The Badman Bonus Chronicles: Playing Titanicus





Welcome everyone, to a very special Mecha Week Badman Bonus Chronicles!

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about my plans for what hobby goals I would like to accomplish this year. One goal was very simple, but I should heed it well, and exert myself to see it done:

play titanicus

Credit: Games Workshop

So, when the word came through about a whole week dedicated to how rad giant robots are from the folks at Goonhammer HQ, I saw the perfect opportunity. The universe had aligned, like the giant cogs of a God-Machine, to create the perfect excuse to play a game of Titanicus and bump my number of played Titanicus games to two. I messaged Andrew, Hero of the Imperium and known rival to all things BADMAN, and set up a day to play a game. I also foolishly thought I’d have time to get some paint on a whole bunch of Titans, as well as assemble the last two Warhounds I needed for my planned list. Easy breezy stuff.

It wasn’t easy breezy. It wasn’t easy breezy at all.

Work got crazy. Titans have way more trim than I remember. I joined a game of Lancer (a pen and paper giant robot RPG, which rocks). Andrew and I’s schedules clashed, delays followed, needless hobby crunch ensued. By the time Andrew and I finally got our game in, I was exhausted, stressed, and half crazed from trying to make sure this game happened. I had dark circles under my eyes. I craved only Titandeath, that sweet, sweet engine kill. If method acting for wargaming existed, I was doing a pretty great job getting into character for Legio Interfector.

Speaking of the MURDERLORDS, I tried my best to go from no paint to battle ready on my battlegroup before this game. I managed to get everything assembled, primed, and the trim ready. But whole models were out of reach. Behold, reader, my shame:

So much trim, so little time

Despite not being able to finish the battlegroup, I look forward to spending a little more time with these titans in the near future. I really like the Interfector scheme, the red and black is both striking and menacing. The one Reaver I painted last year as a test model for the scheme was my first real foray into freehand as well, and yeah flames on giant robots rips.

Actually painted Reaver I finished last year. Credit: Dan “Swiftblade” Richardson

With painting out of the way, the stage was set for Andrew and my’s titanic clash. Let’s take a look at our lists and our thoughts about each. I asked Condit what a good points value was for a Titanicus game, and he said 200. We each put together a battlegroup and picked a stratagem hand with a total value of 4.


DANS LIST: (Click to Expand)

++ Battlegroup (Battlegroup) [4 Stratagem Points, 2,000 Points] ++

+ Maniple +

Venator Light Maniple [1,440 Points]
. Reaver Titan: 2 Raving Madman, Bastion Shielding, Corrupt Titan, Immaterial Shield*, Marks of Conquest, Melta Cannon [RVR], Preternatural Grace, Princeps Seniores, Reaver Titan Chainfist, Singular Purpose, Turbo Laser Destructor [RVR], Unholy Benedictions
. Titan Legion: Legio Interfector (Murder Lords)
. Warhound Titan: =Interfector= Static Rounds, Corrupt Titan, Plasma Blast Gun [WH], Preternatural Grace, Vulcan Megabolter [WH]
. Warhound Titan: =Interfector= Static Rounds, Corrupt Titan, Plasma Blast Gun [WH], Preternatural Grace, Vulcan Megabolter [WH]
. Warhound Titan: =Interfector= Static Rounds, Corrupt Titan, Plasma Blast Gun [WH], Preternatural Grace, Vulcan Megabolter [WH]
. Warhound Titan: =Interfector= Static Rounds, Corrupt Titan, Plasma Blast Gun [WH], Preternatural Grace, Vulcan Megabolter [WH]

+ Titan +

Warlord Titan [560 Points]: Ardex Defensor Cannon, Arioch Titan Power Claw, Bastion Shielding, Corrupt Titan, Frozen Soul, Paired Laser Blaster, Singular Purpose, Sunfury Plasma Annihilator, Unholy Benedictions
. Titan Legion: Legio Interfector (Murder Lords)

+ Stratagem +

War Lust [2 Stratagem Points]

Warp Displacement [2 Stratagem Points]

+ Allegiance +


++ Total: [4 Stratagem Points, 2,000 Points] ++


Look, shooting giant robots with giant guns is neat. I get it, big boom. You know what I crave though? The sweet sound of metal fist against metal chassis. The Thrill of close combat. Just me and the enemy, no void shields between us.

