Leviathans Update

Been a number of months since the last update as we’ve continued to investigate how to proceed with Leviathans. And the conclusions we’ve come to at this stage is there simply isn’t a short-term fix.

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It’s a multi-faceted problem:

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First, new CADs/renders of every ship are required. The company that previously produced the miniatures also generated the CAD/render work for us and they won’t turn those over. So not only is that a re-investment into the game again, but until very recently it was expertise we’d spent literally years trying to achieve with little to no luck.

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Second, new molds are required. Once again, the company that produced the miniatures won’t give over the molds. So we have to invest into new molds. And molds like these can be $4k for a single ship.

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Finally, the big box presentation simply didn’t work over-all. Yes, we sold through everything, which is fantastic! But it was a relatively small print run and the cost of the box to produce vs. how much we make leaves little on the table; not to mention how long it took to publish the first time around and it really only covered itself.

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What’s more, the big box is intimidating in size and price, acting as a barrier to new players, while game stores have mentioned struggling to find a location to carry more than a single box. Hence why I previously mentioned we’re still heavily looking at a Star Wars: X-Wing and Wings of Glory model (though all the above still applies even in a new presentation).

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All of those elements we’re trying to juggle and at the end of the day it comes down to two things:

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1. We could print 5 to 8 boxed games of various type and size for the investment into trying to just re-launch Leviathans.

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2. At the current time we still don’t have the expertise to render the miniatures ourselves and ensure the company we’re working with won’t hold molds (or even the game, as happened) hostage.

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Where does that leave us? It leaves Catalyst still completely committed to Leviathans. We absolutely love this universe and the game and feel it can and will find an audience. But to solve the two primary issues above, we simply have to take longer to get it out then we wanted.

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First, by getting out those 5 to 8 boxed games above we can broaden the company’s footprint and build up the necessary warchest to then move up to a “next level” commitment like what Leviathans requires.

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Second, and by far most importantly, we’ve recently begun working with Green Brier Games to produce miniatures, with renders done in conjunction with Catalyst and totally under our control. As well as using their expertise to help us walk through the production process on miniatures from start to finish.

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I just outlined this in a huge way in an update about Sprawl Gangers, our Shadowrun miniatures game. In there I talk about how we’re currently working on “Shadowrun RPG Miniatures”, releasing a pack of 5 miniatures at a time. A grand experiment to ensure that the quality vs. quantity vs. investment vs. experience/expertise all works out. This will lay the groundwork for us to being able to fully move into Sprawl Gangers.

However, it will also allow us to fully move on Leviathans as well. As for a time frame…I’ve got a tentative pencil of “summer 2015” for a new launch of Leviathans with new factions, the rulebook as a stand along book, and a whole bunch of other cool ideas. However, there’s a lot of work between now and then.

I completely understand if some of you decide that enough is enough and you don’t want to stick around any more. Regardless of our failure to further support the line, we put out a fantastically fun game and a cool universe and we’re incredibly proud of the game you can still play as often as you like.

For those willing to be patience still, I hope very much to see additional factions and their cool ships and abilities reaching gaming tables at some point in the future.

Thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm! We Freed Taiwan once…I expect to do it again….


Comments (40)

BrettJune 5th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Hi guys,

I really, really enjoy the game. Played it with you guys last Gencon, and was hooked, even with the relatively high barrier to entry. I am satisfied with the game as it currently stands, but look forward to supporting it in a year when you revisit it. I think there really is nothing else like it… It plays like a real naval warfare game (with an obviously awesome universe!), of which there are not many that I can recall.

Focus on Sprawl Gangers, and we’ll all revisit next summer!


JTJune 5th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Being an avid player of both X-Wing and Attack Wing, both use the Fantasy Flight movement system, you guys couldn’t go wrong with that style of play. I have tried to play Leviathans and reducing the amount of dice and time is key. Where as it can take several hours to play a game of Leviathans, X-Wing and Attack Wing both can be played in less then an hour and that I think is where the gamer is looking for now, quick pick up games that have low intial investment, but can be expanded upon later.

heathJune 5th, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Thats really odd…why wouldnt they hand over the cad files and molds? That smells a bit fishy if you ask me. I would be looking at taking them to court and suing their backsides off.

TonyJune 5th, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Thanks for the update Randall. I played this at Origins where it was being demoed and loved it but just never was able to pull the trigger on it due to the price as you mentioned and no support in our area. I will say that it was the universe that intrigued me most about the game. Look forward to the revamp and hope 2015 doesn’t become 2016.

Paul GrosseJune 5th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

@heath, it depends on the contract. And if I remember right both companies were in other countries which massively complicates things.

ThreeGeesJune 5th, 2014 at 10:16 pm

This news is disappointing. At this point I am going to consider this game dead as a door nail. CGL at this point has too many irons in too many fires and there just isn’t any more room for a game of this scope. I am not as invested in this game as some of you others may be. I’ve got better things to do with my money and my time than to wait another two years (or more) for new product.

