Titan is a fantasy boardgame for two to six players designed by Jason B. McAllister and David A. Trampier. They originally self-published the game under the imprint Gorgonstar Publications in 1980. An 1981 expansion introduced Battelands, and a version incorporating this was published by Avalon Hill in 1982, which was in print unchanged until the demise of that company in 1998. As Trampier had at that time severed all connections with the game publishing world, the later edition did not include his fantastic illustrations, and was never reprinted.

The game is rather unusual in having two physically distinct levels of play: strategic building of armies on the Masterboard, and tactical combat between the armies on eleven Battlelands.

The game had been developed for over a decade before the first release of the Avalon Hill version, and is a remarkably mature and robust design requiring no patches or house rules. Still, there is one addition that is tempting to make: variant battlelands.

I have made some variant boards with approximately the same amount and evenness of distribution of hazards as in the original battlelands. To avoid forcing either the defender or the attacker to set up in a very awkward way – or even leave out characters – I have generally made it possible to enter at least five non-flying non-native creatures with skill (movement) of 2 from any side.

In order to make it possible to make variations to plains, which normally does not have any hazards, I have introduced rivers which may be placed between adjacent hexes in plains and woods. Non-flying, non-native characters are slowed when crossing a river. Creatures that can be mustered in plains or woods (centaurs, lions, rangers, warbears and unicorns) are native to rivers.

Set II complete playtested preview pdf file (ca. 1 MB)
Set III 5 boards playtested   pdf file (ca. 1/3 MB)
Concept I complete playtested preview pdf file (ca. 1 MB)
Concept II complete under playtesting
four boards marked for revision
preview pdf file (ca. 1 MB)
Concept III complete under playtesting preview pdf file (ca. 1 MB)
Wild 3 boards not playtested preview pdf file (ca. 1/5 MB)

These boards are also included in Colossus, the excellent platform independent java implementation of Titan with the possibility of both AI and network opponents.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Don't be afraid to complain about boards that have weaknesses, as this show that you have actually tried them – which is the best form of praise for a game designer.

The files are made with the UNIX vector drawing program xfig. If you are interested in making your own designs with this or a compatible program, drop me a line and I'll mail you my template files.

The Badlands An almost complete set of variant battlelands by Bill Scott and Gerald Lientz called The Badlands was published in Avalon Hill's magazine The General. There are no new Tower, Hills or Mountains boards, but three different boards (Waterhole, Fort and Town) in place of plains. These include a new hazard, lake, which differs from the tree only in that it is possible to rangestrike across it.

In the accompanying article the authors stress the importance of not overdoing it and clutter the board with an excessive amount of hazards, but in my opinion they have fallen into this trap themselves.

Since permission is granted by the authors and The Avalon Hill game Company to photocopy these battlelands for personal use, I have included a reproduction of them here:

Bill later finished a complete set of 6 variants of each terrain, including the ones published in The General. I haven't tried these myself, but many of them look quite interesting. My overall impression is still that a few variants have too many hazards, either overall or in a limited area. Downloadable images can be found on Chris's TITAN page.

The Masterboard

I've also experimented with alternate visual representations of the masterboard, accentuating various aspects of its geometry.

Alternate masterboard design: weirdboard The purpose of this simple variation is to emphasise the general flow of the movement instead of the local options from each field. Additionally, it aims to distinguish the three different regions of the board apart from the towers: the summit – the six central mountain and tundra fields; the gutter – the outer ring; and the meander – the, well, meandering area between these.

Rules of movement:

Alternate masterboard design: straightboard

This variant is more extreme, and should ideally be wrapped around a cylinder so that the edges join up. The gutter, meander and summit tracks have all been straightened out to linear paths. It is clearly visible that the gutter and the meander are equally long.

Rules of movement:

Tower teleportation may end in a vacant tower, or a land up to six steps away along any combination of tracks and lines in any direction.

Alternate masterboard design: squareboard The point of this board is merely to show that when refolding the stretched-out board above, one can substitute a square lattice for the original triangular one with only a slight stretching of the centre.

Rules of movement:

Tower teleportation may end in a vacant tower, or a land up to six steps away moving with or against any arrow.

Variant masterboard design: fourboard While somewhat lacking in symmetry, the last board above logically leads to this variant board with only four towers. In the summit and meander, each sector is identical to the sectors of the original, but the subtle asymmetry of the gutter in the original board is not possible to reproduce while retaing the more important equivalence between swamp and desert.

Two small practical considerations must be made before trying this variant:

For more information about Titan, see Bruno Wolff III's Titan Home page.

Tor Gjerde <i@old.no>