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Subject: Exploiting the rules rss

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Kalle Marjola
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So, the second game of Tempus, with my brother (second game too) and a friend of him, a newbie for Tempus.

So I had played Tempus once before and it had left me with mixed feelings - basically the idea of going through civilisation stages in less than 2 hours was nice, but as a result it felt very superficial. I also hated the inbalance in idea cards, but as a plus side, the gameplay was fast, smooth and well put out. So I decided to give it a second try. But also decided to use the so-called "turtle strategy" to see how it goes.

For those who haven't read some other article, the turtle strategy is the idea of playing all the time with no more than 3 stacks of tokens, thus preventing other players from attacking you.

Yeah, the turtle strategy worked. Very efficient. But also very stupid, it just exploited the rules and felt bad. I just kept having two grasslands as my breeding ground and then picked a hex that gave technology advance (hopefully deep in enemy territory), then turned it into city next turn. Sometimes the temptation to expand to fourth location was almost inevitable, but apart from my single mistake at the start of the game (which was immediately punished with Religion card) I kept tokens in 2-3 piles. I got the technology advance in all but maybe 1-2 turns. However, I only won by a tie-breaker in the final scoring as my brother expanded to total of 16 hexes in the last turn, thus scoring huge pile of points from areas. So, it wasn't unbeatable, but close to it.

For me, this session did not make the game any better in my eyes, and as always, so little gaming time, so many better games...

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Adrien Dessemond
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Tempus is, imho, more a frame than a complete game. Unfortunately, like many Wallace's releases, it is quite expensive...
 
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Michael Chapman
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When someone tries this strategy when I play against them I go on an all out expansion. I occupy every open space on the board if I can. You score one point per hex occupied, it adds up by the end of the game. You can out breed people in this game if they are trying the don't attack me strategy.

My two cents...

 
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John Lopez
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rpr- wrote:
...then turned it into city next turn. Sometimes the temptation to expand to fourth location was almost inevitable...


Our interpretation of that rule prevents this from happening: your cities are, for the purposes of this rule, "stacks" as well. As soon as occupy a fourth hex, for whatever reason, you are open to attack. If you are attacked early and reduced to three hexes of stuff, you are protected again.

Note this means it is possible (although in practice you would have to be drooling on the board for it to happen) to lose all your tokens and be reduced to only cities. Our house rule (never invoked) is that if this happens you may reduce one city (your choice) into the tokens that it represents.
 
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David desJardins
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Godeke wrote:
Our interpretation of that rule prevents this from happening: your cities are, for the purposes of this rule, "stacks" as well.


That's not an "interpretation". That is a complete change from the printed rules.
 
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John Lopez
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DaviddesJ wrote:
Godeke wrote:
Our interpretation of that rule prevents this from happening: your cities are, for the purposes of this rule, "stacks" as well.


That's not an "interpretation". That is a complete change from the printed rules.


It is also the "complete change" that Martin Wallace himself suggested. Of course, there was a 100+ post rant about this by one user who couldn't "let go" of the printed rule book, but given that the alternative reduces the game considerably in our groups enjoyment level, we do what we do.

You do what you want though. It is *our* opinion that using the 3 stack rule mid and late game is simply exploiting a "bug" introduced by the publisher due to poor testing. Rulebooks are not holy.

EDIT: clarifying that I have no interest in a "discussion" of this rule... just pointing out the fix to this "wall hack" equivalent.
 
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David desJardins
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My only point is that you're changing the rules. There's nothing wrong with that, especially when, as in this case, it's clear that the game could have used some more development and playtesting in the first place.
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John Lopez
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DaviddesJ wrote:
My only point is that you're changing the rules. There's nothing wrong with that, especially when, as in this case, it's clear that the game could have used some more development and playtesting in the first place.


Sorry, just jumpy I guess after the last "discussion". If you haven't tried the variant, I highly recommend it: it maintains the intent of the "under-tested" rule (avoiding early game extinctions) while keeping the mid and late game fluid (you can actually attack your opponent's 7 city + 3 stack empire).

Without the modification the game degenerates into three stacks populating, founding a city and moving on (as described by the original poster). While it is interesting on an intellectual level, it takes the game even *further* from anything resembling a civilization game. The "have a fight" action and all combat related cards (fortress, weapons and the bonus combat action) become moot.

Personally, mooting 1/5th of the actions and 1/3rd of the cards if far more damaging then counting cities as part of your empire. Having said that, I'm pretty sure I have cast "summon rules lawyer III", so I think I will move on.
 
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Mike Hasko
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It's odd, but in most of the time I've played Tempus with our large group, we've rarely, if ever, had a fight. I've played multiple games where people are spreading out, not 3-stacking, and never once was a battle fought. For us, at least, that 1/3 of the deck and that 1/5 of the actions are already moot.

 
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John Lopez
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PsychoPez wrote:
It's odd, but in most of the time I've played Tempus with our large group, we've rarely, if ever, had a fight. I've played multiple games where people are spreading out, not 3-stacking, and never once was a battle fought. For us, at least, that 1/3 of the deck and that 1/5 of the actions are already moot.



That is interesting: the advantage of fighting is actually quite large once you realize the key is to "double attack" as we call it. Attack once to drain any defensive cards (so you *might* lose a token, big deal) and then attack again to take the space with high reliability.

Of course, attacks should have a reason. They consume two of your actions to perform this way... but if that attack means you can now build a city on the edge of your empire where it wasn't possible before due to the spacing requirement between cities... so much the better.

You have reduced your opponent's city count (and thus VP) and increased your own. Near the end of the game this can be nearly the only way to build a new city if people have played well. Mid game it can allow you to replace a stack of 3 population doing nothing useful with a city that is easier to defend than the population was (due to the "select the terrain" rule) and is especially useful if the attack came from grasslands as you can grow your population right back to do it again if necessary.


EDIT: double attacks are possible with either the card that grants a second attack or government, although I prefer not to use government that way if possible. Also note that even though we attack fairly often, it isn't 1/5 of all actions by any stretch. Attacks are more a *threat* than a reality until such a city placement becomes crucial. Once the attacks start though, they come in waves as the loss of cards by the defender puts them in a weakened state (as someone with no cards allows you to compute exactly what you need to win the attack).
 
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Frank Burbach
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We've always "interpreted" the 3-space rule to mean that a player whose tokens occupy 3 spaces or less are protected from attacks on their tokens, but their cities are never protected. That way, the player can never be eliminated from the game, but the "turtling strategy" does not make them immune from attacks. Just my 2 cents.

Frank
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Gabe Osterlund
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Godeke wrote:
rpr- wrote:
...then turned it into city next turn. Sometimes the temptation to expand to fourth location was almost inevitable...


Our interpretation of that rule prevents this from happening: your cities are, for the purposes of this rule, "stacks" as well. As soon as occupy a fourth hex, for whatever reason, you are open to attack. If you are attacked early and reduced to three hexes of stuff, you are protected again.

Note this means it is possible (although in practice you would have to be drooling on the board for it to happen) to lose all your tokens and be reduced to only cities. Our house rule (never invoked) is that if this happens you may reduce one city (your choice) into the tokens that it represents.


Great fix, and thank God .. I was about to throw this game into the canal..
 
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