‘Titan Race’: Monstrous Fun

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Titan Race cover

Riders compete to be the legend of Neverworld in this crazy, no-holds-barred race across unpredictable environments. Hop aboard your Titan and get ready to race!

At a glance: Titan Race is a game for 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, and takes about 30 minutes to play. It retails for $30. Titan Race is published by Funforge, and is distributed in the US by Passport Games. The age rating seems about right—there’s a lot of fantasy violence in it, but it’s fairly cartoony.

Titan Race
Titan Race components. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Components:

  • 3 double-sided game boards
  • 6 dice
  • 6 Titan figurines
  • 6 Titan boards
  • 6 Ability cards
  • 6 Life tokens
  • 6 Lap tokens
  • 13 Bonus cards
  • 15 Trap tokens
Titan Race
The three race boards are double-sided, giving six different worlds altogether. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The boards are about 7.5″ square, with a hex-based grid. They’re double-sided, so that you end up with six different worlds that you can use to race. Each board matches one of the characters and represents its world, and has a different special effect. Kaldheira has lava that does damage if you cross it. Estengaard has icy spaces that make you slide until you hit a non-icy patch. There are small markings on the spaces on the edges, from A to F horizontally and from 1 to 12 vertically—particularly helpful when you wrap off the edge of the board and are looking for where to enter on the opposite side.

Titan Race
Titan Race figurines. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The figurines are pretty nice, actually, though my camera doesn’t really capture the details. They’re small (see the full components photo to compare them to the dice) but look like the illustrations on the player boards.

Titan Race
Each Titan has an associated ability. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

One thing I don’t really get is the Ability cards. Each Titan has an associated ability, which can be used once per turn. The abilities are printed on separate cards, rather than just printed on the face of the player board. It’s just one extra component that isn’t really necessary. The illustrations are cool, but it’s not really clear why the cards are needed at all.

Each player board has a spot for a die, a health track, a lap track, and the name and illustration of the Titan and its rider.

The dice are nice: engraved, not just printed. The tokens are pretty tiny and could be easily lost, but they serve their purposes well enough.

Titan Race
Bonus cards have one-time-use effects. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Bonus cards look a lot like the Ability cards, but they aren’t tied to any particular character. Six of the cards actually repeat the six Titan abilities, and there are some (like those pictured above) that have unique effects. One thing we found is that you cycle through these a lot, since there are only 13 of them, and we thought it would have been nice to have a wider selection of effects, particularly since half of them are the same as Titan abilities anyway.

How to Play

The goal of the game is to be the first to complete 3 circuits.

To set up, first choose one of the worlds, either by vote or by rolling a die and picking the world that corresponds to the color rolled. Place the board in the center of the table, with the Trap tokens in a supply near the board.

Each player gets a player board, the associated Ability card, the figurine, a life token, a lap token, and one randomly dealt Bonus card. The figurines are placed on the bottom edge of the board. Place the life token on the highest numbered heart on your player board, and the lap token on the “1” on the lap track. Take as many dice as there are players, and place the rest back into the box. Determine the first player by rolling the die—the player of that color goes first. (Reroll as necessary if you have fewer than 6 players.)

At the beginning of the round, the first player rolls all the dice, and then chooses one and performs its action, passing the dice to the next player. You must perform the action on the chosen die, and you may optionally use your ability once and play one Bonus card during your turn (before or after the die action). One note: no abilities or Bonus cards may be used during your first turn of the game.

Titan Race
The six faces of the dice. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Here are the six dice actions:

  • Yellow: move straight forward two spaces.
  • Blue: move forward one space, and then diagonally ahead either left or right one space.
  • Orange: Move diagonally ahead left or right 3 spaces (in a single line).
  • Red: Move forward one space. Leave a trap behind you either before or after your move.
  • Green: Move forward diagonally two spaces. Attack a Titan ahead of you before or after your move.
  • Purple: Take any of the above actions. Lose one health before or after your move.

A couple notes: if you take the die of your own color, you gain a health immediately. (Note that Chtooloo, the purple player, would gain a health and lose a health with the purple die, so instead it has no effect.) There are three spaces “behind” you: straight back, and diagonally to your left and right. Likewise, there are three spaces “ahead” of you as well. All six surrounding spaces are considered “adjacent.” (The rulebook uses the word “before” instead of “ahead,” but this seems like a slightly awkward translation from the French.)

