Catalyst Game Labs Closed While Attending Gen Con 2013

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.

Thanks for your brilliant support!

Catalyst Team


As always, Catalyst Game Labs will be at Gen Con 2013 in force. In fact, this year we’re taking things to a whole new level!

2009 Leviathans Logo

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Ship Quirks and Crew Abilities Deck Continued…

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….

Accurate Weapon
Protected Engines
Superior Armor
Difficult To Helm
Inferior Structural Integrity
Superior Launch Mechanism
Superior Maneuverability
Superior Steering Gear
Faulty Torpedos
Weak Magazines
Large Caliber Synchronization
Easy to Helm
Turret-Style Movement
Faulty Engines
Superior Electroid
Superior Engines
Extreme Angles
Faulty Rotation Mechanism
Inadequate Maintenance

Sharp-Eyed Gunnery Chief
Expert Gunnery Chief
Expert Gunlayers
Tactical Geniuses
Good Fortune
Lady Luck
Maneuvering Aces
Torpedo Marksmen
Elite Escort
Sharp Shooters
Expert Shooters
All-Weather Fire Control
Expert Damage Control
Maneuvering Ace
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.

See ya next duty shift!


Ship Quirks and Crew Abilities Deck

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.

For those attending Gen Con, see ya then!


German Ship To Play: SMS Wolve

Hey all,

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.

    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.

See ya next duty shift!


Fan-Made Scenarios For Review

Hey all!

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.

Thanks for your reviews in advance!


Leviathans Review – with Tom Vasel

Tom Vasel from The Dice Tower just reviewed Leviathans!

A big thank you to Tom for taking the time tackle my game…and of course, for the great review!


CC Releasing Commander’s Manual

Commander s Manual Cover

I’ve been back from my trip a week and a half now and I’m still digging out…it was a great trip, but very long and of course, gonna be a while until I’m fully “dug out”.

In the mean time, continuing the CC Releasing of the Core Box Set materials…and we’ve reached the big boy…the Commander’s Manual!.

Grab the PDF file at here (you can also find it on the downloads page).

This month I’ll get to the final German ship illustrations, start to reveal the Italian ship illustration developments and hopefully some new fiction!

See ya next duty shift!


Art Development: Germans Part 5

I’m about to head out of town on a whirlwind trip to visit family…about 5,000 miles in 10 days. But wanted to get out a quick blog post before I’m off.

If you look at any of the French or Italian Recognition Cards, you’ll note the background sky for each ship has the same tone/coloring. This is particularly apparent when you take a look at the poster. Almost as if they’re all flying in the same sky “shot”.

This, of course, was done on purpose. Both to instantly provide a visual awareness of which ship is with which faction (even beyond the ships themselves), and ultimately to simply provide a cool look that sets the vibe for a given faction.

The Germans were no different…needed a new coloring/tone for the background, which J. embraced very quickly.

Here’s a screen shot of one of the German ships about 75% done.

Screen shot 2013 02 20 at 3 50 22 PM

Very static looking at this point, and not a lot of fine details…but those will come. And of course we’re currently having an internal discussion whether the coloring on the ship needs to be a little more unique to set the Germans off from the French and the British…

See ya next duty shift!


Captain’s Manual Excerpt Open Beta Test and Scenario Solicitation

Got two great things to expand your Leviathans enjoyment in the coming weeks.

First up, a new open beta test.

Catalyst Game Labs is developing the Captain’s Box; a stand-alone expansion to the Leviathans Core Box that will include a slew of enhanced scenario rules, from weather and wind to elevation, alternate movement and combat options, and more. Those rules have been extensively play tested to date.

However, the two rules in this PDF have come up for potential inclusion in the Captain’s Box. Instead of simply play testing them internally, however, we want to run these externally as well. So here ya go…put together some games, run with it, and let us know. Visit the forums at A “Captain’s Manual Excerpt Playtest” thread has been created and will be active for a few weeks. Post your feedback, comments and especially your suggestions for tweaks to the rules that you feel will improve them.

You can also find that PDF on the downloads page as well.

Additionally, we’re putting out a call for your scenarios! We’re working on several new PDFs to release in the coming months, and one of them will be a collection of scenarios and we’d love to get the community involved!

If you’re interested, click here and you’ll find an rtf containing the third scenario from the Commander’s Manual. Any scenarios you wish to submit MUST follow this template; simply take the rtf file and overwrite the pre-existing text with your new scenario. If you wish to include anything not in this scenario (for example perhaps the rules from the Captain’s Manual Excerpt Open Beta Test), that’s just fine and we love to see that…simply add it in, following the example of the other rules from the scenario template.

All scenarios must be received by April 15th; send them to Once they are received, Catalyst Game Labs will review the scenarios and any we wish to use we’ll contact the author to pay him a nominal fee, at which point the scenarios are 100% Catalyst-owned.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to post them here.

Good luck…and see ya next duty shift!