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Subject: Indulge me for a moment while I nitpick rss

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Mark Gelston
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I've had a copy of the Avalon Hill version of Titan since I was kid, and it is still in very good condition despite being played many, many times. I have a lot of fond memories from playing the game from time to time with my brothers and friends over the course of over two decades. I was glad to hear that Valley Games was re-printing the game, and I soon found myself putting in a pre-order despite the fact that my original was in perfectly playable condition. At first, I hoped that VG had introduced some variants to update and add more depth to the game. The biggest flaw of the game had always been the downtime in sessions with three or more players--maybe they had come up with some incredibly elegant solution that preserved the thrill of tactical battle but didn't leave the other players twiddling their thumbs while the combatants duked it out? Once the revised rules were posted, however, it was apparent that no major changes were coming. Oh well, it's always risky to modify a design as venerable and well-loved as Titan. I figured the re-print would be worth it just for the upgraded components.
Having received the game yesterday, I'm pleased with the quality and aesthetics of the VG edition. I have to say, however, that I am a little disappointed in a number of minor issues. It kind of feels like the letdown I experienced with the Star Wars prequels--they just couldn't live up to the expectations I had set based on my experience with the originals as a kid. These are minor things, I know, but humor me for a moment. This is a classic, and the reprint should be perfect, right? Here are nitpicks from my first impressions:

Scoreboard--useless. Who is going to want to move around 3 counters per player for tracking each of the digits of their score? It's much easier to add up the results of combat with a pencil and paper, and you don't risk bumping the scoreboard and losing your totals.

Masterboard--misleading reference chart. The movement signs reference chart on the masterboard is misleading. It says that a legion continuing from a land with three arrows must continue in this direction OR STOP. Or Stop? Does that mean you can move less than your die roll? Having played the original, I know you can't do this, but a new player could very easily get confused.

Rulebook--typos. Right on the first page you're hit with grammatical errors.

Storage tray--too small. As documented in other posts, this is a nice feature, but the counters don't all fit in it! Supposedly, the counters will shrink with time and eventually fit. I hope this is true.

Counter smell--hits you like a chemical plant when you open the box. I hear this also dissipates with time; hopefully that is true.

Counter artwork--I've got four gripes with this:
(1)One of the neat things about the original was that every single creature counter was unique. One of the ogres carries a spiked club, one wields an uprooted tree, etc. The new creature artwork is much more detailed and realistic, but it would have been great if they had carried this distinctive touch into the reprint. (I know I'm asking a lot, but hey, I'll say it again, this is Titan.)

(2)The colossus is just too small. In the original, the ultimate monster looked the part. He was crouching and filled up the whole counter. You could tell that if he stood up, he could step on most of the other creatures. In the new version, he's smaller than a troll! Blasphemy!

3)What is the new guardian? In the old Titan, the guardian was some kind of floating blob with high power and low skill. I'll admit it needed improvement. But it definitely looked like something strong, slow, and not too bright. The new one looks like some kind of elf maiden/valkyrie. Definitely not in sync with the lumbering thug you'd expect from a 12-2 creature.

4)What's up with the cyclops? He looks like a minotaur! He's got hooves and horns, and I can't even tell if he really has one eye. Was there a mistake, and the artist accidentally did two minotaurs?

Hit markers--in concept, the "drop of blood" shape is appealing, but in practice, the outer layer of the cardboard is already starting to peel on the sharp edges of the drops.

You'll probably think I'm nitpicking here, and I'll offer my apologies. Don't get me wrong--if you don't own the original, and have been interested in this game, by all means go out and buy a copy of the VG version! It's a great game through and through, and they have done a good job with the reprint. I just wish they had paid a little closer attention to detail and handled this masterpiece with a little more finesse.


 
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Douglas Buel
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gelston wrote:
Scoreboard--useless. Who is going to want to move around 3 counters per player for tracking each of the digits of their score?


Me me me
 
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Andy Ravenscroft
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You forgot to mention the off-centre die-cutting on most of the counters.
 
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Mark Gelston
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I know my gripes are petty; that's why I said indulge me for a moment

As far as stopping at the end of your die roll, none of the other signs list this as an "option", which it really isn't.
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I haven't received my copies of Titan, but I hope the typos and grammar errors are not too bad. Some people on this site put some effort into providing free proofreading, and it would be a shame for Valley Games to ignore their advice after soliciting it.
 
