Game Development Continued…: Faction Game Play Aesthetics

I just passed along the Ship Quirks rules for playtesting (I’ll dive more into that in the future) and I’m currently generating the Italian vessels stats to go with the first wave of Germans so I can send those out for playtesting.

Just as we’ve spent a lot of time creating a visual distinction for each of the factions (if you’ve not read it, check out this blog post that delves into that in-depth), game play itself needs to provide a flavor.

Now, similar to the discussion in that previous blog post where I mention that due to the nature of how we established the universe the visual differences often are subtle, the same applies in-game. The distinctions between each faction are not nearly as apparent as many other table-top miniatures games…but they are there and do provide (and enhance) specific styles of play.

The following are my current concepts for the specific flavors of the first four factions. Note that as with many aspects of the game, these are not locked in stone by any stretch. Based upon the community’s interaction specifically with the Germans and Italians (thus giving us a gut check on 4 of the 8 factions at that point), I can then decide if my concepts for the Russians, Japanese, Auto-Hungarians and Americans will work, or needs a major shake-up.

These guys are the vanillas of the Leviathans world…but they also have the biggest guns. And historically they were one of the only empires to continue building bigger and bigger guns through The Great War (with only the Japanese really keeping up with them). This means that other factions may reach the British 12 IN guns, but the British will then reach up into the 14, 15, 16 and 18 IN gun battery range. Of course the 12 IN gun is already exceedingly powerful, so it’ll be a fascinating exercise in game design to introduce larger sizes that don’t break the bank…for example, off the top of my head, I could see some of the largest guns requiring two slots.

Extreme speed and torpedos. Like the British and the ‘bigger guns’, concept, the French ships will continue with ‘standard’ torpedos combined with great speed and maneuverability (i.e. steering gear) as their vibe. The Pontbriand and Lave are perfect examples of a combination of torpedoes and crazy speed/short guns that define the French.

Relatively slow speeds, high SI and tons of armor. This mentality will portray itself in the game in various ways. For example the very first “Armor: +3 Breach” Slot will likely appear on German ship. Additionally, I want the Germans to coordinate their fleets even better than anyone else, so I’m playing around with some new Slots and rules to go along with those Slots that will push fleet action: Bracketing Crew and Screening Crew.

They can’t match the over-all quality of high speed/firepower as the French (don’t expect to see an Italian Pontbriand). However, the current concept is the Italians worked closely with the French developing their engines and come away not only with that technology, but also a fascination with aerial torpedoes that goes well beyond the French; they start building a line of torpedo submunitions. In-game, the torpedoes will be self-balanced (i.e. they won’t make the standard aerial torpedo obsolete), but instead offer some very cool new options, tailored to different situations that unfold on the game table. For example a much shorter hex range torpedo that rolls 4DRed.

Of course there’s a lot more to each faction than just these crass core game concepts. It’ll be these types of rules, combined with the specifics of each Ship Card, meshed with the visual aesthetics of a faction, that’ll really bring home an empire’s style…and of course desirability for launching their fleet onto your gaming tables.

See ya next duty shift.


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