Monday, 29 February 2016

Leviathan Ponderings


Apologies for the delay in any kind of update over the last week or so but things have been a bit mental at work of late.

Still, I have managed to play out another 1000 point game of Leviathan, this time featuring the Elves taking on Orcs. It took three evenings to play out the game as I've been knackered and it has given me quite a lot to mull over with regards to Leviathan...

The forces are identical to some of the previous battle reports I put together but I held the Everhungry in reserve and would force the Elven wizard to summon it later in the game.

I've decided not to report the full game as I didn't take full notes as I went but will give a brief overview of the game as it played out!

The Elves started out trying to close with the Orcs on one flank by manoeuvring through undergrowth in the hopes of avoiding getting shot up by the large number of Goblin archers lurking in the Orcish force but the Elven prince riding an Earthbound dragon threw caution to the wind and charged one unit of Goblins. It seemed like a good idea at the time as the Goblins would have to roll 7 or under on a D20 to pass their Resolve check but they promptly did and peppered the charging beast with barbed arrows.


Despite being mortally wounded, the beast crashed into the Goblin unit but both it and it's rider failed to hit any of the diminutive Goblins, who in return, swarmed over the beast, killing it and it's rider!

I've noticed a pattern with my warbeast riding characters in these games all coming to a sticky end when they charge enemy infantry which is becoming a bit of an issue. Fair enough it would be a better idea to get some support before hurling oneself into combat but even so, it's not as much fun!

Similarly, the issue of damaging warbeasts needs quite a bit of work I think. At present you roll on their damage table which can have one of five results but how many wounds can they take? At present it's not explained very well and what about rolling the same results on the chart? I believe that they result in you going for the next most serious roll but again, it's just not explained in the rules which I am starting to find a bit frustrating.

Meanwhile, on the other flank the Orcish Necrosaur crew fires their bolt thrower at a distant Earthbound but fail to hit at the range and in return a unit of Elven Powerlancers send crackling beams of energy crashing into it's supporting Carnousar causing the beast to rampage.


This was one of the most entertaining parts of the game as the Carnosaur went mental and charged the Necrosaur, causing it too to rampage! 

The next turn saw the Elves concentrate fire on the swirling melee of rampaging beasts, killing the Carnosaur outright and mortally wounding the Necrosaur which was finished off by the Earthbound breathing fire on it.

On the other flank, the Elven infantry charged a second unit of Goblin archers who managed to pass their Resolve test too and managed to shoot down two of the approaching infantry. The resulting melee saw the Goblins almost wiped out as the Elves used their extra attacks to slaughter the lowly Gobbos.

The Goblins once again prove their worth by holding fast in the face of being charged by the Elves.

The Elven wizard managed to summon the Everhungry which promptly charged the remaining Carnosaur and in the crushing melee, both beasts caused wounds but failed to bring either down.

I decided to make an opposed Resolve test for the summoning of the Everhungry and it seems to have worked out ok, but I think that expanded Earthpower rules should clarify things further as I'd like to see a miscast table for when things go wrong and some sort of mechanism to make spellcasting a bit more interesting.

The Elves were victorious as they were starting to seriously maul the remaining Orcs who mostly consisted of infantry so At this point, I decided to call it a day and set to scribbling down some thoughts on the game and what needs tinkering, what needs major work and what works as is.

I've been having some serious ponderings about the whole Leviathan rules over the last couple of weeks and as I mentioned in my report, there's some serious issues needing addressed. On the one hand, I am finding the game doesn't really mesh with the background the book features and similarly the rules themselves are rather more full of holes than I had initially thought.

Leviathan is supposed to be set after a terrible apocalypse which pretty much sees the world end and survivors having to find some sort of way of adapting to the new and altered environment but the game seems to try and concentrate on the clash of large forces. There's also the issue of warbeasts and warmachines. One gets the impression that they are supposed to be central to the game but in actual fact, they seem to be a bit underwhelming more often than not.

There's also the reoccurring issue of poorly explained rules and in some cases, no explanation at all which is becoming increasingly frustrating to deal with in game. On the one hand, I am more than happy to bodge rules and make up stuff on the spot but at the same time, it seems to be really slowing down the game as I rifle through the book, trying, sometimes without success, to find a rule I am looking for!

It's a crying shame as the background is great and there is the core of a good ruleset in Leviathan but it needs an awful lot of work to really develop, polish and present it as a clearly explained and playable system.

With this in mind, I think that the next game I play will be with a different system which I know is complete and well playtested which I hope will give me the opportunity to try out some new ideas and compile things into something resembling sense before tackling Leviathan again.

Speaking of which, I am thinking that I need to move away from calling it Leviathan as the rules as is are going to be very different from the rules I am going to be presenting so I will be naming the next set Aeroth 1.0 for the moment and will be seeking to develop the background into a more suitable direction and tinkering with getting a more playable ruleset put together.

Next time I post a battle report, it will be based around the freely available No Quarter rules by Wargames Unlimited which I played quite a bit in the early 2000's and I'm quite keen to reacquaint myself with so watch this space and apologies for rambling on!

All the best!

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