Thursday, October 18, 2012


Leviathans is a pretty cool boardgame, if you ever get a chance to demo it you should. Dave and I recently had a go at Scenario #1. English vs. French.
Both sides race towards each other in a meeting engagement. British on the right, French on the left.
Disaster strikes for the British as the HML Anfield is brought down in the opening salvo of the game.
The game has an interesting damage/attack mechanic that is simple to pick up. Every ship has a card showing. I had already erased the damage on this card when the Anfield went down, but you can see how the card is layed out. In the corners of the card are white boxes which show (starting at top left and moving clockwise) Hull Strength, Class Size, Hexes Before Turn and Movement Points. In each section of the card; fore, starboard, aft and port, are 6 black boxes which detail what guns and doohickeys each ship has. Basically you knock out one of the 6 locations by matching or exceeding that locations armor rating, and should you hit that location twice you roll to see if you break the ship's keel... anyway it is simple enough once you get into it.

The cruiser HML Essex draws the French battleship Jean Bart North while taking heavy fire. The first of the French destroyers falls from the sky.

The Essex with damage to her bow.

The Essex dives away from the Jean bart while the French cruiser and destroyer attempt to tackle the HML Leviathan and co.

Both French vessels go down in an absolutely lopsided engagement (they still managed to put a hurt on their rivals). The Jean Bart, now limping, attempts to  reposition to engage the Leviathan for the coup de grace.

The Brtitish fleet seperates to draw fire/hem in the Jean Bart.

The frog falls for the trick as it attempts to chase down my cruiser. The Leviathan is still badly damaged at this point and survives several lucky shots from the Jean Bart's aft and starboard batteries. That thing is a monster.

The Endgame. The Jean Bart has been peppered at close range from the cruiser and destroyer who were able to use their speed to run circles around the French battleship, turning all the while so as to not take too much damage in any one location.  The game "ends" when the Leviathan's two forward turrets cripple the Jean Bart, with the Exeter providing the death blow to send her crashing down to Terra Firma.

This is a very well done game by Catalyst labs. Retail is $80, getting you the starter set with 4 French and 4 British ships, all the dice, rulebooks and 2 gameboards. The game had been in development for over 4 years and after many, many delays and production snafus finally released earlier this year. It was originally slated to be $60, which is a great price for a game this good, but $80 seems to me a tad high. Enough to make me debate getting it, I guess...

The fluff is excellent, the ships are well done, and the art and presentation are top notch. Everything is presented with a very "real", subdued approach that helps with the suspension of disbelief. Overall I would rate this game an 8/10, I highly recommend trying it out.

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