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Review of Ti’tains, a card stacking construction toy that’s great for tabletop RPGs!

Ti’tains are a card stacking and holding device that can be used for a lot of cool applications with tabletop RPGs!  From being stands for printed or drawn minis to facilitating easy to build mazes, Ti’tains have been a lot of fun to try out, and I’m glad to share some of the ideas we had for this new building system with you!

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What are Ti’tains?

Ti'tains different angle views of grommets

Ti’tains (pronounced TIE-tains) are a building and construction toy system that uses these flexible grommet-like pieces to hold and connect playing cards, notecards, sheets of paper, tokens, and more!  They are made from a soft rubber and deform to grip whatever is put in them.  You can also separate them into two pieces so you can use the two halves separately or mix and match the colors how you want.  

What can you do with Ti’tains?

Ti’tains can be used to hold cards or as a building device to connect multiple cards (and other mediums) into a larger structure, like a building, wall, maze, etc.  They are very versatile, allowing you to connect them at any point on the card (unlike with Lego or K’Nex where you have to join at certain points), and you can build out from any angle on the Ti’tain connector.  It allows for some easy 3D structures that you can create and modify very quickly since the cards cover a large distance per unit.

How can you use Ti’tains with tabletop RPGs?

Both from talking with Howie, creator of Ti’tains, and messing around with them at home with my kid during a few games we played, we came up with a lot of ways these can be applied to tabletop RPGs. 

Character and terrain stands

The first thing that came to my mind was to use these as a character or terrain stand to hold homemade minis (that are either drawn, printed, or from a sticker).  I cut some paper out from a notecard, applied a decoration, and walla!  The base held the mini, it was heavy enough that it was REALLY stable, and, since it’s rubber, it resists getting bumped around (which is really important when playing with kids).

Ti'tains as mini and terrain bases

Status markers/trackers

Another way to use these with minis is to use the base as a status tracker.  Because it’s really easy to swap the base out, you can have the different colors represent different things, from how much health a character has (i.e. going to a ½ base after ½ health), if there’s status ailment changes, marking different NPCs, and more.  You get a lot of options too by mix-matching the colors to make two-toned Ti’tains.

Ti'tains as mini and terrain bases

Making quick mazes and obstacles

Ti'tains obstacle example

As a building material, these are great for making complex mazes pretty easily.  It took me only a few minutes to make the maze here on an old encounter map that I had from a Halloween 1-shot, and this would have been a really cool barrier for my baddie to be hiding behind.  

It’s also great for representing obstacles like walls and shields or for creating spell effect areas on the fly.  If using Legos or other building materials, it might take a minute or two to construct a wall before placing it, but, here, you slip the grommets on and are good to go in a few seconds.

Making adjustable and reinforced mazes

Ti'tains maze

Because Ti’tains are really quick to use, they’re also really quick and easy to adjust.  If you want to have a maze that changes as players walk through it, you can definitely do that.  If you want to allow players to break walls in the maze, that’s another option since you can slip the damaged card out in a couple seconds without adjusting the rest of the structure.

You can also fit multiple cards into the slots at a time, creating reinforced walls.  In this case, every time the wall takes a hit, you remove one card from the slot.  Maybe you tell your players where the reinforcements (or weak points) are, or maybe you keep it secret and they have to trial and error their way through damaging wall sections until they find that single card section. 

Building 3D structures easily

You can also build vertically for characters to climb up!  We made some cool multi-level buildings, and it was able to support the weight of our game pieces without a problem.  For making quick platforms, houses, towers, and more that require a height element, these are another quick tool that let us make structures on the fly during our game (no need to pre-plan and spend a lot of time building structures before playing). 

Holding and organizing spells and item cards

These would also be great for holding and organizing spell and item cards.  When playing with my kid, I sometimes make little picture note cards to help him track spells and items, but, even then, there’s sometimes a lot to focus on.  Using these, you can easily single out a few cards, put them on the stands (possibly even color code the base), and help focus on using these few main spells and items during a particular encounter.  

Ti'tains as playing card holders

Other applications

There’s a lot of other ways to use these depending on the particular game you’re playing (like my train game below… I made a Ti’tain train), and I’m sure people will figure out more as they are used in more and more games.  If you figure out a new way to use these, let me know!

The Winter Wonder Express: a TTRPG holiday train adventure! - Train held up with TiTains

What did my kid think about Ti’tains?

my kid playing with Ti'tains and making a structure

I asked my kid what his favorite part of using Ti’tains was, and he said, “I like getting to use the cards.  Also, they’re squishy… and you get to take them apart and put them back together.”

He really has liked messing with these, and, after our last game, continued to play with our set of Ti’tains for probably an hour or so afterwards.  It was cool watching him figure out different ways to connect the cards, and he even came up with a few 3D structure ideas that I originally didn’t think of.  

Overall thoughts on Ti’tains

Ti'tains maze

Ti’tains are versatile enough to give some additional depth to mazes and allow for a lot of customization and creativity when it comes to making structures.  They make great playing card holders and bases for minis and terrain, and they allow for easy color coding and tracking.  They’re fun to use as a building tool and a great addition to add some 3D elements and structures to your tabletop RPGs!

Where to find Ti’tains

You can find Ti’tains here on Etsy, and you can also follow Build With Ti’tains on instagram for lots of ideas on how to use them!  I hope you get the opportunity to try these out and that they add an awesome new dimension to your games!

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