South America

Got a couple things to show off today. 

First, I’ve got the cover for the new Leviathans Novella.

The book itself is nearing completion, going through final changes now.

The same author also has a short story covering events in South America as both the US and Japan jockey for power on the continent. The short story will be free to all backers of the kickstarter. The Novella will be available for purchase at kickstarter launch as well as with higher backer levels.

And speaking of South America, here is a work in progress map of the continent.

The next post will be next Monday and I will show off all the ship cards and molds that will go into a faction box.

Have a great week!

Bryn Bills

RMS Pompeii

The RMS Roma is the answer to the unasked question: How much like a destroyer can we make a flying Battleship? The Italian navy has prided itself on speed and maneuverability above all else. Their navel doctrine  is built around hit a run tactics, dealing out quick damage at range before just as quickly pulling away. While these tactics saw huge success for the smaller ships in the fleet, the first generation of Italian Battleships could not keep up with these fleet movements and so were either left at the dock or would fall behind. However, this did make the Italians fleets very light and gave them very little staying power.

This all changed with the introduction of the Vulcano class, battleships built to keep up with their hit and run fleets. The RMS Pompeii could provide cover when needed while dishing out damage at range, then fall back with little issue. The introduction of the Vulcano class has caused a shift in Austral-Hungarian tactics and ship design, forcing them to rapidly close with the Italians and cripple them before they can pull away.

Ever Closer to War

I have some fun things to share with you today. I have art to share as well as details over what to expect from the Kickstarter. Finally, while not an exact date, we will be further closing the gap on when to expect the Kickstarter.

Starting off we have some faction logos. These logos will not be replacing the flags of the world but will be the flags for the air navies of each faction.

This is still being worked on but will hopefully give players an easy brand for their faction that will be clearly Leviathans.

—–

The following list will be products found in the kickstarter. This is not everything but some of the major items.

Faction Boxes

Each faction will have several products to choose from but that main entry product will be the faction box. The faction box will contain the following items

  • 4 miniatures for a complete standard game of Leviathans
  • Tokens for the faction
  • 8-9 ship cards
  • Rules for the faction

These boxes should allow you to have everything you need to put a faction on the board and start playing it right away.

Ship Packs

Outside of the faction boxes there will be ship packs. These will come with 1 or 2 ships, their ship cards and any tokens they may need. These packs will help players expand their fleets however they want. These will also be the only way to get some of the factions that will not be featured in this Kickstarter.

Plenty of Maps

The starter box will have maps for people to use. However, if you do not want the starter box or if you want more maps there will be map packs for purchase, adding new terrain options.

Campaign Box

Following major operations from the Great War,  campaign boxes will give players everything they need to play out historical struggles from the Leviathans timeline. The first box, Operation Hannibal, will take place in the Alps and will see players fight for control of the mountains and its resources.

—–

Well I don’t want to give everything away for what’s coming in the Kickstarter but I hope these give you a good idea of all the fun things we have planned. There are still many more products that will be included with the Kickstarter, some I will save for the Launch, others I will slowly share as we get closer.

On a final note, as we get closer I can say that the Kickstarter will be this Summer.  I’m hoping to have an exact date in the next couple weeks, but we will for sure have a date for you by the end of this month.

That’s all folks. Talk to you next week.

Bryn Bills

Aurora

No nation in the world has a stronger history with Leviathans than the Ruissians. From the battle of Tushima to then Schmidt munity, they have the most combat experience in the sky. The gunners of the Aurora, most of which being on the crews of smaller ships lost during the Russo-Japanese war, are considered some of the best in the world.

The Aurora was able to prove itself when it faced off against 2 British cruisers in the Afghan mountains. They were able to hit the larger guns on the enemy ships, forcing them to withdraw from the area. The Aurora took little damage during this fight and earned itself a parade when it returned.

The Russian ships are neither the most well armed or armored, but ships like the Aurora prove that they have no need to be.

The SMS Wolve

Welcome back

Another short one this week but with two promises going forward.

First, next week I will start going over in more detail what to expect from the kickstarter. We’ll be looking at a more narrow timeframe for the kickstarter besides “this year” as well as what fun things will be in it.

Second, starting this week and going forward, at the end of each of these blogs there will be a short history of a specific ship that will be seen in the Kickstarter. It will cover the purpose of the ship and how it came to be in the world of Leviathans. I hope you enjoy them.

That’s all I have for this week, talk to you all next time.

