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Subject: One Man's Take on Antike, Tempus, and Vinci rss

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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I just played Antike last night, and a comparison to Vinci and Tempus seems fairly natural to me. I'm not going to attempt to cover all the bases, but Vinci, Tempus, and Antike share quite a bit of common ground.

Vinci and Antike are both virtually luck-free. The combat is simply resolved by a direct strength comparison, so the stronger position always wins, but the loser's strength is taken as losses. The combat is virtually suicidal in both games. A game of Vinci is played over the course of several civilizations, so you are encouraged to attack, burn your self out, and then re-enter the board with a new civilization. In Antike, being too aggressive is likely to leave you open to attack by others. You only get one civilization during the course of the game, but unlike Vinci which has fairly static resources, the advantages of your civilization in Antike evolve over time. The game seems to largely be about developing technology, managing resources, defense, and planning for a carefully measured attack, perhaps only near the end of the game. Vinci and Antike are almost two sides of the same coin. I like both games about the same, and picking one over the other would be more about mood than actual preference.

Your position in Tempus is much more stable than in Vinci, but it is more dynamic than Antike as players grab needed territory. When sailing is introduced later in the game, players will break out into entirely new areas of the board. The combat in Tempus is similar in that it is resolved by a simple comparison of strength, but that strength can be affected by card play. Also, no loses are incurred during a successful attack, so aggression is not suicidal. Fortunately, Tempus is not all about attacking because there are logistical issues in it as well. If you are always fighting you have fewer turns for making babies and having ideas (getting cards). Those idea cards have a duel purpose, and most of the time, using them in a fight means you don't get to use them in some other way. The decision about how to best use those cards is the primary reason for my preference for Tempus.

P.S. This is based on about 3 plays of Vinci, 3 plays of Tempus, and only 1 play of Antike. I do not claim to be an expert on any of these games.
 
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Bas van der Meer
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Thanks for the overview. I'm really interested in your verdict on Tempus versus the other two games. What game do you like most?
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I mentioned that I have a preference for Tempus, but to put a number on it, I rate Tempus a 9. Both Antike and Vinci are 8 for me. The hint of luck and the dual nature of the cards adds that extra bit of tension and that extra point of rating.
 
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Michael R
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I just played Antike and enjoyed it a lot. I'd like to try more games as strategically I felt unsure about how to do things. The other players let me get away with taking 4 scientists which won me the game but I thought they would be more room for the game shifting. I think military conquest would be important in the late game to get those last personalities especially with more players. I worried the fixed starting positions were unbalanced. We played with four players. I would like to try 3 or 5 because with four people are choosing to take 1, 2 or 3 positions on the rondel for free and occassionally someone pays to move more. This averages at 8 moves on the 8 space rondel between all players which meant people kept taking the same things making the selection process a bit static. At 2 hours I thought it was great and did feel like a proper civilsation game. Not overly abstracted.

I kept missing games of Vinci that friends have played. I'd like to try it as well. My friends did complain a lot about analysis paralysis and king maker situations in the final turn.

I am a big fan of Martin Wallace games so I think I will buy Tempus when it becomes available. What you said encourages me that I won't be disappointed. How quickly does Tempus play?
 
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CHAPEL
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Thanks for the heads up. I liked Vinci, and I "LOVED" Antike. So I look forward to Tempus.
 
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Shawn Low
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So, was your rating on Tempus based playing the demo? Curious because Tempus is nowhere to be seen.
 
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J C Lawrence
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tpancoast wrote:
I mentioned that I have a preference for Tempus, but to put a number on it, I rate Tempus a 9. Both Antike and Vinci are 8 for me. The hint of luck and the dual nature of the cards adds that extra bit of tension and that extra point of rating.


That "hint of luck" is the thing that most concerns me about Tempus. I like Wallace most when he's working closest to an abstract perfect no-luck game, such as with Age of Steam, not as with his more recent and painfully thematic releases.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Citadel wrote:
I kept missing games of Vinci that friends have played. I'd like to try it as well. My friends did complain a lot about analysis paralysis and king maker situations in the final turn.