With this in mind, I’ve made a list that I think can deliver the Reaver into a target pretty quickly with minimal setup, between my stratagem picks here and Corrupt Titan bonuses. The four Warhounds can zip along really quickly with minimal heat as well, thanks to Preternatural Grace, as I learned the hard way in my first Titanicus game how quickly Warhounds can overheat whenever you push a reactor for any reason. The Warlord is a support piece here, acting as a fire support platform as it walks up the field and hanging onto the power claw in case something wanders too close. With Frozen Soul, it’ll stay ice cold all game to boot.

I’m sure that some are reading my list and feeling a pit in their stomach as they see I’ve corrupted all my titans, and given some Unholy Benedictions to reduce their command stat even further for a free reroll. “Dan, this is a bad idea”, they think, “What will you do if you ever need to give an order for any reason?”

The thing is, when given the opportunity to slam a daemon spirit into a giant death robot, I firmly believe that not taking the chance to do so is a coward move. Who needs Orders? Not me, that’s who. Orders are for chumps without cool possessed Titans.

ANDREWS LIST: (Click to expand)

++ Battlegroup (Battlegroup) [1,990 Points] ++

+ Maniple +

Axiom Battleline Maniple [1,480 Points]
. Reaver Titan: =Crucius= Terminus Override Mechanisms, Laser Blaster, Laser Blaster, Tracking Gyroscopes, Turbo Laser Destructor [RVR]
. Titan Legion: Legio Crucius (Warmongers)
. Warhound Titan: =Crucius= Terminus Override Mechanisms, Turbo Laser Destructor [WH], Turbo Laser Destructor [WH]
. Warhound Titan: =Crucius= Terminus Override Mechanisms, Turbo Laser Destructor [WH], Turbo Laser Destructor [WH]
. Warlord Titan: =Crucius= Terminus Override Mechanisms, Ardex Defensor Cannon, Paired Laser Blaster, Plasmatic Binders, Princeps Seniores, Sunfury Plasma Annihilator, Sunfury Plasma Annihilator, Tracking Gyroscopes

+ Titan +

Warlord Titan [510 Points]: Apocalypse Missile Launchers, Ardex Defensor Cannon, Bellicosa Volcano Cannon [WLD], Bellicosa Volcano Cannon [WLD], Titan Legion

+ Stratagem +

Orbital Lance Strike [2 Stratagem Points]

Thermal Mines [ 2 Stratagem Points]

+ Allegiance +


++ Total: [4 Stratagem Points, 1,990 Points] ++


Andrew: When I was putting together my list I had two options: I could take the stuff that was painted with terrible loadouts or run the better loadouts with shameful grey plastic.  Because I’m not a coward, the choice is clear.

This list asks the question, “What if you wanted your firing line to look like a Star Wars space fight.” If you can slap lasers on, it’s got lasers. Some disappointing concessions had to be made for the sake of points and models I actually owned, but that was the dream driving me. Terminus Overrides got slapped on everybody because it’s really cool to push all reactor limits and do the impossible and then not get punished for it.


The deployment and map

So it turns out, looking back, we did the mission wrong. Great start.

Andrew and I are both pretty new to Titanicus as a system, and like I said above scheduling this game was a hassle and a half. I at first tried to figure out a mission from the new matched play guide, but with all of the mental fatigue I’d inflicted on myself over this game compounded with us not starting the game until about 9pm I was just wholly unable to parse the missions in that book at a glance with its in depth primary and secondary objectives. So, we played a mission from the core rulebook, but we missed the bit where we both generate our own two objectives and select one. We just rolled one for both of us, so we end up doing the Glory and Honor objective on Lines of Battle deployment. This favors me heavily, since I’ve got a very speedy battlegroup. Andrew could still table me though, and that’s a win condition here.

I’ve deployed for this mission with Warhounds in two squadrons, base to base in order to share shields and protection. With the amount of beef and firepower Andrew has, I’ll need it. The Reaver is centered so I can send it where it needs to go, and the Warlord can ponder up behind my faster stuff and support. Andrew’s deployment puts a Warlord on each flank, with supporting titans on each side nearby. This means there’s not much in the middle for my forces to converge on as I close in, I’ll have to stay split up for much of this game.

