Recommend
23 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Temporum: Alternate Realities» Forums » General

Subject: The Secret History of Temporum: Alternate Realities rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Donald X.
United States
flag msg tools
designer
At long last, the Temporum expansion. I was planning to do a preview but then the set came out. Well there's still time to do a Secret History.

Originally I made a small expansion - half the size of the final expansion. We were still playing Temporum a lot, so I made another expansion, then combined them. The resulting expansion has as many player cards and Zone cards as the main game. And then there are some tokens to support the cards. It was all finished a couple months after Temporum itself came out.

There's one mechanic that's on six cards, so let's look at that first.

*** Hourglass Zones ***

The idea here was to very blatantly reward players for planning ahead. It's a problem I am coming to terms with, that in some games, with all new players, players may skip part of the game and then since no-one did it they feel like it wasn't there. I should be making it clearer that those things are there; an expansion is really too late but still, I decided to go for it, and make it clear in some games at least that you really should be planning ahead in Temporum.

These Zones don't just do something every N visits. The things they do all care about your position - to benefit from the location when the time comes, you want to have less than $8, or at least $10, or no cards in hand, or at least one Perpetual card, or no crowns in Time 3, or to rule Time 2. Five of them do positive things, one hurts you; I started out with half of them hurting you but it was too much.

*** Zones ***

Now I will just go through the deck and see which Zones I can think of something to say about.

Age of Atlantis: When I want to come up with new stuff for a game, one of my go-to tricks is to add tokens. It just makes it very easy to do something new. So this expansion has several tokens. A token could go on a Zone that produced it, it could go on a different Zone you picked, it could go on a player; I do all those things.

Alien Egypt: That $100 is suspiciously round. It's nice to have round numbers when you can, so I tried the round number, and it all worked out so there it is. The card provides a way to just gain $, so that something like that is around; it's not great to make $ that way, but it might help you get to $100 after making most of your $ a better way.

Ancient Carthage: The expansion has Trade Goods, an extra-weak card, and Gizmo, an extra-strong card, so that some Zones can give you those cards. Trade Goods is flexible to try to make up some for being weak, but make no mistake, ideally you discard it somehow.

Byzantine Empire: I tried a bunch of things in this slot. One card gave you $ next turn per time you ruled then; so, you were telling the other players, time to thwart me. One let you pick up a Perpetual card; one was another way to take an extra turn. One was like the published version but gave $1 per card the player with the most cards had.

Greek America: The earliest versions had you spend a turn getting the token - no other benefit that turn - but it was too big of an investment, the other players would just constantly make that Zone unreal for you. Then it was like the printed version but with $8 instead of $6; it loomed too large. New France got to have a bigger bonus because it's harder to benefit from in Time 3.

Mongolian Empire: This started out weaker, only hitting players with more cards than you. Also it was the Mongol Empire. I was not aware that that was a thing that might offend someone.

Scientist Enclave: Gizmo plays a card twice. It's a much stronger effect here than in Dominion. Playing a card costs you a turn and a card; that's how much this gives you over Trinket, in exchange for the $4 Trinket gave you and well the extra cost of acquiring a Gizmo. Which then is why you can't Gizmo a Gizmo. Plus it's confusing if you can.

Gold Rush: This has a confusing interaction with Primitive Paradise, but I decided to do it anyway.

Pax Britannica: That wording is straight and to-the-point. It's not the first way you think of wording it though. I started with "Gain $4 per crown you have in the Time you have the fewest" and well some people have problems with zero.

Endless City: The bottom ability was in the main set for a while, but seemed over-the-line for a main set card. It's easy to miss if you haven't played much.

Singularity: This and Sunboat of Ra show off my "if the previous turn was another player's" technology, which I didn't have when making Outpost from Dominion: Seaside (though one day it will have it). This is to prevent too many turns in a row. Multiple times I blew it and infinite turns were possible somehow. I don't think they are now? You can crank out Sunboats with Age of Cybernetics, but you can't make one on an extra turn and use it.

Underground Haven: Sage originally drew you an extra card when drawing cards. Something multiple cards messed with.

Zombie Apocalypse: There were several versions of this, trying to make Zombies spread but not too much, and be scary but not too scary, and have the game not hand out Gizmos too readily. The Zombies initially just spread directly from Zombie Apocalypse, then changed to following players around. For a while there were only two Zombies; sometimes they were cumulative.

*** Player Cards ***

And here we are at the player cards.

Ambassador: Originally this let you take crown advancements instead of $ from playing cards - you could play a $12 and take 3 crowns, or 2 crowns and $4, or a crown and $8. Now it is both simpler and less generous.

Ancient Scroll: Cut from the main set for being redundant. It is less redundant when you have twice as many player cards, and want some of them to be simple.

Assassin's Dagger: One thing about adding cards to the player deck was, I needed to maintain certain percentages of things. I didn't want to change the typical amount of $ a card gave you, or the frequency of different "pay $X to score Y" ratios. And certain effects wanted to keep showing up about as often. One of those was "care about ruling times" and so this card, Cutthroat's Cutlass, and Sultan's Scimitar are simple twists on the main set cards, and follow the same naming convention.

