Thursday, September 6, 2012

Leviathans: Monsters in the Sky - Review

Release the Kraken!

Oh S*** the Kraken can't fly....

Nope, these Leviathans are big massive airships. All you Final Fantasy fans can finally get your fix of real airship combat. Apparently, in this game anyway, Tesla Coils break the very laws of physics and make giant metal ships fly.... Yes it's a science fail but that's ok, it's still a smaller science fail than most republican politicians have on a daily basis. For those of you who don't have the company's inside scoop on this game you can go check it out here, while downloading a rules PDF.

I had a chance to play this game without, thankfully, having to drop the 99.99 USD on this, hehe, Leviathan of a boxed game. In fact, I even got to play a three player game! It was a mess of ships, sadly I did not cause as much wanton distruction as I wanted due to my ship's being captained by sensible pilots... These pilots are a little different than the insane Chaos Marines I am used to in Battle Fleet Gothic. Those guys used to run into a cruiser and blow up whole armadas... Ah! those were the days.

Anyway, enough of this you probably want my inside info about this game.

Lets start with the box contents

Well you get a decent amount of stuff in this box. First off are the maps, you get two of them. They are double sided and fold up neatly. However, all of them have one map that is glued on a little wrong with blue water spilling over the the other, green, side. All in all though they were beautiful maps. Saldy they do not allow a smooth asthetic if you try and combine 4 of them. In each game you uitilze both maps for play. Hexes as you can see are 6 sided, which is important for game play.

You also get a lot of Fluffy stuff. There is a short piece of fiction for the game as well as cards that have fluff for each of the ships ( I prefer to develop my own in game fluff). All of it is very beautiful but quite unnecessary.

What is necessary are the 8 ships and their bases that are included. There are 4 British and 4 French ships. Each fleet has a Class 4 ship, a class 3 ship and 2 class one ships. There are cards for each ship as well, with alternates so you do not always have to take the same ships.


The bases are included as well. Unfortunately there isn't a universal attachment to the underside of these ships. This means you have to go searching for the right base stand for the right ship. There are also elevation stands. Sadly there are no rules for elevation yet...

Some Gripes

I say some but I have quite a few. First of all the plastic quality of these ships is aweful. It's like they used rejected 70s plastic from some third rate airplane model kit. This stuff breaks so easily you wouldn't believe it. You would think if the Masamunes could make metal hard and flexible at the same time, we in the 21st century could make some decent plastic for our cool looking game, but no. We have this crappy plastic stuff that breaks at the drop of a had. Don't press too hard when assembling the bases or those will break too!

Also the paint job is just half-hearted. I almost wish they didn't actually paint the darn things. My Heroclix have better paint jobs than these and I get 5 in a box. And good luck telling your little ships apart, because (unlike in Battlefleet Gothic) there is absolutely NO distinguishing features of same class ships.

But the game itself is pretty cool

Thankfully game play was quite fun. There are lots of guns to shoot and the charts are pretty simple. Basically each ship has a card that shows its Bow, Aft, Starboard side, and Port side. Each side has equipment that can be lost if that slot is destroyed.


The game utilizes different types of D12s. So like most games these days the cards are color coded to tell you exactly which dice to roll when you attack. You get a dice for your target ships heading, based on if it moved or not and what side your shooting at, a die for your weapon, and if present a die for crew. You roll these die and a D6 and then consult the chart. The D6 tells you what slot you hit on the ship and if your D12 rolls add up to equal or greater than the ships armor number in that spot, you destroy that section.  You use a dry erase marker to see mark what has been hit.


Ships can take quite a bit of punishment before they go down. To blow up a ship takes a lot of work. To blow up a Battleship takes even more. To destroy a ship you must successfully hit a damaged slot, and then roll two red D12 and meet or exceed the ships structural integrity. Thankfully you get a + 1 for each damaged section of a ship, and an additional +1 to the die roll for each damaged section on the side you targeted.

The way the turn works is first all players roll initiative. Then the lowest player moves their biggest ship, then the other player moves their biggest ship. You keep alternating ship movements based on the size of the ships. This represents the smaller ships being able to outmaneuver the bigger ones.



Then shooting takes place. First targets are all declared by players, then ships shoot. This is all considered to take place at the same time. Thus if you get a gun, or heaven forbid, a ship blown up in a turn, that ship/gun still gets to fire. This step takes a long time because there are a lot of guns.

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?

There are a few other rules as well. Rules for torpedoes and ramming are among the most important. There are also a few rules that apply to equipment found on the ship such as guns with saturated fire or turrets. I however, will not bother you with those, and only say they make them game very unique. Torpedoes in fact, probably have the biggest strategic advantage of anything in the game.

My opinion

I will say that while playing this game pretty much everyone at game night said, "Hey I would like to play this when you are done." Unfortunately for them this game takes a really long time because of the shooting and the durability of the ships. Scenarios may reduce this time but I doubt it would be by much.

I had fun playing it though. As far as games go however, I have better things to buy with 100 USD. The quality and contents of the box just don't add up to that amount. Future expansions may change my opinion . I may even pick up a box of ships when the fleet add ons come out just to model them up like Castle in the Sky ships.


Right now the game is limited by only having two of the factions out, and having only a limited number of ships. You in the game you can choose from two class 2 ships, 3 class 4 ships and and 1 leviathan ship. It might have been nice to have another battleship option.

I suspect this game is perfect for some people. Not really for me though. I will content myself with playing with copies owned by friends. And a warning to buyers, if you plan to play this game with younger kids, it's probably not a good idea since the ships are fragile and the game is long.

Kickstarter

So ya this has been happening. This is probably the greatest thing to happen to the gaming world since um, dice? I have been following a number of projects and acutally backed two! ( Sedition wars and, ya i bought in, Relic Knights). If your a gamer and your not looking at this, you probably should. You get great deals and pre-releases. It's quite reputable too. It's got my seal of approval !


Updates

Sadly I haven't been doing em! Ya I'm bad but I am also painting miniatures like a fiend, and applying to grad school while working full time. YAY. So I will no longer promise anything and slip into the ranks of blogs you wish were updated more ( Cough Cough, Hyperbole, Cough Cough). That's all for that.

EYE CANDY 
Mmmmmmmm Relic Knights.









Till Next time, whenever that may be, keep stealin' those airships!
Steve (Switching to Polar Seltzer)

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