Titan – The Arena
Bring through your bets! – how to win “Titan the Arena”
Although “Titan – the Arena” – this wonderful american variation on a design by Reiner Knizia - is by no means a pure strategy game (the luck of the draw DOES play a huge role), there are some obvious strategies and tactics that will help your bets to survive.
- THE LEFT PLAYER IS YOUR FRIEND
It is usually best to bet on the same monsters as the player on your left. Being the next player in line gives him the first opportunity to foil your well-made plans and destroy your favourite monster first. The more common interests you have the more chances your monsters have of surviving.
- THE RIGHT PLAYER IS YOUR ENEMY
Why? See above. If you let the player to your right constantly benefit of mutual bets, s/he will mostly have the better of it. Therefore avoid mutual bets with your right player. There is another benefit as well: if you play “destructive” cards (see below) against the player to your right, there will be 1 (in a 3-player game), 2 (in a 4-player game) or 3 (in a 5-player game) possible “allies” to possibly end the round before s/he gets a chance to act. The more other players there are the higher the chance they will accept your offer of an ending of a round that benefits them.
- PLAY DESTRUCTIVE CARDS BEFORE CONSTRUCTIVE CARDS
Constructive cards are high cards played on your own monsters. This is the only benefit these cards have. They will usually be an invitation for other players to downsize them with another card played on them. This will mean that you will have to act again by playing ANOTHER high card on your favourite monster. You will end up being dependent on the survival of your own monster, never having the chance of influencing the game in another way (the “offering” of a round end to other players is essential).
If you play a negative “low” destructive card on other player’s monsters, you achieve two things with one play only: you weaken their monster, forcing them to play more cards to strengthen their monster, and strengthening your own monsters, which are hopefully stronger than the new weaker monsters. You ACT, they REACT. Try to be the ACTING player as often a possible, and you’ll keep in control of what’s happening, and when combat rounds will end.
This rule will have to be adapted towards the end of the game, when combat rounds are short. It is then usually better to support your monster with a strong card, as each player tries to end the combat round as quickly as possible.
- WAIT BEFORE PLAYING YOUR SECRET BET
Usually most players try to play their secret bet as quickly as possible, but it is much better to wait until you see an open bet by ANOTHER player on the monster you secretly support, even better if it’s the player to your left! The chances of your secret bet surviving will rise considerably. NEVER play a secret bet on a monster you also openly support from the start.
- TRY TO “CROSS BET” (not to be confused with “cross dressing”)
Don’t bet on the same old monsters you already support in the second (and further) betting round. This will be an invitation for murder to the other players. It is clear that the more players have an interest in a monster surviving the more it’s chances of survival will be. Bet on a monster that another player strongly supports, and don’t forget to look for the monsters the player to your LEFT supports.
- DON’T “SPREAD BET”
Punters know that “spread betting” is the first step to bankruptcy. You want to win, and you want to have the highest score possible. Concentrate on 3 monsters maximum (including your secret bet), as only 3 monsters will survive, period. And these 3 shall be YOUR monsters. Weigh your bets so that they are evenly divided among these 3 monsters. Bets on a 4th monster are only very rarely feasible, only in desperate situations were you want to avoid a total defeat should you go this road (or when of the monsters you originally bet on died).
- DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE “REFEREE” CARDS
Most players are annoyed by owning referee cards instead of “real” cards (especially the “Master referee”). But there are situations where no “real” card you play benefits you because you have a bad hand. Save your “master referee” card for exactly this situation and you will avoid playing cards that benefit others.
- THE NOBLE “ART OF OFFERING”
Always play cards (if possible) that give the players playing directly after you the opportunity to fulfill their wish of ending the round with their monsters surviving. Of course the trick is to offer them something that will also let YOUR monsters survive. Knowledge of secret bets is essential for this – players might have played high cards on a monster they don’t openly support, usually a sure sign of secret support. There might even be “offer”situations where the player to your left will lose a monster that he will accept losing – to make other, more important bets to him/her survive (of course you want all YOUR bets to survive, hehe).
Of course all this is theory, as you simply might not have the cards that will enable you to do all of the above in the right situations. But following these guidelines as closely as possible will ensure you a good place at the end of the game, even if its not number one.
Moritz Eggert (Eggo)
One thing I would like to add here: if I have a high card in my hand for a creature I don't like or don't want to see survive, I'll play it in the frist round in an attempt to burn the card harmlessly. This works best with weaker creatures like the Titan, Cyclops, and Warlock.
So, say I have the Titan 10 card but I'm not interested in backing the Titan. I don't want to hold on to the 10 until late in the game when I could be forced to play it, thereby helping whoever's bet on the Titan. I also don't want the Titan's backer trying to steal it from me with the Titan's power. So I play it in the first round to get the card out of the way. The Unicorn or a referee card could bring it back, of course, but in most cases, it is then lost to the Titan player for the more dangerous later rounds. If I'm lucky, I may fool the other players into thinking I've got my secret bet on the Titan, which could help protect my actual secret bet.
Re: Bring through your bets! - How to win "Titan-The Arena"
And note that the most powerful cards in the game are the low number Spectator cards; especially the 0 and 1. They can be played on any Monster and will almost certainly kill it or at least immediately promote it to be next killed when the round ends.
Cherish these cards if you draw them, and always pick these if you have a chance to use a Monster power that allows you to pick up an already played card.