Preview of Tempus

I got to take a look at the rules of Tempus, and it sure looks pretty good. My first impression is Vinci with just one civilization for each player, but that’s a very brutal approximation.

The game is mostly about Lebensraum, building up your empire, one people token at the time. The citizens procreate and fill the land. When there’s enough of them at one place, you swap them out for a city token and continue spreading your civilization elsewhere.

Players perform three to five actions each turn and their level of development affects the effectivity of these actions. There are always five actions to choose from: move, fight, have babies, have an idea, build a city.

The development track is interesting. Each turn is an era and at the end of an era, somebody is promoted to the next era and gets a bonus to something. Others will have to suffer from a very small technological disadvantage for a while, but everybody will catch up the leader next turn and then someone else might get the promotion.

What else… Combat is simple and luck-free. It’s a simple comparison of token amount plus bonuses from cards. There’s a bluffing element and an incentive to attack: a losing attacker loses just one token, while losing defender loses everything.

Sounds interesting and fairly simple. It should play pretty fast. Even though there’s fighting, the game will move on. Someone will get promoted each turn, and when someone is promoted to the last era, the game ends. There’s a fixed amount of turns, that is.

The victory points are a total of cities, occupied hexes and a bonus for reaching the last era. Here’s my biggest doubt about the game: the last turn will probably be full of blatant beat-the-perceived-leader action. However, you can only attack your neighbours, so that should tone it down.

After reading the rules, I’m definitely interested to try the game when I can get it.

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4 responses to “Preview of Tempus”

  1. It’s about time some news on Tempus hit the internet. I first heard about Tempus a year ago and had the impression that some overlooked flaws in the game suddenly became glaring. The designer realized he couldn’t fix this in a reasonable amount of time, so Tempus became dead in the water.
    But it sounds like it’s going to make a comeback, if you can call this a comeback.

  2. Well, Geek has comments from people who’ve played a beta version in BGG.con and Essen, so something indeed exists. I don’t know the reasons behind the delays, but I do know the game’s coming out in Finland, at least.

  3. My understanding is that the publisher had problems getting the components made and/or delivered out of China. This is the first I’ve heard of a possible problem with the gameplay. There was a finished prototype at last year’s Gathering (almost a year ago!) and the game got very enthusiastic praise then, so I’d be a little surprised if the design has been altered since that time.

  4. I don’t want to start a rumour here — I didn’t mean Tempus has problems. I was speculating that problems were discovered and became the reason for the “delay, that’s all. I’ve heard nothing of the sort.