JohngeeJune 5th, 2014 at 10:37 pm

*Hallelujah* . . . I guess that Lev’s ain’t dead yet after all. Obviously the reports of its premature demise were grossly exaggerated. Randall, thank you so much for this update. It was long overdue but under the circumstances, I’m sure that the “community” will be forgiving, since it appears that you have been totally honest about the production complications. And attempting to sue in international court over contract nuances and CAD, render, and mold rights, I think would just an additional waste of valuable time and resources. At least now we know that you are not in a coma in a hospice house some where or seeking asylum/sanctuary at a Tibetan monastery. And we can each alter our own plans for this year’s convention schedule and any Kick-Starter projects that may interest us, because apparently, we have at least a whole year to save up sufficient discretionary funds for the eventual release of the New and Improved Leviathans aerial-naval combat game system. Cheers. Hope to see you again soon on your next duty shift.

beelteJune 6th, 2014 at 12:56 am

Will the current line of ships be compatible with future productions, or are you planning to change scales?

JRJune 6th, 2014 at 10:13 am

I know this is an overused idea at this point, SO many projects out there, but have considered Kickstarting a new version? I know money is only one factor here but given you are working with Green Brier games who has been successful with this sort of funding for a few of their product lines it came to mind.

Andrew DupeJune 6th, 2014 at 10:18 am

Good to hear from you guys again! I was starting to worry, just letting you guys know I’m still here even if the game does take a different direction. I absolutely love the game I have, it’s one of my most coveted tabletop games and I can’t wait for more! Friends have to put up with me spouting on about it with pride whenever they ask about it.

I’ve been thinking about making a little bit of a custom rules set using the x-wing style game play because the existing rules can take a long time, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily (I love it). It’s just hard to find a player two these days.

I hope to hear more from you guys soon and best of luck getting things going.

RadecliffeJune 6th, 2014 at 10:54 am

I just looked at the Kickstarter for Heavy Steam that Green Briar did and a) those minis look very cool and b) I’m sure that there is still enough support to get 500-600 backers to raise the 50k to get a new line of ships started. So do what you got to do to get that Kick Started man!

parrot1500June 6th, 2014 at 11:29 am

You can’t just put out a hardcover rulebook with ships (maybe dump your background) and let people find their own minis, which will probably mean a lot of stuff from that one company that overprices their resin stuff and has horrible clunky rules? The rules are some of the best most elegant I’ve seen. The marketing/presentation and entry costs killed it here.

ShoelessJune 6th, 2014 at 3:02 pm

@Paul Grosse, Yeah. You know the saying: Never wage a legal war in Asia!

That being said, the creation of more ship PDFs and stuff like Jame’s Fighting Leviathans should still be possible, and the lack of them I think has done a lot more to discourage people who are/were interested in Leviathans than not having more box sets and physical ships has.

LinkJune 7th, 2014 at 8:35 am

I recently got the box set as a gift. I enjoyed the game and is/was looking forward to a revival.

I would definitely support a Kickstarter campaign to relaunch the game. I think Leviathans would do excellent in a single ship booster format with a smaller starter set.

WambieJune 7th, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Here is my 2 cents. Scrap the miniatures, I love them, but this sounds like a no win situation until the company produces your materials.

Go with high-grade punch out components, and sell them as a 1980′s ish bookcase came. Then push the design and modification angle on the ships. Let people have all sorts of options. Nice thing here is you do not need to produce plastic to support the diversity. Also it allows you to develop a huge variety of ships. Plus, if you aim it right you could hit the boardgame crowd that is really growing right now.

JoshuaJune 7th, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Have you ever considered maybe you just aren’t good at what you’re trying to do (making this game)? Maybe you should consider selling the IP to someone more capable?

KevinJune 8th, 2014 at 10:13 am

Oh man. It’s been quite the wait, but wow. I’m so excite for a possible relaunch of the game. I’d be game to support a kickstarter, if that’s the route y’all decide to go.
But I’d like to echo the same question someone had earlier: Will the new models be scaled with the old? I’m fine with whatever y’all have to do, but it’d be neat to launch a fleet with a mix of old and new miniatures.
Anyways, just happy to hear there’s still hope for a continued leviathans universe.

JamesJune 9th, 2014 at 12:14 pm

@Joshua: Harsh, much? If you can do better – prove it.

Interesting that one poster says the game is dead as a doornail, and the next says it seems as if the line isn’t dead after all.

Best of luck sorting this tangled mess out.

