Thursday, August 30, 2018

Adeptus Titanicus: Impressions

The Death of Innocence is Come.

Some 30 years after its original release, Games Workshop has released a new version of Adeptus Titanicus, a game that puts you in command of a maniple of colossal robots called titans. The game has been in development for a few years now, getting delayed substantially when Forge World decided to convert the 8mm scaled models from resin to plastic. It looks like it was worth the wait, as the titans are completely multipart and fully articulated. When pictures were first revealed of the models, including tiny Imperial Knights, my brothers and I knew we would not be able to resist getting some. While they sell the rules and models separately, we decided to buy the boxed game (called the Grand Master Edition), as we felt it was more likely that we would actually play the game that way. And while I am still far from finished assembling, let alone painting, everything that came in the boxed game, I wanted to give you my first impressions of Adeptus Titanicus.

The Adeptus Titanicus Grand Master Edition box in all its glory.

Contents of the box:

The Grand Master Edition of Adeptus Titanicus comes in an impressive box of thick glossy cardboard. Inside is filled with a huge assortment of plastic sprues, containing two Warlord titans, six Knights, an assortment of buildings, and markers to aid in playing the game. Thankfully, a thin cardstock divider was used to separate the plastic from the rules and other game components, keeping them from getting damaged by all of the spiky plastic. These other components were not put in any sort of organizer, but were fortunately undamaged. It comes with a hardback 97 page, full-color rulebook, that mimics the quality of Forge World’s regular books. There are 2 sets of heavy cardboard “Command terminals” that detail the stats for each titan class (2 Warlords, 2 Reavers, 2 Warhounds, 2 Knight Banners), which function as necessary game-aids while playing the game. They have a series of holes punched into them where you put little plastic markers to track damage, reactor heat, and the number of functional void shields on each of your titans. This is a really nice inclusion, preventing you from needing to use pen and paper to track the many stats for each titan. There are also a set of small weapon cards, detailing the stats for a large assortment of titan weapons. They include weapons for all the basic titan classes, including many that currently don’t have a 40k equivalent (hopefully a sign of future expansions). These fit nicely at the bottom of the Command terminals, allowing you to easily keep track of your titans’ capabilities. There are some larger cards included as well, which are used to balance games where the point values for each list are not exactly aligned, giving the underpointed player powerful stratagems. Additionally, there are a host of nice custom dice. Some of which are just D6, while others denote Orders you choose in game, or help you randomize how your reactor heats up. Finally, there is a clear plastic ruler, and a set of blast templates (the same ones that have been used in various games since 3rd edition 40k).

When opening the box you are greeted with a huge amount of plastic sprues.

Thankfully there is a cardstock separator, protecting the other game components from the plastic sprues.

There is not any sort of component organizer, resulting in this chaotic mess below the cardstock divider.

The game comes with a lot of really nice custom dice, including a D6 with the Opus Titanica symbol replacing the 6. There are also a few dice unique to the game, including Order dice and a Reactor die.

The Rules:

Although I have not been able to play the game yet, I got a chance to read over the rules, and was impressed by its simplicity, without sacrificing the granular detail of each titan. This is, for a large part, allowed due to the aforementioned Command terminals, which allow you to easily track a multitude of stats throughout a game. Since the weapons are placed on each terminal, you do not need to reference the rulebook for these either, streamlining the play experience. The game takes place over a series of phases, quite reminiscent to most GW games, such as Movement and Combat (shooting and close combat are combined in a single phase). There are a few unique phases too, such as the Strategy phase where you issue Orders, and the Damage control phase, where your servitors attempt to raise fallen void shields and repair damage. Unlike many of GW’s games, Adeptus Titanicus functions entirely via an alternating activations system, having players go back and forth activating individual models in each phase. I like this inclusion, since it keeps players engaged throughout the entire game, rather than waiting through a lengthly opponent turn before they can interact with the game in a meaningful way. This adds an additional layer of strategy where players can quickly react to what the other player is doing. To account for the ponderous nature of titans, each has a limited number of times it can pivot while moving (45 degrees), which equates to the front firing arc of the titan (and is denoted by an included plastic marker). The fact that movement is limited, coupled with that most weapons can only be fired in very specific arcs, makes movement very critical in the game. While a Warlord titan is very powerful and can take a lot of damage, a faster Warhound might be able to get on its side or rear arcs, making it very hard for the Warlord to react effectively. The game also has a lot of different missions to play, seperated into Open, Narrative, and Matched play, similar to Games Workshop’s other games. One final thing that I would like to note is that the rulebook is really nicely laid out; while it is separated into basic, advanced, and optional rules, each section of the basic rules has a page reference for any relevant advanced or optional rules, making it easy to find specific rules later.

Titan weapons are depicted on separate cards, allowing you to easily keep track of the statistics for each weapon. Although the box does not contain models for Reaver or Warhound titans, they include weapon cards and command panels for both.

Each titan you use has its own Command Terminal, that allows you to track reactor heat, void shields, and damage levels, by moving little plastic markers along the terminal. There is also space along the bottom to place cards, detailing the equipped weapons.

