I’ve mentioned this before in my Snow Tails review, I really enjoy racing games and they are a big part of my board gaming collection. From Camel Up, to Road Kill Rally, to Pitch Car to name a few, I almost always have a racing game in my regular board game rotation. Winning the race is always great, but even if I don’t win, I always seem to have lots of fun with this genre.
Today we look at a unique racing game from Funforge called Titan Race, where you try to control a Titan and race against other Titans to victory. Does Titan Race take the lead from other racing games or does it come up short? Read on!
Titan Race is a fantasy racing game for 2-6 players and plays around 30 minutes. Titan Race plays best with 4-5 players.
Titan Race’s overall theme and objective is straight-forward. You control a fantasy Titan and rider against other Titans to see who will be the winner. Titans will not only have to battle with other Titans, but also have to contend with circuit (race track) hazards. Titans can use their special abilities and bonus cards to give them the edge, but the first Titan who laps the circuit 3 times is the winner.
Titan Race comes with excellent components. Titan figures, Titan boards, cards, markers and circuits are of quality and will hold up to replay. The bonus deck will see the most use and reshuffling during the game, but sleeves are not a must because the cards are fairly sturdy.
I have to say that there are not many negatives with the game pieces except the circuits. These are the racing boards and there are six unique which match the home track of each Titan. Overall, each circuit is well done and has great detail but for a game called Titan Race, the circuits are just too small. It was really hard to have a six player game around the table because at least two players could not see the board that well or reach it. Each Circuit is two-sided but only measures 7 3/8″ x 7 3/8″.
A tri-fold larger board would be an easy solution, but that would require a bigger box and up the price tag. The price point for this game is pretty low, so some will likely make do with a small board and not want a hit to the wallet. I like the circuits but just wish these were almost double the current size.
The high point of all the components is the artwork. As noted above, this is a fantasy racing game and the art is excellent and supports the theme perfectly. The designers also did a great job incorporating the consistent fantasy feel throughout all the game pieces.
How to Play:
During set-up, players will choose one circuit, a Titan, the matching Titan board & ability card, and be dealt one random bonus card.
The first player rolls all dice and selects one of the dice to place on their Titan board, and then takes the action of the symbol on the dice. The 6 actions on each die are:
Move 2 spaces straight ahead [yellow], move 1 straight & 1 diagonally [blue], move 3 spaces diagonally [brown], move 1 and place a trap token behind you [red], move 2 diagonally and inflict 1 damage to a Titan in range [green], chose one of the 5 other actions but then lose 1 Life point [purple].
The second player chooses one of the rolled dice and so on until the last player who will collect all dice and re-rolls them, choosing one of the new ones to use.
Please note players can do the following before or after their movement:
• Players MUST take the action on the die they selected
• MAY use their Titan’s ability card
• MAY use a bonus card
Players can take these actions in any order that they wish, but they must complete the action before using another. Also, if a player chooses the side that matches the color of their Titan, they gain 1 life point (except purple – see above).
Movement Rules: It’s important to note that each of the 6 circuits represents each Titan’s home course and that each is infinite and wrap around the opposite sides (so you need to image that the flat board is a circle). So when a Titan moves off of the top edge of the circuit, they will reappear at the bottom.
The points on the circuits are called spaces and only one Titan can occupy a space (see chain reaction below). Some spaces will have traps, hazards, or bonus (allows you to draw 1 bonus card).
Chain Reaction: when you enter a space with another Titan, you push that Titan in the direction you were going and as many spaces as you were moving. The pushed Titan loses 1 life point. If the pushed Titan enters a space as another Titan same rules apply as above.
KO: When a Titan’s life points equal 0 they are knocked out. That Titan stops all movement and they lose their next turn. On their following turn they regain maximum life points and continue their turn as usual.
A Titan gains a lap when they leave the top edge of the circuit. The game ends immediately as soon as first Titan completes 3 laps and they are the winner.
I have heard this game described as a Mario-Cart like board game and I think that description is dead-on. This game has high player interaction maybe to the point of frustration for some players. But I don’t mind that aspect of this game at all. If you’re Titan is not KOed at least a few times, then the other players are doing something wrong. I prefer racing games where you can interact and influence other racers. If you don’t, then Titan Race is not for you.
Ok I have to admit that I was not initially a fan of the infinite circuits, it reminded me of bad 80s arcade games where you could move off one side of the screen and then reappear on the opposite, but it grew on me. It’s because this was a great way to give each racer a chance to win and stop the potential run-away where you could never catch the leader. This really helps with the overall game balance and keeps each Titan in the race.
That said, the diagonal rules could use one more example of where the Titans should be placed. The example in the rules shows a simple diagonal off the top edge then starting at the bottom, but none in the middle of the board so it was unclear to my group at times where the Titan should be placed. I think we got it right, but this stopped game play until we just decided what made sense.
I know I said it above, but it’s worth repeating. The circuits are too small. The cornerstone of every racing game is the track itself and this one’s size takes away from the flow of the game. When playing with higher player counts, players often need to jockey around the table to see the space symbols and reach their own Titan to take their turn. Again, I’m sure this was to keep the box and price point low, but there was some enjoyment sacrificed stressing to reach and straining to see the circuit itself.
The circuits themselves have great designs and, aside from the small iconography, add to the fantasy theme. The fact that there are 6 unique circuits to choose from and each has a completely different terrain and hazards ups the replay value of the game. Also, there’s a variant rule where you can place three circuits (each is considered a lap) for a rather unique racing experience.
The last thing worth noting is that each Titan has a unique ability and 5 of those seem very balanced. The only one that didn’t seem balanced was Cthooloo (this is not misspelled). Its special ability is drain life which inflicts 1 damage to an adjacent Titan and then gains 1 life point. Now, this might seem unbalanced but its life points are capped (like all Titans) and it’s one of the weaker ones that starts with 4 Life points. What hurts is that you don’t get the freebie 1 life point when you chose the purple move die and so good old Cthooloo seemed to be KOed more often than the others. So, this Titan actually is under-powered and that’s why I capped the player count to 5 because typically no one wanted to play Cthooloo a second time.
Funforge did a good job creating a fun racing game in Titan Race. While the high player interaction can frustrate some players, the overall game balance will help all players in the race. Plus, the excellent artwork fits the fantasy theme perfectly and it’s consistent throughout all parts of the game.
With 6 unique circuits, the replay value in Titan Race is high, but hopefully you have excellent vision and long arms to interact with these unfortunately undersized game boards. The rule book a good reference, and additional examples of diagonal off circuit movement would help keep the game moving, but overall, the remaining rules are easy to learn and master.
Final Score: 3.0 Stars – A good well-balanced racing game that is easy to learn and play.
• Circuits are all too small
• Diagonal movement off circuit is a bit confusing
• One Titan ability seems under-powered