Titan Race is a two- to six-player board game from FunForge and Passport Game Studios for ages 8 and up. It plays in about 30 minutes, and can be found online for around $20.
Designed by Julian Allain with art by Djib, Titan Race feels a lot like Mario Kart if it were played with miniature monsters on a board.
The game comes with six different boards which can be played individually or put together for a tournament.
But can a board game make a race work as well as a video game can?
How it works:
Each player picks one of the Titans, gets a player board, a life marker, and a round marker, as well as a card with special ability that can be used each turn except the first.
Bonus cards, which give players the ability to skip opponents, damage them, and more, are shuffled and one is given to each player.
A die is rolled, and its color determines the starting player. That won’t change during the game.
The first player rolls as many dice as there are players. There are six sides to the dice, and each represents a different movement: two straight ahead, 1 straight ahead and put a trap behind you, move one space forward and one diagonally; move two diagonally and give damage to the three spaces ahead of you; move three spaces diagonally; and a wild side, which lets players choose the side of die they want if they lose a life point.
The first player picks a die and moves on the board accordingly. Some spots on the board will cause a player damage; others will let players, slide, jump, or take another turn. And still others will give a player a bonus card, though there is a limit of two at any one time.
Players can play special abilities every turn, as well as one bonus card, if they choose.
The second player chooses a die and then does the corresponding movement. If a player moves into a space with another player, that player takes a damage and continues to move in the direction he was hit. This can set off a chain reaction if more than one player gets bumped.
The board is treated as a sphere, so a player can move from one side of the board to the other and is never knocked off.
Play goes around the table until the final player’s turn. The final player gets to reroll all the dice and chooses one.
If a player loses all her life points, her Titan is turned sideways and she sits out a turn (though she still takes a die, which could hurt an opponent who wanted it).
The first player — even one who is knocked out — to finish three laps wins the game.
In a two-player game, each player controls two Titans that work together. Players may also play in teams for four- and six-player games.
Why you might buy Titan Race:
Titan Race is a fun little romp. It’s mean and wild, but it’s also quick, and there’s plenty of payback available.
The game works surprisingly well. The player powers are well balanced, though it is easy enough to get ahead if you can avoid other players.
The more players, the more fun Titan Race is, especially if you only use one board. Players will be in each other’s way, and there will be plenty of traps springing.
This is a great game to play with kids, since they’ll understand it immediately and have fun knocking each other out.
Each board is unique and favors a certain style of play. Some don’t give you damage at all; others are full of peril. That makes for nice choices, especially if you’re bringing young players to the table.
Team play is great. You can let one Titan take a hit to let another get ahead or use one to protect another. And playing two Titans in a two-player game doesn’t feel tedious since you alternate turns.
The price is fantastic for everything included in the game.
Titan Race comes in a small box, which is easy for taking with you.
Why you might not buy Titan Race:
While the price is right and that small box has its charms, you might wish you could pay a little more for bigger boards and better miniature monsters. The monsters are fine, but they’re not terribly well defined, and you can see the lines where the molds are put together.
That’s not too big an issue, but it’s tough to get a lot of people around the tiny boards, which is unfortunate since the game works so well with six.
The art is sometimes a bit confusing, though you do get used to it, and I think that’s due to the size of the boards.
The Grand Slam variant, where you use three different boards, doesn’t work as well. It’s much too easy for one player to get far ahead, especially if you use boards that let you slide rather than boards without dangers.
I think Titan Race is a hoot. I’m a fan of Mario Kart, so that probably helps, but I wasn’t sure the concept of racing would translate well on a board.
It does. It’s simple and crazy, and you often have finishes that come down to one turn between the leader and second place.
I wish the boards were bigger, but that wouldn’t stop me from buying — and playing — this game.
Full disclosure: I got a review copy of Titan Race from Passport Game Studios. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.