The Models:

The Grand Master box comes with quite a lot of models, namely two warlord titans (which approach the size of a 40k Knight), but also include a lot of plastic buildings. I work quite slowly, and as of writing this, have only assembled a few of the Knights and some of the buildings. As a result, I cannot talk at length about the build process of one of the Warlords, but can still talk generally about the quality of the models, particularly the Knights. All of the models are the high quality you would expect from Games Workshop, holding incredibly fine detail. The Knight are particularly impressive retaining most of the detail on their larger 40k counterparts, despite only being the size of a Space Marine. Due to their small size, you cannot position the legs, but each is sculpted in a different pose. The torso attaches via a ball socket, so you have freedom there to pose the Knights. The gun arms are posable too, but unfortunately, you only get one of each weapon option per sprue. The heads and heavy stubber mounts can also be positioned to your liking. All told, for their size, you have a lot of flexibility when assembling the Adeptus Titanicus Knights.

The box also contains a host of sprues to build plastic modular buildings. I was impressed to find that the plastic for this terrain appears to be the same high quality material that the titans are made out of. Furthermore, they are highly detailed with crisp edges. Both the plastic quality and level of detail have been questionable on many of Games Workshop’s past terrain releases, so it is nice to see that they have upped the quality with the Adeptus Titanicus terrain. The buildings are really easy to assemble and can be built in many different configurations. Also, the buildings interlock with one another, allowing you to easily stack buildings, creating many additional configurations. Importantly, they attach together securely, without the need of additional small pieces to lock them into place. Due to this, you should be able to easily build some basic shapes with the models and then stack them in anyway you like, creating a nice variety of buildings that should not fall apart if you bump into them during a game.

One of the 3 sprues for a Warlord titan. Interestingly the weapons and head are all included on one of the sprues (pictured here), making it easy for GW to make new weapon and head options in the future.

The box comes with two distinct terrain sprues, including 4 copies of each.

The included buildings assemble very easily and have crisp detail. Furthermore, they have a great interlocking system, allowing you to securely stack them in many different ways.

The 8mm Knights included in the box go together very easily and have excellent detail, expertly capturing the look of the larger 28mm ones for Warhammer 40,000.

A Knight next to the Adeptus Titanicus buildings.

The Adeptus Titanicus Knights are tiny, about the size of a Primaris Space Marine (or true-scale Dark Angel in this case).

I have only just scratched the surface of Adeptus Titanicus, and still have many more models to build and games to play. Thus far, the models have been a joy to build, allowing multiple assembly options while maintaining impressive levels of detail. The game components are of a high quality, with nice cardboard pieces and weapon cards, as well as some of the nicest dice GW has made in recent memory. The rulebook is well written, and easy to reference, while being printed and bound extremely well. Furthermore, the game mechanics look solid, streamlined and smooth, while still maintaining an appropriate level of detail. I could see the game growing dull with only using the models contained within the box, however, since there are really only two real titans contained in it, each with ideantial weapon options. Thankfully the plastic Reaver titan is coming out shortly and the Warhound is likely soon to follow. My only real criticism of the game is the price tag; the Grand Master box is incredibly expensive and needs to be supplemented to play full size games. And while I think the price is ultimately justifiable, it is a large barrier that will likely bar entry to many curious gamers. If you do take the plunge, however, I think you will be satisfied. Now I need to get back to building those Warlord titans…

- Eric Wier


  1. Very good summary! I am glad to hear the rulebook is of good hardback quality and easily navigated, that makes a big difference in how easy the game is to pickup. Really look forward to seeing the Warlords when you’re finished!

    1. Yeah, I can't wait to start building one of the Warlords!

  2. Thanks for your out of the box review! I will admit to being very interested in the game, but put off by the prices (particularly the markup in comparison to the UK price).

    I think I will be getting some knights at least to just paint... maybe the warhounds.

    1. Yeah, the markup is pretty bad. It will certainly prevent use from buying too much. Which is a shame :(

  3. Interesting. The products are all horrendously expensive but I guess they have to be because they will lower volume than a 40K product. I would have bought it but I couldn't stomach the mark up from UK to Australian prices. No excuse for regional price hikes when it's all made in China anyway. I will pick up in bits and pieces from unauthorised channels though, as the models look pretty good. I wonder about the knights though...just because you can make all that detail at such small scale--should you?

    1. Yeah, even the USA price are 20% more than the UK ones. If the prices were in line with the UK ones, I think it would sell a lot better. Quite a shame, particularly when they are coming from China as you say.

    2. Are they really made in China? All the miniatures?

    3. I that is a good point Alex. I know some of their stuff is, but that might only be the terrain.

    4. I do not have the AT box but I have been shown the marks on the box stating "Designed in the UK" and "Made in China". I also bought the Kill Team (book only) which states the same. I also stated on @WarhammerOfficial's instagram feed that I was disappointed about the pricing, especially as it was made in China (and therefore shipping and handling cannot explain the price difference [as if it ever could]) and I was not corrected.

    5. Hmm that is strange. I know they produce the terrain in China but my understanding was that miniatures are made in Nottingham. I must ask a few friends. It is a disappointing development if true.