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Titan (game)

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Titan is an Avalon Hill fantasy board game for two to six players. Each player controls an army of mythological creatures such as gargoyles, unicorns, and griffons[?], led by a single titan. The titan is analogous to the king in chess in that the death of a titan eliminates that player and his entire army from the game. The player controlling the last remaining titan wins the game.

The main game board comprises 96 interlocking hexes, each with a specified terrain type.

Brush 
Desert 
Hills 
Jungle 
Marsh 
Mountains 
Plains 
Swamp 
Tower 
Tundra 
Woods 

Each player's army is orgaized into legions of one to seven creature tokens stacked face down. The legions move according to die roll, subject to restrictions marked on the board. No two legions may occupy the same hex on the game board. If a legion moves into a hex which is occupied by a enemy legion, the two legions must fight to the death on a tactical map specific to that terrain. The terrain usually gives a battle advantage to creatures native there.

Each time a legion moves, it may recruit one additional creature if the territory to which it moves is native to at least one creature already in the legion. For example, centaurs may recruit in the plains and woods, ogres may recruit in the marsh and hills, etc.

Each creature may recruit its own kind, but multiple weak creatures may be eligible to recuit more powerful creatures. For example, one ogre in the marsh or hills may recruit only another ogre, but two ogres in the marsh may recruit a troll, while three ogres in the hills may recruit a minotaur.

Titan is well-designed in many respects, but it is most distinguished by the incentives for combat. In games such as Risk it is wise to attack as little as possible, and build up strength, while encouraging the other players to exhaust themselves in endless battles with each other. In Titan, it is possible for the victor of a battle to emerge stronger than before, depending on the circumstances.

The victor of each battle is awarded points based on strength of the creatures vanquished. For each hundred points a player earns, he is awarded an angel, a strong creature which can teleport from its own legion to aid an attacking legion in future battles. Also, for each one hundred points a player earns, his titan becomes stronger in battle. And finally, at four hundred points, a player's titan gains the ability to teleport on a roll of six, attacking any enemy legion regardless of position. This speeds the conclusion of games, and makes protracted stalemates unlikely.

Another excellent aspect of Titan which is nearly unique among strategy games is that it plays just as well with two players as with many. Two, three, or six players make the best game, because the opening is entirely symmetrical. With four players there is a slight asymmetry, and with five the asymmetry becomes substantial, but the game may be kept balanced by putting the less experienced players in the more favorable positions.

Although dice control the fortunes of the players to a certain extent, skill plays a considerable role. Numerous decision points distinguish experts from amateurs, including:

  • Whether to split a legion into two legions for faster recruiting, or keep it unified for more effective fighting.
  • Whether to recruit creatures which are better at fighting, or creatures which have more potential for further recruiting.
  • Whether to risk losses in attacking in exchange for the potential benefits.
  • Whether to defend against an attack in hopes of inflicting maximum damage, or flee, thereby halving the points the attacker gains.
  • Whether to use the titan as a powerful attacker, or shield it against any possible danger.
  • Whether to hide a weak legion in favorable terrain, or keep moving it in order to keep recruiting.
  • Whether to move a legion to a hex where it may recruit, but will be forced by the movement restrictions to move in a unfavorable direction on the next turn.

Also, the tactics and strategy of individual battles invite considerable study. A slightly inferior force under superior generalship will win more often than not.

The only serious drawbacks to the game are the moderate complexity of the rules, and the socially awkward possibility of one or two players being eliminated long before the game is over. These disadvantages aside, Titan is perfect for serious strategists who view a little luck as desirable to keep a game from getting stale.

An online version can be found at http://colossus.sourceforge.net/ .



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