players.
In the mean time, we’re trying to see if we can’t get something to Gen Con for Leviathans players. I’ve talked about this concept before. That we’ve been working on and off on these things forever, but we’re pushing to see if we can’t have a deck of Ship Quirks and Crew Abilities for sell; they won’t be for sell in stores anytime in the near future, but we’ll look at putting them on sell online after Gen Con.
So…what would these cards entail? Why would we want these in the game? Well…as any good miniatures game progresses…well, you add to it. Simply the nature of the beast. And for me, right from the get go as I was designing the game and then polishing it up through endless playtests, a slew of fun rules would come into my head and I’d jot them down. Ultimately, however, any of these rules do not work as “standard” rules…in fact, they won’t even work within the Captain’s Manual “enchanced rules”. Instead, they’re perfect for players to add some unique flavor to a ship in a given scenario to mix up game play.
Taking directly from the rules text that introduces both the Ship Quirks and the Crew Abilities:
Not every ship is the same, even among ships of the same class and Type. Anyone that has served on board a vessel knows the complexity of their construction creates unique design quirks that bring a flavor all their own to each ship. This is all the more true for leviathans that are still relatively nascent technologies.
The following is a series of positive and negative quirks, each with a numerical value that determines the relative strength or weakness of a given quirk. It is strongly recommended that if a player chooses a positive quirk for his ship, he or she should give it a negative quirk of equal as well. However, each playing group can decide if negative quirks must balanced positive quirks.
A ship is far more than the nuts and bolts and electroid that holds it together in the sky. The men and women that bring their skills, passions and blood are what elevate each ship to be far more than the sum of its parts, turning a ship into a legend. The following rules allow players to bring the crew of a ship to life.
“Just show me some of the rules!” I can hear you saying…so here here we go.
First up, the current look of the Ship Quirks and two of many, many cards that’ll be apart of deck.
Right out of the gate, note that these were test layouts done…well…a good while ago, so the rules have progressed in playtesting since then. For example, the current final rules for “Superior Armor” are:
A particularly superlative batch of materials results in superior armor.
All Armor Slots on the ship provide an additional +1 modifier to any Slot Numbers in its Location.
The value for this quirk is based upon the total +1 Breach modifiers provided by all Armor Slots on the ship. For example, the HML Raven has five +1 Armor Slots and so the value of this quirk assigned to that ship would be 5. However, the HML Beagle has five +1 Armor Slots and a +2 Armor Slot, so the value of this quirk assigned to that ship would be 7.
As for “Accurate Weapon”, the final text will have a point value of “+2, +2, +3, +4, +4″ to reflect the fact that this helps smaller dice more than larger dice, while it also won’t be able to be used with Bracketing Fire (just too sick).
Next up, the Crew Abilities. You’ll notice no point values on either of these cards…that’s because when these were given a test layout, the points were not yet assigned.
All-Weather is pretty much as is, still, just getting a 1 point cost added.
As for Lady Luck…it’s one of the most powerful of the Crew Abilities, and so will be priced at 5 points. Even then, we’ll be folding in a change to curb it down..a “own ship only” text will keep it from being too sick…but it’s still a great ability.
Anyways…there ya have it! Please note, we are ‘trying’ to have this at Gen Con, but no promises. Regardless, after Gen Con, we’ll move to get these released in PDF format for purchase. They’ll add a wonderful variety of play to any style of game.
Sigh…once again, have to start with an apology. The launch of Shadowrun, Fifth Edition has been an all consuming project that has sucked up most of Catalyst’s bandwidth and all of mine almost across the board. For those that don’t follow such things, the PDF & Print Preorders went on sale yesterday. Still a ton of SR-retaled stuff to do moving forward, of course, but SR monopilizing so much of my time is finally near an end.
Course, as an aside, the more fantastic Shadowrun does, the better it is for Leviathans as it gives us a better war chest to deal with the production issues still nagging at this game’s heels.
Nevertheless, I will be getting a swath of my time mostly back, which means more regular updates of various things, including getting PDF releases back on line.
As an apology for the dry spell of the last month or so, thought I’d give you the German SMS Wolve to play, along with the rules for the two new slots on this dangerous destroyer.
You can click here or on the graphic below to download the PDF for this destroyer.
And the rules:
Whenever a Breach Roll for any type of aerial torpedo is made against a Location containing an undestroyed Chaff Slot is about to be made, the defending player first rolls 1DRed, adding in a die from any standard Crew Slot (i.e. Screening Crew, Bracketing Crew, and so on, cannot be used) that is undamaged and in that Location (even if there are multiple Crew Slots, only a single Crew Slot die is added).
On a result of 8+ the torpedo is shot down, causing no further damage or effects; on a result of 7 or less the chaff does not shoot it down and a standard Breach Roll is now made by the attacker to determine if the torpedo strikes the target.
SCREENING CREW SLOT
A Crew Slot with a white diamond icon is known as a Screening Crew Slot.
A ship containing a Screening Crew Slot need only spend 1 MP to either Defensive or Offensive Screen (as opposed to the standard 3 MP).
To get a sense of the German vibe, feel free to field the Wolve with the HML Leviathans or HML Medusa.
Back from Origins and struggling to refresh after the convention (and the sprint to get to the convention, which is even tougher), as well as get caught up on a hundred things.
Several blog posts ago I asked for fan-made scenarios. I received a good chunk which is awesome. However, the more I got thinking about this, the more I realized these should be about the community and you guys should be telling me what type of scenarios you like.
As such, I’m starting to post them up in batches. I’ve put the first three into the Community section of the website; I’ll post up more in the coming weeks.
I’ve also started a new thread in the forums where you can post your comments and reviews. (All names have been scrubbed from the scenarios so it’s just the scenario you are reviewing and not any individual.) Based upon the over-all feedback from the community I can then look at the styles of scenarios to continue with, as well as which people I might be contacting for paying writing in the future.
Over Togo's head the Zed flag was burning. The pride of the Japanese fleet, the battleship Mikasa, his Mikasa, was sinking. His aide tried to pull him toward the lifeboats, but Togo stopped and looked up. He saw the battered Russian leviathan claw its way into the blue sky. And at that moment Admiral Togo Heihachiro knew that Japan would not rule the east, after all. And one more thing. It was not the age of the gun.