Disappointment, Thy Name Is ... Tempus!
I can see why people would rate Power Grid or Age of Steam highly, even though I personally don't care for them based on the meticulous calculations and limited margin for error. Heck, I can even see why some people rave about Ticket to Ride if they desire nothing more than entry level gaming. But I'm baffled why Tempus has so many 9s and 10s over on BGG.
I know I may preaching to the choir for some of these gripes, or to some of Tempus' biggest advocates, but I just gotta' get this off my chest. What a friggin' disappointment.
My initial rating after one play is 4.5/10 ... This is a fabulous concept that feels wholly incomplete. Nice components, and I like the evolution of the civilization tiers. But other than a few neat ideas, I am actually surprised Tempus was published in its current form. Tempus as released feels like an early concept prototype.
There are several major issues with the game.
1) The mountain spaces are worth no points and cannot have cities built, yet are the most common terrain element, severely restricting space and creating a lot of game clutter.
2) Movement is so incredibly limited early on that you can accomplish very little at the point in the game where you need the most flexibility and planning.
3) Meanwhile, the board is so cluttered by the end, you find yourself with the most actions available in the game (5 or 6 actions per round) with nothing to do because you can't have babies, can't build new cities, can't move into any better positions, etc. Lots of churning Idea Cards.
4) Combat is incredibly difficult to pull off, especially against a city. The stack limits prevent all but a massive card investment to succeed in taking on any sort of city, and then only if you guess right about what terrain the defender is going to call.
5) The artificial restriction of not being able to attack someone on 3 or fewer hexes is ridiculous -- buy a bunch of cities and then consolidate your stacks to make yourself immune to counterattack. It may prevent leader bashing, but it completely eliminates any sort of catch up mechanic... the only people you can go after are the people out of contention.
Am I off my rocker, or right on mark? You tell me... If you've played Tempus, what did you think?