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Subject: Any interest in World Map + "real" tech tree + "real" civilizations? rss

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Joshua Love
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I had bought the game thinking I wouldn't like it very much, but it seemed to really lend it's self to modding and hacking. However, I do personally enjoy the game as printed! Thing is, I had begun sketching out the mod before I actually played the game (I know, weird).
I saw one of the earlier posts about a world map, and I have one sketched up (need to actually make it now). I personally think it would work, but it would need to be printed out.
Second, is a use for the extra cubes that comes with the game.

I would create a "tech tree" based on the things you can already increase (stacking limit, # of actions, # of babies...). However, players would not advance as normal. They would "buy" their way to the specific tech levels using Idea cards and Progress points, as well as terrain bonuses and the like. Thing is, instead of the "catch up" mechanic, the "inventor" of each level of technology would then make the level MUCH cheaper for any other players wanting to advance.
This would create a little more "customized" feel to your civilization, as well as give you advantages where you need them (or to compensate for something lacking).
For example:
Everyone would start of at "level 1" on each tech. Then, say the red player wants to advance to "level 2" movement, and thus does so if he can afford it (paying with say 2 Progress Points and 2 Idea cards). This player is now the "inventor" of this level of technology and moves his cube up that tree. In later turns, if the Blue player wants Level 2 movement, he would only have to have 1 Progress Point and 1 Idea card.
Of course the cost would go up the further along each tech tree you get.
I think it would also be neat to add some techs if you complete 2 or 3 of these techs that give bonus VP toward certain things, like ending the game with X amount of Idea cards of X type, or if you own the most cities, get +1 VP, and so on.
The question is, do you keep the turn limit at 10, or play until someone completes X amount of techs?

Lastly, I would think it would make sense to create actual "civilizations", such as Egypt, Rome, America and so on. Each having a sort of different advantage or bonus. Egypt getting a discount on building it's first city, or Rome getting an attack bonus when attacking cities, and so on. I wonder if this would make the game a little more thematic. They would each have a different starting location on the world map as well.

Again, I like the game just fine as printed. But I like modding games, and this seems like it would be a little more "civ" like with some touch ups.
What do you think?
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Randy Brown
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I've been kicking around a similar idea off and on since I bought Tempus. I really like the game as printed, but I'd like to add a little to the depth and length of the game. My biggest concern with the game is that the winner is often obvious a couple of turns before the ending. That isn't too big of a deal in such a short game, but any variant that makes the game longer should also add more vps to make the ending more exciting.

Like you, I thought of just using the cubes and advancing them down each column separately. I would keep the end condition the same, but this would obviously extend the game.

Here are my ideas for advancement: (only pick 1)

1) Make a movement down a tech column an action (possibly tied to Have an Idea, or possibly a whole separate action). This would allow fairly quick movement down the tech columns, and so the game wouldn't take as long as the other options.

2) Get one free advancement at the end of each turn, plus 1 additional advancement to one player. The winning player would be determined by terrain/cards as in the written rules, though you'd have to figure out how to determine which terrain would control a given turn. This would lead to a much longer game unless you're idea of advancement was to go to the next level of a given tech (rather than advancing one row down, which would take several advancements to achieve a new level on many columns).

3) Have some sort of fixed cost for each advancement. This is closest to what you proposed.

Some additional thoughts:

Catch-up mechanisms--A.If all but one player have discovered a given tech row, the last player gets a free advance in that column. Or B.Determine which player has advanced to the furthest row overall, and give all other players a free advancement in that column. Or C. If a player has advanced 2 rows farther (or some other arbitrary amount) than another player in a given column, then that other player may advance in that column for free.

The first option rewards specialization, while the second punishes it. The third leans pro-specialization, but helps all players maintain some level of generalization. The third option would also help keep the game time from getting out of hand.

Cost of Advancement--Advancement could be free or tied to terrain/cards, with the terrain of the next row in a given column controlling. Cost could increase by one for each row, or be fixed, or gradually increase when a new level (as opposed to row) is reached.

What is an Advancement--In my musings, advancement was going down one row in a given column. This would not necessarily grant a player any advantages, as most rows will not increase a column's value. This could lead to some obvious imbalances (sea travel comes to mind), and lead to confusion about game end. I think that you intended an advancement to mean that you'd move a cube down a column until the value of the column changed (what I call the next tech level). This would lead to a game time more congruous with the original (if you employ some sort of catch-up mechanism).