Bank: This started out adding $1 to all $ values on your turn; then just to the $ values you wanted to be bigger, since obv. some of them you prefer small.

Cache: This is my favorite of the player cards; it's just great at enabling combos. No history here, just happy memories.

Meet Younger Self: I avoided having cards do things when scored in the main set, because I feel like I've done that in several games now. But here we were, expansion time, and it seemed reasonable and different-in-this-context to have a couple.

Panacea: Another card cut from the main set. I only wanted so many cards that cared about ruling times, and this was a more complex one.

Revolutionaries: The main set had used up various simple combinations of triggers and bonuses, like "When you play a card, draw a card"; this set tried to get in a few things like that, so that they didn't vanish into the larger deck.

Secret Mission: Four cards have "Secret" in the title and can be discarded for some effect at the start of your turn. It makes those cards even more flexible; you can play them, score them, or use the discard ability. They all increase the chance that someone can do something you weren't expecting.

Sunboat of Ra: I know what you're thinking. Anubis Statuette? Sunboat of Ra? Why are these big effects Egyptian-themed? Is he a big fan of The Anubis Gates? Well. It's the Raiders of the Lost Ark of time travel novels - a rip-roarin' adventure suitable for both aesthetes and the masses.

University: This started out adding "draw and discard" to any drawing, then I simplified it to just modifying visits to Time 2.

Visionary: One thing you may notice about the expansion is that bigger turns are possible. Turns where you do several things and it all adds up. You discard your Secret Stash and pop your Cache with its Ancient Scroll and then go to the Dutch Golden Age and play a Gizmo on a Golden Goose and look at that. Well it used to go even further. The first Visionary was "Discard a card, play two more cards." There was a game where someone advanced all of their crowns from Time 1 to Time 4 in one turn, using a mix of Visionaries and Gizmos and Pope Hats and Pilgrims. It sounds fun I know, but it was madness.

*** And That's That ***

I don't really have a concluding thing to say, but I like to not just cut to black. There you have it, there's a Temporum expansion, and now you know some stuff about me working on it.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tristan Brunet
Japan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for this. Temporum is my favorite game from you, and I really think it is underrated. I was really waiting for this expansion, and for what I saw of it, it looks great. Can't wait to get my hands on it !


Quote:
It's a problem I am coming to terms with, that in some games, with all new players, players may skip part of the game and then since no-one did it they feel like it wasn't there.

That's exactly the problem with the game, or so I think. A lot of people expected a much more convoluted gameplay (time travel !!), and discarded it as too simple, too narrowly tactical and formulaic. It also impacted the thematic side of the experience. At first, I didn't think I could plan ahead, and felt the gameplay was quite on auto mode. But then I learned to build my play around the Age IV cards in play and the options given by permanent card, aimed for bigger and bigger combos, controlling the flow of time became more and more important (since a particular Age card became blatantly crucial for your strategy), and I enjoyed the game more and more. It is now a blast to play.

Alternate Realities look like it will really amp up that, with some crazier effects on cards.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Phil Bordelon

Lenoir
North Carolina
msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the secret history, Donald. The Anubis Gates is a great book (although I think his best is Declare by a long shot).

Is there any particular reason the cards don't have an expansion symbol of some sort on them, or did I just miss it? I want to mix them with the base set, but I'd like to be able to pull them out easily when I'm teaching the game to new players, and it's not like Dominion where that sort of separation is trivial to manage.

I haven't yet had it hit the table yet (I'm waiting for replacement punch-outs from RGG, as the ones I got were miscut), but I've looked through the cards several times and it sure looks exciting. I'm glad you managed to finally get it published.

P
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Donald X.
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Phil Bordelon wrote:
Is there any particular reason the cards don't have an expansion symbol of some sort on them, or did I just miss it? I want to mix them with the base set, but I'd like to be able to pull them out easily when I'm teaching the game to new players, and it's not like Dominion where that sort of separation is trivial to manage.
It's just something I never thought about.

I always taught new players with whatever I was testing. So I wouldn't be too worried there. For Zones you can just deal them out and then replace anything that you think looks tricky.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan Smith
United States
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Thanks! There are some great game design tips in here!

Paptimus wrote:
Thanks for this. Temporum is my favorite game from you, and I really think it is underrated.

I really agree with this. In some ways it compares quite favorably to Dominion (and I say this after thousands of games of Dominion, though probably only 50 or so of Temporum). I hope the expansion will drive some more interest, now that people are over expecting it to be Tragedy Looper or something.

Reading a new Temporum board ("multiverse"?) scratches the same itch as reading a Dominion kingdom, with some very interesting geometric aspects added in. For instance: two similar Age cards in Time 2 synergize, since you can plan around that type of ability always being available; but similar cards in different Ages can sometimes just be redundant.

And it avoids a lot of real-or-perceived flaws with Dominion: setup time, turn length/flow, balance of tactics vs long-term strategy, Big Money (there's a first-order optimal strategy in Temporum but it's not boring or frustrating), and more.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian K
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It sounds great, I look forward to playing, though it seems to not really be out in Europe yet.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls