No announcement yet.

Castles in the Sky Hitting Pre-Order

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Castles in the Sky Hitting Pre-Order

    I am not sure it this is Fantasy, Sci-fi, or something different as it is flying battleships of WWI! I guess that makes it alt-History, Aeronef or Weird War One? So confusing. I am sure that it is Off-Topic! Anyway......

    I am starting to see Castles in the Sky up for Pre-sale at various online book sellers. It is slated for a June 2022 release date.

    The blurb:
    A wargaming ruleset for epic pre-WW1 battles in the sky.

    It's the dawn of the 20th Century and the Great Powers turn to war. Since the development of the air screw, leading to the creation of flying warships, the navies of the world have comprised an ever-growing number of these aerial ironclads. So fire up the turbines, ready the aether drives, and take to the air in Castles in the Sky: A Wargame of Flying Battleships.

    Featuring all the rules required to fight battles with fleets of flying behemoths. Assemble your fleet from 9 nationalities and fight through a variety of scenarios. With a full campaign system, Castles in the Sky contains everything
    adventurous aeronautical admirals need to find victory in the skies.

    I really like the front cover as it highlights a few key aspects of the game:

    1. Altitude matters
    2. Big ships in the sky!
    3. Italian and Austro-Hungarian ships on the cover (and other powers in the book)
    4. There are aeroplanes

    The art on the inside and the photos of the miniature ships is really great too! The interior is models from Brigade and they look amazing! The artwork is like the cover, only it looks at various nations, the crews, some smaller craft, etc. Really great stuff!

    The rules are good too, if I do say so myself!

  • #2
    Looks interesting! I've not encountered a flying game that implements altitude satisfactorily yet. Most just do away with it and are basically naval combat in the sky (or space!). BFG, I'm looking at you...


    • #3
      My thoughts:

      1. That cover art is awesome and stupid at the same time. You have the tech to make naval ships fly and the best thing you can think to do with it is make naval ships fly?

      2. Is there a lot of fluff or flavor text in the book?

      3. I can finally pretend my Leviathan! and Crimson Skies miniatures have a purpose.

      4. Now that R&B song is stuck in my head. And the Will Smith cover. At the same time.

      ​​​​​​….we can make it if we try, just the two of us.


      • #4
        There is very little flavor text or fluff as these books have very tight word counts.

        That said, the basic fluff is along these lines. After the Martian invasion of 1888 failed, it left a number of Martian war machines scattered across England. Using some of the advances in metallurgy, chemistry, and other advanced tech and combining it with existing technology led to the invention of the Air Screw. This Air Screw is a combination of various technologies that allow for the creation of airships. Soon, all the Great Powers of Europe were scrambling to catch up and build their own airships.

        There is also brief paragraphs about the struggle of mastery of Europe between the Great Powers soon over-riding their co-operative streak to face of another Martian invasion. It soon became obvious one was not coming. Therefore, they went right back to the race for Colonies and Great Power politics after a generation of cooperation in the Concert of Europe. It is a very small revision to pre-WWI politics, where the only real change is that instead of the Naval Arms Race over Dreadnoughts, it is the Airship Arms Race. The Race for Colonies, the Concert of Europe, Nationalism, Mahan's Theories, and the rest are all still there!


        • #5
          Thank you for providing the background. Unfortunately there are two or three big nopes for me in there. Pretty much the whole VSF/late 1800’s thing is a dash of cold water for me. For some reason, I was expecting an interwar Talespin-like setting.


          • #6
            More 1900-1918, but yeah NOT tail spin at all.


            • #7
              I hadn’t realized you wrote the book. That’s a fantastic accomplishment. What inspired you to write a rule set for this kind of setting or tactical scenario? Did the Brigade models inspire you or just best-fit your gaming wants?


              • #8
                That is a good question Bob.

                I have always had an interest in Naval Warfare. There is something about the theoretical deterministic factors, mixed in with the fanciful stories about what actually happened when the "on paper" suppositions clashed with the realities of war. This provided a lot of space for Strategic and Tactical Depth. The Strategic being decisions you make off the board, and the Tactical being decisions made on the board.

                In College, I took some ROTC classes on Naval History (despite not being in the ROTC) and I did work on the Naval Arm's Race prior to WWI. My History degree is actually focused in pre-WWI diplomatic history and the British/German Naval Arms race played a pretty big role in that period. I have read Alfred Thayer Mahan's "Influence of Sea Power on Nations", as well as various works on the topic from the period. I really enjoyed Robert K Massie's books "Dreadnought" and "Castles of Steel". Massie's book inspired the title of my game. Unlike most Naval Wargamers, I was less interested in WW2 (especially in the Pacific) and way more interested in the Dreadnought Era. Jutland over Midway I guess and that was a niche most Naval games were not filling.
                In addition, the first wargame I made was a 40K wet Navy game called Aquanautica Imperialis. It took a few years to build that game, and it received some pretty cool feedback and attention in the pre-Social Media days of the internet. I also made a submarine combat focused game called Aquanautica Imperialis: Battle for the Depths. I still dabble around in the 40K wet navy world from time to time. This gave me a feel for the type of game I wanted to play, the genre conventions, and how various rules interacted on the table.

                From there, I was on the Delta Vector blog, and Evil Monkeigh had some comments about Aeronef games and what he would do to make them better. This inspired me to take a look at various rules for Aeronef games such as the (in)famous Aeronef, Imperial Skies, Leviathans, and others including Spartan Games Dystopian Wars. I then set about using what I knew of Naval Warfare and trying to apply it to flying battleships around WWI. The cool brigade models, Spartan models, and Catalyst Games Lab models also helped inspire me.

                I wanted to make Aeronef rules as opposed to Naval rules because I could use conventions of the genre, but also subvert them as needed for better game play. For example, in a true Dreadnought battle, it makes sense to stay at arms length and pound the enemy with gunfire. However, I have played that and it was sub-optimal fun for me as it turned into Yahtzee very quickly. With Flying Battleships, I could create situations where maneuver and closing was more important than in a "true" Naval wargame. I could stay with tried and true conventions such s firepower vs armor, special damage, the escort < Cruiser< Battleship< escort dynamic, and command/control BUT also put in rules to encourage maneuver and "Melee"* tactics, as opposed to more linear, static formations being dominant. You get the flavor of WWI Naval, but you are not beholden to it with Flying Battleships. Last I checked, there was no history on that topic!

                This is the V4 rules. The game has gone through various incarnations, updates, and changes the more I and others played it. You can easily find older content for this game out on the web, but this version from Osprey is the latest version. My blog has a lot of battle reports and content as the game developed. In addition, I was able to include some design notes in the rules as well, to explain some of my thought process while building this game over the last 5+ years or so.

                I got on a bit of a ramble there, so if you have other questions or need more detail let me know. Thanks for asking Bob.

                *- Melee is the more Nelsonian tactical approach to ships fighting individually, and less in line of battle.


                • #9
                  That does sound more fun for a player like me than the more traditional naval games. But I tend to ruin serious games by having my command squad Leroy Jenkins down the middle and stuff like that.


                  • Haighus
                    Haighus commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Eh, worked for Nelson ;)

                • #10
                  Well if you want to see V4 in action, you can see a few battles I documented from play testing here:

                  Maiden Voyage

                  Tropic Thunder

                  South Pacific Blues

                  Off the Gold Coast


                  • #11
                    Does the K.u.K Airnavy suffer organisationaly if you set the crew wrong up?
                    Is army slavic a thing?



                    • #12
                      I will say, different nations have different Command and Control values as well as different air ship designs.