Bryn Bills

SMS Wolve

After a clash between French and German Leviathans in the Pacific, the Germans quickly realized that they had no response to French torpedo boats. The SMS Wolve and its sister ships were the response. Modified Kolberg Class destroyers, the Wolve and its sisters had most of their weapons stripped, replacing all of it with more armor and a slightly bigger engine. The job of these ships was to dive in the way of torpedoes and tank the hits, preserving the larger and more important members of a fleet.

The entire project was nearly scrapped after the SMS Bear proved unable to protect its Battle Cruiser and both of them were left crippled after a skirmish in Africa. However, the SMS Wolve proved much more able, saving the SMS Baden from multiple torpedoes while only taking minor damage to itself.

Soon after this, Chaff guns were created, and large ships were better able to protect themselves. While this stopped future investments in ships like the it, the Wolve itself was a prized member of the German air fleet. Dubbed the “Wachterin ”, or guardian, the Wolve, now outfitted with Chaff cannons itself, is tasked with protecting the most important ships in the German fleet.

Q&A from Boston

Hello Sky Captains.

This week I have found myself in Boston helping out a booth at Pax East. As such this will be a shorter post. 

I wanted to go over a couple questions that have come up over the last few weeks, especially in regards to how old Leviathans material will work with the new product.

Q: Will my old ships still work with the new game and maps?

A: Yes, the map scale will be the same, as will the miniatures. In fact the old ships will also be reprinted with a shiny new coat of paint.

Q: Can I use my old ship cards?

A: Yes, though we will also be selling ship cards with the new format. A couple things will be missing if you use the old cards but we will provide easy rules for how to adapt them to the current game.

Q: Is the old fiction still going to be followed for the Gazetiier?

A: Most of it, yes. There have been some changes we are making but most of it is centered around 1 or 2 things with the goal of what we hope will be an exciting universe to play in. 

Q: Will the kickstarter have every faction?

A: This question is a little more complicated. The Leviathans game line already has all 8 factions (and even some minor factions) slotted into it. However, 8 factions is a lot to launch all at once. As such the kickstarter will focus on some of the factions (more than just 2) with major packages. However every faction, provided the stretch goal is reached, will have at least one ship in the Kickstarter. As the game goes on those factions will then be fleshed out.

I hope these answer the questions you have all had. If you have others, please let me know and I can start answering them with each blog post.

Have a great week and see you next Tuesday.

Bryn Bills

So what’s new?

Another week and another Leviathans Blog post.



This week we are taking a look at how the Leviathans game of 2012 compares to the game of 2022. This will not be a complete look at every mechanic but  more the major changes that have been made to make the best Leviathans game possible. Some of these have been covered in the past but are worth talking about still. I want to be clear before going into these that at least 85% of the game has remained unchanged. Leviathans is a great game and we would never mess with what makes this game something that people have loved playing without new content for the last decade.

With that said, what has changed?



Point System

One of the first things added when playtesting started up again was a point system. While there were many great ships in the original game, they were not all created equal, thus making balanced matches hard to accomplish. A lot of time has gone into working on the new point system to make sure it can cover the many different ships and factions that are in the game. This project has taken by far the most time in playtesting to get right. How much is a gun worth versus an additional MP. Does a +1 armor slot equal a crew location (no… except when it does). All of that had to be taken into account. We can say that we are very happy with where it stands as of now and hope you feel the same when you get your hands on it.

Terrain

When we first started looking into terrain for Leviathans, we did get stuck because in the sky you have mountains, clouds and….thicker clouds. On top of that we wanted to make sure that the maps looked as good as possible, something that wouldn’t be possible with a mountain template. This led us to have mountains set into many maps in order to have well balanced maps that still looked good. For the clouds there will be cards that can be pulled from to decide where they go on the map, which has created many interesting matches during playtesting.

They are of course still empty maps for those that want it, but now there are many other options for those that want something different.

Faction Slots

When the French and British were designed, they had very different playstyles while having all the same slots       (guns, crew, Tesla Coils and so on). While we have put effort into keeping that going for all the factions, we quickly found that unique slots were needed to help make each faction feel different. This process has led to some really exciting and fun additions to the game. Some have become my favorite ways to play the game, such as German Bracketing crew, Russian Precision guns or the American TED guns. All of them add a whole other level of play to an already very tactical game.

Objective game play

One of the last things we have worked on is objective based gameplay. Scenarios such as breaking through enemy lines or protecting a cargo ship allow for other ways to play besides just blowing up the other player (though that will always be a great way to play). In the future I will  go over in detail the exact scenarios and how they are played.

