Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Frédéric Guérard


No. of Players:
2 - 4

G@mebox Star



Something I have been really waiting for is the new expansion for last year's Titanium Wars, a cardgame of galactic conquest. Now the expansion finally has been released in English, and it enhances the game in two ways - first by adding new cards and second by introducing rules to make the game playable with just two players.

The new two-player rules quickly can be summarized. In effect, all the game's rules remain the same, but now the player who owns fewest planets will gain one additional ship card for the upcoming round - the Mercenaries. This ship belongs to the Cruiser-class, although it is slightly stronger than an average cruiser. It has the benefit that it does not count against a player's ship limit, and in addition is will re-appear each round of play, even if it has been destroyed in battle. In effect, the Mercenaries are used as a balancing aid, since the player who has fallen behind now may try to use the offensive punch of the additional cruiser to catch up again with the leading player. All this works rather nicely, making Titanium Wars an enjoyable experience even if only two players are available.

Apart from this, all main new elements of Titanium Wars Confrontation are cards of new leaders, planets, ships, upgrades and buildings. An expansion which just introduces a few new cards to an already existing game always is faced with the question whether the new cards are merely fluff, expanding a good game just for the means of creating and selling an expansion, or whether the game really profits from the new cards, making it effectively better than the base game. Titanium Wars Confrontation falls into the latter category, since especially the new buildings, upgrades and ships open up really interesting investment alternatives for the players, giving seasoned Titanium Wars generals some new tactical approaches.

The players now can upgrade one of their ships to become their Flagship, giving that ship higher attack and defense values and increasing the player's maximum hand size for Tactics-cards by one. The other new upgrade is the a Combat Computer, and this allows its owner to play first in case of a simultaneous attack, and at the same time diversion maneuvers of opposing players can be ignored. Both of these upgrades have are expensive, but they are really nice additions for individualizing a player's fleet. The same is true for the new Orbital Platform, a building which actually is considered to be a planet, giving its owner three more slots for buildings. This comes in really handy for a player who is running short on planets, and another alternative for using it is to use the available space at the beginning of the game to place additional factories which greatly boosts a player's income. Talking about income, the new Recycling Factory also increases a player's funds, since the capacity to recycle all destroyed ships and upgrade cards will give the player some of his investments back.

To be honest, most of the other new cards fall back behind the four cards described above. The six new leaders and four additional planets are a nice addition, with their skills/special ability varying from the cards of the basic game. However, the impact on gameplay cannot be compared to the four new investments, and the same is true for the new Corvet-class ships. They are a nice variant which allows some additional more timing-considerations during space battles (a new Tactics deck is included), but they are not an absolute necessity. More interesting in terms of ships are the new Defense Turrets, since they do not have a normal attack value, but instead they only damage ships which have been used to attack units of the Turret's owner. This makes up an interesting option for a defensive strategy.

Overall, my affirmative answer to the question whether the expansion is really needed stands true, because the game really profits from most of the new cards, whereas some other new elements are nice to have but not really necessary. Myself, I will never again play Titanium Wars without the expansion because it provides for a broader playing experience, but nonetheless I asked myself whether the new cards could not have been included in the base game. Leaving aside the 50 new Tactics-cards, I am talking about a total of 52 cards which show 17 (!) unique new improvements (6 planets, 4 leaders, 2 new units, 2 upgrades, 2 buildings and the Mercenaries), and if they had been part of Titanium Wars right from the beginning the replacement of the whole Tactics-deck would have been superfluous. I have talked with Frédéric Guérard, the game's designer, about this observation, and he ensured me that the new cards have been developed after the initial release of the base game. He said that each card took him a lot of time to design, because he did hundreds of tests in order not to endanger the balance the game. Keeping this answer in mind, the amount of new content revealed in Titanium Wars Confrontation may seem to be relatively small in comparison to expansions like Relic: Nemesis or Legends of Andor - the Northwards Voyage, but as indicated earlier all this cannot change the fact that most of the new cards are a real boost for the whole playing experience. Fans of Titanium Wars should not worry a second - go for this expansion set!

And if you are lucky, you might also find the three available Titanium Wars promo cards. They are a really cool addition to the game!

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Copyright & copy; 2014 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany