Tournament Rules

On this page I won't be discussing the actual rules of how to play Titan: The Arena, but the rulings I have made for the purposes of our tournament, and how they differ from the rules as written.

Tournament Format

At the WBC, Titan: The Arena uses the Heats: Most Wins Points (HMW-P) format, which means that it plays in a series of heats, the winners of which advance to a single-elimination semi-final round, and the first criterion for determining seeding is how many heats the player has won. Usually a win is enough to get you in, but I have to have these tiebreakers in place on the off-chance I ever have more than 25 heat winners show up for the final (this has never happened to date). The full list of criteria are as follows (they are the standard ones of the HMW-P format:

  • Most Wins (e.g., total in all heats entered)
  • Most Second Places
  • Fewest total points behind first place in second place finishes. Not playing in a heat counts as an N/A for this criteria, not 0 points
  • Fewest total points behind first place in all finishes. Not playing in a heat counts as an N/A for this criteria, not 0 points
  • Fewest Heats
  • High dice roll (or high spectator card draw if agreed upon by all participants in the tie situation)

For the semifinals I will fill to 16, 20, or 25 to include as many Winners as possible and then fill out with alternates (those who did not win a heat but placed second in at least one).

Game Logging

I ask that someone at each game keep a record of not only the scores and places, but also who bet on what when, and who killed what when. This serves many purposes, the least of which is accumulating statistical data. It also serves to help figure out who wins ties (see below), as well as progress toward earning certain medals (see "Prizes" page). Over the years I have hammered out a log form that makes this process as easy as possible for players kind enough to do this. A filled out example is here. Gameplay examples on this page and the awards page will refer to this sample game.

In the first round, Anne (of Green Gables) played the card that ended the first round, so she gets credit for the kill of the Cyclops. The record keeper had already noted the color of each first-round bet in the top row of circles, and now puts an 'R' in the first box below the Cyclops for Anne's color and draws a line through all of the boxes and circles below to remind them not to record any more bets or kills for that creature. The only exception are secret bets when they are revealed, as we see that Pippin had placed his on the Cyclops in addition to an open first-round bet (Fool of a Took!).

In-Game Tie Breaker

Over the years I had gotten the occasional complaint about the tiebreaker as written in the original rules: ties are broken in favor of the player who made the last play. While this is no doubt very simple to implement, it does tend to feel a bit arbitrary and often has no reflection on actual gameplay. For the past few years I have implemented the following rule at the WBC tournament:

"In case of a tie, examine the betting on the last creature to die. The winner is the player among those tied who had the most points in bets on that creature. If this still produces a tie, examine the next to last creature to die and so on."

Louis Wu and Hatshepsut appear to be tied for second place at nine points. While this would not necessarily mean much in a casual game, in this tournament all places must be determined. So, looking at the last creature to die, the Unicorn, we can see that Mr. Wu had a 3-point bet on the equine combatant, while the Lady Pharaoh had none. By virtue of this, Louis Wu comes out ahead in second place, and Hatshepsut takes third.

Using the New "Colossal Arena" Version

In 2004, Fantasy Flight Games re-released this game, entitled Colossal Arena. Usage of this version of the game will be allowed with the following provisos: 1) The eight creatures that will be used are: Amazon, Cyclops, Ettin, Magus, Titan, Troll, Unicorn, and Wyrm. Remove all strength cards for the other four creatures from the deck before beginning play. 2) When the deck is exhausted, instead of ending the game immediately, use the 'Original Stalemate Rules' as printed in the Official FAQ, which are the same as the rules in the original game.

In the Final, there will be the option to play the new version of the game according to its rules, but only if all five finalists desire it. If a single one wishes to play with the original rules, then that is what will happen. If the new version's rules are used, the eight creatures used will be randomly determined, for time considerations.