Turn one, Andrew gets priority and knocks out the void shields on one of the two squadrons of Warhounds I’ve deployed, which gets me nervous out the gate. Deploying the Warhounds base to base so they could share shields meant I didn’t just lose a whole Titan there to the shooting, but Warhounds don’t have great servo clades to fall back on in order to get those voids reignited. I move up aggressively, planning on trying to trap Andrew in his deployment, but my short ranged stuff doesn’t really have opportunity to get to him.

Always travel with a buddy

Turn two, I use Raving Madman to automatically get a 10 on the initiative roll and I take priority. In the strategy phase, I use Warp Displacement for a free move and end up getting an 11 on the dice. Suddenly, there’s a very real opportunity for getting my Reaver in combat this turn. I use the Traitor Legio buff on the Reaver to improve my speed and melee, and War Lust to punch it even further, and make it pretty clear that I’m about the send my Titan crashing into Andrew. Andrew pulls off a first fire order on said Warlord, so I hold off on activating the Reaver until the Warlord takes shots at me with the Missile Launcher so I don’t eat damage while inside the void shield envelope. My injured Warhounds get an Emergency Repair off, and it does nothing. Good job guys. They now will spend the turn hiding.

After Andrew shoots his missiles, I go for the long bomb. I can’t charge into combat, so I’ll miss some bonuses here, but I do Power to Locomotors and manage to make it within close combat range of Andrew’s Warlord Titan. My left flank Warhounds advance up to trap Andrew on his side of the board, and the Warlord gets into a central firing position. Andrew stays back mostly, only moving his warhounds bit for move blocking.

Glorious melee combat, what could go wrong?

The reaver gets some good punches in with it’s chainfist, and puts two ctritical damage on the body of Andrew’s Volcano cannon Warlord, but the melta and turbo lasers can’t seal the deal and suddenly I’m worried that maybe, just maybe, I got a little too greedy on this charge. Uh oh.

The left flank Warhounds do some great work though, with Static Rounds doing a number on the unengaged Warlord’s shields, and I get a free melta shot from the Reaver when the shields drop thanks to my maniple bonus. My Warlord tries to put some hurting on Andrew’s Reaver, but it’s shots aren’t very effective.

On Andrew’s activations, he goes after my Warlord and Reaver to pretty good effect. The Warlord takes a whole lot more shield damage than I’d like, and while some really bad scatter dice bail me out from Volcano Lances this turn the laser Reaver does a number on my voids.

Turn three, my initiative roll counts as 1 because of Raving Madman, so Andrew gets priority. With two titans in a bad way, this ain’t great for me. I try to give my Warlord the Emergency Repair order and roll a 2. Shit.

I try to at least back up my Reaver on my movement, Andrew’s big guys are both doing emergency repairs so he cant follow me out. I hope in damage control here that I can get some voids back up on the Reaver to survive this onslaught coming my way. My injured Warhounds circle around to get back into the fight, and the uninjured Warhounds on my left flank move around to the side armor of Andrew’s Warlord, to stay out of it’s firing arc and get a damage bonus against armor.

Nice side armor you got there, bud

Damage control isn’t great for me, and shooting isn’t much better. I’m not able to get very many voids back up on the Reaver titan, so when Andrew light’s it up with shooting it’s real bad for me. I almos manage to squeak out of it alive, but my bloodlust on turn two costs me the first engine kill of the game as my Reaver is silenced. At least my Reaver puts more damage on his Volcano Canon Warlord and pushes him back into the red with a reactor leak.

The other Warlord though has devastating shooting against my Warlord as well, knocking out both of it’s ranged weapons and leaving it with nothing to shoot with on my turn. It’s very rapidly looking like I’ll soon be down to only Warhounds, against Andrew’s full battlegroup. At least the Warhound managed to drop the shields and put body damage on the Sunfury Warlord, and it’s also leaking a reactor in the red.

Then Andrew looks up from the rulebook he’s been checking for the last few moments. He says something that I only understand the gravity of a minutes later.

“Oh. That’s when reactor leak happens, huh?”

I like Titanicus because it’s a deep game with interesting options and decisions to make while playing that feel meaningful and require smart planning.

I love Titanicus because it can quickly devolve from a deep strategy game into a slapstick comedy disaster simulator with giant robots.

