Leviathans: Taking To The Skies Via Kickstarter This Fall

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 kickstarter@catalystgamelabs.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!

See ya next duty shift!

Randall Bills

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