Colossus README

Note: This README had been last updated 2008-11-11 and the situation it describes might even be of years before that. Nowadays Colossus is very well working and we have a public server where you can find opponents.

On the server, over time there have now (december 2012) about 1600 users registered, and usually within 48 hours approximately 50 users at least drop by, and between 10 and 20 games are played each day. Most players are US-based, thus most activity is during afternoon/evening US time.

This document should be thoroughly updated one day...


Colossus is an attempt at a Java clone of Avalon Hill's Titan(tm) boardgame.

It's not finished yet. Right now it allows hotseat play, and play against a mostly working but not-quite-ready-for-prime-time AI. Client/server networking is done but still a bit rough. You can play with the standard Titan rules, or choose from several variants.

This program is freeware, distributed under the GNU General Public License v2 (local copy) This means that you have the right to make and distribute changes, as long as you always include the source code so that others can do the same. If you fix any bugs or add any features, please send us a copy so that we can fold them into the master code.

Game requirements

A 1.5 or later version of a JRE (Java runtime environment) or JDK (Java development kit).

Unless you're an advanced Java user, then you should probably use Java Web Start , which will automatically download and install the correct JRE for you.

(Colossus will not run under Java versions before 1.5. It won't run as an applet in a web browser. The obsolete Microsoft JVM that's bundled with IE and Windows won't work.)

Windows, Solaris, and x86 Linux versions of the JRE and JDK are freely downloadable from

The Mac version is at

Info on other ports (AIX, OS/2, etc.) is at

The current recommended version is Sun JRE 1.5.0. You also need a computer with a mouse and a color display. The minimum system spec is about a Pentium 300 with 256MiB. The recommended system is about a 1 GHz CPU and 512MiB. See Hardware and Software requirements for details.

Getting the program to run

The easiest way to run the game, if you already have Java Web Start installed on your computer, is to click on the Java Web Start link on the web page This will download the latest version of the game, upgrade your JRE if necessary, make a shortcut icon if you want, etc. Pretty slick, when it works. If it doesn't work, you have other choices.

Another option is to run the executable jar file, which is inside the zip file. First you will need to unzip it using your favorite unzip tool and find the jar file inside. Then try double-clicking on Colossus.jar in your GUI file manager. If that fails, pop up a command prompt, cd to the directory where you unzipped the zip file, and try typing java -jar Colossus.jar (or use ./run or run.bat).

(Note: Other jar files are in the libs/ subdirectory. If you move Colossus.jar somewhere else, it won't work.)

(Note: The Unix run script includes an xset b 0 0 0 command to keep Java from constantly beeping at you. This is unfortunately global, so if you want other programs to beep, modify this script or write your own.)

Game play instruction


I assume you already know how to play Titan. The full rules are copyrighted, so we can't provide them. But Valley Games put them online at

Titan is an excellent boardgame, and I recommend that everyone go buy a copy now that Valley Games has reprinted it. See

Game start

Once you get things running, a dialog should pop up, allowing you to choose (usually) up to six player types: Human, Network, Various AI types (AI = Aritificial Intelligence, i.e. robot players) or None, and their names. See Get Players startup dialog for how to use this and description of the various options.

You can also choose a variant (some variants allow 9 or 12 players). When you're done, click New game.

Now a window ("Server Startup progress log") will appear shortly; if you have only local Human players, this disappears immediately and you can ignore it; if remote (=Network) players are involved, read here about Networked Colossus.

Once all players (clients) are connected, the MasterBoard(s) appear (one for each local Human player).

Next, for each client (the remote players get it on their own sreen, of course) two dialogs will appear: first a flat, wide dialog asking to pick the color (pick one), and then another smaller one to pick his initial legion marker. Pick one. (If you don't care about color and/or markers, use the Auto pick markers option on the autoplay tab of the Preferences window.)

After each player has picked his initial legion marker, the MasterBoard window(s) will be available. Every player can modify some settings (affecting then only him) using the Preferences window, and for example which satellite windows (Game Status, Inspector, Logwindow, ...) shall be displayed can be selected in the Menu bar in the MasterBoard window.

You'll see each player's initial legion marker sitting in a tower hex. You'll also see a small window in the lower right corner of the screen. This is the Game Status window, which tracks each player's score, number of legion markers remaining, etc. And there's a Caretaker window which tracks how many of each creature remain in the stacks. (These are both optional: turn them on or off from the Window menu. There are several other useful viewers windows in the Window menu - try them!)

You can right-click (or control-click if you have a one-button mouse) on a legion to see its contents - except if the setting Viewable legion content in Game startup menu was changed from it's default setting (more detailed option descriptions here).

You can right-click on a hex (empty hex, or on that small free area beside a legion) to call up a menu, which lets you either see what you can recruit in that hex, or its battle map.