Non Ship Options

As of this post this is the last major project we are working on where gameplay is concerned. With that being the case I won’t go into much detail here. What I can say is that players will have more to bring to the battlefield besides just Ships. Admirals for instance can be added to a fleet to provide special bonuses, and each faction will have special Admirals for them.



We are very excited to bring all these changes to everyone when they are all finished. As a send off for today, below is a new ship card.



See you here again next week on Tuesday for the next post.

Bryn Bills

From Rychnowski to Ferdinand

Welcome back everyone.

This week we will go over a basic timeline of events starting at Rychnowski’s discovery of Electroid in 1878 to the final events that will culminate in the Great War. This will not be a complete list of everything that happens between these two events but it will provide the context for the start of the war. As we get closer to the Kickstarter we will talk more about some of these events. Also note that many of these events were talked about in the Leviathans Anthology.

  • 1878 – Rychnowski, a polish scientist, discovers Electriod. The process involves large amounts of Electricity running through copper coils to keep it from “evaporating”. While almost any material can be used to create Electroid, it is soon discovered that there’s a distinct sedimentary rock that can facilitate the process the most efficiently. This rock, named Eteroid, would soon be a highly sought after resource.

  • 1890 – The Great Exhibition was held in London with both Britain and France showing to the world their first Leviathans, though these were little more than tugboats by later standards. The great Sky race starts from this, with all major nations starting to develop their own Leviathan programs.

  • 1896 – The Russo Japanese war breaks out. Right as the Russian wet navy is about to be destroyed, their air fleet is able to dive in and not only save the fleet but defeat the Japanese navy at the same time. This moment marks the turning point where the nations of the world look to Leviathans as true weapons of war. This event would kill the Japanese Admiral Togo. His son, Togo Takashi would soon be sent to America to learn about their Leviathans program.

  • 1904 – The French and British attempts to create a lasting peace between the two of them fails to come together. Constant fighting in Africa, pushed forward by the creation of Leviathans, prevents them from settling their disputes on the continent.

  • 1908 – The Russian and British air fleets battle over the mountains of Afghanistan. Neither is able to control the region but the fear of an invasion by Leviathans keeps both sides on edge. The Great Game between the Russians and British never calms down and small skirmishes occur between them all around the world.

  • 1910 – Wanting a Eteroid supply of their own, Japan launches a surprise attack on Chile. The entire Japanese air fleet is mustered, led by Togo Takashi, and loaded with troops. The invasion, known as the Midnight War, started at sunset with Leviathans dropping troops at key points around the capital. The Chilean air fleet did fight back but were heavily outmatched. By the morning the city of Santiago was under Japanese control. Fighting would go on in Chile for years but Japanese control in Chile stayed firm.

  • 1911 – Czar Nicholas and most of his family are killed by a group of assassins. The only surviving member of the royal family is Anastasia Romanov. The assassins are later reported to be British agents, breaking down all relations between the two nations. Anastasia is given the throne of the Russian Empire at the age of 16.

  • 1912 – Massive Eteroid deposits are found in Switzerland. The major powers around Switzerland start moving troops to secure these deposits. In order to stay off war, a conference is held in Berlin. Two major agreements were had at this conference. First, Switzerland would be partitioned between its neighbors, the largest amounts going to Germany and France. Second, any minor nation with Eteroid deposits may be brought under the influence of a Major power. Austria-Hungary soon begins looking for Eteroid in Serbia

  • 1912-1913 – Ridding the wave of anger at Chile’s annexation, Teddy Roosevelt is re-elected as president under the Bull Moose party. In his inaugural speech, he promises to keep all other nations out of American affairs and interests. Soon after this a brush war breaks out between Argentina and Brazil with Argentina getting Japanese support and Brazil receiving US support.

  • 1913 – Austria-Hungary proclaims to the world that they have found Eteroid in Serbia. Using the new international rules from the Partition of Switzerland, Austria-Hungary claims Serbia as their own. Russia ignores their claim and guarantees the independence of Serbia. At this time France and Russia formalize their alliance with each other. Germany and Austria-Hungary do the same. Great Britain, while more friendly to Germany than France, does not form an official alliance with either side.

  • 1914 – Archduke Ferdinand is killed while on a trip to Bosnia. Serbian assassins are blamed for this event and Austria, the reason for conflict in hand, declares war on Serbia two days later. Russia and France soon began their war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. The great war had begun.

Next week we will talk about Britain and Italy entering the war as well as our next fiction piece that will be released alongside the Kickstarter.

See you all then.

Bryn Bills

The Year of The Leviathan

Hello sky captains of 2022. We at Catalyst hope everything has been well for you all. We also hope you are all safe with everything happening in the world.