Vince is probably a bit more prone to A.P. than the others. I think King Making is always a possibility in a conflict game. The only way to avoid it is to play multi-player solitaire.

Citadel wrote:
I am a big fan of Martin Wallace games so I think I will buy Tempus when it becomes available. What you said encourages me that I won't be disappointed. How quickly does Tempus play?

I wasn't really timing it, but 90 minutes is probably about right, give or take a little.

It didn't seem worth mentioning earlier, but Antike is supposed to play in about 2 hours, and that's almost exactly how long it took us. That almost never happens. We usually drag a game out by 50 to 100 percent.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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shawn_low wrote:
So, was your rating on Tempus based playing the demo? Curious because Tempus is nowhere to be seen.

Well, they were all full games, not just demos, but I don't think that's what you are asking. Yes, it was the prototype and at least two of the plays were with final rules. No, I haven't seen a production copy, but last I heard the production/printing problems should finally be solved.
 
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Shawn Low
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tpancoast wrote:

No, I haven't seen a production copy, but last I heard the production/printing problems should finally be solved.


That's good because a good mate of mine won a copy when Cafe games had a competition and we've been eager to play it since, well, October last year.
 
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Neil Carr
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Citadel wrote:

I kept missing games of Vinci that friends have played. I'd like to try it as well. My friends did complain a lot about analysis paralysis and king maker situations in the final turn.


I haven't played Vinci in awhile, but we solved the endgame by using a variant posted on the net where there was a variable end to the game. Rather than playing to a certain number of points instead when a certain threshold of points were reached then you started to see if the game would end after that, with it becoming increasily more likely each turn, probably with a die. It seemed to help.

We also tried playing with hidden victory points, which was a little more unwieldy but also fixed the minor defects with the game.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I also won a copy in that contest, but I can be patient.
 
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I haven't played Vinci or Antike, but from reading reviews of them they seem to be fairly widely regarded as "B" level games, and their ratings reflect this. Tempus, like Age of Steam, Struggle of Empires, or Princes of the Renaissance, is not just a "B" level game, but rather stands out not only for its uniqueness but it's wholesome goodness of play. The most descriptive thing I could say about Tempus is that it distills the essence of a civilization type game the same way Age of Steam does so for the 18xx series. Of course you must understand that a game that clocks in between one and two hours cannot preserve all the meaty aspects of a civ type game, so it is qualitatively different from a civ-type game because it is so stripped down. However, it still preserves the feel of growth of your empire across a geographical area and the card mechanism with its multitude of purposes is very clever and makes the game exciting without being too luck driven as the player above expressed concern about.


EDIT: I went and looked at the ratings for Antike and Vinci and they are actually surprisingly high since last time I noticed... maybe I'll have to check these out (although I'm pretty sure Tempus will easily cruise into the top 25 when it achieves wide release)
 
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CHAPEL
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verandi wrote:


EDIT: I went and looked at the ratings for Antike and Vinci and they are actually surprisingly high since last time I noticed... maybe I'll have to check these out (although I'm pretty sure Tempus will easily cruise into the top 25 when it achieves wide release)



Vinci is already in the top 100, not too shabby. Antike has been cruising up the charts at a pretty good clip. I think as more poeple play it, it will break the top 100 REALLY quick. It it was more of a game than I think early reviews have given credit for. I consider it quite an "A" game myself after several plays. Tempus I've been wating for long before Antike was even a twinkle in essens eye, yet it "still" hasn't come about. But I anxiously wait....
 
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Scott Alden
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thanks for the writeup. I have a slight problem with Antike, because you can really only win if you pursue a balanced civ. Playing an aggressive civ doesn't get you very far (I've tried it several times).
 
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Brian Bankler
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I personally find Antike to be worse than Vinci, because if two players trade cities back and forth, they lose ground with the other players. It takes resources to build armies, and you have to spend armies (remove from the board) to take over another's territories. Given the monarchy/democracy advance, defendings is cheaper than attacking.

