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Subject: Leviathan Triage rss

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David Griffin
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I'm trying to clear a little shelf space and there was Leviathans. I originally thought this was just the coolest thing ever at Gencon that year. I bought the box with the French and British fleet box. But we played it and it just wasn't that good a game, partly because of the torpedo rules which REALLY were labor intensive to play, and partly because of the small board and the huge ships.

Yet I want to like this game. I was kind of hoping that there would be a rules update that would revive my interest. There doesn't seem to be a lot of them trading. I guess not that many were produced. Is anyone still playing and is there some fix for the torpedoes or some rules revision I should look at before deciding anything?

Thanks.
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William Gaskill
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It's Dead Jim...er David zombie

Had the same reaction on first reading about the Game,
preordered & waited several life times to finally receive it.

Britain & France got old quickly and none of the other
promised Factions materialized plus as mentioned the rules
were rather more than I cared to deal with.

I just shelved it and bought Nine Navies War & pasted the
Leviathan Theme on to it.

OD
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David Griffin
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The ships are so cool though. It would be nice if the game they go with were better. All it really needs is new rules. Easier said than accomplished of course.
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Chris Montgomery
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I liked the rules - but I wanted to port the game to a "true" miniatures game with turning and arcs (no hexes). I never got around to it.

But the basic game is very much in the BattleTech vein as it regards movement and firing arcs. Where they improved it was the ship cards and dice that streamlines combat.

I *really* liked the game and was very disappointed that they didn't release more product. It has really put me off CGL games because of that - I bought the game and the expansions after being told that the next two factions would be out in 6 months. Ha. I should have known better.

But I don't find anything wrong with the boardgame and I really bought into the universe they had created for the game.

But it appears at this time that the game is dead - there's a few downloadable extras out there, though - the Beta test for the campaign system, a deck of cards to add quirks to individual ships.

Such a shame.
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David Griffin
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Sounds like there might be trading opportunities. I do love the little ship models.
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Ethan McKinney
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cmontgo2 wrote:
I liked the rules - but I wanted to port the game to a "true" miniatures game with turning and arcs (no hexes). I never got around to it.


*cough*Star Wars: Armada*cough*
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David Griffin
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elbmc1969 wrote:
cmontgo2 wrote:
I liked the rules - but I wanted to port the game to a "true" miniatures game with turning and arcs (no hexes). I never got around to it.


*cough*Star Wars: Armada*cough*


No doubt Armada is a good game, but all the ships move like Star Destroyers (which may be the intention) -- slow and ponderous. Also after years of move and shoot games, I just can't shoot and move!shake
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Chris Montgomery
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I love me some Armada, too.
 
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Ted Hill
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I've been slowly working up new ship models.
I also have expanded rules and ship cards for all 8 factions here: https://www.8nations.info/downloads/

I don't think my rules will address your concerns about torpedoes though.

Some of my new models are available on Shapeways here:
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/8-nations-skydock

I have been careful not to overlap the original product as far as models. I feel nervous about the legality of that. These things above are compatible with the original so I've been calling it a fan expansion.

The models could be made to fit another base type if you had an interest.

I see you are a designer though so why not make some custom rules to address you concerns?
I could compare notes with you if you wanted.
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David Griffin
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xaidian wrote:
I've been slowly working up new ship models.
I also have expanded rules and ship cards for all 8 factions here: https://www.8nations.info/downloads/

I don't think my rules will address your concerns about torpedoes though.

Some of my new models are available on Shapeways here:
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/8-nations-skydock

I have been careful not to overlap the original product as far as models. I feel nervous about the legality of that. These things above are compatible with the original so I've been calling it a fan expansion.

The models could be made to fit another base type if you had an interest.

I see you are a designer though so why not make some custom rules to address you concerns?
I could compare notes with you if you wanted.


Looks like a lot of work, so you must really like the game. I'm afraid my designer tag is from participating in a PnP wargame contest! It was fun but I'm not sure I'm *enough* of a designer to figure out new rules for the game.

It's been a while, but the two things that stick out in my memory were the torpedoes (because of the huge amount of work required to figure out what happened to them when the board was full of ships) and the size of the board.

Torpedoes establish a line of fire which has the potential of interacting with a lot of ships in a confined area to the point where it just becomes really annoying to play in a way that the guns do not. If the board was bigger, there would probably be fewer ships that would slow down the movement and calculation of the move. It's really awkward the way it is now. It might frankly be better if the torpedoes were just ignored, except that it might disadvantage ships that use them. We did try to improvise rules but I'm not sure I'd say they were successful. That's why I was hoping for new rules.