Another year has passed without a Leviathans kickstarter. Another year has come and gone without beautiful new ships flying through the skies. A lot of reasons have led us here but the short answer is that we were not ready to launch the kickstarter previously.

But this is not 2020 or 2021. This is 2022, the year of the Leviathan. We are extremely happy to proclaim this year will have a Leviathans kickstarter. We are so excited to bring this game back to you. And excited to show off the elements we have been working on.

SHIPS

Here is a selection of some of the ships that have been created for several of the factions that will appear in the kickstarter. 

As you can see we have a wide selection here, though exactly how many factions are in this image I will leave up to all of you to figure out. (These are prints off our 3d printer at home and even then we still think they look great.)

We are creating more ships every week and plan to have a large flotilla ready at launch.

ART

Here we have a sketch design for a Russian cruiser, one of the factions that will be in the Kickstarter.

The Aurora

One thing we have taken extra time on is making sure we get the Leviathans themselves correct, especially for the factions not touched in the original game. We really wanted each faction to have their own feel in both mechanics and look. And those two ideas should complement each other so you feel the miniatures really match what they are doing in the game.

Going with this idea of having the look of Leviathans front and center to the game and world, we also have spent time designing the characters of this world with a similar goal. Many of our characters take clear inspiration from their real world counter parts while clearly designed for the world of Leviathans.

For example here is a Japanese Admiral.

Tai-so Togo Takeshi

Fiction

Catalyst Game Labs has always loved interconnecting our games and the worlds they are set in. Leviathans will be no exception. We’re planning on a fiction line along side the miniatures game. To what extent this happens will depend on the reception of the stories, but we will have a novella for people to read at Kickstarter launch that will cover the opening movements of the Great War.

The Japanese Admiral above is one of the characters that will play a prominent part in the story of Leviathans. I will talk about him more next week.

Going Forward

We are not ready to give an exact date for the Kickstarter yet, but I can quote the owner of Catalyst in saying it will be “soon”. The moment we have a date we feel good about we will let you know.

Next week we will talk about the new Timeline leading up to the Great War. And there will be a Blog post every week until the Kickstarter launches.

We once again thank you all for your patience! We know you will feel it worth the wait when we all meet in the skies this year.

Sincerely

Bryn Bills

Catalyst Line Developer

The Road to War #6: Video Game and other Announcments

Welcome back everyone to another Road to War update. We have some big announcements this week so let’s just jump right in.

The main announcement we have this week is that our friends over at Seismic Squirrel have officially announced their latest project: Leviathans: Armored Skies! We are incredibly excited to announce with them that Leviathans will be getting a video game set in the same timeframe and universe as our tabletop game. They will be working closely with us to create a great story with gameplay to match, focused around the adventures on a single ship and its crew during the The Great War.

The story will be centered around the crew of a British Armed Merchant Class (AMC) vessel as it does battle with French leviathans along the English Channel at the outbreak of The Great war. While the French are not officially at war with the British at the war’s outset, this AMC and its crew can fulfill the will of the crown without causing all out hostilities between the two countries. Their story will be directly connected with the events of the miniatures game and the overall narrative of the Leviathans universe.

While the game will launch separately from our coming table-top miniatures Kickstarter there will be plenty of cross promotional content to look forward to for both games.

Their computer game is in early development but they still have a lot to share going forward so if you want to follow them you can catch them on Facebook as well as their website.

They are also often on the Leviathans Discord so if you have questions for them you can easily find them there. Plus they will be making their own discord soon for the game so keep an eye out for that.

Here is their announcement post if you would like to check it out.

Moving back over to our side,  we are also announcing that before the end of the year we will be releasing an anthology set in the Leviathans universe. It will be a collection of stories from writers like Blaine Pardoe, William Keith, S.M Stirling and Harry Turtledove. The anthology will also include small news articles, documents and other vignettes expanding the universe and showing what the world looks like as we move into The Great War. We will be giving an exact release day as we get closer to finishing the book.

Finally I wanted to give you all a quick update on the kickstarters and its launch date. Of course because 2020 was the original goal of launch it has not happened, but we are now able to say that the Kickstarter will be in the spring of 2021. There are still other factors that can contribute to it moving around in that timeframe but we feel very confident that, provided 2021 doesn’t turn out worse than 2020 (knock on wood), we will be able to launch the Kickstarter then.

Much more to talk about in the weeks to come so keep a lookout for that and talk to you all again soon.