This Warlord Titan is about to have a very, very bad day

So with all the Laser weapons Andrew has been running, his Titans have been running very hot this game, especially his Warlords. He does get one Reactor “get out of jail free” card with Terminus Override Mechanisms, but with the extra damage he’s has been taking on top of him pushing his reactors especially hard, both his Warlords’ reactors are on their last blip and leaking. Since they have to go up a heat on the reactor in the end phase, both Titans take S9 hits to their already-damaged bodies. There’s a good chance here that Andrew’s Warlord titans die immediately in spectacular fashion.

The Sunfury Warlord takes more body damage, but makes it out alive.

The Volcano Cannon Warlord isn’t so lucky. It suffers catastrophic damage, and goes nuclear. Now, Andrew’s reaver titan that had been unscathed all game is in the middle of a nuclear firestorm. Then, we both realize that this counts as a hit against my silenced Reaver Titan, and it falls. We roll scatter, and it falls directly onto the Andrew’s reaver. That Reaver cannot catch a break.

On turn four, I lose priority again and Andrew’s surviving Warlord puts the finishing blow on my Warlord. It suffers Wild Fire Catastrophic Damage, and almost falls on Andrew’s Reaver, before falling forwards and narrowly missing his Warhounds. My Warhounds do kill Andrew’s surviving Warlord, though.

It also goes nuclear.

The damage causes one of Andrew’s surviving Warhounds to spin in a random direction and both are on death’s door. Mine also aren’t doing so hot. Andrew’s unlucky Reaver gets killed on turn five, and suffers the indginity of dying a very unfunny death by not firing wildly or falling on anything.

Warhounds, putting in the work

The first of my left flank Warhounds to die does fall on his friend though, so good for him for keeping the bit going. Then my other surviving Warlord explodes. On the final turn of the game, Andrew’s Warhounds are way too damaged to meaningfully hurt my remaining two Warhounds, and I table Andrew for the win.

Andrew’s Postgame Thoughts:

Andrew: In game, the results were mixed.  The Warhounds were monumentally disappointing: 4 turbolasers shots does not spark any joy.  The Reaver, on the other hand,  oh my sweet dear Reaver.  This man, this titan personally experienced 3 different catastrophic damage results including a nuclear slap on the ass from a friendly warlord, accounted for two engine kills, and really just embodied Pierce the Heavens energy.  Love that guy, would die for him.  The warlords were…fine?  The bellicosa Warlord I thought was going to give me an aneurysm, watching him miss shot after shot.  The princeps in his Tengen Plasma Gurren Laser did pretty well himself, soaking up shots and laying out the smack down in turn.

Andrew’s cat, Spock, is very cute and just wanted to pretend to be a Titan

Dan’s Postgame Thoughts:

It’s late when we finish the game, but I’m glad we got to play it. Titanicus is a game that is both thoughtfully complex and wildly silly, which is a hard line to walk and I love the game for it. I’m already thinking of things I would do differently for future games and getting excited to play again.

Both Andrew and I spent too much of the early game looking up rules (and looking for the reactor dice, which kept going missing), by the end I felt like it wasn’t overwhelming anymore and had a comfortable grasp on the system. If you get the chance, do yourself a favor: play titanicus.

Badman Mecha Bonus Bonus: Watch Gurren Lagann and FEEL ALIVE

Credit: Aniplex

Andrew: Hell yeah.

I can’t have a whole week about Mecha and NOT talk about Tengan Toppa Gurren Lagann. I just can’t. I love it too much.

Rob “TheChirugeon” Jones once described this anime as “A triumph of the human spirit”. Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to sum it up. It’s about big robots powered by fighting spirit that face wilder and wilder odds, unflinchingly, by believing in themselves and believing in each other.

It’s not a perfect show. I would say its biggest problem is that early episodes are full of voyeuristic “fan service” shots of the show’s female characters that anime can be pretty bad about. That definitely takes a backseat after a couple of episodes, but I’ve had friends who’ve been turned off by Gurren Lagann because of it, and I totally get it.

Despite this, I love the show to pieces. I can’t think of a piece of media that I think about more regularly than this dumb fighting spirit robot anime.

It’s a show that has tragedy, plenty of it for our protagonists even, but whenever they’re confronted with the cruelty and cynicism of the universe they reach down and overcome the odds by overcoming their own doubts and fears. It’s the perfect antithesis to cold nihilism: it’s optimism that burns hot, angry, and wild in your heart.

And the robots are HUGE. The biggest, even. Trust me, they don’t make them bigger.

Credit: Aniplex

Do yourself a favor: watch Gurren Lagann and FEEL ALIVE.