Titan: The Arena

Avalon Hill, 1997, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up. Although a "Titan" spin-off of some kind, apart from the monster theme and exhorbitant after-market value, this game has little to do with that other Titan game. Titan: The Arena is a card game in which players place wagers on monsters and then try to eliminate the monsters that they haven't bet on (or that other players have). The first round of the game begins with 8 different monsters in the arena. Players take turns placing bets on them. The player with the most money bet on a given monster is called its "backer". In addition to placing bets, players draw and play "strength" cards on the various monsters in an attempt to bolster the monster they are backing and weaken the ones they aren't. Playing a strength card on a monster that you have more ducats bet on than any other player allows you to invoke its special ability (draw extra cards, remove a card from play, etc).

Once every creature has a strength card played on it, the one with the lowest strength value dies and is removed from the game (along with any money bet on it). A new round begins with one less monster than before. This continues until there are only three monsters left, at which point a winner is determined by tallying up the surviving bets. This game is quite simple to play, although you couldn't tell it from the atrociously poorly written rules. We gave up on this game the first time we tried to play - simply couldn't make heads or tails out of the rules. I later sat down and went over them in a quieter setting and eventually figured out how to play. Once you get past the rules, it's a pretty entertaining game. Nice and short and light, so it makes decent filler for the end of a long evening of gaming. There's plenty of strategy involved, particularly when you get down to the last couple of rounds. Seems to play best with three players. Expect to pay upwards of $75 for a good used copy (don't ask me why).

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