Titan is about the titular titans, tiptoeing a tête-à-tête and going toe-to-toe in a tit-for-tat. Command your legions of monsters until yours is the last titan standing.
Titan is a competitive tactical skirmish game and also wargame. It combines the high level ‘theater of war’ type of movement then moves into unit-to-unit combat when legions move within range of an enemy. The goal of each player is to kill the others’ titans. Like Chess, killing the titan eliminates the player, except Titan plays up to 6 players.
Originally released in 1980 by Avalon Hill, it has received reprints in the years since. However, without any major updates to rules, it still holds a very retro feel, even with the reprints.
Each player’s turn has 4 phases (the names of which change per edition):
- Commencement / Splitting
On the main game board, each player commands a number of legions, which are comprised of several units. During the Commencement phase, players can divide their legions. Simple enough.
The Movement phase is when each player must recite a prepared book report. The other players grade the book report and based on how well the book report is received, they will gain additional shots of the laser cannons. Oh wait. No. Sorry. This phase is when legions move. My fault.
The Engagement phase is where things get fun. The legions moving about the main board are stacked up and move together. Once they are adjacent to an enemy legion, they will fight. Fighting takes place on a separate terrain board.
The terrain board used for the combat is based on which terrain the legions are in on the main board. Combat follows a more ordered structure. Units move and attack, using their Skill to determine movement and Power to determine how much damage they will deal.
Throughout combat points are awarded for killing units. Points aren’t used for victory, instead they increase the power of that player’s titan and grant the ability to summon angels. But that’s not the only way to get bigger and better units.
During the Mustering phase players can add units to their legions. If the legions are in the appropriate terrain during this phase, and they have the appropriate number of units (usually 2 or 3), they will be able to add additional, more powerful units.
As players engage in combat and muster additional units, they will eventually start to tackle each other’s titans. A titan’s power is 6 + 1 for every 100 points scored by the player. A typical combat will earn a player around 70ish points. Once a player’s titan is defeated, the combat immediately ends and all that player’s units are removed, scoring half for the player who dealt the killing blow. That player is eliminated. Once all players, but one, have been eliminated the game is over and that player is the winner!
What I really like about Titan is the two-levels of play, the main board which shows legion movement, and the terrain boards which are used for skirmish combat. It’s a concept you see in plenty of video games, but not nearly as often in board games.
Anyone else remember this game? It’s actually so good.
The main problem that comes up within Titan is the positive feedback loop, which is a fancy game design way of saying “it’s super easy to snowball until you win the game”. Since winning battles makes you stronger, it becomes easier to win more battles, to become more stronger, to win more battles, etc… Games nowadays tend to avoid positive feedback loops for just this reason. But, hey, that’s what makes it retro!
Thanks for reading!