Just increasing the board size and making the boards have interesting terrain would make the game better, but the ship models are so big that the board has to be much bigger, maybe double the size? Producing new boards these days is a bunch easier than the 3d modelling you've already done. Print and Play Admagic can make pretty big boards if you just upload the graphics.

The promise of the game was supposed to be all the cool interaction with ships on the sea, and the drawings even had those in it, but I don't think we ever got any ship models. I can envision a big convention game with the Leviathans sailing above and anti aircraft guns firing and sea going ships on the sea.

It just seemed as though the coolness factor was the major thing that made the game attractive, and the game itself wasn't coherent enough to keep people interested. It just disappeared from the shelves. I think there is still a fleet box in the discount rack at my store.

One thing the game has is curb appeal. Note that there is something of a chain reaction here. If you changed the torpedo rules or eliminated them, you'd have to modify the ships that use them and then balance them for the points they cost. Plus at this point, unless you happen to have a willing partner in your area, it would be awfully hard to playtest the results. Too bad because those ships are just SO cool.

EDIT: Just a P.S. that even if you fix the torpedoes and increase the area of the board, it doesn't take very many games before all the games feel somewhat the same. At least part of the problem is creating replay value. How do you make each game different? I'm not sure what the answer is. Clouds maybe? Giving the ships something to defend? Sophisticated scenarios where ships arrive during the battle? Just not sure.
 
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Tom Shydler
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xaidian wrote:
I've been slowly working up new ship models.
I also have expanded rules and ship cards for all 8 factions here: https://www.8nations.info/downloads/

I don't think my rules will address your concerns about torpedoes though.

Some of my new models are available on Shapeways here:
https://www.shapeways.com/shops/8-nations-skydock

I have been careful not to overlap the original product as far as models. I feel nervous about the legality of that. These things above are compatible with the original so I've been calling it a fan expansion.



Wow. I am impressed. I will probably pick up one or two of your models to check out.

As others did, I bought into this game early, stayed faithful for years, bought everything when it came out, and got screwed. I like the game system and I think a couple relatively small tweaks would help: introduce clouds (block line of sight, but may be moved through) and shorten the range of torpedoes (too powerful as is, imo).

I picked up some flying ships from Dystopian Wars that fit rather well.

As far as I am concerned, the MINIMUM that CGL should have done for the faithful supporters would have been to e-publish (perhaps for a nominal, $3 fee) a James Fighting Ship compendium that gave game-based statistics (in the form of ship cards) for six or eight navies. I do feel that another giant failure on their part was not producing a model of a heavy cruiser. This would have increased the variability of the scenarios significantly.

Oh well. I have been surprised by the number of people who still have interest in the game. Sort of like the fans of Tannhauser.
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Ted Hill
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carbon_dragon wrote:


Looks like a lot of work, so you must really like the game. I'm afraid my designer tag is from participating in a PnP wargame contest! It was fun but I'm not sure I'm *enough* of a designer to figure out new rules for the game.

It's been a while, but the two things that stick out in my memory were the torpedoes (because of the huge amount of work required to figure out what happened to them when the board was full of ships) and the size of the board.

Torpedoes establish a line of fire which has the potential of interacting with a lot of ships in a confined area to the point where it just becomes really annoying to play in a way that the guns do not. If the board was bigger, there would probably be fewer ships that would slow down the movement and calculation of the move. It's really awkward the way it is now. It might frankly be better if the torpedoes were just ignored, except that it might disadvantage ships that use them. We did try to improvise rules but I'm not sure I'd say they were successful. That's why I was hoping for new rules.

Just increasing the board size and making the boards have interesting terrain would make the game better, but the ship models are so big that the board has to be much bigger, maybe double the size? Producing new boards these days is a bunch easier than the 3d modelling you've already done. Print and Play Admagic can make pretty big boards if you just upload the graphics.

The promise of the game was supposed to be all the cool interaction with ships on the sea, and the drawings even had those in it, but I don't think we ever got any ship models. I can envision a big convention game with the Leviathans sailing above and anti aircraft guns firing and sea going ships on the sea.

It just seemed as though the coolness factor was the major thing that made the game attractive, and the game itself wasn't coherent enough to keep people interested. It just disappeared from the shelves. I think there is still a fleet box in the discount rack at my store.

One thing the game has is curb appeal. Note that there is something of a chain reaction here. If you changed the torpedo rules or eliminated them, you'd have to modify the ships that use them and then balance them for the points they cost. Plus at this point, unless you happen to have a willing partner in your area, it would be awfully hard to playtest the results. Too bad because those ships are just SO cool.

EDIT: Just a P.S. that even if you fix the torpedoes and increase the area of the board, it doesn't take very many games before all the games feel somewhat the same. At least part of the problem is creating replay value. How do you make each game different? I'm not sure what the answer is. Clouds maybe? Giving the ships something to defend? Sophisticated scenarios where ships arrive during the battle? Just not sure.


