Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Simple Play Aid for Adeptus Titanicus

Like many in the hobby, I often enjoy modding the games I play. Whether its through custom markers, bespoke player aids, or with special rules to help drive the narrative, I really enjoy adding that little extra gloss to our games. 

Straight out of the box 'Adeptus Titanicus' is a great set of rules. It's easy to learn, fun to play and most importantly (for me) does a wonderful job in conveying the flavour and spirit of the Titanicus/Horus Heresy fluff.

Nevertheless, there are a few spots in the game experience which I thought needed a little help.

The crux of the game is the players' managing their titans through the Command Terminals, along with their associated plastic status markers and cards. 

The stock Command Terminal for a Warlord Titan

As seen above, the stock Command Terminals are very attractive and well thought out in how they organize pertinent game information for the players to manage. They are made of heavy card, with small indentations pressed into the status tracks that match the nubs on the  plastic status markers. Everything fits together well, BUT there are a some inherent problems with the design. 

First, is that if the Command Terminal gets nudged during gameplay (and if you're like me, they will) there is a reasonable chance that the status markers will get knocked out of place. This is a problem as they are the only way of conveying the status of the titan. The second problem is that the card terminals take up a fair amount of space on the tabletop. The designers try to sell players on the fact that Titancus can be played on a 4' x 4' table, allowing extra space to accommodate the card terminals. While certainly this can be done, the 4 x 4 size looks and plays VERY compressed (at least to our sensibilities) as the forces seem to be almost on top of one another. Most players have access to a 6x4 playing surface and will likely play the game as such, so in this situation the command terminals end up sitting at the edge, or right on the battleground itself, which is not ideal if you want to keep everything tidy and in order.

So I began thinking of how we could make the terminals more usable and not so dependent on sitting on a flat surface. What I came up with is a fairly simple workaround. I went to our local office supply shop, and for under $2 each, found a bunch of 8x11 dry erase boards that were magnetic as well. 

I also picked up a selection of coloured magnetic 'thumb tacks' to use with the panels. I then colour photocopied the stock Command Terminals and special order icons from the game so we could place them on the magnetic slates. This way the magnetic thumbtacks hold down the  paper Command Terminals, do a nice job of marking the status tracks and also hold down the weapon cards. Easy peasy. In addition, the slates can easily be moved or placed on their edges without the markers becoming dislodged or sliding around.

Another bonus to these panels is that they can be used for a wide variety of games where players need to keep track of units and for make notes during gameplay. For us they will definitely come in handy for our games of 'Cruel Seas', 'Black Powder' and 'Necromunda'.

Next Up: Some suggested advancement trees for Titan crews