Leviathans: Monsters In The Sky [GenCon 2011]

It’s the year 1910. Just four years ago the United Kingdom launched the first of what would be known as the “super air ships,” which sparked a massive arms race that swept across the world. These Leviathans would rule the skies, fighting the world’s wars above our society below. This is the plot of the new board game, Leviathans: Monsters in the Sky from Catalyst Game Labs.

During GenCon this past weekend I sat in on a demo of this new game, and was very intrigued at what I saw. Catalyst Game Labs has created an alternate history for us all, one filled with destruction in the skies. It’s cool to think that they threw in some steampunk aesthetics to the game, which makes it that much more enjoyable. In a post on the game’s official site, here’s a snippet of its storyline:

In 1878 the Polish genius Rynchowski isolated an electrical fluid with remarkable lifting capabilities. A single, pivotal event that would change the world.

The smartest military minds of the coming generation—Zeppelin, Jellico, Fisher and others—diverted their attention to the glorious new technological revolution and sea-going battleships were abandoned around the world. In their place, armored giants took to the skies.

In 1906, Great Britain launched the HMS Leviathan, the first of the “super air ships”, sparking an arms race around the world. By 1910 the most powerful nations boasted large High Fleets, and the start of small skirmishes left the world uneasy…welcome to Leviathans!

The game’s setup was rather simple: each player would choose a small fleet, whether it’s the United States, Great Britain, or France, and head into battle against one another. Each fleet had ships (for the demo, it was limited to one per player), and they each had their own statistics and capabilities. This information was located on the ship’s card, which explained what type of weapons it carried, its hull integrity, movement speed, and more. On each player’s turn, they could move a certain amount of space (which were laid out on a hexa-grid map that is included with the game), and attack other players. The object of the game is to eliminate each other players’ ships and stay afloat.

Battles became aerial skirmishes in the sky, and carnage tore throughout the clouds. The game becomes very intense, and strategy is key in surviving offensive assaults. During combat, players roll certain dice, which are dictated by their ship cards. Once a hit is confirmed, damage is dealt automatically depending on the type of weapon fired. Once the ship takes too much damage, it plummets to the ground. With no more ships to control, the player is knocked out of the game.

In the short time I spent checking out the game, it definitely made me want to see more. Leviathans is still in development, and Catalyst is pushing for a release later this year. The miniatures are carefully constructed, and very detailed, making the game that much more interesting to play. If you’re a fan of steampunk, or just a gamer who likes strategy games, this is something definitely worth checking out. You can find out more on the game’s official site. We look forward to its release, and we’ll hopefully get to play it more in the near future.

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