If you’re the last player in the round (and only have one die passed to you), instead you gather all the dice and re-roll them, choosing one and passing the rest, so that each player always has at least two dice to choose from, and the “starting” player will rotate as the game continues. This is another point that is not explained very well in the rules, and we were playing it wrong—the way the rulebook is written, it sounds like the last player always gets to roll all the dice and choose one, and then the first player again gets all the dice and starts a new “round,” which seems very unfair. We tried playing where we just passed the dice after the last player’s turn (and forgot the last player’s dice roll), but then that throws off some effects, too.

Some of the spaces on the board have a little lightning bolt icon—if you ever land on or pass through one of these, you get a Bonus card (maximum hand size is 2). Each board has its own special spaces, too: the Dead Man’s Lagoon has pirate spaces—if you land on one, you have to discard a Bonus card or lose a health. The Ban-Kog jungle has fire statues—when you land on one of those, it damages all six adjacent spaces.

Each space can only hold one Titan, so if you enter a space with another Titan, you shove it along the same direction, doing one point of damage. If there are multiple Titans in a row, you shove all of them and damage all of them. If they step on one of those special spaces on the board, they may take effect as well. Traps (which can be laid by the green player and a certain Bonus card) will do one point of damage and then are discarded if any Titan ever enters that space.

Titan Race
Slaugg is ready to race! Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

If you lose all of your health, you flip your life token over to the skull side, tip your figurine over on the board, and essentially lose one turn. Your first turn after being knocked out, you still choose a die from the pool but take no action and just flip your token back to the heart side. Your next turn, you choose a die, regain health to your starting health levels, and take your turn.

When you leave the top of the board, you wrap around to the bottom and move your lap token forward. The first player to complete three laps (reaching the trophy icon on the lap track) wins the game.

There are a couple of rule variants, too. In a 2-player game, each player controls two Titans. You can also play a team game, and you just need any Titan on your team to cross the finish line for the third time. Finally, you can play using all three boards lined up in a row—the goal is to complete the circuit once (cross all three worlds).

Titan Race
Racing across Kaldheira, lava-covered terrain. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

The Verdict

Titan Race is a fun racing game that plays pretty quickly and isn’t too complex. It may not be as deeply strategic, but does allow for a lot of fun moves, particularly with a lot of players on a crowded board. The different worlds are a lot of fun and change up the feel of the game. For instance, expect a lot of KO’d players if you play on Kaldheira, because every time you step on lava (or are shoved onto it), you lose health. The Ang’lieh board has special spaces that allow you to spend a health to roll again—it can be a risky gamble, but also means that you get two moves in a single turn. You do have to adjust your tactics based on what board you’re on.

I like that you don’t get knocked out of the game permanently if you run out of health. It does feel costly to be KO’d, but chances are pretty good that everyone is going to get knocked out at one point or another, possibly multiple times. We’ve had a lot of games where somebody got KO’d right near the finish line, and had to hope nobody passed them by before they got back up.

Titan Race
This is not uncommon—four of the six players are currently knocked out. Photo: Jonathan H. Liu

Shoving other Titans around is a big part of the game, too: not only do you damage them, but sometimes you can cause additional havoc if there are traps or other dangers to push them into. The downside is that if you shove them onto a Bonus space, they still get to draw cards, and you’re also shoving them ahead. Just watch that you don’t push somebody across the finish line!

The components overall are pretty nice (despite the unnecessary Ability cards) and I like the variety of boards and characters available, which add replay value. I’ve played this with adults only and with a mixed kids-and-adults group, and I think that it’s a pretty good game to be able to play with kids. Experienced players may have the ability to plan out a single turn to their advantage, but there’s still an element of luck in the roll of the dice and the Bonus cards. More experienced players may also take into account which dice are being passed to the next player—sometimes you get an interesting choice between taking a move that you really want to make or taking away a die that will let another player regain health.

If you’re looking for a fun fight-race game, Titan Race makes for a fun, wacky experience. Look for it at your local game store, or order from Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this game.

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