End of Game--My idea was to allow achieving the final row (Flight) in any column as the endgame trigger. I had planned to try to balance the column advancements by having different costs (otherwise it seems that everyone would just push actions). My thought was that a player could try to advance more quickly down a less useful column (like sea travel) just to end the game faster (using the sea travel advance to narf up points before the end). Or they could advance down a more useful/more expensive track. My plan was to use a catch-up mechanism as explained above to make these decisions more interesting, and open the door to advancing in more than one column (if I advance here, I'll get that other one anyway). Furthermore, I had an idea that a player who achieved Flight--by reaching the final row in any one column--would then get to play the last turn (so not ending the game immediately) with all of their cubes moved down to Trains. I thought of doing this in lieu of the bonus 3vps.


That's pretty much it. I know that it's a lot of half-baked ideas, but I haven't been able to get this game down enough to test any of them. My first attempt at a variant failed miserably, and I've moved around too much to build up a group of experience Tempus players. I hope these ideas help you. Let us know if you try out any variants.

R
 
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Randy Brown
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One more idea:

If each row in a given column had an incremental cost, then a player could advance any cubes that meet the required cost during the advancement phase, but gain only 1 row per cube per turn. In other words, if you had two population on farms (or farm cards, or 2 cities or some combination of the 3) you would advance all cubes to the Writing row. At the end of the next turn, you'd need 3 grassland. Then 4 hills. Then 5 forests. This progression would probably work out to the same number of turns.

Alternatively (and more interestingly) you could force players to apply each population token, idea card, and city towards paying for one cube to advance, but allow players to advance multiple cubes if they can afford it.
 
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Joshua Love
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I like your ideas! I'll see if I can incorporate them, but it does seem we have somewhat similar ideas. I've test played the tech tree twice thus far and it goes over well. I did have to make some major adjustments though after the first play.

Thanks for the ideas! I'll give you credit if I end up going with it and posting it. ^_^ Glad to see some suggestions honestly. I know Tempus isn't the most popular game.
 
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Randy Brown
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Just let me know how it all works out. I'm very interested in your results.
 
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Joshua Love
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It's been some time since the original posting, but Tempus kind of took a back seat to other games that I got around the same time. Anyway, played 3 plays with a single "tech tree". It played pretty well and made players think about what they needed to do to advance to a specific area.

Basically it goes as such:
Instead of the "Progress" phase where you just move ahead along the path, each player takes turns spending Progress Points to advance down any of the given 7 "trees" of tech. I didn't give any names for them, as they are literally the same types of advancements as in the game. You just control when you get there basically.

So, As I said before, each tech costs a number of points, which are spent using the amount of points from cities, and discarding cards to reach that cost. You then move up to the next "level". So going from only being able to move 1 "army", you spend X and discard 1 Forest card to advance to 2 armies.
As far as the "catch up" mechanic, the lower cost for a advancement when it has already been "researched" made it pretty easy to keep up with the more advanced civs, but still making people pick and choose what to catch up on, and if or when you should be the first to advance. I think having the choice really makes the game interesting. The original would allow you to get lots of babies when it was really not needed, or extra cards when you already had a great hand going. With the ability to buy the techs yourself allows you to make sure you have the advantage when you need it.

The only thing I changed is the distance in Water you can move. Instead of lake movement, you cannot move in water beyond 1 space unless you tech up your "navy" level, which you can move on lakes or the oceans.
The higher up the level, the more it costs, so people can't just reach 6 Actions in the first couple of turns. In the games we played, you only got to the last level of 1 or 2 of any specific tech, which is exactly what I wanted (more customizations based on players style). It also allows players to greatly affect another players ability to advance by destroying cities (something that didn't seem very viable in the original game unless it was the last turn or something).

I only played the game once with the "real" civ variant, but decided to work more on the tech tree first. But in that play, the civs gave the game a more unique feel to each player. I liked it, but it sort of made the game a little more one-dimensional, as you could predict what they were most likely to do. The original game mechanics didn't seem complex enough to allow for such things. I still want to work on them, but not right now.

