Design by Julian Allain-Djib
Published by Fun Forge
2 – 6 Players, 30 minutes
Review by Greg J. Schloesser
Seems that every culture loves to race, apparently including fantasy cultures such as Titans. In Titan Race, players attempt to maneuver their rider and his “titanic mount” through perilous terrain and be the first to cross the finish line. Of course, this is a fantasy world, so those frightening Titans have magical skills and abilities that will make the journey extremely hazardous. Titans are not known for their kindness or benevolence.
The game includes three small, double-sided boards, each with a different terrain and unique obstacles and perils. Unfortunately, in an effort to be compact, the result is boards that are dense, cluttered and difficult to decipher. Larger boards would have provided more room, making the artwork and details easier to see and more pleasing to the eye. As is, it is often difficult to see the pathway lines that regulate movement.
Each player receives a unique Titan card, matching board and highly detailed miniature. The miniatures are impressive, but apparently fragile. There are some thinly attached appendages which can easily break. My set arrived with a wing broken off one figure. Each Titan has a unique power as described on the card. The player board is used to track the Titan’s health and record which lap he is currently running. A small deck of action cards and six dice with unique symbols to regulate movement complete the components.
The race is conducted over three laps. Titans begin at the bottom of the board and will move from point-to-point along pathways. Each point has six pathways emanating from it, some of which, as mentioned above, are obscured by board graphics. The board wraps on all four sides (forming a sort of globe), so traveling off the eastside will move the Titan to the west side of the board, one row up. Exiting the north side of the board moves the Titan back to the south side and completes one lap. This can initially be a tad bit confusing, but it becomes clear after a few turns.
The start player (determined randomly) rolls a number of dice equal to the number of Titans in the race. The player chooses one of the dice and moves as indicated by the symbol(s) on the die chosen. In turn order, each remaining Titan does the same, choosing one of the remaining dice. This process is repeated for subsequent turns, with the start player rotating to the left and the dice being rerolled.
There are six different symbols that allow a variety of movement options, including combinations of moving straight and/or diagonally, usually one-to-three spaces. Some faces also allow the player to lay a trap before or after moving, or inflict damage on an adjacent opponent. Choosing the preferred die is usually a simple matter of surveying the board and choosing the die that results in the best and safest move…or, in some cases, does the most damage to opponents!
If a Titan enters a space occupied by an opponent, that Titan is pushed, which can cause a chain-reaction. Each pushed Titan suffers damage, but this pushing can be even more perilous due to the presence of traps and board perils. If a Titan enters a space with a trap, he incurs a point of damage, and the trap is removed. Damage can also be inflicted by opposing Titans. A Titan has a limited amount of health, and if that ever decreases to zero, he is knocked unconscious and loses a turn. Damage tends to be suffered with great frequency, so unconsciousness is a regular occurrence.
Each of the six boards has inherent perils and features. Most of these are designed to cause damage to the Titans, so players will usually do their best to avoid those spaces. As mentioned, each board is graphically unique, but the perils are generally similar in effect.
As mentioned, each Titan has a special ability, which may include inflicting damage, laying traps, pushing an opponent’s Titan, etc. These abilities can generally be used before or after moving. All can be useful, but some appear more powerful than others.
The game continues in this fashion until a Titan completes three laps, earning the victory. This typically takes about 30 minutes, which is just fine. Any longer and it would outstay its welcome.
Since three laps are run, a breakaway leader will usually be forced to cross the paths of those trailing. This gives those Titans the opportunity to stall the leader by blocking his path with traps or inflicting damage, hopefully rendering him unconscious, thereby forcing him to lose a turn. Thus, the race does have a nice little “catch the leader” feature, keeping most races competitive.
Titan Race is fast fun with a healthy dose of “take that!” The goal of the game is to win the race, but to do this generally requires inflicting as much damage on one’s opponents as possible. There aren’t any deep strategies or planning here. Rather, it is a matter of grabbing the best die available, attempt to get ahead of one’s opponents and avoid traps and damage. Bashing opponents’ Titans while you are at it is also a good idea! There isn’t much here beyond that, but sometimes one is in the mood for such frantic, silly fun.
Thoughts of Other Opinionated Gamers:
Joe Huber (1 play): I was roped into a play of Titan Race by Greg, and went in without very high expectations. I’m not a big fan of racing games, and I don’t care for take-that elements in games. But – the game really wasn’t bad. The take-that elements aren’t really that; the game has more in common with the attacking elements of Circus Maximus than with what I think of as “take-that”. Titan Race definitely isn’t a favorite new game for me – but it moves along well, and I would consider playing it again.
Dale Yu: (3 plays) – This isn’t a bad take on a racing game – my kids have called it the “Super Mario Kart” boardgame, and that is actually a pretty fair analogy. It’s a light game at heart, and one that you just can’t take seriously. There are plenty of crashes, explosions and other things that are out of your control (much like the videogame) — so just go along for the ride, do the best you can, and laugh when someone else is affected by a huge chain reaction! My initial rating of this game was going to be neutral – that was after a game with my regular gaming group; that game felt too long for what it was, and I don’t think that we adult gamers got into the theme as much. With the kids in the neighborhood, it was much better received and I think that the game is more fun with the lighthearted approach that the kids brought to the game. I certainly had more fun with it with the younger kids.
4 (Love it!):
3 (Like it): Dale Y
2 (Neutral): Greg Schloesser, Joe H.
1 (Not for me):