C7hulhuJune 21st, 2014 at 11:58 pm

While it’s more than understandable that in order to relaunch the game, you’ll need to focus on your more popular IPs to fund Leviathans, I think that in the mean time, while working and developing the project more, you should try and keep a schedule of regular updates – even something relatively light like once a month of “Hey, we did this in Battletech, but it’s good for us here in Levs Land because x, y and z” I think it will help you in the long run in keeping your audience engaged, or at least have them keep Levs in the back of their minds, especially if you decide to relaunch through a Kickstarter. It might also be nice to at least post the just plain text of things that you can have the community test out, that way you’re negating a layout cost for things you have finished, and getting free play testing from a fanbase who would be more than excited for the smallest bit of new content. Anyways, just my 2 cents!

cr2diazJune 23rd, 2014 at 11:32 pm

I agree with C7hulhu, any little bit of information, previews, new ship cards, ship quirk and crew abilities, things to test out, etc… would do a lot to keep everyone interested in the game. Maybe even releasing one new ship card every month or every other month until the relaunch. Pretty much anything, the forum is practically dead already, there are hardly any new posts at all there.

friv 8June 26th, 2014 at 9:08 pm

What you can do and the general reasonableness, everything can be brought.

keisukekunJuly 17th, 2014 at 2:40 am

I’m excited to see that you are still passionate about the game. I would love to see it get the attention it deserves.

I hope that the game doesn’t change too radically. I love the way it plays now and I think just a bit of tweaking is all it needs. I agree with others that continued PDF releases will help keep us interested while you figure out a full relaunch.

pneusodymJuly 23rd, 2014 at 6:58 pm

I came to the party late, but managed to pick up the game and the two expansions and loved it. I’d be happy to back a KickStarter, if that’s what it takes to get more Leviathans on the market.

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Nick DelciappoAugust 7th, 2014 at 6:40 am

Randall, Thanks for being honest!!
1. Love the game and LOVE the mini’s please stay with plastic (If it is feasible)
2. Where does that leave us with a kickstarter

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KyleJanuary 2nd, 2015 at 10:36 pm

After waiting for months with LEVIATHANS on my “must-have” list, finally got it as a Christmas gift and have played through several times.

I think the movement and combat is elegantly simple, and am constantly surprised by how easy it is to grasp the mechanics, yet how balanced and difficult the gameplay is to master. Despite the pleas for simplification, I think the game’s commitment to a “real” naval combat feeling is precisely its strength.

The price point is high, but I’d be very excited to invest in more models. More fleets with different playstyles is all I really need to broaden my interest in the game–unfortunately, at present just buying more French and British ships doesn’t feel like a worthwhile endeavor, even though the game always feels like it’ll have more awe-inspiring bedlam if I could just get a couple more ships in play. All I really want is a Russian, Japanese, or American squadron to liven things up and give different players new tactical options.

I do agree that future issues should have a smaller box. I like mine, and hope to install future iterations therein, but it scares the shit out of people when I show them. Smaller boxes will be less intimidating to new players. But please don’t dumb down the combat or simplify the damage models–it’s the specificity of the dice that truly make it feel as though you’re firing off the various armaments at your disposal.

Thanks for putting out such a great game. Whatever happens to LEVIATHANS from here out, I’ll be paying avid attention.

JohnJanuary 12th, 2015 at 8:02 am

No worries, Randall. Leviathan is a great game, and I am more than happy to wait a few more years for some releases and expansions. Have you folks considered “cardboard” as a method of model representation? I know that that is VERY old school, but I grew up on Avalon Hill’s games, so, “pushing around” cardboard is doable. Steve Jackson has had some good success with his re-release of Ogre and three dimensional cardboard minis. That aside, thank you for the update and we look forward to more communiques; even if it is to simply say…”We need more time”.:)

MikeJanuary 16th, 2015 at 9:45 pm

I just picked up the box set as a late Christmas gift to myself. Very, very excited. For the future, I hope that, if the rules change vastly in the future, you will consider creating backwards compatible cards for the new ships.
Regardless, thank you for putting out such a quality product!

JDJanuary 18th, 2015 at 8:35 am

If you guys launched a kickstarter with the same rules but new fleets I’d definitely get onboard. I just picked up the game & am already quite enamored by it. I would say though that you guys should definitely get rules out for other nations either as hard copies or pdf or print on demand because even if there aren’t minis coming out, new rules help keep a game alive. I’ll play it whether anything new ever comes out or not & it will maintain a spot on my shelf with my other boardgames. Maybe get the captain’s manual out with not only the elevation pegs rules but also counters/trackers for identifying elevation & publish some printable ships kinda like the original crimson skies.

Even just new scenarios, preferably ones that don’t require $200 in purchases, and even rules for civilian/pirate craft & even some printable maps to represent some different locales (I was definitely thinking a map of Egypt with the pyramids would be really cool).

BobMarch 24th, 2015 at 1:43 pm

I got the core set for Christmas this year and much to my family’s suffering I played as many games as I could over the holiday season. Now cone the spring I have started to get my friends into the game. As it is coming up to summer 2015 I am looking forward to seeing a new developments over this summer.

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