Titanium Wars, from Iello and designer Fréderic Guérard, was not on my radar until I saw a Dice Tower video on it from Origins. It looked nice and sounded interesting, so I thought I’d take a quick look at it here. This sci-fi themed game is for 3-4 players and takes 75 minutes. In it, you are leading a faction trying to control the most titanium, a new form of energy discovered in the galaxy (and not the metal we know). I’m curious as to why they called this energy “titanium” when something of that name already exists. I suppose it’s not as bad as calling it “unobtainium”, but it’s still strange.
Anyway. The game comes with 65 unit cards, 96 upgrade cards, 74 building cards, 12 planet/event cards, 50 tactic cards, a number of credits in denominations of 50-100-500, 8 leader cards, a first player token, and 4 summary cards. Each player begins with 1000 credits, 3 tactic cards, and 2 leaders (from which you will choose one). The player wearing the most purple gets the first player token.
A round consists of four phases: exploration, production, outfitting, and conquest.
EXPLORATION: The planet/event cards are initially played in a pile with the event side up. In this phase, the first player flips the top card over so the planet is visible. It is placed next to the deck, and the newly revealed event is the one that will be in play for the rest of the round.
PRODUCTION: Each player collects money based on the planets they own (including their home planet, indicated on their leader card). They also get 150 credits per Refinery they own.
OUTFITTING: The Arsenal consists of Units, Upgrades, and Buildings, which are separated into piles by type in the center of the table.(six different types of each). During the Outfitting phase, you can buy cards. You can’t have more Buildings than slots on your planets, nor can you have more Upgrades than slots on your ship. Purchases are done simultaneously, though they are resolved in player order if there aren’t enough for everyone who wants something particular. Purchases are also done secretly – not sure how that works. After all purchases are made, reveal what you got.
CONQUEST: This is where players are trying to conquer the planet revealed at the start of the round. There are five steps in the process:
- Choose a tactic: Each player (in turn order) decides whether or not they want to participate – you need at least one ship, and you commit your entire fleet to the Offensive. If you want to participate, play a tactic card face down. If not, declare your withdrawal. If only one player commits, skip to step #4.
- Reveal tactics: All participants reveal what they played, announcing its name and priority.
- Resolve tactics: Resolve in order of priority (0-7). Add up the attack strength of your ships plus planetary supports activated by the tactic. Distribute damage tokens and distribute them to as many enemy units as allowed by your tactic card (you don’t have to pass out all of it). If a unit has as much damage as its defense value, it and its Upgrades are returned to the Arsenal.
- Discard tactics: Discard any tactic cards played. You can also choose to discard as many remaining tactic cards as you want (free for the first, 100 credits for each others). You then get to draw back up to your hand limit.
- Results: If there are ships belonging to more than one player, go back to step one. If your’re the only one left, take the planet.
The game ends when someone has a certain number of Titanium deposits from planets (7-9 with three players, 6-8 with four, depending on the length of game you want). They win.
From what I can tell, this looks like a game where you’re trying to build up your fleet to claim cards. I imagine that a majority of the strategy comes from the simultaneous tactic selection, which is a mechanism that I love in games. The lower tactics get to go first, but the higher ones are probably more powerful. I also would like to say that the art looks fantastic…here’s a little bit of it:
I do wonder about the long-term playability of the game as it doesn’t seem to change that much – all the Units, Upgrades, and Buildings are available in every game, and you only have 12 total planets to work with. However, the planet/event combinations will change every time, and you’ll have to adapt to the tactic cards you get from game to game. In this, I would imagine that games would in fact play differently – I just wonder HOW differently. It’s something I’d be happy to try, but not really something I think I want to own for myself. Nevertheless, check it out for yourself if interested. Thanks for reading!