Almost ready to test out my World Map variant though. ^_^
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Jon G
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I contemplated something like this as well... my ideas roughly worked as follows (with the caveat that I haven't played in a couple years and I probably have some details wrong)
- Mark each tech for each civ separately with cubes
- Track the age with a separate cube, regardless of how fast people move
- The winners of a turn's progress contest get to move 9 total spaces on the tech table
- The losers get to move 5 or 6 spaces on the tech table. The correct number of spaces probably varies with the number of players (5 for a 2-3 player game, 6 for a 4-5 player)
- For each civ, your cubes must no more than two rows apart. That is is to say, your cubes must be in a band three rows wide. The means you must drag the "babies" marker along whether you like it or not.
- No civ can have a tech more than one ahead of the current age
- Flight obviously has to be reworked. Maybe flight is worth 11 spaces, and whoever has the most cubes in the lowest occupied row gets the bonus. You can move cubes into the flight row on the last turn, following the limitations above.

I'm not sure about a catch-up mechanism, but it would probably be something like: if after everyone buys their tech advances, you are three spaces behind the leader in any column, you get one space in that column for free. It should be after everyone buys their techs, so that the "cubes must stay within a 3-row band" prevents abusive sandbagging.

I agree with you that sailing could use an extra level, something like 6-8 spaces for the first advance, and unlimited for the next row down.
 
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Joshua Love
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Not sure how to get 9 spaces on any tech level... The most I have on mine is like 4 or 5 for any given tech. By spaces do you mean points? Maybe it's because you haven't played the game in a while? ^^;; Some good ideas though, I will have to try them out too.
 
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Jon G
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There are seven columns on the tech ladder. So, advancing down one row would be one space in each column = 7 spaces. In this case, 9 sapces could advance one column by 3 spaces, and the rest by 1 space, as long as they remain within a 3-row band.
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Randy Brown
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That could work. I don't quite follow your fligh mod though.
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Jon G
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discoking7 wrote:
That could work. I don't quite follow your fligh mod though.


Each player has cubes spread out on the tech ladder. You could just ignore those cubes and award the flight VP's the usual way, but some players won't even be close to the flight row. So, as an alternative, award a bunch of tech advancement points (11? 15?) for winning the last contest, and then give the 3vp's to whoever is farthest down the tech track in aggregate. My "most cubes in the last occupied row" is just one simplified way to score "high-techness".

It just seems to me that in civ-type games, winning the tech race should be predicated on having a good tech position, not just winning the last blind bid. In the base game, there's no way to do that, because everyone advances each turn. But if you let players choose how to invest in their tech, then flight is a reward for not just grabbing a few key advances and focussing on other things.
 
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Randy Brown
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Got it. I like the idea in principle, but I'd like to avoid the fixed # of turns in the game. Perhaps getting any cube to the Flight space could end the game or trigger end-game. Rather than competing for a single terrain, perhaps players could turn in cards or use population/cities to advance cubes to a new level matching the terrain.
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Joshua Love
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Thought I'd give an update on the progress of my mod.

Just finished a "official" looking world map, which will incorporate some new placement rules, movement rules and so on.

So, I will probably do away with terrain being specific toward tech. Instead just making Idea cards worth points toward your total, regardless of their terrain. But I haven't tested that part yet. I do know that the main points you will get is through cities.
I will also probably keep my current tech tree idea, but making it more of a "tree", rather than a linear pathway. Such as you have to "unlock' specific techs before some others. But I will no make it very limiting either and allow for multiple strategies.

Lastly, I will make it an optional rule, but I want to have the exploration aspect of the game, and so create some tokens that can be placed randomly through out the map as barbarian encounters or ruins, city-states and so on, in the same vane as a Civ computer game. These won't add too much, but could give you a bonus Idea card, or a unexpected obstacle during the game.

Also, I don't want the game to end with flight. I want flight to be a final stage of movement, where you can move a large amount of spaces, ignore any terrain and so on. I may make a space-age ending, like landing on the moon or something as an end condition. I also want to make some sort of other way to end the game, much like other civ games. Destroying another players Capital City, for example, or owning X amount of points in Cities triggers the end of the game. Although, in that respect, I don't think the original mechanics of Tempus is well suited. I do want to keep in tact most of the original mechanics, as much as possible anyway, keeping it a light civ game. Just less abstract perhaps?
 
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Joshua Love
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http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1275902/tempus
 
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