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Chakroun Karim
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gelston wrote:

Hit markers--in concept, the "drop of blood" shape is appealing, but in practice, the outer layer of the cardboard is already starting to peel on the sharp edges of the drops.


I applied a bit of slightly diluted PVA glue (eg wood glue) to the point of the drops of blood (yes, all of them), it helps avoiding the cardboard to peel. If it has already started to peel, you press it a bit while the glue sets. extra glue on the face of the counters can be taken off with a slightly wet cloth.
 
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Tom Hancock
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I really don't understand the point of a post like this. Someone might read this and think the game was done half-assed or something, when actually its one of the most lavishly produced wargames of all time. Name another game with this many chits of this production quality with this quality of artwork. I would be surprised if you could.

Anyway, I don't mind your nitpicking, but I think you could do a better job talking about all the good things before you blow into the nitpicks... people who don't own the game will get a more accurate view of it that way.
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Chakroun Karim
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The title tells it all :

nitpicking : looking for small or unimportant errors or faults, esp. in order to criticize unnecessarily : a nitpicking legalistic exercise.

noun
such fault-finding : nitpicking over tiny details.

DERIVATIVES
nitpick |ˈnɪtˈpɪk| verb
nitpicker |-ˌpikər| noun

who's nitpicking?
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Jorge Arroyo
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gelston wrote:
Storage tray--too small. As documented in other posts, this is a nice feature, but the counters don't all fit in it! Supposedly, the counters will shrink with time and eventually fit. I hope this is true.

Counter smell--hits you like a chemical plant when you open the box. I hear this also dissipates with time; hopefully that is true.



I wonder about these two points... Both are supposed to be caused by the ink being wet, that was the explanation last summer, when VG took some games to GenCon and there was a big fuzz.

They said that in order to have the games on time for the con, they had to dry them for less time than really needed, but you'd think by now the ink would be dried in ALL the copies...

Am I missing something?
 
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Chakroun Karim
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maka wrote:
gelston wrote:
Storage tray--too small. As documented in other posts, this is a nice feature, but the counters don't all fit in it! Supposedly, the counters will shrink with time and eventually fit. I hope this is true.

Counter smell--hits you like a chemical plant when you open the box. I hear this also dissipates with time; hopefully that is true.



I wonder about these two points... Both are supposed to be caused by the ink being wet, that was the explanation last summer, when VG took some games to GenCon and there was a big fuzz.

They said that in order to have the games on time for the con, they had to dry them for less time than really needed, but you'd think by now the ink would be dried in ALL the copies...

Am I missing something?


Isn't it a different print run than the gencon one?

I don't know, but the counters are unpunched, in a tight closed box, with a shrinkwrap film on top. In those conditions even if they dry it must be very slow.
 
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Douglas Buel
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I found that the counters almost fit in the slots provided for them, but not quite.

There was one too many rangers to fit all facing the same direction in the box. However, it's possible to put one ranger sideways next to several of the others -- now they fit.

There was also one too many legion markers of each color to fit in the slots for legion markers. Also, there are two blank markers, with no slots for them. That's eight counters too many. However, once you put the inner plastic lid on the slot tray, the eight counters too many can lay flat in the depressions made by the dice area and wound marker area.

The boards then go on top of all of that and the box closes just fine.
 
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Chakroun Karim
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dbuel wrote:
I found that the counters almost fit in the slots provided for them, but not quite.

There was one too many rangers to fit all facing the same direction in the box. However, it's possible to put one ranger sideways next to several of the others -- now they fit.

There was also one too many legion markers of each color to fit in the slots for legion markers. Also, there are two blank markers, with no slots for them. That's eight counters too many. However, once you put the inner plastic lid on the slot tray, the eight counters too many can lay flat in the depressions made by the dice area and wound marker area.

The boards then go on top of all of that and the box closes just fine.


What I did for the white legion markers (they were too tight) was to stack them neatly, put a piece of wood on top, and use a C clamp to "compress" them. after 1-2 hours I released the stack and now they fit.
 
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Cole Wehrle
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Heh heh. This is the second (at least as far as I know) Titan forum thread to have a definition.
 
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Clinton Paris
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gobbeg wrote:
You forgot to mention the off-centre die-cutting on most of the counters.


