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Cyclades: Titans; A Notable Improvement on a Notable Game

While I wrote about Cyclades back here, I never wrote about Cyclades: Titans, which we played last week...which basically means an excuse to write about Cyclades again...not that I really needed one.

Cyclades is one of my favorite games of all time, a game that was in my top 10 for years, and even now sits just outside at spot 13. Cyclades falls into one of my favorite genres, the Hybrid Euro/Ameritrash, with many of my other favorites such as Blood RageInisKemet, Rurik and more. These games combine the elegant gameplay of a Euro game, with the beat em up overpowered mayhem of Ameritrash, often resulting in an experience our group loves. 

At the same time, while it hasn't hurt my appreciation of the game, there has always been a notable flaw in the gameplay, in the sheer amount of pull down the leader Cyclades has. Most games are an epic back and forth for the first 90 minutes, with the last 30 minutes being a mess of collectively ganging up to stop one winner...and after 3 or 4 rounds of whack-a-mole, someone finally gets through. And while there's skill involved, it can sometimes feel like you just got lucky that everyone expended all their finances and military might by the time you were the contender.

Titans seems to mostly eliminate this problem. Titans adds another god to the mix, Khronos, who changes the game in two incredibly key ways. Firstly, Khronos has the ability to give you buildings from other gods. Secondly, through the use of the Titans that Khronos grants, players can move without relying on Ares exclusively. Combine that with a new map that has much more of a land focus compared to separate Islands, and conquest and bloodshed happen far more often.

The reason these changes solve the beat down the leader problem...is until Khronos came along, the ways to trigger a win were often far more limited, so as long as you locked a contender out of the bidding on the one god they needed, you could effectively stop him/her from winning. But Khronos changes that game...now there's another full god that will allow you to get various buildings. Now if you made sure to get your Titans early, you'll be able to attack regardless of what gods favor you win. These changes keep the core amazing gameplay of Cyclades, but force players to rely on general balance the whole game, rather than crushing it all in the last few rounds.

I'll still play regular Cyclades. The map and gameplay are enough that I would miss it otherwise...but I think most of my games of Cyclades will be with the Titans expansion. It adds more than it takes away, and as a whole it improves the experience. Now it's just time to get Hades to the table...


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