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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Leviathans- Unboxing and Brief Review

It had been a while since playing Leviathans for the first time at Adepticon.  But I liked it then, and kept my eyes on it thereafter.  When it was released, I was fairly caught up in other things at the time, and never got around to picking it up.  I added it to my Amazon Wishlist ages ago, forgot about it, and was pleasantly surprised when my parents got it for me for Christmas!  Thanks mom and dad!
This is a pretty big box! 

And it's packed full of goodness
The prepainted ships and stand peices

The massive French Leviathan

The French and British Leviathans side by side

The opposing fleets
 The ships are prepaints and fairly high quality, hard plastics.  They feel solid though you need to be a bit careful with the masts.  There are extra flight pegs for altitude, although no altitude rules are included in this box set.
There are 2 double sided maps included.

The reverse side of the first map/

The second map

The two maps side by side

The printing is slightly off- not too annoying, but a bit ugly.

The other sides are also a bit off, thanks to the bleed from the reverse side.

But having a game look like this straight out of the box is pretty cool in my opinion!
 In addition to the game board and minis, there are lots of included components.
Neat information sheets for every ship are included.

With some beautiful artwork on the reverse side.

The main ship status display cards have cool blueprint style artwork on the reverse side.
Here is a WiP Italian ship display card I took from their website
The SSD card is fairly straightforward, and manages to cram a lot of info on it!  Obviously the ship is divided into 4 "locations": Bow, Port, Stern, and Starboard.  These locations serve 2 purposes- the first is to determine which weapons can fire when shooting your foes.  The second is to see which part of the ship receives fire when being shot at.  

I will now cover the basic rules briefly.  The entire rule book is available online on their website.  
Movement: Movement is very straight forward.  On the bottom left, you will see "Starting MP".  That is essentially how many hexes you may move per turn.  If you note in the aft location, there are 3 "engine slots".  As those get knocked out, their associated MP points are lost.  So if I get an aft shot on that ship, and knock out location "2" (Engine/MP 4) then next turn it's max move is 10.

On the bottom right you see the minimum distance that must be traveled before turning.  In this case, the ship is rather nimble and so can rotate after only moving forward 1.  Rotating 1 hex facing costs 1 MP.  Movement alternates from player to player, ship to ship with the player winning initiative moving 2nd.  Bigger ships move first, leaving small ships able to react.

Shooting: My father and I played 2 games, and weren't overly excited about the movement rules, but were really blown away by the cleverness of the shooting rules.  Included in the set are 10 color coded d12 dice.  The black dice have 1-12.  The red 1-10, and the other colors progressively less possible numbers.  So all shooting is done by color.  The equation is simple: Firing weapon (modified by range) + Any Crew from that location + the target's facing modifier.  

The firing weapon is straightforward- if you look at the Italian ship above, the 47mm gun has a short range of 3 and a max range of 5.  At range 1-3 it rolls a blue die, and at range 4-5 a green.  If firing from the bow arc, there is a crew modifier of blue.  The triangle and T icons indicate the weapon can be bracketed- able to be joined by other weapons capable of bracketing in one salvo, and the T indicates it is a turret weapon giving it broader fields of fire.  Similarly, in the bow location, there is a crew modifier of blue.  So at short range our 47mm would have a base of blue + blue (weapon + crew).

Finally, you determine what you roll for the targeted ship- see how each location has a green and red arrow?  The green arrow is what is rolled when the ship moved and you are firing into that arc. The red arrow indicates the ship is stationary.  So, consider this situation: We are firing our bow 47mm gun at an identical ship, moving perpendicular to us (we are firing at his starboard side).  He moved last turn and we are at close range,

So we get a blue die (47mm gun at close range) + a blue die (crew in the bow) + a yellow die (starboard side, moving shot).  We take those 3 dice, add in a d6 (to see what location we hit) and roll.  We then consult the d6 to determine the location, then add up the numbers on our d12s.  If we equal or exceed the "breach" number of the system, we knock that system out!

For example, let's say we roll our 2DBlues and 1DYellow and score a 2 on the d6.  Our d12s add up to 10.  That means we knocked out our traget's starboard 47mm gun.  Had we rolled a 1 or 6 on the d6, our shot would have missed.  Had we rolled a 3 on the d6, our 10 points rolled on the d12s would not have exceeded the location's breach score (11) and the shot would've had no effect.

That is the basic mechanics- there are of course rules for critical hits (scoring against an already knocked out location has a chance of breaking the keel- something which happened catastrophically in one of our games in a very cinematic moment!)  There are also rules for torpedoes, etc.  

Dice.  The string is for checking line of site
 In all the mechanics were fairly easy to pick up, and after a few rounds we had it down.
More included stuff!  Shown here: torpedo markers, screening markers (a somewhat advanced rule that we didn't utilise), turn/movement guides, Commander's Manual (full rules), Lieutenant's Manual (quick rules), The Gazetteer and a short story, 2 SSDs for the big ships (each having 2 additional arcs), and a sticker sheet.

Battling it out in our first game.

My Dad thinking very hard about his next move- does he deliver a broadside but expose his already damaged port side? Or make a run for it to turn his good side to my guns?
In all, we played 3 games of Leviathans.  We really enjoyed it, though we struggled with finding what makes the British any good.  The French ships were far faster, and could deliver withering fire at close range.  The British ships had marginally better armor, and slightly better range.  We concluded that we needed to play more to really figure it out- a prospect that both of us were quite happy about.

Very fun game to be sure!


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