This is my absolute biggest pet peeve with game components--especially when the borders of the counters are the exact size of the cut and all the tiles look off-centered. Fortunately, Titan didn't suffer from this, but the off-center cuts are still annoying.
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Bill Washburn

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I'll address your points.

gelston wrote:
At first, I hoped that VG had introduced some variants to update and add more depth to the game. The biggest flaw of the game had always been the downtime in sessions with three or more players--maybe they had come up with some incredibly elegant solution that preserved the thrill of tactical battle but didn't leave the other players twiddling their thumbs while the combatants duked it out? Once the revised rules were posted, however, it was apparent that no major changes were coming. Oh well, it's always risky to modify a design as venerable and well-loved as Titan. I figured the re-print would be worth it just for the upgraded components.


Just because there are no variants in this, doesn't mean there won't be any. The first goal was to get the original reprinted, pretty much as it was- you are correct that something like this which has such a devoted and established fan base, you don't really want to mess with. Options can come later. Wonder why they chose to make a split board instead of a one piece board.. hmmmm. If I were a bettin man (oh wait, I am), I'd say we might see an expansion some day. As for rules changes, there are many house rules and clarifications on the web. Again, I think that at this time, they just wanted to recreate the original, with minimal cleanup that does not affect game mechanics.

gelston wrote:

Scoreboard--useless. Who is going to want to move around 3 counters per player for tracking each of the digits of their score? It's much easier to add up the results of combat with a pencil and paper, and you don't risk bumping the scoreboard and losing your totals.

It's a bells & whistles kind of thing. Many of today's games have score tracks. I'd also posit that if the original had had a scoretrack, and VG had done away with it and simply said "keep track of your score with a pencil and paper", people would have flamed them incessantly for being cheap! It's just because you're used to the paper that you don't think a score track is worthwhile. Having said that, I'm used to paper and I don't know for sure yet if I'll switch permanently to the tracking board. I'll give it a shot for a few games and see what I think of it.

gelston wrote:

Masterboard--misleading reference chart. The movement signs reference chart on the masterboard is misleading. It says that a legion continuing from a land with three arrows must continue in this direction OR STOP. Or Stop? Does that mean you can move less than your die roll? Having played the original, I know you can't do this, but a new player could very easily get confused.

Agreed. A better wording for the 'continue' might have been "must continue in this direction if movement points remain". The section in the rulebook does clarify this better than the chart on the board.

gelston wrote:

Rulebook--typos. Right on the first page you're hit with grammatical errors.

I haven't yet examined the rules exhaustively. Altho page one is a narrative from the original designer so I would discount that, if that is what you're referring to.

gelston wrote:
Storage tray--too small. As documented in other posts, this is a nice feature, but the counters don't all fit in it! Supposedly, the counters will shrink with time and eventually fit. I hope this is true.

Counter smell--hits you like a chemical plant when you open the box. I hear this also dissipates with time; hopefully that is true.

As documented in the other posts, these are non-issues. The odor goes away, and the pieces fit.

gelston wrote:
Counter artwork--I've got four gripes with this:
(1)One of the neat things about the original was that every single creature counter was unique. One of the ogres carries a spiked club, one wields an uprooted tree, etc. The new creature artwork is much more detailed and realistic, but it would have been great if they had carried this distinctive touch into the reprint. (I know I'm asking a lot, but hey, I'll say it again, this is Titan.)
I agree with you here in principle. It was one of the cool things about the original versions that all the critters were different. But I do understand the artwork costs would have been substantially higher if they did that on this version. These aren't just silhouettes like the original.

gelston wrote:

(2)The colossus is just too small. In the original, the ultimate monster looked the part. He was crouching and filled up the whole counter. You could tell that if he stood up, he could step on most of the other creatures. In the new version, he's smaller than a troll! Blasphemy!

3)What is the new guardian? In the old Titan, the guardian was some kind of floating blob with high power and low skill. I'll admit it needed improvement. But it definitely looked like something strong, slow, and not too bright. The new one looks like some kind of elf maiden/valkyrie. Definitely not in sync with the lumbering thug you'd expect from a 12-2 creature.