Field of Play:
I personally tend to play on a custom board I made that is essentially double or triple the area.
For those without the hex maps or regular sized play space I made a variant for playing more like X-Wing without hexes. It has its own flavor. Those can be found here if you have an interest:
https://www.8nations.info/hex-less-leviathans/

That also allows for terrain just by placing things in the play field. These could be considered mountains as the Lev ships don't seem to have very high operational ceilings.

Torpedoes:
I always liked the torpedoes. Their main purpose actually seemed to be area denial or pounding a disabled ship or very slow Type 4s. That said they have a different weapon dice mechanic because the onus is on the player to make the shot correctly. You could just fire them like other weapons but you would have to change their dice and hit mechanic. I'll have to consult my balance notes but I might be able to come up with something.

Sea Ships:
I have considered these but the main effect the Leviathans had in story world was that they outclassed ocean navies to the point of making them almost obsolete. I figured the Navies would adapt to the high elevation with anti air and mortar elevation cannon. In the end that actually didn't seem to matter. Because...

Static Defenses:
To build the new ships for each faction to test I had to disassemble, tweek, and rebuild the beta point system released by the authors. I realized this would let me build single hex ships. Then I realized I could build static defenses. These could be ground based emplacement to floating pillboxes to titanic 7 hex refueling forts.

Scenarios:
Given the ability to make structures and static defenses I would say scenarios seem really possible. Would be a hobby of a thing.
I actually liked the beta Channel Campaign the authors put out. It needed some polish that never came but the concept was pretty good.

Oh wait. That site is down for me, again shake
Well...
I just updated my site to host those legacy PDFs
You can get them from mine here:
https://www.8nations.info/downloads/
Specifically for the Channel Campaign:
https://www.8nations.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Leviath...

or

From this site that also includes a few paid PDFs that I will not be hosting:
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/2216/Catalyst-Game-La...
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Chris Montgomery
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I thought increasing the ranges on all the weapons by x 2 or x3 and having a much larger game board. Of course, as with lots of miniatures move and shoot games, the rules have to accommodate a reasonable gaming space in a reasonable gaming time, and so typically ranges of weapons are shortened by *a lot* compared to the scale of the models, movement is typically much slower, and hit rates and/or damage levels tend to be higher than would be realistic.

This is true in Age of Sail games, and also Battletech, and also - this game.

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John Goodhand
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carbon_dragon wrote:

elbmc1969 wrote:

cmontgo2 wrote:

I liked the rules - but I wanted to port the game to a "true" miniatures game with turning and arcs (no hexes). I never got around to it.

*cough*Star Wars: Armada *cough*

No doubt Armada is a good game, but all the ships move like Star Destroyers (which may be the intention) -- slow and ponderous. Also after years of move and shoot games, I just can't shoot and move!:shake:


(~~~~lol~~~~) ... Armada is a really cool game, but I was disappointed that the larger ships are indeed, "slow and ponderous" and the fact that Fantasy Flights games tend to be card driven to the extent that every player can bring the equivalent of a "Quirks Deck" to enhance their own strategic style. Someday I want to play Armada with only a huge fleet of small fighters like the X-Wing game which I had to give up because the competitive level of the local crowd became too intense and no longer fun.

@David - yes I feel your pain and concur with your comments. The ship models are beautiful and the mechanics [imho] are fantastic, but CGL dropped the ball and let the fans downs in a terrible way, so the game is DEAD. It has been for a while and I won't trust CGL for anything else, but I'm still holding on to my extensive collection for that glimmer of hope that an alternative version might surface.

I believe that it can be played with X-Wing or Armada type movement templates. This would enable larger playing surfaces that don't require a 1.25" hex grid. Simply throw a blanket or nice neoprene mat over a couple of tables pulled together. In addition convert the ranges to inches increase them by at least x2, in order to prevent the gaggle of ships being too close together and bumping into each other.

Regarding torpedoes - I never like the concept of having supersonic cruise missiles in the "Steam Punk" universe. But without them the French Fleet would be sadly disadvantaged by being seriously outgunned. I toyed with the idea of slowing them down to so that you could see them moving toward their target in a straight line, like you see in the old WWI & WWII movies. I tried using coffee stir-ers to indicate the location and direction of the torpedoes each turn, but felt that this would probably work better if all the models were rebased as surface ships in a typical 1900's dreadnaught battle.

As you can see, I have thought about this game a lot over the years, but never took the time to codify any of my ideas in writing as a system worthy of play testing. Sadly all of my former game partners have moved on to other genres and venues.
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