I believe you've mistated a critical difference. Combat is not suicidal in Vinci. You have to allocate the attackers, but only a single defender is lost. How is that suicidal for the attacker? In Vinci, you get armies for free by declaring a new civ, and don't lose them by attacking. Am I misremember the rules? (It's been a few years). You just have to allocate them. Since attacking is free (just takes time) people attack. When you've lost too much, you decline and get a new civ. Vinci's "Rise and Fall" system is therefore more fluid. Compare with Attike where sacking a temple usually costs 3-5 units (plus defenders) and those have to be paid for.

I used to be fond of Vinci (played 10-20 times), but it's ok now. After two games of Antike I think OK is the best it can aspire to. I doubt I'll get to 5 plays. I suspect that if you played Antike slowly (with lots of look ahead), it would be good. But slow games bore me.
 
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Neil Carr
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I'm rather fond of Antike at the moment, probably more so than when Vinci was a hot game back in the day. Vinci was enjoyable but there was a bit more downtime as people tried to optimize their turns and because of that the momentum to pull it out and play it wasn't as strong as with Antike. Antike's turns are so quick and snappy that quite often you are caught off guard that it's your turn again, not because you had to space out due to downtime, but simply that people did their turns so fast.

Another thing that I enjoy about Antike over Vinci is the building aspect of the game. What I always felt was missing from Vinci was some kind of meta-building aspect to the game. It would have been cool if a kind of legacy of past civilations would build up over the course of the game, such as cities being built, road systems forming, etc. By the end of the game you'd have some kind of imprint of what happened in the course of play. Antike isn't quite doing that, but you do see a steady state of growth happen throughout the game which I find satisfying.

I think I'll burn out on Antike eventually also though. What I'd like to see with the game is that it get bigger and longer. As Aldie mentioned, you really need to diversify to win the game, so different styles of play can't really achieve victory. It would be great to expand the game to give players enough room so that more diverged strategies could succeed and also that more could develop with the game by adding some subsystems or more build options so it can move more towards Civ and not just be one of the subsystems of Civ itself.

Both games have some interesting and well thought out mechanics and are worth the time exploring, I look forward to Tempus and discover what it has to offer in the Civ-lite category of games.
 
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Joe Casadonte
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Bankler wrote:
Combat is not suicidal in Vinci. You have to allocate the attackers, but only a single defender is lost. In Vinci, you get armies for free by declaring a new civ, and don't lose them by attacking. Am I misremember the rules?


No, you're not. Combine that with re-allocating your forces at the end of each turn, and you have a fairly good offensive and defensive game that's easy to resolve.
 
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Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Bankler wrote:
I believe you've mistated a critical difference. Combat is not suicidal in Vinci. You have to allocate the attackers, but only a single defender is lost. How is that suicidal for the attacker? In Vinci, you get armies for free by declaring a new civ, and don't lose them by attacking. Am I misremember the rules? (It's been a few years). You just have to allocate them. Since attacking is free (just takes time) people attack. When you've lost too much, you decline and get a new civ.

Opps. You are right. The "suicidal" nature of expansion in Vinci is because, depending on your civ tiles, you have spread yourself thinner than you can effectively defend and you generally don't get anymore troops. Combat is much more expensive in Antike, but you can generate replacements in that game.
 
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tpancoast wrote:

Opps. You are right. The "suicidal" nature of expansion in Vinci is because, depending on your civ tiles, you have spread yourself thinner than you can effectively defend and you generally don't get anymore troops. Combat is much more expensive in Antike, but you can generate replacements in that game.



But as some may agree upon, Antike "isn't" a war game. It's a logistics game with Expansion being one of five different conditions. It also not always balance that wins, I seen games that players run away with expansion. I've even won a game only ever having "5" cities the whole game. It doesn't have to be a balanced game, it has to be a group balanced game. If players focus on one thing, you can focus on another, and still have a good chance of winning. That is what I like about Antike, exploitation of different play styles.


ADDED: And it it the most bang for you buck of a game that can be played in under 2 hours. +++
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