4)What's up with the cyclops? He looks like a minotaur! He's got hooves and horns, and I can't even tell if he really has one eye. Was there a mistake, and the artist accidentally did two minotaurs?

these are all opinion kinds of things which I can't argue with.

gelston wrote:


Hit markers--in concept, the "drop of blood" shape is appealing, but in practice, the outer layer of the cardboard is already starting to peel on the sharp edges of the drops.

another bells & whistles thing. A neat addition. very pretty. But they'll remain unused in my tray. The baby dice are just too convenient for hits to abandon. And I agree the points of some of the hit drops are frayed.

gelston wrote:

You'll probably think I'm nitpicking here, and I'll offer my apologies. Don't get me wrong--if you don't own the original, and have been interested in this game, by all means go out and buy a copy of the VG version! It's a great game through and through, and they have done a good job with the reprint. I just wish they had paid a little closer attention to detail and handled this masterpiece with a little more finesse.



Overall I think they did an excellent job. I only have one minor nitpick of my own, and that is that counters would have been better with the creature names printed on a solid color background. Something like a 1/4" color strip across the top, with the names in white. This would have helped alleviate what was lost in terms of quick visual identification which is a result of the new artwork replacing color silhouettes.
If you have a pile of dozens of counters spread out all over, and you're trying to stack them, the colors help the brain take care of that task by filtering out a large percentage of the ones that you're not looking for.

But this is a beautiful game and for me was well worth the wait.
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Jared Kocet
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I've had some of these problems...but not nearly so severe. My counters had an off smell...but it didn't hit me like a brick wall. All my counters fit fine in the tray. The legion counters are very snug though. If I tilt the box upside down they wouldn't fall out, but the rest is fine.

I think what we have here is a developer in panic mode because they were WAAAAY late with their release...so they rushed the printer. Unfortunately it sounds like some people got it worse than others. I do agree about the blood drop counters though. They were the only ones to give me trouble. Except for those, the rest of the counter punched out perfectly.

I'm still happy though. The game board is beatiful, the cardboard is nice and thick, and I don't have any ink smears.


The only true grip is the bonus figures. They are pretty much junk. Two of mine came broke. I would have rather gotten an extra bag of dice. These things look like stale rock candy. But they were free so it hasn't changed my opinion about the game.
 
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gelston wrote:
One of the neat things about the original was that every single creature counter was unique.

As a previous owner of the old version, I think the new version blows the old version out of the water in almost every way imaginable. But this is the one of two things I like better about the original. The other is that I'm fond of the original's 80's-heavy-metal-album-cover style of art on the legion markers. Though I like the fact the new legion markers are distinctly themed.
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Quote:
Counter smell--hits you like a chemical plant when you open the box. I hear this also dissipates with time; hopefully that is true.


I noticed an odor as well.

I'm pleased with the copy - thought the bonus figures are sub-par. Two came broken in the box and a third broke the same day with minimal handling.

Not a big deal as I didn't plan on using them...and, as such, wont be requesting replacements from VG.

 
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Richard Young
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hancock.tom wrote:
Name another game with this many chits of this production quality with this quality of artwork. I would be surprised if you could.


Any number of FFG "big box" games: Twilight Imperium III, Warrior Knights, Britannia, Descent, World of Warcraft, Runebound, just to name a few. Also witness any of the Phalanx games - and although some aren't the greatest of games, they all are gorgeously produced. That's just for starters...let's just say the quote was an ill considered reaction to unexpected criticism?

Quality production, from artwork to components, has come a long way since I began in this hobby. The bar is therefore set very high when it comes to expectations and considering the publicity surrounding this reprint and the feedback provided during design and production, I'm surprised and a little disappointed that Titan is seemingly vulnerable to even the minor nits observed here.

When you recall the many delays VG claimed to be holding up the release were quality control issues, that there remain basic QA issues such as out of kilter printing on the counter sheets makes you wonder at the supplier choice, or the VG line that they weren't going to release the game until it was properly ready. In the end maybe they hoped we wouldn't notice or they finally ran out of patience with trying to fix every problem they encountered.

Finally, considering the kind of problems they encountered with the Hannibal bonus figs, I'm really surprised they continued with what must be the same outfit for the Titan figs. Free or not, you got better plastic toys in Cracker-Jack (let alone every other game out there that uses figs). More self-inflicted injury it appears to me...

Oh, and just so you other patient Canadian pre-order customers know, I saw copies of Titan in my FLGS last week...
 
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