The active player first needs to split his initial 8-high legion. You'll notice that the hex containing the active player's legion is lit up as a reminder; in future turns this will happen for all 7-high legions. (It's also legal to split legions with 4-6 characters in them, even though they are not highlighted.) Click on the legion. A dialog will come up to let you pick the new legion marker to use. Then another dialog will come up, allowing you to move characters between the two legions. The game will not let you leave the split phase on the first turn until each of your legions contains three Creatures and one Lord. When you're ready, select Done from the Phase menu.

Masterboard movement

Next comes the movement phase. The game will tell you your movement roll. Click on a legion, and the places it can move will light up. Little pictures of the creatures the legion can recruit in hex will also appear. Click on one of those places, and the legion will move there. (In some cases, you will need to choose whether to teleport or move normally, or which lord teleports if there is more than once choice.) The Undo Last Move and Undo All Moves actions are there in case you change your mind. During the first turn only, and once only, there will be a Take Mulligan action which you can use to re-roll your movement. When you're done moving everything you want to move, select Done. (If you look closely at the menus you'll see that many of the frequently used options have hotkeys, like d for Done .)


If you moved any legions onto enemy legions, then next comes the engagement phase. Each hex with an engagement will light up. Click on the one you want to resolve first, and a window will pop up showing both legions and giving the defender a chance to flee, if applicable. If the defender doesn't flee, then the attacker is given a chance to concede. If both legions stick around, then a negotiation window pops up , where creatures can be clicked on to X them away. If the combatants can come to an agreement where all the creatures on at least one side die, then there's no need to fight. Otherwise, it's time for battle.

During a battle, the appropriate BattleMap pops up, with each legion on the appropriate entry side. (You have to choose an entry side during movement when more than one is possible.) The defender goes first. Click on each character, and the places it can move light up. Click on one of those places, and the character moves there. Repeat until all characters are on-board, unless you'd like to leave some off-board to die for some reason. The Undo Last Move and Undo All Moves menu options are available. When done moving, click Done. The attacker repeats the process, except that after he finishes moving, it's striking time.

Any creatures adjacent to an enemy must strike; rangestrikers with an enemy in range and line of sight may strike. (If you turn on the Auto forced strike option, then creatures that are forced to strike and have only one legal target will strike first without any intervention on your part, which speeds things up a bit.) Click the striker, and all his legal targets light up. Pick one, and he tries to strike it. (If it's legal to take a strike penalty in order to carry, then a dialog will pop up to ask if you want to do so.) The number of hits are displayed on the target. If the target is dead, it will have a big X displayed over it. If there is excess damage that can legally carry over, then the legal carry target(s) will light up, and the cursor should change to a number, and the striking player needs to pick which one to carry to, or click somewhere else to decline the carry. This carry process can repeat if the strike blows through more than one creature. There's no way to undo strikes. (That would be cheating.) When done striking, choose Done.

After the strike phase, the other player gets a strikeback phase. It's identical to the strike phase, except that rangestrikes are not allowed. Dead creatures do get to strike back before being removed.

Summoning and acquiring

The first turn after he kills an opposing character, the attacker may be allowed to summon an angel or archangel, if there is one available in an unengaged legion, and he hasn't yet summoned an angel this turn, and the legion doesn't already have seven creatures. If so, a dialog will appear and all MasterBoard hexes with summonable angels will light up. The attacker must click on one of those hexes, then select the angel or archangel as appropriate in the dialog.

During turn 4 of the battle, the defender may be allowed to muster a recruit. If so, a dialog will pop up showing the legal recruits. If desired, pick one. If no recruit is desired, dismiss the recruit dialog. (Click on the X in the top right corner, or double-click the top left corner, depending on how you normally dismiss dialogs in your OS.)

When the battle finishes, the winner gets some points and maybe the option of acquiring one or more angels or archangels. If the winner didn't summon an angel or recruit a reinforcement earlier, he will get another choice if eligible.


After all engagements are resolved, choose Done to proceed to the mustering phase. Legions that moved and can recruit will light up. Click on each one and choose a recruit. If more than one type of creature is capable of summoning that recruit, you'll have to choose the recruiter(s) to be revealed, unless the Autopick recruiter option has been selected. When done, click Done and pass the mouse to the next player.

Ending the game

The game ends when zero or one Titans remain. The last player standing is the winner; if the game ends with a mutual elimination, it's a draw.


If you find any bugs that you think we can fix, please let us know, in as much detail as possible. (In particular, include the operating system and Java versions.)

The best way to report bugs is via the bug tracker at SourceForge -- go to , click on the SourceForge icon, and click on Bugs. (If that's too hard you can just send email.)

We've tried to get the rules right, though a few areas (concession timing, in particular) are still off. Bruno Wolff's Titan Errata and Clarifications is a good place to check for rules issues.