Bryn Bills

Leviathans Line Developer

The Road to War #5: Major Update

Sorry, everyone, for the long delay on this one. A lot of crazy stuff has happened, the big thing of course being the pandemic. Please be sure that we are still fully invested and hard at work on this game, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you. 

So what’s been up with Leviathans since we last talked? 

In short, a huge amount. 

The longer version?

Models:

We are currently working with another company creating the 3D models for the new ships that are coming to Leviathans. Below are several different ships that have been created so far, and many many more are on the way. Each time one of them is finished I will post it with the updates.


We are also actively working to find the best company to create the molds. We are looking at several companies at the moment but plan on picking one in the near future.

Art:

Art is also moving forward well. We have several artists working on different projects, from single ships to massive battles. Here are a couple ships that have been created so far.


We will be releasing a whole series of artwork leading up to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign This will include several pieces of art from the Gazetteer being turned into full-color pieces as well as some new ones that will layout the history of Leviathans from the creation of Electroid to the Battle of Tushima.

Fiction:

On the fiction side we have Blaine Pardoe, resident historian and writer, working on a story for Leviathans. His first draft is already finished and moving into the revision phase. We are planning to support a whole range of fiction as we love this universe and know how much you all do as well. We will talk more about the fiction and the universe as a whole next week, including the working title for Blaine’s story and the other fiction to be released alongside the Kickstarter campaign, several of which are already closing in on their final drafts.

The Game:

Gameplay is still being worked on as well. The pandemic has made it harder for us and our playtesters to work on this part of Leviathans, but we still do our best. A huge thank you to all the playtesters still giving feedback during all of this. It’s been a huge help.

At this exact moment we are working on balancing different-sized fleets to make sure a five-ship fleet is balanced versus a three-ship fleet. We want different-size fleets to be real options to allow for more replayability. Still have some work to go on it but large jumps in progress have been made. 

That’s it for this week. Hope everyone stays safe and healthy out there, and I’ll talk to you all next time!

The Road to War #4: The Great Powers part 2

Hello! Let’s get right into it this week with the rest of the major powers in Leviathans. Last week we went over the British and French, which were both in the 2012 game, and the Germans and Italians. This time we are going to cover four completely new factions: the Russians, Japanese, Austro-Hungarians, and Americans.

First up we have the Russian Empire. Russia’s victory over Japan in the Russo-Japanese War is considered one of the most important moments in Leviathans history as it’s widely accepted that the deciding factor was the Russian sky fleet’s defeat of the Japanese wet navy. As such the Russian fleet has more overall experience than their competitors in the sky, boasting some of the best Leviathan crews in the world. The average Russian Leviathan does not carry as large an armament as many others do, but its superior crew makes every shot count. One of the unique applications of their crew advantage is a ship designed to move through the fleet and assist in on-the-fly repairs even as the battle rages around them.

The Russo-Japanese War had an even bigger effect on the defeated Japanese leadership. They turned their war doctrine on its head by cutting nearly all support for their wet navy and moving heavily into Leviathan production. They also moved away from large long-range weapons and focused almost completely on devastating short-range volleys. Japanese fleets close the distance as fast as possible before pounding their enemies out of the sky. While fast, the Japanese fleets are not as maneuverable as the Italians and French, so they must be careful to not get into a position that will leave them vulnerable. The creation of the Leviathan Heavy Cruiser is one of Japan’s biggest contributions to Leviathan warfare, giving cruisers the armor they need to survive Battleship volleys until they can get all their guns in range.

Ever since 1866, when an Austrian Battleship rammed and sank an Italian ship to win the battle, the Austro-Hungarian Empire has folded this classical-era doctrine of naval warfare into its fleets. While their wet navy never fully moved over to this tactic, their sky navy was free of the traditions holding back their waterbound cousins. As a result, entire Leviathans were designed around the idea of ramming their enemies out of the sky. While this tactic is mostly be limited to Cruisers, even some Battleships are built with extra armor on the bow if the opportunity should arise.

And finally we have the Americans, who are latecomers to Leviathans production. The USA only started heavily developing its sky navy after events in other parts of the world showed that a lack of Leviathans would leave them vulnerable to a major attack from one of the other great powers. However, their lateness to the arms race means they have made some all-American additions to their Leviathan fleet The US called on inventors like Edison and Tesla to create some of the most unique and powerful weapons and technologies in the world, though using these new toys can often have dangerous consequences for America ships if things go sideways.

That wraps up all 8 great powers for Leviathans. I should mention that while not every nation in the game will get the same treatment as the main factions, that does not mean minor nations won’t be getting their own Leviathans down the line.

Hope you all have a great weekend, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Bryn Bills