So watching over the last week as the web version of the Lieutenant’s Manual was launched into the electronic skies has been fascinating. After this much work to finally reach such a big milestone feels fantastic. There’s still a long ways to go before the box set releases next Spring…but this is still a huge sign post…and a great morale boost to see so many people talking about it, giving the game a try and so on.
For those just finding this site I’ve generated a FAQ that hopefully will quickly and easily answer questions about the game/universe as a whole. Of course those interested in my more verbose explanations are encouraged to dig through the site and find the various blogs I’ve posted over the last six months where I provide such depth.
So let’s batten down the hatches and head into the storm.
Q. Why so many different dice?
A. The combination of polyhedral dice allow for the dumping of almost all addition or subtraction of modifiers during game play, while ensuring that those modifiers are still in the game mechanics so tactical movement and firing remains important.
Q: Why unique D12 dice?
A: It’s cheaper to produce a single dice of the same type (even if the facings are different), then to produce different types of dice (i.e. D4, D6, D8 and so on). This allows us to take that cost savings and put it back into the box; for example ensuring the miniatures are as high a quality as we can get away with. Furthermore, instead of different types of dice (D4, D6, D8 and so on), going the D12 route and color coding everything means it’s just that much easier to figure out how to play as you simply match up various color icons on each Ship Card to the appropriately color-coded dice, then make a roll.
Ultimately the experience of polyhedrals (D4, D6, D8 and so on) vs. the “Leviathans D12s” is the same. The only difference is whether you happen to have dice that match the colors used on the Ship Cards, or whether you need to remember which colors correspond to which type of dice.
In fact, I had the chance to create dice so unique that you could not use polyhedrals as a replacement and backed away from that. I wanted players to know that if a D12 is lost, they don’t need to buy a whole new box set to keep playing.
Q: Where will the fiction found in the Lieutenant’s Manual be continued?
A: Future PDF releases will contain that fiction and the entire piece will also be found in the box set release.
Q. The rules seem a little simplistic. It’s fast playing, sure, but is it too fast? How quickly will I become bored?
A. To ease a player into playing Leviathans the rules have been divided into three rule books: Lieutenant’s Manual, Commander’s Manual, and Captain’s Manual.
The Lieutenant’s Manual is currently available and is the “quick-start” rules of the game; a complete PDF that introduces players to the basics of the game, along with the visuals and a little bit of fiction flavor of the universe.
The Commander’s Manual is the core rules of the game and builds off the Lieutenant’s Manual introducing additional important elements, such as Battleships and their more complex firing arcs, steering gear, screening, torpedoes, ramming, turrets, advanced attack types and repairs. This rules booklet also has a scenarios section to aid players in building their own scenarios, as well as two ready-made scenarios players can dive into immediately.
The Captain’s Manual further builds off the the previous two booklets with enhanced rules. These are a series of rules that players can “plug and play” into any scenario, based upon the type of scenario they’re playing, how many people are playing, how big the game is, or just how they’re feeling on trying out X or Y rule that day. Some of the rules covered in this booklet are control rolls, elevation, minimum ranges, clouds, visibility, cargo ships, commanders, crew skills, wind and more.
In other words, the Lieutenant’s Manual is just the tip of the iceberg (or mountain, in this case) of all that Leviathans will have to offer, presented in a way that each gaming group can decide at what depth they wish to play and when to move on to the next level/style of play.
Q: When will monstersinthesky.com have forums?
A: While we don’t have a date, we are working on it. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.
Q: The game feels more like “ironsides” as opposed to the pre-dreadnaught era of WWI? Was this intentional?
A: While the entire game has a little “ironsides” feel, that is accentuated in the Lieutenant’s Manual as we removed many rules to help with the learning curve. Additional rules, such as turrets, broadsides and so on, quickly brings the feeling of the game more into the pre WWI aesthetic.
Q: I’ve already played the game several times, where can I find more Ship Cards?
A: Watch for more Ship Cards to be released via PDF in the future.
Q: Why are there Crew Slots on some Ship Card location and none on others? You can’t fire without a Crew Slot?
A: All ships have crew, of course, and so even without a Crew Slot all ships can fire their weapons. Crew Slots represent more crew and/or more skilled crew in that location, which helps increase the likelihood of an attack’s success (hence the addition of dice in the Lieutenant’s Manual), make repairs at the end of the turn (rules found in the Commander’s Manual) and so on.
Q: What will the miniatures be made of?
A: We’re currently looking at high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), which is the standard for the highest quality plastic miniatures in the adventure game market.
Q: Will the miniatures be pre-painted?
A: We’re still in the final stages of reviewing whether the Leviathans’ miniatures will be pre-painted or not…the final decision has not yet been made. Once we’ve finalized the manufacturer and made this decision, we’ll let the community know.
Q: I’ve heard the Ship Cards will actually have a ‘punch out” element?
A: Currently the plan is for the Ship Cards to be made of styrene (think Pirates or Star Wars Constructible Cards…or something like a credit card), with each equipment slot a die cut that you you pop out during game play. This allows for a wonderful visceral reaction as you physically see the ship coming apart around you. Obviously this couldn’t be simulated in any meaningful way through the PDF, so the web version of the Lieutenant’s Manual was adjusted so that players are simply circling and crossing out slots as they’re destroyed.
Q: What is Creative Commons? What does it do for me?
A: Leviathans is an Intellectual Property: legal speak for the specific art/style/presentation of a fictional setting; i.e. there are several steampunk-esk air navy games previously published but Leviathans “whole package” represents a new, unique Intellectual Property. Creative Commons is a way for Catalyst Game Labs to protect that Intellectual Property while allowing the community to do what it does best: make cool stuff up! Make your own ships, your own rules, generate new art, even create your own timelines if you wish and distribute them to your hearts content. Provided you do it free of charge, not only are you protected, but you’ve the full support of Catalyst Game Labs in your actions. And if we like what we see, we might just try and buy it from you, if you’re willing.
Okay, I believe that covers the majority of the questions I’ve seen to date. If players have additional questions not covered here, post your questions and if I can, I’ll answer.
See ya next duty shift!