Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 3-4
Amount of time to play: 75-90 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5 minutes
In Titanium Wars you must build your fleet of ships and fight the other players to gain planets. These planets have titanium deposits and the first player to have a certain number of deposits (based on the number of players) wins the game.
You start Titanium Wars with $1,000, three tactics cards and a leader. Each turn consists of four phases, Exploration, Production, Outfitting, and Conquest. Between each turn you check to see if anyone has gained enough titanium deposits to win. If not, you play another turn.
During the Exploration phase you flip over the planet you are going to be fighting over. The front of the planet cards shows you the planet and which resources you gain for conquering it. Most get you money, places to construct buildings and titanium deposits. Some also grant extra spaceports for more ships or tactics cards. The back of each planet card shows a summary of the resources it grants and has an event. This lets you preview the next planet coming and gives you the event for the current round. Events can be good or bad and apply to all players for the turn.
The Production phase gets you more money. Your leader will generate $1,000 every turn and most planets add to that. You can also construct refineries to increase your income.
Next comes the Outfitting phase. During it you can purchase ships, upgrades, or buildings. You have a limited number of ships and buildings you may have and smaller ships have less upgrade slots. You may only purchase some cards if your tech level is high enough. To increase your tech level you can buy laboratories. And you should look at your tactics cards to help inform the types of ships you purchase. You buy things at the same time and reveal what you have bought once all players are done.
After you have purchased cards, in player order, you decide if you are going to enter the fight to win the current planet. If want to participate in this Conquest phase you choose a tactics cards and place it face down. Next you reveal your tactics card and attack in card priority order from zero to seven. Tactics cards that have a lower number (and thus go first) do less damage or only allow specific ships to attack a limited type of targets. Higher numbered tactics cards involve more types of ships and can do more damage, but go later. Like I said above be sure you buy ships that can use a couple of the tactics cards you have. Each ship has an attack rating and you can distribute that to any enemy ships as you like. Once a unit’s damage equals its defense it is destroyed along with any upgrades it had. After all tactics cards are resolved you discard them. You may also discard more tactics cards at this time. The first one is free but discarding more costs you $100 each. This process repeats until only one player has ships remaining or only one player decides to participate in the conquest.
New planets are added to your play area and then you check the victory condition. If no one has enough titanium deposits to win you start another turn.
Titanium Wars is a fun space-themed card game. It is a “take that” game with hand management and an economy. You will have to gang up on the leader and try to convince your friends you are not the leader. It also tends to be on the lighter side and is easy to learn, teach and play.
The components for the game are mostly excellent. The art is fantastic and the cards and chits are very good quality. The rulebook is well-written and easy to follow. Even the box insert is nice with compartments for all the cards. My only gripe is the small, thin, paper money. I wish the money was more durable and you may want to replace yours with poker chips.
The first thing I really like Titanium Wars is the way the events and planets work. It is really cool that the back of the next planet implements an event for the current turn. It is just a really clever design and I think it is really cool.
I also like how the tactics cards resolve. They create a balance by the weaker or more limited cards going first. I do wish the combat was a little less random. Having a handful of cards in the last battle that have nothing to do with the ships in your fleet is no fun. And though you can mitigate this a bit it could still happen.
This game plays three to four but three is the sweet spot. Four players make the game last a bit too long for what it is.
Like I said above you need to beat up the leader and decide when it is best to not fight at all. You can’t sit out too much though as most games end once a player has two planets. If you and your group don’t like mean games with lots of “take that” you might not enjoy Titanium Wars. But if you enjoy those types of games or are looking for a fun three player game, you should check this game out. It is ripe for expansion and I hope some are in the works.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 6 out of 6
Replay Value 5 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6