Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Leviathans - Review

Yes, oh yes, this is fun.  Not in a "let's just play a game and have fun" manner, and not in a "spend hours customizing, planning and executing strategy" manner.  This is fun in a let's combine pretty much every aspect of table-top games: miniatures (pre-painted), customizable paint jobs, hex-grids, movement rules, battleships, elevation (3D combat), rockets/torpedoes, hit points, localized damage, variable damage, rolling dice, miss chance, repair ability, effective unit scaling, FLYING SHIPS, etc.

Leviathans is all of the above.

Yup, flying ships.  It would seem that Tesla figured out how to use his coil system to create anti-gravity and the navies of the world took that technology and "flew" with it.  The Wright brothers never bothered with Kitty Hawk in this time-line.

What it isn't is cheap.  $80 for the base game, English vs. French, several destroyers, couple cruisers and a battleship for each side.  $40 for each *faction* expansion - Prussian, Russian, Italian, American, Austro-Hungarians (corrected from Chinese), Japanese are already planned.  I can also see an opportunity to include a Merc/Pirate faction.  At least you don't have to worry about terrain.

I tried to hate this game - mainly because I hate spending money.  I can't, I didn't and I'm totally hooked.  The minis are well done, the ships are well balanced, the logic on most of it is sound.  However, I fully expect errata to be made very quickly, specifically, taking damage to your steering should not make turning easier - but that could have been a simple -/+ typo.  Also, the target die is a standard 6-sider, everything else is a 12-sider except they aren't 1-12, but 1-4, 1-6, 1-8, 1-10 and 1-12.

"How did you make that work?"  
"We totally loaded them to roll certain ways."  
"Oh, ok."

Think I'll stick with rolling standard dice.

The cards are attractive, dry-erase friendly and easy to read once you've played through a game:

I can see many interesting game variations - defend a crippled ship, defend a specific location, add flak effects, add command ship effects, victory points, etc.  This game really has the potential to be a great hook for folks who enjoy mini games to get back into them for not really a whole lot of start-up money.  It is also something that a game shop could demo quickly and easily without a lot of set-up.

Catalyst Game Labs has done very well with this one.

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